Lactivists unwittingly reveal their true goal: forcing women back into the home


A political analyst once defined a gaffe as a politician accidentally telling the truth. The lactivism industry has just committed a gaffe.

As Pediatrics Professor Steven Abrams writes, Guidelines for Breastfeeding and Early Childhood Nutrition Have Value But Go Too Far:

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]In a society where women can no longer be forced to stay home, advocates have to manipulate women into forcing themselves to stay home.[/pullquote]

As written, [the proposed guidelines] would block the marketing of whole milk for toddlers who are 1 to 3 years old. They also would strongly support the feeding of solid (weaning) foods that are homemade, as opposed to those that can be purchased at stores…

But in the United States, relatively few — less than 5 percent — of mothers breastfeed after their children reach 12 months of age, and the use of whole milk or similar products for toddlers 12 months old and older is nearly universal.

The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and many others provide milk for toddlers, and the recent Dietary Guidelines for America support the use of milk in the population covered by these guidelines, 24 months and above. It’s reasonable to allow the marketing of these products for small children, if only to provide alternatives to soda and other inappropriate beverages…

There is no reason to automatically assume that homemade food — no matter its source or preparation — is superior to commercial products, no matter where they come from or how they’re prepared. There simply is not a reason to forbid reasonable marketing of these foods.

In other words, the lactivist lobby, the same people who moralized infant feeding are now attempting to moralize the feeding of toddlers and small children. Why? For the same reason they moralized breastfeeding: to force women back into the home.

They have grossly exaggerated the benefits of breastfeeding far beyond anything supported by the depth and breadth of the scientific literature. In the case of opposition to cow’s milk and prepared infant foods, they’ve become unmoored from the scientific evidence altogether.

Let’s be clear: there is NO scientific evidence — none, zip, zero, nada — to support any restriction on cow’s milk for toddlers. There is NO scientific evidence — none, zip, zero, nada — that homemade infant foods are better than commercially prepared infant foods.

But this was never about science in the first place. In a society where women can no longer be forced to stay home, advocates have to manipulate women into forcing themselves to stay home. Natural parenting is the perfect stealth vehicle. While ostensibly promoting the wellbeing of infants and small children, it’s really about weighing down mothering with so much work and so much moralizing that a “good mother” can’t possibly do anything but mother.

One of the greatest occurrences of the 20th Century was the emancipation of women. Finally some women in some cultures achieved political and economic rights. Finally some women in some cultures were judged for their intellects, talents and character instead of how they used their uteri, vaginas and breasts.

Seismic shifts like women’s emancipation are inevitably met with backlash. Regrettably part of that backlash has been the rise of natural parenting — natural childbirth, lactivism and attachment parenting — a not so subtle effort to use women’s love for their children to restrain them.

For most of human history, children were considered property of the father. A woman who wanted to leave an abusive relationship had to weigh her freedom and perhaps her very life against the threat that she would never again see her children, the very people she loved most.

With the emancipation of women that overt threat could no longer be used to manipulate women so a new, equally vicious threat had to be contrived. Opponents of women’s emancipation, this time sadly including many women themselves, fell back on the traditional methods for measuring women: the function of their reproductive organs. Since they were no longer able to mandate that women be judged by reproductive functions, they moralized those functions in the natural parenting movements.

Indeed, as I explain in PUSH BACK: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting, La Leche League, which dominates the breastfeeding industry, was started explicitly to force women back into the home. In the book La Leche League: At the Crossroads of Medicine, Feminism, and Religion, Jule DeJager Ward explains that the La Leche League was founded in 1956:

… by a group of Catholic mothers who sought to mediate in a comprehensive way between the family and the world of modern technological medicine. . . . [A] central characteristic of La Leche League’s ideology is that it was born of Catholic moral discourse on family life. . . . The League has very strong convictions about the needs of families. The League’s presentations and literature carry a strong suggestion that breast feeding is obligatory. Their message is simple: Nature intended mothers to nurse their babies; therefore, mothers ought to nurse.

Once again, according to natural parenting advocates, women’s needs are irrelevant; women must be judged — valued or excoriated — by how they use their uteri, vaginas and breasts. There must ALWAYS be more work for mother. And that’s precisely what is intended by the proposed guidelines. They are meant to force women to breastfeed for 2 or more years (just like our utterly disenfranchised foremothers). No conveniences like prepared baby food for them! The good mother spends her time preparing special meals for her toddler.

Maybe the next step will be to insist that she grow her own food, too. After all, she’s forced to stay home and her needs are irrelevant; she might as well farm as she breastfeeds.

369 Responses to “Lactivists unwittingly reveal their true goal: forcing women back into the home”

  1. CriticalDragon1177
    April 15, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

    Why does this not surprise me?

  2. Brooke
    April 12, 2016 at 11:29 am #

    Banning marketing of products to 1-3 year olds is sexist? How the hell do ypu come up with this shit?

    • Charybdis
      April 12, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

      You have to use your brain and some common sense. You can’t really market things directly to 1-3 year olds because, well, they are 1-3 years old and have the attention span of seconds, if you are lucky.

      The moms, however, ARE the ones who tend to make all the decisions regarding baby stuff. Which diapers to buy (THESE absorb runny messes better in breastfed babies!! THESE are thinner and more absorbent! THESE are fitted better so there is no gapping when baby moves!), which wipes to buy (All organic using recycled paper! Scented, unscented, scented with EO’s) baby wash (nighttime wash with lavender! All in one wash and shampoo!), baby lotion, butt cream (either purchased or ingredients for “The Whip”), etc. The mothers also tend to make the feeding decisions for the baby: rice cereal or wheat cereal? Jarred food or homemade? Jars or pouches? Organic or not? When to switch to a sippy cup and then which sippy cup to use. Watering down juice, yes or no?

      Formula feeding generally stops at one year of age and the baby transitions to whole milk. Yes, whole milk, because they need the calories and fat. Some people transition to soy, almond or other type of milk substitute (I can’t call it soy or almond milk, as they do not have nipples) because of REASONS! (Vegan, think it is healthier and better for the baby, they do not support animal husbandry in any way, shape or form, etc).

      So, yes, things are marketed FOR the 1-3 year old age group, but the target audience is actually their mothers, since the babies do not have any personal purchasing power. Banning the marketing of foodstuff for 1-3 year olds (switch to whole milk at age 1 and use OUR milk because reasons! Eat this brand of whole milk yogurt mixed with baby cereal as it is more convenient-no mixing necessary! This juice is 100% juice! Use this nutrition supplement drink to fill in the gaps of your picky eater’s diet! Toddler sized entrees! Pre-packaged finger foods with high fiber) is requiring the mother to source her own replacement options (homemade baby food, keep breastfeeding until kid weans naturally, cloth diapers,etc) and effectively reducing her capacity to work outside the home because all this STUFF is somehow bad for the baby and what kind of mother wants to do things that are BAD for their baby?

      Learn to extrapolate a little.

      • Who?
        April 12, 2016 at 9:40 pm #

        You are a patient and kind person.

        • Sue
          April 14, 2016 at 4:45 am #

          Perhaps kinder than the person posting as “Brooke” deserves.

    • Linden
      April 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

      (Said in Teletubbies narrator voice:)
      Nooooo. Banning things that help women, for spurious reasons, is sexist.
      Dr. Tuteur, I’m baffled that your blog doesn’t attract more intelligent trolls. How did you get landed with Brooke?

      • Azuran
        April 12, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

        If you are going to go teletubbies style I demand that you say everything twice!

        As for Brooke, it sort of happened, we don’t really know why she keeps coming back. Apparently she’s alone in the world without any friend or family who cares for her. Really it’s a mystery why no one seems to like her, after all she has such a nice personality.

  3. The Bofa on the Sofa
    April 12, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    OT: Happy 100th birthday to Beverly Cleary!

    I still have a major crush on Beezus.

    • Suzi Screendoor
      April 12, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

      You get an up-vote from this children’s librarian!

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        April 12, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

        Ramona, Beezus, Henry Huggins, Ribsy, Nosy, Ralph.

        I always like Murph from Henry and the Paper Route.

        Clank! Claink!

        Related, did you ever see this?

        • Charybdis
          April 12, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

          Otis Spofford, Ellen Tebbits, Austine Allen and Mitch and Amy aren’t as well known as the others, but they were some of my favorites.

          • MaineJen
            April 12, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

            OMG Ellen and Austine! The long underwear-under-the-ballet-costume episode was a classic. 🙂 I’ve never met anyone who’s read that before.

    • DelphiniumFalcon
      April 12, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

      You get my upvote.

      …sometimes when I need a go to whacky name and don’t want to accidentally insult someone who used said whacky name I use Chevrolet.

    • MaineJen
      April 12, 2016 at 10:52 pm #

      I remember reading “Ramona the Pest” for the first time and thinking: This lady GETS IT.

  4. Karen in SC
    April 12, 2016 at 8:42 am #

    My husband and I both had well paid careers when we married and brought a lot of savings and possessions to the union. When we had children, I gave up my career gladly, thinking I could go back to work and resume my career. That never happened, and in fact, when my husband’s plant closed we had to move away from family and friends for work since I didn’t have a job. I’ve never been able to get back to my field, only part time work. Turns out there was great economical and emotional cost to my family that we never guessed at a few decades ago. I don’t know what I would advise younger women to do.

    • Who?
      April 12, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

      That’s so hard, I’m sorry to hear it.

      Our friends, who did everything ‘right’ both working, living well within their means, both lost their jobs, in entirely different industries, within a couple of weeks of each other, mid last year. They had a great setup that fell in a heap within a month. It’s somewhat improved now, but she can’t get a ‘real’ job, and probably has very little prospect of doing so. He has picked up something, but it is speculative and if it goes there isn’t another employer in our city for him. Their kids are in high school, so they don’t want to move, but maybe, if the cards don’t fall well, they will have to.

      After about 7 years out living os with young kids I always had good work, part time. Now my profession has tanked, the small business market is very tight, and I’m wondering what to do next. Our kids are off our hands, and my husband has a good job, though he doesn’t love it, so we’re okay financially but it is a hard thing to accept that I may never have a ‘proper’ job again.

      Younger ones don’t I think have the expectation that jobs will be forever, and many have watched parents lose jobs and struggle, so are aware of the pitfalls of an unstable jobs market.

      Unfortunately there is no recipe for a perfect outcome.

  5. Mishimoo
    April 12, 2016 at 8:13 am #

    Funnily enough, we’re currently discussing how my husband can take over the home duties so I can have a career and chase my dream. It’s so nice to not feel guilty about wanting to work outside of the home, to be supported, and to admit that I’m a better mum with more intellectual stimulation.

    • Amazed
      April 12, 2016 at 8:35 am #

      You should not feel guilty at all! When we were kids and my father came back from a long sailing, he took over the home duties and it was a pleasure for him to do this for his family. My mom worked all the year round, with or without him around, so it only made sense for him to be the housewife *grin* when he was out of job anyway.

      Intellectual stimulation is very important to most people, parents or not. And there’s nothing wrong with finding it out of home.

      • Mishimoo
        April 13, 2016 at 8:49 pm #

        It’s hard for me to accept that because my needs have always been put last by my parents and then by myself, and I’ve been learning over the last few years that’s not okay. (Thank goodness for a good husband that thinks I deserve the world)

    • Roadstergal
      April 12, 2016 at 11:01 am #

      My boss is a working mom with a SAH dad. Not only does it work for them, but – she’s really excellent at her job, and she’s a fantastic boss. Our whole group – IMO, our company – would be less if she were the SAH parent.

      • Mishimoo
        April 13, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

        That’s awesome!
        My husband is looking at changing to nightshift full-time if the other guys he works with are happy with it. They have a rotating roster at the moment, so it would be a big change for all of them. They can go home and sleep between callouts, so nights would work best for us when I’m working, because he’d be home with the kids during the day and we wouldn’t need to pay for vacation care and extra daycare. Plus (and it’s a huge one) he genuinely enjoys doing housework. Once I’m qualified, I’ll have more earning power than him and so we’re figuring out what we’ll do when that happens.

    • Who?
      April 12, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

      Good luck with it, and with that prac you’re starting!

      • Mishimoo
        April 13, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

        2 days done, 13 left in that library, and then another 15 in one closer to home. Everyone is really nice and I get breaks! Which is to be expected while working, but it’s something I don’t get at home with the kids because they’re so full-on. I really appreciate the time to sit down, have a cuppa and a bite to eat (uninterrupted!) and read for a little while.

  6. BeatriceC
    April 11, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

    I’m a housewife. That was our choice. We decided that it was best for everybody if I stayed home full time. While I sometimes miss working, I’m really enjoying myself these days. It’s what works for us. If at any moment I was unhappy not working, MrC would be my biggest cheerleader in a job search. That’s how it “should” be: each family making the decision that’s best for them.

  7. Erin
    April 11, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

    Stuff like this makes me sad. Take my In laws (neither were fed their Mother’s breast milk) and my Parents (who both were breastfed by their Mothers) for example.

    MiL was given cows milk really early on because she reacted to her Mother’s and in rural Northern Ireland at the time of her birth, other options were limited. They were on a farm… cow’s milk was in plentiful supply so it was a case of “better fed than dead”.

    FiL was wet nursed by his Ayah. As far as I’m aware, his Mother could have breastfed but it wasn’t “the done thing” by Ladies of her class in India in the last days before Independence so she paid someone poorer than her to do it instead.

    My Mother was breastfed for a year and then my Grandmother who was a widow, returned to nursing leaving my Mother and her elder Brother in the care of my Great Grandmother.

    My Father was breastfed until he self weaned.

    All four were weaned onto home cooked food. Good old Irish home cooking on the one hand and curries on the other for the Inlaws, whilst my Father grew up on a farm and my Mother had an interesting mix of Russian meets Yorkshire. Can you tell now…well, FiL likes and can tolerate very spicy food but that’s about it.

    When will they get that what works for you or me or the woman down the street isn’t the magical blueprint that will work for everyone.

    My son gets home cooked food not because I don’t want him eating jarred food but because he flat out refuses to eat anything savoury from a packet or jar. He’ll eat pretty much anything I cook from spaghetti bolognese to soupa de lima but turns his nose up at pre-made stuff. He has a friend who is virtually the complete opposite.

    I’m a SAHM because that works for us. That doesn’t mean it works for everyone else. My eldest sister in law went back to work because they needed her income and her younger sister went back because she’s a GP and loves her job. All of those reasons are valid and yet they get criticized for working and I get criticized for spending my days at home (sometimes by the same people…)

    • Chi
      April 11, 2016 at 10:11 pm #

      My daughter is 2 and she’s the complete opposite also. Won’t eat stuff I cook but will chow down on jarred food.

      And I don’t know what it’s like in the States but here in NZ we have very strict nutritional standards for ALL premade baby food. So in our case, the stuff you buy in a jar at the supermarket is JUST as nutritious as anything you could make at home. Possibly more so too depending on what’s being made at home.

      • Who?
        April 11, 2016 at 11:10 pm #

        Is it all being exported to far places with less strict rules, in particular China? I’m told that around here you can’t buy the organic/biodynamic/unicorn sparkles formula because it is all going to China. After the melamine poisoning scandal.

        • Mishimoo
          April 12, 2016 at 7:27 am #

          There are little paper tickets on the shelves in some Coles stores to let customers know that they can get put on a waitlist for it. It really sucks that mums over in China can’t easily access safe formula for their babies.

        • AnnaPDE
          April 12, 2016 at 9:46 am #

          Highly overblown, that… Here in Brisbane I have no difficulty getting the Aptamil with unicorn sparkles for combo feeding, and all the other fancy formula is in stock every time, too.
          There’s just a paper ticket saying you can’t buy the whole lot in one go.

          • Who?
            April 12, 2016 at 9:57 pm #

            Another Bris reader! Mishimoo is somewhat of a local too.

            I heard a doom and gloom interview on the radio about this recently-perhaps the woman doing the complaining just needed to drive a little further to get it.

      • rh1985
        April 11, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

        My daughter loved jarred baby food. I had a pretty hard time getting her to eat table food. Baby led weaning would have been a total disaster for her. She ate almost entirely purees until around her first birthday and still had some purees for a couple of months longer. She had her 2nd birthday a couple of months ago and I think she’d still let me spoon feed her if I were willing, but now when she wants applesauce I give her a pouch because I’m lazy and she can eat it by herself.

      • Erin
        April 12, 2016 at 5:58 am #

        We’re in the UK but I imagine the rules are reasonably strict. They all taste fine but he won’t eat them. Sweet stuff, custards, yoghurts, fruit purees etc absolutely but not savoury meals.

        Wondered if its texture. Even tried putting it in bowls like home cooked stuff but he just turns his head away if I try and spoon it in. If I just give him the bowl, it all goes to the floor.

        The balance definitely worries me. We do eat lots of fruit and veg, grow tomatoes, courgettes and loads of herbs. The inlaws grow potatoes, garlic, peas, beans, broccoli, onions,sprouts, cabbage etc so we get loads of home grown produce but turning it all into healthy balanced meals could be a full time job in itself.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      April 12, 2016 at 2:49 am #

      they get criticized for working and I get criticized for spending my days at home (sometimes by the same people…)

      My sister stayed home when her kids were young because she didn’t have a job that was particularly compelling to her, her husband makes enough money to make one income reasonable, and she wanted to have 3 children which would have made daycare highly expensive.

      I went back to work, at least part time, almost as soon as I recovered from the c-section because I had a job that I wanted to get back to, my partner had a job with flexibility so he could stay home with baby in the afternoon, my MIL was willing to stay with baby in the morning, and I felt that staying home would be bad for my mental health.

      It worked out for both of us. Demanding that there is one true way to raise children and we should both follow it would have been somewhere between bad and disasterous. Really, people who want to tell you how you should live can go jump in a lake, preferably in Minnesota in January.

    • Tiffany Aching
      April 14, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

      Soupa de lima ? This kid is lucky !
      Now all I can think of us 1) soupa de Lima 2) where to find it.

  8. Old Lady
    April 11, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

    Breastfeeding is sooo time consuming. I’m a SAHM but I also have preschool age twins to take care of. I just don’t have the time to sit on the couch all day anymore to “establish my supply” now that husband has gone back to work. None of the typical breastfeeding advice is helpful. I really enjoy breastfeeding too and as thrilled to discover that for a short while this time I could exclusively breastfeed but the cluster feeding is just too much, so we’ve started supplementing a little when that happens. It seems to be helping so far but of course now I worry that it’ll tank my supply like they always say.

    • Allie P
      April 11, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

      how old is the baby? I supplemented with the cluster feedings at her first growth spurt and was able to EBF for three months after. So, you know, “they say” a lot of stuff. I found rest and a well fed baby helped my supply better than letting my baby chew on my nipples for 24 hours a day.

      • Old Lady
        April 11, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

        She is three weeks old. They certainly weren’t right about pacifiers or supplementing right away (only tiny amounts and she didn’t like it anyway so we stopped), or at least I’m pretty sure my issues aren’t too low supply…yet anyway. She is satisfied most of the time, gained weight like a champ etc. I had trouble with supply for the twins though so I worry I might run into the same problem again.

    • AnnaPDE
      April 12, 2016 at 9:57 am #

      They also say that the baby will like the bottle more and refuse the breast… Not mine, we’re doing a little “let’s pretend this is a boob even though we both know it’s not” routine with the bottle every time because he’d rather chew on (and scream at) an empty breast than drink from a bottle.
      If you’re very concerned about supplementation hurting your supply, you can try letting your baby start and finish on the breast around a bottle feed, then you get both stimulation for the breasts and a fed baby. Worked for me to recover a supply that way horribly low thanks to 3 weeks of undiagnosed severe tongue tie.

  9. yentavegan
    April 11, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

    La Leche League was the one place where I, as a college educated middle class married mother felt validated and safe. No one looked down their noses at me because I was a housewife and mother. No one thought less of me because I was “wasting” my college education. I had found a support network of like minded women who got pleasure out of creating nurturing households, cleaning our houses with non-toxic cleansers, dressing our children in colorful cotton clothing and having day long play dates where our children ran outside and played in the dirt. I found women who had husbands like mine, no one was expected to bring home a paycheck. We had married into a known entity. The male goes out into the world to earn a living, the females’ job is to maintain the home and raise the children and join charitable organizations.

    • Inmara
      April 11, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

      Sometimes I wish there was an option to stay at home for an extended period of time, take care of kid, bake cupcakes and tidy house, and do my job only for fun, not for a living. Not happening in this universe, and I suspect that I would get bored pretty soon (I’m not overly bored yet, 8 months into maternity leave, but I LOVE to meet people from my profession and discuss topics outside of childrearing realm).

      • April 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

        I suppose that’s one of the advantages of being a journalist: there are a lot of opportunities to pick up as much or as little freelance work as you want while on maternity leave.

        • Inmara
          April 11, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

          I have done some minor things to not loose my professional skills, but I can’t legally work during maternity leave. After the maternity benefits end, I’ll have to return to at least half-time job to maintain our current income level.
          Of course, with good planning and being frugal we could manage to live on one income (after all, most people in my country have earnings way below mine) but I prefer our current lifestyle, and baby is not cheap endeavor either.

          • April 11, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

            It’s funny how my biases come through without my even thinking about it. To me in the U.S., maternity leave is when a professional woman quits her job and stays out of the workforce until the children are in school, then hopes that maybe she’ll get a decent job when she returns to the workforce.

            Maybe because my own mother did this, and I would probably do the same if my spouse’s income allowed it, but pick up writing and editing work as needed during those 5-7 years.

          • Inmara
            April 11, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

            I hope U.S. will get somewhere closer to other developed countries in regard of maternity leave! We have one of longest in the world (up to 1,5 years on ~60% salary) and legislation that protects our workplace until return (and make it difficult to fire pregnant women). Some employers are trying to work around and get rid of women after they announce pregnancy, but I’m lucky to have very accommodating boss and job that has some flexibility by its nature.

          • Roadstergal
            April 11, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

            This is a bit OT, but the Fresh Air interview with Samantha Bee came up on my podcasts last week, and it was a delightful one. I really like her – she’s funny and snarky and most excellent – and it was interesting to hear her talk about her pregnancies in that interview. She discussed how fortunate she was to have an employer (Stewart) who was accommodating of her maternity time, recognizing that this is _absolutely_ not a given in the US.

            Tangentially, the way she discussed having kids was so refreshing – it was all about how happy she was to have her daughters, how much joy they give her, and how they have all made their little ‘clique’ of siblings together. Nothing woo about the birth and the feeding, nothing about that at all, as you could tell it just wasn’t the focus.

            She talked about using the pregnancy for comedic effect as a correspondent, as well, which was delightful.

          • MaineJen
            April 11, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

            I’ll bet no one asks Samantha Bee if she thinks it’s acceptable to have someone else care for her children while she works. /snark

          • Roadstergal
            April 11, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

            Why did Jason Jones go back to work instead of raising the kids??

          • AA
            April 11, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

            As a US resident, to me, maternity leave here is time off a few weeks after the baby is born. Usually burning through most of FMLA time if the woman is eligible.

          • yentavegan
            April 11, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

            Please if you don’t mind my asking, what about the care of your baby? Is it possible to find an adequate cost effective substitute for you? At what point does the scale tip in favor for what the baby needs?

          • crazy grad mama
            April 11, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

            Sorry if I’m reading this wrong, but this line of questioning comes off as very judgmental and “keep mom in the home.” Daycare isn’t a “substitute for me,” it’s an environment where my kid grows and thrives, while I get to grow and thrive working. My child NEEDS a happy mother, and for that, I need to work.

          • Megan
            April 11, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

            Agreed. My daughter thrives in daycare, loves the social interaction with the other kids and gets to do activities she wouldn’t get to do at home. For the three days a week she is there, I get to enjoy my career and my “adult time.” It’s a win-win for us and you can’t convince me she is suffering or not getting “what she needs” from this arrangement and I am getting what I need too, which is a few days a week of my job, which I love (and I hope benefits our community). She also gets the benefit of a home with a higher SES and that has been shown to help her in and of itself.

          • Megan
            April 11, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

            And I’d also like to add that the caregivers at our daycare truly love and cherish the children there. They love what they do and my daughter genuinely likes them.

          • Amy
            April 12, 2016 at 12:26 am #

            Again…..seriously, this!

            Daycares in my area have to be licensed. That means professional staff who CHOSE this as a career. They LIKE kids, they want to do this, and their professional interests are in developing engaging activities for the kids, forming positive relationships, and helping them grow and develop. And I worked at, and my kids attended, relatively cheap daycare through the public schools and the Y.

          • crazy grad mama
            April 11, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

            Yes! My little guy is 19 months, and for the first time today, I saw him playing *with* another kid: when I dropped him off, they started running back and forth together and leaning over on play tables together and grinning the whole time. It was so, so adorable and very much not something that he gets to experience at home with me.

          • Megan
            April 11, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

            Yes! My daughter can name all the kids in her class and they all know she has a new baby sister and all say “baby” when I pick her up and bring her baby sister in. She also was comforting one of the weepy/ grumpy kids last week (he missed his nap) and has been putting her new big sister skills to work patting him on the back and saying “it’s ok.” So there are emotional and social skills being learned there, which she wouldnt get at home. It’s lovely.

          • Sean Jungian
            April 11, 2016 at 9:28 pm #


            My son needed to be in daycare, even when I stayed home with him for about a year and a half, purely for the social interaction if nothing else.

            He’s an only child, and he would get LONELY. He loved daycare (and so did I!).

          • LaMont
            April 11, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

            There are pros and cons to everything. Women who stay home have fewer protections in case of divorce or spousal death and end up under the poverty line twice as often as men in analogous situations. Husbands whose wives stay home systematically fail to promote women in the workplace as often as men whose wives work, rendering that traditional choice not victimless. (

            Having a career also has its downsides and risks to children of two-income parents in those early days/years as well as later.

            At some point we have to respect that yes, statistics show certain overall phenomena. But individuals are not their statistics, and it’s almost impossible to parse what an “on-average” best option would be, even *if* that would apply to you in the first place (which it might not). As much as these high-stakes results hurt to look at, you have to look at your own life and believe enough in yourself to say you’re making the best choice *for you*, then try to live up to the best execution of your strategy.

          • crazy grad mama
            April 11, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

            *cocks head and tries to figure out this response*

            I very much don’t think there’s the same “best” solution for everyone and every family, which is why yentavegan’s questions bothered me.

            (But if we’re going to talk about downsides of daycare, can we talk about the Killer Viruses From Mars? We’ve been barely able to go a week without getting sick this winter.)

          • LaMont
            April 11, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

            Gah my desire to cool down a hot-button response may have mangled my point. The point is that only examining the cost of one particular choice (if I work, I won’t be around for my child) is by *far* not a complete cost/benefit analysis of the options in play for home v. work choice – and that different people have different metrics when looking at the positives and negatives of each potential option. To get a full picture that would be relevant to women as a whole, we need to show all of the pros/cons of all options (mostly cons, b/c let’s face it a dealbreaker is more important than a benefit in most decision-making scenarios) and let women decide what they’re willing to deal with. This is analogous to what most of the people round these parts think should be done for sex ed, birth choices, breastfeeding, as far as I can see.

          • Megan
            April 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

            Not saying I dont believe you, but what are the risks of parents working? Is there literature on this? I’m not a social scientist so I’m not familiar with it. My experience in seeing lots of pediatric patients is that kids in both situations turn out just fine, barring other problems in the home life.

          • Megan
            April 11, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

            This article from the AAP states that there’s no scientific evidence of harm when moms work and outlines some advantages. If there’s data that that’s not true, I’d be interested.


          • April 11, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

            I feel like this is a classic case of “balanced means must be equal” when that isn’t the case. Of course people should choose the path that works best for them … but statistically speaking, having a working mother is correlated with an awful lot of social goods, and having a stay-at-home mother isn’t. This is only statistically speaking, mind you, and not a prescription for any particular person.

            It’s not that having a stay-at-home mother is bad; it is perfectly healthy for the kid either way. It’s just that from a societal perspective looking at LaMont’s evidence about women being promoted and SAHM’s vulnerability to poverty, it makes no sense to say “well there are pluses and minuses either way”. Societally, that’s not true. Individually, it very much is. LaMont seems to have fallen into the trap that because there are societal benefits and losses for one path, there must be benefits and losses in the other. That … isn’t always true.

          • Megan
            April 11, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

            Honestly, I really have no preference either way overall. Personally, I work three days a week When my kids go to daycare and I have my kids at home two days. On the weekends the whole family hangs out. We have found this a great balance but I know it might not work for everyone. I just feel like the working moms vs. SAHM’s wars really ought to be a thing of the past. Obviously, they aren’t.

          • Madtowngirl
            April 11, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

            This is totally not relevant to the discussion, but I’m really glad to see the 3 day a week daycare option working for you. In July, I’ll be sending my daughter to daycare 3 days a week in hopes that I can start working on a new career while giving her the opportunity to socialize with her peers. I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about it, since I feel a bit selfish on doing this, but seeing that it works for others makes me feel a bit better.

          • Megan
            April 11, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

            I love the three day arrangement. I think Dr Kitty does this too IIRC.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 11, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

            When both our kids were of pre-school age, they went to daycare three days a week. One went on MWF and the other went MThF. My wife works on M and F. On Tuesday, both were home with her and then on W and Th she had one-on-one with each. She loved it.

          • crazy grad mama
            April 11, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

            We did 3-days-a-week for the first few months that my son was in daycare and it worked really well all around.

          • LaMont
            April 11, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

            Oh I very much believe, personally, that societally, women working is a net benefit. I also understand that individually we have to let people run their own risks – nobody goes into a marriage *planning* to become an indigent widow or divorcee, though those things certainly happen. To counteract the “women in the workplace” situation, I would propose and endorse company policies directly targeted at the husbands whose behavior affects women in their workplace rather than directly going after the SAHMs themselves.

            Re: the risks of working, I agree that overall, children don’t suffer into their childhood or adulthood for having working parents, but I had seen statistics about a *slight* increase in accident/illness/death when particularly young babies had gone to daycare due to disruptions in logistics and sleep schedules. As further searching for that recalled statistic revealed, it was very preliminary data and didn’t answer the relevant questions. Withdrawn.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 11, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

            This doesn’t get brought up a lot, but a spouse can also become disabled. A stay at home parent who suddenly has a disabled spouse to care for isn’t going to have very many options either.

          • demodocus
            April 12, 2016 at 8:45 am #

            on a semi-related note; drives me crazy when people assume my “disabled” spouse doesn’t work. Sure, rates of unemployment among the blind are lots higher than average, but he’s been gainfully employed and/or in school nearly the entire 20 years I’ve known him.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 12, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

            What is up with that? More people assume that my friend who is blind “can’t” work. He has a great job. His joke “I even have a wall of windows in my office that overlooks the river”.

          • demodocus
            April 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

            upvoting for the joke 🙂

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 12, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

            There was someone who didn’t realize that he was blind (his adaptive tool to help him when he is out walking didn’t clue them in) and they kept asking him about what he thought of this color or what something looked like to him. I was trying to say something and he pinched me and kept replying (deadpan) “I don’t know, I’m blind”. The person laughed and kept on, oblivious. It’s become a joke between us.

          • Inmara
            April 11, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

            We are eligible to free municipality-run daycare from 1,5 years, in reality it will be at 2 years (they don’t take kids mid-winter). Between 1 and 2 years- nanny or some small private daycare. With my income, hiring nanny will be more feasible than me staying at home. We have considered my MIL as caretaker, but I’m not fond of this idea.

          • April 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

            Who says daycare is a substitute for a parent? It’s a wonderful program/institution all its own. Babies do not need to be strapped to their moms 24/7 in order to have plenty of mommy time. My mom went back to work when I was 3 months old, and our relationship hasn’t suffered from it. Nor have I, for that matter; she was still always there when I needed her, but I was not (and should not have been) her sole concern.

            What the baby needs is to be loved, fed, changed, played with, and a safe place to nap. Daycares do all that. Why do you think it requires a parent?

          • demodocus
            April 11, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

            considering my current mental state, daycare would probably be a superior substitute for his mother.

          • Megan
            April 11, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

            I hope you are getting the help you need. My issues are all post-lactation hormones and major sleep deprivation but regardless, it’s no fun. You deserve to enjoy this new baby and feel well. I hope you and your OB can figure out a treatment that helps. I mentioned this yesterday but my friend went on Zoloft after having her son last month and has remarked how much more she’s enjoying him, and life in general, so much so that she wishes she’d taken a longer maternity leave. *Hugs*

          • D/
            April 11, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

            ((hugs)) Having shared that feeling for most of my second’s first year, I am so, so hoping you and your doc can get good plan sorted out and things will start looking up for you soon.

            ps: Thanks for giving me a fluffy fun afternoon … been curled up with The Cat Who, book 1. Just what I needed too!

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

            I hope you find answers soon. It sucks to have mental issues going on when it’s just you but when kids and SO get thrown into the mix it’s gotta be that much harder. But we’re cheering you on if that helps at all!

            Your doctor’s are probably already on top of this but just in case they haven’t looked specifically yet, make sure they check your folate and B12 levels. I ended up almost completely off my rocker mentally back in January after trying new meds to help my anxiety and energy levels but nothing worked. Until I told my doctor to basically test for anything that causes mental issues and extreme fatigue to rule out the easy stuff and found out my Vitamin B12 levels were out of whack. Started getting the B12 shots and holy crap I don’t think chairs are out to get me anymore! I’m exaggerating. Slightly.

            That plus a good Vitamin D supplement by mouth with my regular crazy meds and I almost feel human again. Or at least able to walk to the end of the block without wanting to die and my brain going into anxiety overdrive.

            I’m certain this isn’t news to you or anyone else here but bodies throw interesting fits when deficiencies happen. At least Big Vitamin is good for something sometimes!

          • Phoenix Fourleaf
            April 11, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

            I tried everything for depression for years, but only got better when I started taking l methyfolate supplements. I took myself to Google University because I was just desperate to feel human again.

          • demodocus
            April 11, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

            I’m pregnant, i’m already on extra folate and god knows what else they put in prenatals.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 11:27 pm #

            🙁 Ah I hadn’t seen if your doctor had decided to go early or not with this one. Sorry you’re stuck in such a hard place. I hope something changes for the better soon.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            April 12, 2016 at 3:18 am #

            Folate supplementation in the presence of a low B12 level can fix the anemia, but not the neurological issues associated with B12 deficiency. It’s worth getting checked, along with your thyroid, if you have resistant depression.

          • demodocus
            April 12, 2016 at 8:41 am #

            It might help when i actually *fill* my zoloft prescription.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            April 12, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

            Well, yes, that too. No doubt you could do that more easily if you weren’t depressed…

          • demodocus
            April 12, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

            managed to fill it today, and take my first dose.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            April 13, 2016 at 3:59 am #

            Upvote. Hope it works for you!

          • Mishimoo
            April 12, 2016 at 7:58 am #

            I was taking the extra Folate and B12 with all of mine due to family history, still ended up needing top up doses of B12 with the middle kiddo. It’s worth looking at if you can because my B vitamin and Iron levels were low enough despite supplements that I was warned several times that if I lost more than 500mL of blood, I’d need a transfusion.

          • BeatriceC
            April 12, 2016 at 1:14 am #


          • Sarah
            April 11, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

            What do you think baby ‘needs’?

          • J.B.
            April 11, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

            Ah yes daycare “raising” children of working mothers. I’m pretty sure babies need housing and supplies most of all. And that their parents are the best judges of what they and the whole family needs. But go on thinking daycare is ebil.

          • indigosky
            April 11, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

            Really, are you kidding me? Daycare is not a substitute to being a parent! It is a way to make sure said kid has a roof over their head, medical care and the lights on. It’s like a playgroup you send your kids to that you don’t have to pretend to like the other mothers.

          • Amy
            April 11, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

            I have to say I’m really disappointed reading this. I had looked upon you as one of the commenters who was a bit like myself, earthy-crunchy but with a healthy perspective on natural living not being a magic bullet.

            People other than the mother caring for a child are NOT a substitute for the mother. My mom worked part time when we were little and my other caregivers were themselves, and had a special place in my life. The same is true of the adults who cared for my children before they hit school age.

            What they NEEDED was for us to not default on our mortgage and lose the house; plenty of healthy wholesome food; health insurance; a safe neighborhood; clean adequate clothing; running water; and a stable caregiving situation with adults on whom they could rely. Had I left the workforce, they would have had none of that save the last item. I earn more than my husband and carry the benefits. I suppose I could have “married better” on paper and found a guy who earned more, but we’re pretty happy with the family we’ve created and I wouldn’t want to be married to anyone else.

          • yentavegan
            April 11, 2016 at 6:03 pm #

            When I think of Day Care I think about mothers waking an extra hour before they would normally have to wake for work in order to dress/ feed/ transport infant to the day care center and then commute to work. I think about infants laying in cots/cribs or strapped to infant seats until it is their turn to be fed/changed. I think about parents forced to make this choice because their employers paid them 6 weeks of maternity care and now they feel obligated to return to work. I worked just this year for a HeadStart day care center and this was how the infant room was staffed. The only baby that received lots of hand held care was the one that happened to be the head teachers baby.This is what state funded infant day care looks like. This is not the same thing as toddler/child care where children are mobile and interact with peers and staff.

          • Megan
            April 11, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

            “This is not the same thing as toddler/child care where children are mobile and interact with peers and staff.”

            Let the backpedaling begin…

            My younger daughter will be going to infant daycare when she is 3-4 months old and your description is not what their infant room looks like either. They purposefully over staff so that the babies do get hands on care.

            Even if this weren’t the case for all moms, can you really not see that in some situations it is better for the baby if mom works and keeps a roof over their heads? Not all families have two parents. Not all families can afford the luxury of a single income. Even if those families send their infant to these evil infant daycares of which you speak, certainly it’s better than destitution.

          • Amy
            April 11, 2016 at 8:35 pm #

            Seriously, this.

            When I was in high school, my after-school job was working at the publicly subsidized daycare across the street. I worked in the baby room. They had strict rules for the high school staff about NEVER letting a baby cry it out– all babies were rocked to sleep or had their backs rubbed. The staff had at a minimum two-year and in most cases four-year degrees in early childhood development and planned activities for infants as young as 3-4 months old.

            That was 20 years ago.

            Also, um. Trying to say this nicely, yentavegan, but Head Start isn’t a day care. They’re a preschool program for poor children to promote school readiness. Daycare centers generally operate 11-12 hours a day (usually from 7am to 6pm in my experience) and provide a mix of educational and less-focused activities for kids; Head Start is very curriculum based:

          • Megan
            April 11, 2016 at 8:49 pm #

            Our state has a rating system for daycare facilities, up to four stars. Our daycare is a four start facility which means aside from having a curriculum for each age group, they have strict rules about SIDS prevention, no CIO, babies all get ample tummy time and play time, food is provided when age appropriate unless parents bring their own and all of the staff have degrees in early childhood education and are trained in CPR. The best part? It’s still pretty affordable because it’s the YMCA and I believe it’s subsidized. Anyway, daycares are portrayed as horrible places for children but honestly, as long as you’re taking your kids to a licensed place, even the one star facilities are usually fine, especially if you don’t have extra money to spare. I realize I am very fortunate to send my daughters to a place that goes above and beyond and especially fortunate to be able to work part time when I want to.

          • Megan
            April 11, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

            Oh and additionally, you can deduct childcare expenses off of your taxes (in the US) if they enable you to maintain employment. Bonus!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 11, 2016 at 9:11 pm #

            Two of our biggest tax credits/write-offs this year were daycare and the 529. We got the max credit for both of them. This will be the last year for that (we opened 529s for both the kids last year so got to reap the tax benefits – we could have paced ourselves and get more, but we wanted them to get going)

            We won’t get the max benefit in daycare for this year, but then again, we will only be paying for a half a year, so I’m not complaining.

          • mostlyclueless
            April 11, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

            LOL! Sounds like you don’t have much experience with daycares! It’s sad that the center you worked at was so inadequate, why didn’t you do anything to improve it?

          • yentavegan
            April 11, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

            because they did not want to pay me. They” hired” me to be a volunteer staff member.

          • guest
            April 11, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

            How many daycares have you spent time in, Yentavegan? It sounds to me that when you think of daycare, you think of what is primarily a cultural/media myth used by Family Values types who are trying to scare women back into the home.

            Women (and men) should be free to choose of their own free will to stay home with their kids if that works for them. Creating and perpetuating a narrative of fear removes the “free will” part, to my mind.

          • yentavegan
            April 11, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

            I spent time in a Head Start daycare facility. That is the experience I have.

          • guest
            April 11, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

            So, one. One data point does not make a trend.

          • Amazed
            April 11, 2016 at 9:16 pm #

            In the USA, right? How is this applicable to Inmara?

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

            It seems a lot like Long Term Care facilities and dog kennels. You always hear about the ones with the nurses and CNAs that verbally, or heaven forbid, physically abuse the residents. Or are neglected and end up.with feces smeared bed sores, soaked in urine, left to rot, etc. The dog got fleas or wasn’t brushed enough. They treated the dog like an actually dog instead of Princess fluffykins

            Maybe some were like that and maybe some LTCs are like that for a short while until the state shuts them down.

            Or more likely there’s good places and bad places and good places that sometimes, hopefully very temporarily, have a bad team member.

            I finished my clinical last month at one of the LTCs in town. I wouldn’t send even my emotionally abusive grandmother there. It always smelled like urine and some of the CNAs there were absolutely horrid to the dementia patients especially since they wouldn’t remember it happening. But there were also stellar CNAs that the residents are lucky to have who are everything a family would want to see taking care of their relatives. One was looking to work for a clinic at the hospital and I specifically recommended the pain control clinic I work next to because she has that unflappably calm and sweet attitude that’s needed. She’s going to do good things for people wherever she goes.

            The other LTCs in town? Much better Nurse/CNA to resident ratio and smell much cleaner. The one I was at was recently acquired by new owners who’s been cleaning house literally and figuratively. Residents will all get their own rooms unless they request otherwise, hiring more CNAs and nurses, remodelling, everything.

            So why did I always hear about the one place? Because people love to bitch. You can give 99.99% perfect service to someone over the years. They only remember the .01% that it wasn’t, though, and that’s what gets spread around to everyone.

            You don’t usually hear “Oh that daycare was so good to my little girl, they are wonderful with her!” over “That daycare totally ignored my kid all day and I am never going back.” Or “I love kenneling my dog with so-and-so, she’s so well taken care of she almost.doesn’t want to leave!” compared to “I am never going back to so-and-so! My dog got ticks and fleas from them!”

            So I take a lot of complaints about just about any service with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to people’s family, children, or pets. Anything less than perfect with sprinkles on top isn’t ever good enough.

          • April 11, 2016 at 6:24 pm #


          • crazy grad mama
            April 11, 2016 at 7:03 pm #

            This is what state funded infant day care looks like.

            So what you’re saying is, we need to increase funding and subsidies for infant care? (Seems a lot more productive than telling women their “job” is to stay home.)

          • Who?
            April 11, 2016 at 7:03 pm #


          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

            Speaking of all this stuff specifically that we’re not sure what our options are and my husband has a choice between a stable but lower paying job or taking a risk with jobs that pay a lot more but are very likely to fold in less than a year. Moving isn’t terribly realistic right now. Which means childcare is a big issue in this and we’re probably going to have to put off having kids for at least another year. I turn thirty this year and he feels guilty that we’re not in a position to have kids where one of us can be home with them. He’s not stalling having kids he’s just afraid of having everything go to shit except now instead of just the two of us there’s this small human being completely depending on us.

            Also worried about if I can have kids in my 30s with a family history of infertility and having endometriosis. Everyone keeps telling me to start having kids now or I won’t have them at all. But how the hell are we supposed to afford kids?

            I don’t even know how anyone can afford to have kids in their twenties and not go broke these days. We don’t have any credit card or school debt and only have the mortgage, a year left on a car, and some small medical debt and we’d like to stay out of debt so running up credit card after credit card isn’t really an option.

            So… Older moms and knowledable people. Don’t sugar coat it. How much more difficult is it to get pregnant in your thirties+? Just need to make some hard decisions and you guys are actually realistic about it all.

          • Sean Jungian
            April 11, 2016 at 10:05 pm #

            I’m sure I’m an outlier, but after trying for several years to get pregnant in my mid-to-late 20s, I was told that I probably would not have children. As my marriage was by then starting to fold, I did not pursue investigating the cause.

            I had many years of unprotected monogamous sex after that and never got pregnant.

            Then it seemed like once I turned 35, I got super-fertile. I had one child, and I became pregnant again after him (although I chose to not have that child).

            So, like I said, I am probably an outlier. I know MANY mothers who had their children in their 30s and into their 40s without doing anything special as far as fertility. So, I am not sure it’s all that much harder in your 30s than in your 20s?

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

            That does help, actually. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s hard to keep focus sometimes with this stuff.

          • Sean Jungian
            April 11, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

            You didn’t ask this question but as someone who has been a single mom from the jump, here are a couple other tidbits:

            It really helps to live close to family (if you have a decent relationship with them) or to have friends who are also starting to build their families. You need so much help and even just moral support. I moved to be closer to my son’s grandparents and cousins, and without his grandma and great-grandma, I would have had a much more miserable time of it.

            Its never the perfect time to have kids. Mine was a complete “oops” and I had to start over from scratch just a couple years after he was born. But while there may be things that are less than ideal, financially it isn’t really too bad until they start growing into the tweens/preteens.

          • momofone
            April 11, 2016 at 10:11 pm #

            Ironically, I got married at 18 because I was pregnant, miscarried a few days later, and later spent 12+ years trying to get pregnant. We realized it wasn’t going to work, and pursued adoption, but after the birth mother changed her mind days after the baby we were adopting was born, I knew that was the only shot I could give it. Fast forward through a divorce and several single years, and I met my now-husband, who also had no children. We tried for about two years, went for workup to start fertility treatment, and started Metformin in preparation for the fertility treatment. I was pregnant within a couple of months. My son was born when I was 37, and we knew we would either have two very close together, or he would be our only, which is how it worked out.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 11:12 pm #

            That does help. And I’m glad you got your little guy after all that.

          • Who?
            April 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm #

            There’s a big difference between 30 and 39-which I know seems obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to say it.

            I became pregnant immediately we stopped taking precautions at 28; again quickly when he was 15 or so months, which ended in an early miscarriage, then pregnant again 6 months later. My friends who had theirs later mostly managed to get pregnant without too much trouble-the couple who didn’t always say to seek help early ie after 6 months of no contraception, go and start the conversation with the doctor if you aren’t pregnant.

            There is never a perfect time to have a baby. But you both need to be ready to embrace the rollercoaster of parenthood. If you do both want children, be mindful that reasons don’t morph into excuses as time wears on.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 11:22 pm #

            There really isn’tskills tod time which just makes all the handwringing worse. Especially when you compare yourself to other couples who seemed to just have it all figured out. But I guess it’s the Facebook effect. It looks all perfect on the outside but you don’t see all the challenges in private.

            I think I lose sight on the age sometimes since there’s so much coming out about the twenties being the best childbearing years and all these difficulties and horrors of having a child older that it’s easy to forget that they’re talking about women in their forties more than thirties.

            It’s also probably the area I live in too. I got married “late” and most some here have had several children by the time they’re entering their thirties. So there’s a lot of “Oh you’ve been married three years? How old are your kids?” “I don’t have kids yet.” “…Oh. Well you need to get on that! Or.your husband will resent you when you’re old and childless!” No joke, I have had people tell me this. With the exact words of “your husband will resent you when you’re old and childless.”

            Sometimes I think it just gets to me and things were finally starting to work out when we had to really sit down and talk about which way my husband’s career and schooling are going. Since he may have another few years to go to pick up some specialty skills.

          • Who?
            April 12, 2016 at 12:01 am #

            Please don’t compare.

            I imagine the community you describe would be a challenge-but for all that, I bet there are women there who wish they had waited a little, or wonder if things might be better with fewer kids.

            Husbands who behave the way your ‘friends’ describe are bad husbands, nothing to do with children or not.

          • April 12, 2016 at 6:13 am #

            It sounds like we live in similar places. And yeah, it can get to you. But just remember, for every jerk wagging their finger at you, there is an equal and opposite jerk telling others they had kids too young or have too many kids. It’s Newton’s Law of Busybodies.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

            And yet when you tell them off for butting into things that aren’t their business then -you’re- the asshole!

            If this keeps up I may have to borrow a friend’s tactic of just creeping people out by giving them this wide, terrifying grin and saying “We’re prochoice.” She also lives in an extremely conservative area so it tends to shock people.

          • demodocus
            April 12, 2016 at 8:39 am #

            Some of your neighbors are poopyheads. If he’s more reluctant, then he’d be an idiot to resent you, and hopefully you have better taste in spouses than that!

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 12, 2016 at 11:20 am #

            I finally told one of them that my husband married me knowing that kids aren’t a guarantee and he was absolutely fine with if it happened or it didn’t it so they can take their “your husband will resent you” crap and shove it because he didn’t marry me for my reproductive organs.

            Now the boobs on the other hand… J/k

          • ladyloki
            April 12, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

            Oh, we dealt with that too. My husband and I wanted to wait until we had been married for 5 years, got our debt paid off (we had a payment plan written out so we knew when it wold be paid off) and when he had reached a higher military rank. The crap we got astounded me. When he was a lowly E-3 I had an O-5 tell me that I was making my husband “sad” by not having children. I told him off, right then and there. My husband missed it, but his Chief didn’t and I had quite an audience.

            But I was the silly little junior enlisted wife, and thus needed a big strong man to help me /sarcasm Said O-5 quickly backed up and power-walked off. My husband enlisted in his mid-20s so I was not some 18 year old, I was a college grad with several years of work under my belt at that point and plenty of life experience.

          • Old Lady
            April 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm #

            I am in my late 30’s and I got pregnant immediately both times, much to my surprise. Because of my age I thought it would take a long time, that’s what everyone always says. I don’t think that means it will be easy for you but I don’t think you need to panic just because you’ll soon be in your 30’s.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 11:23 pm #

            I does help to be reminded that it was easy for some people, though, so it does help. My demographic in this area are typically having their third or fourth kid by my age. Not that that’s what I want but it can feel a bit socially isolating at times.

          • demodocus
            April 12, 2016 at 8:36 am #

            You can keep talking to us! I’m a decade older than you, but I’m on my 2nd.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 12, 2016 at 11:24 am #

            I was telling my husband last night since he was being guilty that he was keeping me from being able to have kids that I’d talk to you guys on here given that a lot of you are older moms with the added benefit of being very rational and evidence minded human beings so if there was an actual risk that we were SOL you guys would give it he straight. It’s been nice to see that despite all the harping on starting having kids NOW from outside influences that you guys are a nice safe harbor of “that’s debatable.”

            It’s hard to remember with how the world wants such clear cut black and white that the world and especially things like fertility are so many shades of grey.

          • Charybdis
            April 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm #

            I talked with my OB/GYN when I had my yearly checkup in October. I told her that we were going to start trying to get pregnant in the new year, and since I would be at the *advanced maternal age* of 34 when we started trying, was there anything I needed to know or be aware of. She said no, to try for 6 months and if nothing happened, then we might start looking into taking steps to help us conceive.

            Being a bit OCD about control issues, I researched and subsequently purchased my Donna (saliva ovulation test) and started examining my dried saliva twice a day. I made sure I was taking a vitamin with adequate folic acid to help head off any neural tube defects. Back when he was in college, DH was a competitive bodybuilder and had done a couple of rounds of anabolic steroids. I asked if this could be a problem, and my doc said that it shouldn’t be, but it was something to keep in mind *if* we were having trouble.

            A silver lining, if you will, is that you are more likely to get a CS if you want one, owing to *advanced maternal age*. I loved my CS, I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

          • demodocus
            April 11, 2016 at 10:27 pm #

            A lot depends of stuff that’s intrinsict to you and Mr. Falcon and that you might not discover until you try. 31 is not all *that* old, just means you have less time to try again, and somewhat worse odds for a 1st timer. I had my one and only round of IVF at 36 (the best method around Demo’s problem) and we got 10 viable embryos. Both my implants worked. 8 of my close female relatives have had kids when they were older than you, ‘though only 3 of us had our 1st after 29.
            I say, if you want children, try it, and really you could spend the next 20 years before you felt financially ready. God knows *my* parents were not all that stable when they had my sister and I. The situation wasn’t much better with my brother the next decade, and was actually worse with the twins the decade after that. (Living reasonably near Gramma helped)

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 11:26 pm #

            Yeah we’re just going to have to stop waiting for the perfect moment and realize life just isn’t that way. We do have both his parents and mine but my husband has this thing about not wanting to ask for help/money even from his parents. He hates being a burden on people. He moved a lot as a kid in a military family so having close family and a community is still pretty foreign to him.

          • indigosky
            April 11, 2016 at 10:45 pm #

            That’s a crapshoot, honestly. I know plenty of women who got pregnant in their mid 30s and 40s and some that tried and failed.

            You also have to ask yourself if having biological children is the end all, be all of being a parent for you personally. If the answer is no, especially if you don’t mind jumping straight to older children or sibling groups you have even more time because you then have the option to adopt.

            So a straight answer you will not get, because every woman is different and I can’t yet see into the future. If I did, I’d be raking in the dough and would have my Tesla.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 11:30 pm #

            Biological children aren’t the be all and end all and we’d be happy to adopt so that isn’t the biggest issue.

            I think part of the issue is that it’s like I’m stuck in this weird place where I don’t want to wait so long I’ll wonder if I just missed my chance or to know if I even had a chance at all. Which sounds kind of stupid but there it is. Just if I’m not able to have kids myself I’d rather it be my choice than because I just missed my window. Again, stupid.

            We figured if kids weren’t in the cards we’d just adopt a ton of cats and dogs from the local shelter and be crazy pet people. So there’s that.

          • ladyloki
            April 12, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

            I went through the same thing, and completely get where you’re coming from. I was 31 as well, we both went to the doctor to make sure we were healthy..then we kept putting it off for six months. For us it was because we realized we wanted to adopt, not have biological children. We never really liked babies, we wanted older kids we could do things with. I got a Nexplanon put in and even though I love my girls, I still feel weird that we never even tried, even though I dislike babies and two kids is plenty for me. And I’m getting near 40 and still considering trying some days.

            So no, does not sound stupid to me.

          • Madtowngirl
            April 11, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

            We didn’t start trying until Mr. Mad and I were both 30. We did end up having infertility problems, and two miscarriages. Once we started getting fertility treatment, I got pregnant quite quickly.

            Most of my peers have had no trouble getting pregnant in their 30s. If you have known family history and medical issues, it might be a good idea to see a fertility specialist sooner than the recommended 1 year of trying – maybe after 6 months of trying if nothing happens.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

            That’s good advice on the six months thing. I’ll have to shelf that just in case I need it down the road.

          • Inmara
            April 12, 2016 at 3:42 am #

            I’m just over 30 (husband is around 40) and I went to my GYN before we even started trying and got an ultrasound for uterus and ovaries to check whether all looks good at the first sight. There weren’t any obvious issues, so we just ditched condoms and conceived within 7 months (it could have happened earlier, but we were busy with traveling and not together for some of my ovulations, so I didn’t panic). I suspect that I had an early miscarriage once – there was an unusual few day long delay in my period and unusually heavy bleeding afterwards.
            So it’s all a matter of luck, but I agree that you can see a doctor in 6 months if you’re concerned.

          • Liz Leyden
            April 12, 2016 at 3:01 am #

            My mother had 3 kids in her 30s and became a stay-at-home (some part-time jobs, but nothing like a career). My father left when I was 15, and we ended up losing our house. Mom was a very devout Catholic, so since she and Dad remained legally married, we didn’t qualify for any services. I swore I would never do that to my kids.

            Hubby and I started trying for a family when I was 35, only because my parents had died and I got an inheritance large enough to pay off my student loans and credit cards. It took 18 months of trying. I finally had all of my ducks in a row (education, family-friendly career, home with a yard and laundry), and I was afraid I’d waited too long.

            Pregnancy came with 2 surprises: twins and HLHS. I was 37 when they were born. My daughter spent the first 6 weeks of her life in a hospital. Between the cost and the fact that my daughter’s health would be pretty precarious until her third round of open-heart surgery, we decided I should be the primary caretaker. I was also the keeper of the health insurance (Thank God for Obamacare). Things got a lot easier when my kids were 9 months old, my daughter’s health had stabilized, and my husband finally became a full-time employee at the office where he had been temping, with very good benefits.

            We afford it partly by economizing as much as possible. A lot of my kids’ clothes come from Craigslist, the Goodwill, and the local Used Baby Stuff Emporium, which has amazing sales. We accepted every hand-me-down we were offered, especially from my sister-in-law’s ex-boss, who apparently kept every blanket, toy, and piece of clothing her son wore from birth to size 4T. My kids qualify for Medicaid, which means they can get WIC, which was a lifesaver when they were getting formula.

            Having babies can be very isolating. My area has some great programs parents of little kids, including newborns, but I couldn’t go for the first 6 months because I had to be very careful about my daughter getting sick. SAHMs aren’t that unusual because daycare is hard to find, but they tend to be either wealthy or poor. I still work part-time, and I earn about as much as my husband does, but he has much better benefits.

            There really is no “right” time to have a child, though some times are less wrong than others. I would’ve had my kids younger if I’d met the right guy.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 12, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

            Yeah I texted my mom a bit last night and I finally got to the conclusion of there’s no “right” time to have kids, just times where it’s worse than others so try not to be completely stupid about it.

            I’m lucky that with my mom’s business she can pick up and work from just about anywhere there’s a computer that can run Adobe from the Cloud. And she definitely would be out where we are in ten seconds flat if I asked.

            She’s also addicted to baby clothes so I have the sneaking suspicion I won’t be spending a cent on them. She buys and makes them for all the women at church that are expecting. Not that I’m counting on being buried in clothes and I’ll still be economical but she does tend to get excited lol. I know I’ll probably have one of the best dressed children in the city thanks to her!

            We were really, really poor when we were first married where even spending an extra $50 a week on something like a car expense could make or break us so we get really skittish about large monetary commitments. We’re trying to be realistic without being paranoid but it’s a hard balance sometimes.

          • April 12, 2016 at 5:50 am #

            I had my first at 34, after 4 years of infertility culminating in a successful IVF. I had my second (and last) at 37. We’re still not quite sure how that happened–he was a wonderful, shocking surprise. My period didn’t come back until I stopped breastfeeding my first, and we decided against contraception because, you know, infertile. In 4 months I was pregnant. So I guess the moral of the story is, don’t use me as an example?

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 12, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

            Moral of the story might be law of inverse fertility at its best! Also backs up the saying I heard once of “infertility is the worst form of birth control. Suddenly you’re pregnant all the time!”

          • Megan
            April 12, 2016 at 6:57 am #

            I had my first at 34, second at 35. I had no trouble getting pregnant but had difficulties staying pregnant. After two miscarriages, I started metformin for my PCOS and successfully carried my first daughter to term (barely). Second daughter was conceived easily (in fact, much quicker than I ever would’ve thought – surprise!) as I had remained on metformin. It’s definitely harder but I honestly would’ve probably had a hard time in my 20’s too. It all depends on the individual and her medical circumstances.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 12, 2016 at 11:26 am #

            I’m glad you had a doctor that was on the ball on how to help you carry to term. That’s the other part that worries me but I do need to remember reproductive technology is a rather fast paced field so when we are ready to have kids there might be new options if we need them.

          • cookiebaker
            April 12, 2016 at 8:51 am #

            I’ve had 5 pregnancies in my 30’s, all naturally conceived, 3 carried to term, 2 miscarriages. I’ve been on Metformin for PCOS/insulin resistance since I was 28. I’m 38 now and not trying for more.

            I had 4 pregnancies in my 20’s, 3 births, 1 miscarriage. I needed infertility treatments for the 3rd. So ironically, it was easier to get pregnant in my 30’s.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 12, 2016 at 11:18 am #

            Hopefully it’ll be the same for me then! Just being able to skip the difficulties in the 20s.

          • Charybdis
            April 12, 2016 at 9:44 am #

            It depends. I stopped taking my birth control pill at the beginning of January 2003 right after I turned 34. I had been on the pill since I was 17. DS was born in the middle of December 2003. I’m fairly certain he was conceived the day the space shuttle broke up over Texas. After DS was born, I had a Mirena IUD installed at my 6 week checkup. (SO easy…nothing to remember to take, change, etc).

            So, from my n=1 experience, I would say getting pregnant in your 30’s is not impossible or improbable. I’m fairly sure I had it really easy, but it wasn’t the struggle a lot of folks made it seem like it should have been. I was worried that it would take a long time, but I got a little test thing that you would lick and then let the saliva dry. You then looked through a little eyehole while pressing a light button and hoped you would see that your saliva dried in “fernlike” patterns. This meant that it was prime conception time. It helped a lot, and was easier than peeing on a stick to check for ovulation, etc.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 12, 2016 at 11:17 am #

            I like this idea of licking something rather than pee on the stick so thank you for this tip!

            My husband likes to tease me since most men he’s known can “POD.” Yes we still act like twelve year olds some days.

            And I’ve been on the pill in a similar age frame so it’s also nice to know that you didn’t have any issues from that.

          • Charybdis
            April 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

            Mine was the Donna, but now there are several others on the market. Search for “ovulation microscopes” or “saliva ovulation test”. It is a wonderful little thing and looks like a tube of lipstick, if you need to take it with you somewhere.

          • Roadstergal
            April 12, 2016 at 11:16 am #

            I agree with the ‘it depends’ below. My mom had my siblings in her 30s and me in her early 40s. My sister-in-law had her only child in her 40s. My sister had her two kids in her late 30s – all of the aforementioned with little trouble, just the ‘have sex’ way. However, when I was looking to donate eggs for a friend, it didn’t work out because I have a crappy egg supply, and the OB also noted I have a crappy thin uterine lining – so if I had wanted to get pregnant, I probably would have struggled. You’ve talked to your OB?

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 12, 2016 at 11:35 am #

            I have and so far everything looks okay but we haven’t done extensive testing. My endometriosis lesions that were lysed when I was twenty one haven’t come back as of October when he did an exploratory lap because I was having horrific and unexplainable abdominal pain. Not endometriosis this time, just my right colon and abdominal wall wishing to adhere to each other through non-endo lesions. Bastards.

            My endometrial lining was abnormally thick a while back but I’m on the four month straight birth control pill and that’s common with that regime so nothing odd there.

            Was considering if I should do other tests but as of right now everything seems to be alright. I switched to him specifically because a lot of my friends with endometriosis, PCOS, and other infertility issues have all been able to have kids within five years so he must be doing something right. Figured it be smart to get established just in case. Hopefully I won’t need those services but if I do at least I’m a known element now.

          • Erin
            April 12, 2016 at 11:58 am #

            I have a family tree full of babies born to Mothers in their late 30s and early 40s. We discussed having a baby in the April, decided to postpone trying to the summer. Accidently had unprotected sex at the end of May (thought it was prior to ovulation) and by July the 2nd I was puking everywhere. I was 36 at conception (just) and 37 at birth.

            Friends who had babies at my age seemed to have mixed experiences but all who conceived past 35 did it naturally, it just took varying lengths of time.h

            I’m back on contemplating another (apparently the annoying therapist rubbed off more than I realised in that I can now see that whilst his arrival wasn’t a pleasant experience, its forced me to address all the issues id let fester after the rape, my lack of trust, pushing friends away, giving up hobbies I loved, refusing promotions at work etc) and whilst I doubt it will be as easy, I’m hoping its possible at 39 ish. The advice a friend who had her first and only at 43 gave me was lots and lots of sex and also to focus on the sex rather than baby making.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 12, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

            You know, I think the best part of this post is actually just hearing that you’re starting to feel better after everything that happened.

            And knowing that it’s not as uncommon as my perceptions made it seem because of the demographics where I live makes having our first in my thirties look doable instead of a major, insurmountable issue.

          • demodocus
            April 12, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

            I like that advice. 🙂 ‘course in our case, sex really is just for fun.

          • meglo91
            April 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

            I turned 35 in January and am will be giving birth on Friday (!) to my third child, a complete oops who is nevertheless a welcome surprise. Just an anecdote, but there it is. History: first kid conceived on first try, age 29. Second kid conceived after 3 months “trying”: age 32. And now kid #3, conceived after one session of accidentally unprotected sex. I don’t have fertility issues, but some of the women in my family do and all of them have managed to reproduce if they wanted to, mostly in their 30’s.
            As for when to have kids: there is no right time. There is never a right time. You will never have enough money. Nothing will every perfectly fall into place. You just sort of have to decide, eff it, we’re going for it.

          • meglo91
            April 12, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

            I’d also add that my paternal grandmother had kids quite late in life for her time (1950’s). She and my grandpa got married in their early 20’s and tried for years and years to have kids. They’d given up completely and were looking to adoption when, at 35, she miraculously got pregnant with my uncle. Two years after he was born, my father came along. A 35 old FTM was quite an outlier back then. What changed? No one knows. But she’s not the only lady I’ve heard of who couldn’t get pregnant in her 20’s but did fine in her late 30’s.

          • J.B.
            April 11, 2016 at 8:02 pm #

            This day care sounds to me like problems of poverty and inadequate oversight. Which are different problems than going back to work at a professional job after 12 weeks off. Unfortunately society’s only answer is stay home. Which the professional married to another professional could probably make work. The low income mom ain’t getting jack support.

            But two incomes is not just immediate income, it can be a hedge against job loss. Been there, remember 2008? Or divorce which no one expects but happens. I’m glad you found what works for you, but my tradeoff is the other way.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

            Some families just plain won’t have a choice. My mom finally understood what it meant to be a single mom trying to better themselves and finding no way out. She used to think they just needed an education and then they’d be fine. She’s horrified she used to.think that after a friend she met through the rotary explained her schedule.

            Work at McDonalds all day, come home to see kids get home from school for a couple hours, work another restaurant job until 2 am, come home and sleep until it’s time to get kids up for school, get kids dressed and ready for school, drop kids off, go work at McDonald’s and repeat.

            She barely has time to sleep. When in the world is she supposed to get an education? But her kids are still housed, fed, and loved. She’s a fantastic mom with good kids who works harder than most couples combined.

            There’s no easy fix for this unfortunately.

          • indigosky
            April 11, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

            I WANTED to get back to work. This SAHM thing was driving me bonkers. I was so happy returning to work. I could have stayed home and quit my job but that would have made me resent my children and husband. I was a professional long before I was a wife and mother, not giving up that identity because you think that us wimmen-folk need to stay home and be Pinterest moms lest we lose our feminine side. I never had one, even as a little girl.

            And where was I getting any paid maternity? I took those 12 weeks both times 100% unpaid. This is the US, only now are only places requiring a little paid maternity here and there. Not during the time I was giving birth.

          • BeatriceC
            April 12, 2016 at 12:35 am #

            When I got pregnant with my youngest, my husband decided the life of husband and father wasn’t for him. He took off. I had to divorce him in absentia. I actually had a pretty decent job, and he claimed to be unemployed, so he was ordered to pay a whopping $330 per month TOTAL. For all three kids. He didn’t pay it until he got arrested and the state started garnishing his wages. I didn’t have a choice but to go to work. I certainly wasn’t getting any help from the kids’ father, so there was no way I could cut back on hours. Worse than that, I actually had to pick up a second job just to keep paying the mortgage and keep the lights on.

            Eventually I found a single job that paid well enough to drop the night job. The trade off was I had to give up teaching; a job I loved dearly. I also had to move from Florida to North Dakota, over 1000 miles from everybody I knew. Then all hell broke loose medically. I do have to give credit to my employer. They did as much as they could, keeping me on paid leave (100% at first, then 60%, then 40%) for 18 months. They continued pay my health insurance. But it was not enough. I had to travel to a different state for medical care. Between travel, hotel, and mortgage, I was drowning. I lost my house, then most of my possessions. I sold what I could and shipped a lot of the sentimental stuff to family. It kept getting worse. Eventually I made the worst decision I’ve ever made and moved back to Florida near my family. My old employer could no longer keep me on the payroll, but I found another teaching position. Unfortunately, it caused fights. It caused fights bad enough that I wound up with three broken ribs. I tossed what I could into the truck of a Honda Civic (and remember, one of my kids uses a wheelchair, so it wasn’t that much), and took off.

            In time I settled on where I live now. I met MrC and we began a life together (it’s actually our second anniversary today). We decided together that me being a housewife was the best thing for our family, but if I still wanted to work, he’d support me in that too. Now I have a good life, but it hasn’t been that way this whole time.

            I tell my story to highlight what some others are saying. I thought I had a good life and a good husband. I had a great job and he had a great job. Then all of a sudden my whole life went to hell. I’ve kept afloat because I have a solid education and a pretty decent background professionally. Many women aren’t so lucky.

          • anh
            April 12, 2016 at 3:32 am #

            I use state-subsized daycare as I’m lucky enough to have access to military daycare as a civilian. What you’ve described has zero relation to reality. I think you’ve confused “Daycare” with “Dickensian orphanage”?

          • Inmara
            April 12, 2016 at 4:28 am #

            State-subsidized daycares differ wildly in my country, depending on staff. So I wouldn’t dismiss yenta’s experience as unreal, it’s just not universal.

          • anh
            April 12, 2016 at 5:00 am #

            she’s speaking specifically about a US program.

          • Linden
            April 12, 2016 at 5:02 am #

            I send my child to a nursery in the UK. They have a mix of state-funded and privately-funded children. They aren’t kept in different rooms, they aren’t fed and changed differently. Nobody gets strapped down to anything. It is expensive for us and I am aware that I am extremely privileged. Childcare is not a substitute for parenting. It is something I provide my child as part of my parenting, for his social development.
            My experience is not universal, but neither is yours. The other thing is, even childcare that is as shitty as you describe, it may still be better than homelessness or debt. I think you are being blinded by *your* privilege to think, “it can’t possibly be worse than this”. Yes it can.
            By all means, fight for people to have better childcare, longer parental leave etc., but don’t harangue parents about their choices. It is hubris to think you know what’s best for those children.

          • Mishimoo
            April 12, 2016 at 7:48 am #

            It sounds like they need to be reported, because none of that is okay.

            My youngest is going to be going to daycare for a few extra days while I do my work experience (interning) and if I get a job, he’ll go while I’m working. I have absolutely no problems sending him to an accredited and government-subsidised daycare – the owner lives down the road from me, the staff have been there since my eldest attended (and were counting down the days until the middle and youngest came to play), they have the best academic integration in our area, the kids get to garden, they get fed healthy food, and they have so many enrichment activities. I know that even though he is a huge toddler, they’ll still pick him up and snuggle him when he wants or needs it, and I admire their commitment to having an attachment parenting-style daycare.

          • Megan
            April 12, 2016 at 7:55 am #

            “and were counting down the days until the middle and youngest came to play”

            That’s funny you should mention that. The teachers in our infant room saw me with younger daughter while I was picking up older daughter and they came rushing over and were so excited and said how they can’t wait until she starts there. The cook there and the janitor even know her name and always say hi to her.

            And we ran into my older daughter’s lead teacher at a restaurant with my parents and she just gushed to them about how much they love my daughter and how well she’s doing and that she (the teacher) already knew who my parents were because they have pics of the kids families up and so she already “felt like she knew” Nana and Papi. It’s such a cliche that childcare workers don’t care about the kids they care for. Kind of like us greedy doctors only concerned with our tee times.

          • Mishimoo
            April 12, 2016 at 8:02 am #

            That is so lovely!!
            A fair chunk of my family works in childcare or as teachers, and they genuinely care about all of the kids; it really is an awful stereotype.

          • MI Dawn
            April 12, 2016 at 8:17 am #

            Then that’s a lousy HeadStart program. My kids were in daycare from very young (younger child was just 6 weeks). They were carried, held, cooed at, played with, put on the floor to play. They were fed and loved. The teachers usually (privately) wept when the babies “graduated” to the next age group.

            My kids needed the roof over the head, food, and sane mommy – I was not cut to stay home full time with a baby. We were/are a very happy, healthy family.

          • guest
            April 12, 2016 at 10:06 am #

            I have a nanny for my kids, but I am actually wistful of their friends who can go to co-ops and pre-schools. For us, the nanny costs the same as a daycare or pre-school, but meets my needs as a working parent better. But they are (in my mind) missing out on the crafts and learning activities that the schools provide that my nanny doesn’t.

            Even so, yesterday my daughter told me out of the blue that “[Nanny] is a great one. She keeps us company while you are at work.” The kids are happy with our situation, and they will be 100% fine even if my preference would have been for pre-school.

          • yentavegan
            April 11, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

            It seems to me that you were able to find/hire /afford the right balance of care for your child. Not every parent has that ability/opportunity. Some employers will not subsidize day care expenses and parents can not get tax benefits unless the daycare is a legal tax paying insured licensed facility. Those for profit businesses hire degree holding employees just for their head staff. Everyone else is (sadly) paid minimum wage and part time only. It saves costs to the business while charging full price to the parents.

          • LibrarianSarah
            April 11, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

            Yenta I am pretty sure that Immara would know better than you what her baby needs. And I’m also pretty sure that your handwringing isn’t what Immara or her baby needs.

          • Amazed
            April 11, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

            Yenta, it’s easy for you to ask those questions. You aren’t the one living in Inmara’s society. I can guarantee that in most post-Communist countries, we’re still struggling with the vestiges of an intentionally set mindset that women should be equal builders of bright Communist future. I’ve grown up with songs and poems of women who were builders, tractor-drivers, miners and so on. All in all, women had to work equally to men for the family to survive – and then start the second shift, after coming home, because housework still needed to get done. In my country, most families cannot survive on a single income and from what I’ve heard of Inmara’s country, it isn’t this much different there either.

            You chose to be a housewife. Great for you. My mom didn’t choose to be a working mom. She had to be one if she wanted to afford a decent lifestyle for her kids. It just so happens that she’s always wanted to be a working woman and when they could afford her staying at home, she was horrified at the very idea. She, however, chose to sit for her graduation exams when I was just a month old. She started working when her maternity leave was over and you know, your predictions turned out to be right. Toddler care was not right for me. I was ahead of my milestones when I was enrolled and just in a few weeks, I lost all of my skills. My mom investigated the matter. It turned out that due to the small number of babies the staff had little to do so they did everything for us, busying themselves with taking care of us from T. Like, they wouldn’t let me dress myself alone, they’d do it themselves. Poor neglected me.

            Yet they were never my mom’s substitutes. Do you realize how insulting you’re being to Inmara and every other woman who made a different choice than yours? Let alone that you’re practically bullying Inmara claiming concern.

            Yes, Inmara’s family can probably survive on a single income. The question is, how is this your business? And why the hell should they survive this way? Have you ever lived on the edge, financially speaking? Something tells me that you haven’t. I have, when I was a child and we were trying to adapt to the wide new world after the old regime fell. I can guarantee to you that if Inmara hasn’t, she knows someone who has. It’s a terrible way to live. And it’s almost the very last thing that anyone’s baby needs.

          • Inmara
            April 12, 2016 at 3:29 am #

            You described social and cultural situation in my country very precisely, indeed we’re still recovering from a Soviet era in this regard. Recently I engaged in a discussion about gender equality and cultural expectations during Soviet years, and it gave me a perspective of why it happened that way – basically, communists had ideals about women being equal, contributing to society and not being tied to children and home (also, “state knows better than individual” was and underlying assumption, so childcare was provided and almost enforced in lieu of individual women staying at home). Yet these ideals of equality were implemented only in “official” areas, like workplaces and propaganda materials, while society itself was stuck in a very patriarchal, traditional mindset, enforcing strict gender roles in regards of behavior and division of labor at home. So women ended up with double shifts, no choice to stay at home with children (with rare exceptions) etc.

            I’m not mad at yentavegan, though; she asked from her own experience and perspective, and I answered from mine (though I don’t agree that daycare or nanny is a “substitute” of mom, they are different caregivers with their own contribution to child’s development).

          • Inmara
            April 12, 2016 at 4:40 am #

            Now I’m at computer and can elaborate about our system so you’ll understand where I’m coming from. There is paid sick leave for all moms after birth 56 or 70 days (depends on mode of delivery), amount of payment depends on previous wages, but even unemployed and never employed moms receive something. After that it’s so called “childrearing vacation” until child is 1 or 1,5 years old, which can be taken by either of parents (or switched at any point). Parent in this vacation receives benefit depending on previous wage (but again, even unemployed people get something) and is not allowed to work, otherwise benefit is reduced to ~30% of its amount. So we in fact don’t have daycares for infants because staying at home during first year is a given.
            When child hits 1,5 years of age, everyone is eligible for municipality-funded daycare which lasts until 7 years when the grade school starts (so it’s U.S. daycare, kindergarten and preschool all in one, if I understand your system correctly). There is the main bottleneck of our system, because in bigger municipalities, like capital city and its suburbs, there is serious shortage of daycares, and many, many children don’t get into one until 4 or 5 years. During this period of time, government benefits are just a fraction from the first year, but parents don’t have subsidized daycare either, so have to scramble to find either private daycare, nanny or some relative who could babysit. Staying at home is not an option for most, because families can’t live on single income, especially if they have taken mortgage during bubble of real estate (pre 2008) and are hostages to it (giving estate back to bank doesn’t solve anything because you still owe the difference between price pre 2008 and much lower price now). For some, becoming stay at home parent works (especially with several small children), but for majority it’s a huge burden and it’s one of reasons why families hesitate to have children, they can’t rely on having daycare timely.

          • demodocus
            April 12, 2016 at 8:13 am #

            we usually finish kindergarten sometime when we’re 6, then straight into 1st grade. The order’s daycare, preschool (if either’s feasible), then kindy, then the grades 1-12. Only Kindergarden and 1-12 are consistently state funded.

      • Old Lady
        April 11, 2016 at 2:24 pm #

        I’m a SAHM, not entirely by choice, but i enjoy being home with the kids. The kids don’t bore me, but luckily I started with twins so they play together or on their own mostly and then I do the stuff I snjoy with them like go to the park or library. I hate being a housewife though and when I left work I had the hardest time over guilt of not being a good housewife and I resented the feeling that I was supposed to keep the house tidy, cook and enjoy it. I’m just not into those things. Intellectual stimulation was not an issue for me, as an introvert most of those activities are largely solitary anyway for me. Plus I never had intellectually stimulating work anyway. Most people don’t have enjoyable or stimulating work either. What would you rather do, flip burgers or bake cupcakes?

        • BeatriceC
          April 12, 2016 at 12:17 am #

          And I really like those things. I’m actually surprised at how much I like keeping a nice house, cooking, and tending to the kids’ needs. They’re teenagers now, so their needs aren’t like what they used to be, but they still need stuff.

          I’m glad of my education. I’m frequently the “go-to” parent when anybody in my kids’ friends group needs help with math, biology or chemistry (though I frequently outsource the chem questions to MrC). I’m glad for my experience as a middle school teacher, as it helps me connect with the boys and their friends in a way that’s still an adult/kid relationship, but more fun than typical. I’m glad I have the time to “get bored” at the ice arena and learn to skate myself (forgetting the knee injury for the moment). And I’m really glad that I no longer have to stress out about balancing work and medical appointments for the two kids with intense medical needs.

          For now, I think I have the perfect arrangement for me and my family. I do think I want to go back to school when the youngest graduates from high school, and I’ve started looking into MD/PhD programs for a biostats degree with the thought of going into epidemiology. Though the more I get involved in pregnancy and early childcare issues, I’m thinking maybe something along these lines would be even more fun.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            April 12, 2016 at 2:55 am #

            I’ve started looking into MD/PhD programs for a biostats degree with the thought of going into epidemiology.

            Yes, yes, come to the dark side, sister! We have cookies and statistics. And it gives you a whole new perspective on life. For example, right now I’m eagerly awaiting the day that the new SEER data is released. Yep, I’m counting down the days to April 15th.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            April 12, 2016 at 5:28 am #

            Though I’ve got to admit that epidemiology can feel like watching the monster slowly emerge in the horror movies some days.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 12, 2016 at 3:02 am #

            I think what makes the difference is that you have had your own life and you continue to have interests of your own. It can only enhance your family that you are educated and well read and have had life experiences that help you in the running of your household.

          • Old Lady
            April 12, 2016 at 11:52 am #

            I do plan on going back to work once the kids are in school, which will probably mean going back to school because I never finished my schooling. I was in the process of that when I met my husband and since I was in my 30’s I knew I had more time to finish school than have babies so I choose that route. For a variety of personal health and other reasons that I don’t really want to get into on the Internet I wasn’t able to get that accomplished in my 20’s like most people. It’s really my biggest regret since I always wanted advanced education, but there wasn’t much I could have done to improve the situation even considering if I knew then what I know now. Anyway, I’ve been thinking of going into nursing since I love biology and like to help people. Anyway, we’ll see how things go when the time comes which is at the least several years down the road.

    • April 11, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

      I don’t look down my nose at my friends who stay home with their kids, and I love their stories of homeschooling and homemade costumes and cute things that their children said that day. At the same time, though, as a single woman with multiple jobs and a dog, I have very little in common with them on a day-to-day basis.

    • Montserrat Blanco
      April 11, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

      That was your choice and I am really glad you were able to do what you wanted.

      I did not go to any lactation group. I was combo feeding and did not want to be judged. And yes, I had to read my fair share of “breast is best” Facebook posts. They were mostly very judgmental.

      I do feed my son mostly homemade food… Because it tastes better and the childminder prepares it. During the weekends we mostly cook for him ourselves but if we go out he is highly likely to get a non organic jar.

      And no, I am not leaving my job. Period. That is my choice. I could justify it saying that I earn 100% more than my husband, or saying that if I leave it I am highly unlikely to come back at the same level I am right now, or… But no, in fact it is my choice. I love my job and I will carry on working.

    • Megan
      April 11, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

      If we should have a third child, there is a good chance that my husband would quit his job and stay home since I make more money. Does that mean we are both not doing “our jobs?” I’m sure my children would be just fine with their father. He is, after all, a parent and not a babysitter.

    • ladyloki
      April 11, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

      No, it is NOT the job of the female to stay home and raise the children. Just because that is what YOU chose to do does not make it the rule. I am a college educated mother who stayed at home for a few years and has found no judgement with my friends. Maybe because I ditched all those who did choose to judge me.

      My children were foster to adopt and had never had a parent there for them, so I chose to quit my job so I could take them to and from school, be with them on school holidays, etc to build that trust. Once adoption was finalized and they felt secure that they were here to stay I returned to work. We don’t need the money, but we like having the extra income to save for our daughters’ college funds and to take family trips. Guess that makes me a #shitmom but I think that Disney World trip we took for 9 days this past January would make my girls disagree with you.

      • yentavegan
        April 11, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

        Ladyloki….I was being very specific about my choices. I did not mean to imply that I believe in any way what so ever that my job description is applicable to anyone else. I set up my lifestyle choices in my late teens…I always wanted to be a housewife and mother. I never envisioned a different reality for myself.

        • ladyloki
          April 11, 2016 at 9:29 pm #

          You said, and I quote:

          “The male goes out into the world to earn a living, the females’ job is to maintain the home and raise the children and join charitable organizations.”

          That certainly sounds like you are saying that women need to stay home, and seeing the other posts in reply to yours, I am not the only one who got that vibe from your post. So either you royally screwed up with what you said or you are backpedaling when you realized no one else here follows your little recipe for the perfect family. I’m guessing it’s the latter.

          • Kerlyssa
            April 11, 2016 at 9:32 pm #

            Eh, I read it as being the gender roles in the subculture she was happy in.

          • ladyloki
            April 11, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

            Look below, about her speaking of daycare as “substitute” parenting. So this is about her thinking that mothers who don’t do as she does are not doing what is best for their children.

          • yentavegan
            April 12, 2016 at 5:46 am #

            Nope. I am not looking for group approval. And I actually admire women who work. I have witnessed the change of landscape. There was a time when women like me had a voice at the table, I know I am an anachronism. And the one experience I had with state funded infant daycare was depressing.

          • Megan
            April 12, 2016 at 7:37 am #

            “There was a time when women like me had a voice at the table.”

            You do still have a voice at the table. Have you read Dr. Sears’ Baby Book (AFAIK, the best selling baby book of late)?

          • MI Dawn
            April 12, 2016 at 11:45 am #

            Lousy book with a lot of inaccuracies, especially about vaccines. But, I suppose it’s fine if you’re a stay at home mom who can keep your baby in a bubble, leeching off herd immunity. (And yes, I *have* read it; I owned it at one time as it was given to me as a gift).

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 12, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

            I don’t think Megan was suggesting that the book is good or anything, just that the book, being the best selling baby book, shows that people like yenta DO have “a voice at the table.”

          • MI Dawn
            April 12, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

            Ah. Then, Megan, if I misread your comment, I apologize!

          • Megan
            April 12, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

            Yes. Bofa is correct. I hate the book too.

          • Amy
            April 12, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

            You think you’re an anachronism? Your lifestyle has become a status symbol. It takes a lot of privilege to be able to have one parent (EITHER parent!) stay home and make it on one income. That one income needs to be well over six figures where I live in order to be even barely middle class. Where I teach, most of the mothers stay home. By the time the youngest kids are in mid-elementary school, they have a LOT of down time to spend at book clubs, the gym, and hanging out with each other in addition to the volunteer work you describe. More power to them; I’m happy they have that option. But don’t act like people look down on SAHMs because they don’t. One entire political party practically cannonizes them.

          • ladyloki
            April 12, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

            Ugh, where do you live? We are in Los Angeles and my junior enlisted husband can survive out here without me working with two kids. Want to avoid your area when it comes time to move again. No offense! I’m sure it’s lovely but I prefer money.

          • Amy
            April 12, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

            The northeast. I think we more than get what we pay for.

    • Megan
      April 11, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

      I would also like to point out that for many families, your proscripted roles are not possible. Many families need dual incomes in rose to stay afloat and provide for their children. And many families use family members to watch the kids for free instead of daycare.

      • Amy
        April 11, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

        A bunch of crunchy mamas with whom I’ve since cut ties told me that I totally COULD afford to stay home if I just didn’t have a mortgage or put my kids in any activities, or if we moved to a less-expensive part of the country.

        • Megan
          April 11, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

          Is that all? 😉

        • April 12, 2016 at 5:32 am #

          How do you “just” not have a mortgage? Because that would be a neat trick. I mean, I assume they weren’t saying you should rent, as in my experience that costs just as much per month.

          • guest
            April 12, 2016 at 9:59 am #

            You “just” rent, of course. Instead of investing the money in your future, you give it to a landlord. See how that makes so much more sense?

          • Commander30
            April 12, 2016 at 10:46 am #

            After my daughter was born and we needed a third bedroom (second bedroom is my stepson’s, who’s nearly ten years older than his little sister and making opposite-gendered kids with that big of an age gap share a room just didn’t sound like a good idea), we looked at some 3-bedroom apartments before buying a house. Our mortgage payments are actually less than rent would have been for any of those apartments.

          • Roadstergal
            April 12, 2016 at 11:06 am #

            Where I live, you can’t rent anymore for what we pay monthly in mortgage. And then we get the tax breaks on top. Not cheap, but cheaper than renting – and it’s building equity in the event of a disaster, which you don’t get renting. Srsly, I don’t know if Amy’s crunchy mamas could give her worse advice…

          • April 12, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

            And this is just another illustration of how the crunchier-than-thou are just blind to their privilege. *They* didn’t have to move to a cheaper area or sell their house, but they have no problem recommending a lower standard of living for other people’s kids.

          • Amy
            April 12, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

            Same here! Even after the 2008 crash, we’re back to having equity. Along with our own yard where we can keep chickens and have a large vegetable garden, options we wouldn’t have if we rented. Wonder how many crunchy points that gets me back?

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 13, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

            Same here. We live in an economically booming area, and if we rented the house we’re paying a mortgage on, going by other, similar for-lease houses in the neighborhood, we’d be paying 3-4 times per MONTH in rent than we’re paying on the mortgage. Economically speaking, given that we could afford the (modest) downpayment we made on the house, that would be nothing short of rank stupidity.

          • Amy
            April 12, 2016 at 11:41 am #

            They were. It was all retrospective, too. If only I had originally started out renting in a cheaper area of the country, we could make it on one income. Who cares if everyone and everything we love is in the Northeast? Clearly I’m ruining my kids having them grow up minutes from both sets of grandparents and all their aunts and uncles, in a coastal town with some of the best schools in the country, and opportunities in athletics, music, and dance, because I didn’t stay home with them.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 12, 2016 at 11:59 am #

            I hate that retrospective crap. What are you supposed to do with it? You can’t go back and time and try to conceive sooner, change when you finished school, or any of it. And we always forget the trials that caused us to have to put things off to begin with.

            I’ve had to pull my husband out of the “woulda shoulda coulda” spiral more than few times when we’ve had the having to delay having kids conversation.

            How exactly was he supposed to go to school back in Michigan in the depths of the recession living on $20 a month for food? And his family made too much money to get things like Pell Grants? Can he go back in time and finish school sooner? No. But he’s in school now and has a fantastic mentor that is teaching him a lot of the hard stuff in IT that others his age don’t want to learn because it’s “old” technology. We didn’t get married as soon as we could, we were friends for four years first, but I had a lot more growing up to do before I could be the wife he deserved and how could I love him when during that time I didn’t even love myself?

            You can’t fix what you did but you can plan better for what you’re going to do. Like not ditch the roof over your kids heads. It’s hard to be a stay at home mom without a home and all.

          • April 12, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

            Oh, good lord. I can see why you don’t stay in touch with these people.

      • DelphiniumFalcon
        April 11, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

        Even when it may start out in those roles the entire landscape can change quickly. And you may find that your dream of being a stay at home mom and only that isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

        My mom was a stay at home mom until we were in school. Then she was going nuts with boredom at home and you can only reupholster the couches and completely relandscape the yard so many times. So she got small jobs. When my sister and I were older she got a full time job for the orthodontics benefits so I could get braces since my dad’s job didn’t offer that at the time. She took business classes in the side at the local community college. But she was always there when we needed her, even for stupid things like falling into the giant mud puddle at recess.

        She ended up manager of the store, raked in profits for it, and then was flown around the country to other stores in the chain to help open and set them up. The only thing that stopped her at that point was her health taking a gigantic nose dive a few years later. As soon as she was better she was back to school and now in her fifties owns her own print and web design business and is the bane of the 20 something webdesigners in the area because she runs circles around them in both design and coding. She’s on the local rotary and helps organize community services. I’m really proud of her and I don’t think I missed out of anything from her not being home 24/7.

        All and all she was a stay at home mom only about six years. Closer to three if you count her odd jobs as a secret shopper that she could take my sister and I on. She’s someone who needs to be very active in a lot of different ways and I’m not going to look down on her for needing more than the house and kids to keep herself sane.

        Even better with my mom having her own business is that with my dad’s job being so physical and hell on his body he may need to retire early. But with my mom’s business now making money this isn’t as terrifying as it was ten years ago when he first started having wear and tear catch up with him in his late thirties. He still had another twenty years at the least before retirement. He’d always been in very good physical condition so when he needed back surgery and then knee surgery and then another knee surgery then a retinal detachment then more knee problems and so on we were getting very worried. It’s not nearly as scary now. We couldn’t do that if my mom didn’t do things outside the home while my sister and I were kids.

    • Lizz
      April 11, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

      Those mommy groups are less pleasant when you can’t fit the norm of the other stay at home moms, but I realize what you’re saying and agree that it sucks to be judged because you chose to stay home because it works for your family. Community is an important resource.

      It’s still good to realize that being there all the time can be a privilege that many women just can’t because of simple economics, disability or a myriad of other reasons.

    • Isilzha
      April 11, 2016 at 11:39 pm #

      Good luck when you’re 40, getting a divorce and realize what it really means to have given up your economic independence for all that time.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        April 12, 2016 at 2:01 am #

        It’s true: being a housewife and full time mother is a high risk occupation. I think that should be made clear, culturally. It’s often played as the “safe” option, but it’s not. Like homebirth, I suppose. And, like homebirth, I have no problem with women choosing that option, as long as they are aware of the risks and choose to accept them.

        • Erin
          April 12, 2016 at 6:15 am #

          That’s why I have a safety net of my own highly solvent bank accounts, my name on the deeds of the house and a lot of life insurance on my husband.

          But I agree, no one explains the potential pitfalls of Mr Right turning into Mr Cheating, leaving, hiding money offshore Rat person. It happened to at least two of my Mother’s friends though.

          • shelterworker
            May 1, 2016 at 9:10 pm #

            Mr. Right doesn’t have to cheat or become bad. He could get sick or his employer could go out of business. He could also get tired of being the sole earner, just as many women get tired of being the homemaker after awhile (especially if his sole-earner profession involves long hours and not being able to see his kids). I’m not saying it can’t work. For some people it is the right choice. But I would agree that it is a high risk choice.

      • yentavegan
        April 12, 2016 at 5:40 am #

        When I was in my 40’s believe you me I was scared to the core of what if the rules changed and what if my tightly wound reality came crashing down. My husband stayed true to our shared goals and values and that made all the difference. We got through the rough patches by becoming more vulnerable to each other and by keeping our intimate nighttime love life active.

      • Mishimoo
        April 12, 2016 at 8:06 am #

        That’s exactly why my dear friend’s mum gently pushed me until I thought about what I want to do for a career. It happened to her at a younger age with 2 boys to raise, even though she did all the ‘right’ things. It can happen to anyone.

      • RR912
        April 13, 2016 at 3:54 am #

        Wouldn’t be the end of the world though

  10. Lurkerette
    April 11, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

    I’ve often thought this; good to learn the history. Infant care is time-consuming, but it’s honestly not that hard. To hear the more strident NCB crowd, child-rearing must be that hard; otherwise, it could hardly consume the full effect and attention of educated, emancipated women. It’s a wonder anyone manages to conceive without having attended an Ivy, innit?

  11. Kathleen
    April 11, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    The only thing that makes homemade baby food easier and better is that you never have to worry about it being recalled due to glass being found or some kind of salmonella outbreak or something like that because you were there to see it being made. That being said, I made my daughter’s baby food, most of my son’s, and used those pouches for any lunches away – if we were eating out or eating at Grandma’s or just to have to mix with yogurt or cereal or something somewhere else. So handy.

    • AirPlant
      April 11, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

      Counterpoint: Professional’s are more likely to have a clean food processor. It is hand wash only at my place and all those fiddly bits will be the death of me. 🙂

  12. MLE
    April 11, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    Was going to compose a coherent comment, but can’t because I had a rage stroke. Damn these people.

  13. guest
    April 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    I gave my children the food I was eating when appropriate, and had a hand blender to make the texture appropriate when they were young – it was fun to have a wider variety of foods to give them when I had time. But I also used a lot of jarred baby food (and I tasted it all myself – I thought it was all pretty good, actually). I also read the labels. The ingredients are things like “apples, water.” That’s IT. If I made homemade applesauce, it would have apples, water. How could one possible be better than the other? (You can get organic jarred baby food if you believe that’s superior [I don’t] so it’s not about the quality of the apples). But it’s a lot faster to use the prepared stuff.

    Apples, water.

    • momofone
      April 11, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

      You forgot one! The jarred kind: apples, water. Homemade: apples, water, suffering.

      • guest
        April 11, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

        Dammit, I always forget to add enough suffering.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      April 11, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

      I also tasted everything that I gave to the kids at least once. Meats were nasty. Otherwise, it all tasted like whatever it was. Peas tasted like canned peas. Green beans tasted like green beans. Carrots tasted like carrots. The prunes were delicious.

      And yes, I read the ingredients. It said “peas.”

      • guest
        April 11, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

        Jarred meats were nasty, and my children made that clear. I offered them twice, and then never again.

      • rh1985
        April 11, 2016 at 11:15 pm #

        my daughter loved those horrid baby food meats. she won’t touch real meat. sometimes I can convince her to eat chicken. I don’t get it.

        • demodocus
          April 12, 2016 at 8:47 am #

          kids are weird. As I remind my dear spouse a dozen times a day when short stuff does something illogical.

  14. Shawna Mathieu
    April 11, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    My husband pointed out that these same things that’ll tie women down to the home ALSO stand a good chance of keeping poor people in a static situation. If mom’s nursing full time, work and/or school is pretty much out. Most low paying jobs are ones where pumping is unfeasible. I know some women are able to do both, but most of the poor women I know pretty much have to work, and formula feeding makes it a LOT easier. And this article rightly pointed out that if these guidelines are implemented, WIC will be completely screwed up. Yet what’s one of the groups that lactivists always say they’re working on behalf of and having to “educate” to learn the benefits of breastfeeding? Poor people.

  15. Marie
    April 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    I make homemade baby food because I’m cheap and like to save money. I don’t always use organic though. Can I still be a #shitmom?

    • AirPlant
      April 11, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

      Sure! Really #shitmom is the way to go, we get to have wine.

    • crazy grad mama
      April 11, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

      Yes! I just posted a comment in a thread below saying something similar. #shitmoms unite!

    • Marie
      April 11, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

      Glad I can still be in the club! Now that I think of it my elective c-section should ensure a lifetime membership. Pass the wine!

      • AirPlant
        April 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

        You get the corkscrew, I will turn on the TV-sitter.

    • Azuran
      April 11, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

      Pfff, if you don’t use only 100% organic food you grew yourself in your own garden while you were 43 weeks pregnant, of course you are a #shitmom.

      • demodocus
        April 11, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

        In the blizzard!

        • Megan
          April 11, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

          Kale can grow in the snow, dontcha know?

          • BeatriceC
            April 11, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

            Didn’t know that, but it does grow well when nourished with extra mastiff slobber.

        • Azuran
          April 11, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

          Uphill both ways!

          • D/
            April 11, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

            … while barefoot and tandem nursing your three year old twins!

      • Marie
        April 12, 2016 at 2:03 am #

        Ha, I’m actually considering growing my own vegetable garden and possibly using it to make baby food. It sounds like a fun hobby to me and I’d love to learn some gardening skills.

        Never been 43 weeks pregnant though. I’m too posh up push. Got sliced at 39 weeks and now I have a badass scar.

        • Marie
          April 12, 2016 at 2:04 am #

          Meant to say “too posh TO push.” Autocorrect and zombie mom brain fail.

        • demodocus
          April 12, 2016 at 8:50 am #

          If you’re in an urban area, you might want to get your soil checked.
          My kid likes to “help”. Now i have no plants. 🙁 (just had a few in pots.)

    • Allie
      April 11, 2016 at 11:29 pm #

      Most of the time I forget to feed my daughter altogether, so I’ve got you beat. Thankfully, she’s old enough to ask now : )

  16. April 11, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

    I tried to make baby food. I scorched a vegetable steamer when I forgot about the carrots and parsnips I was gently cooking. My son wouldn’t eat the sweet potatoes I lovingly puréed and froze in ice cube trays, though he loved the ones from the jar. When I finally successfully steamed and puréed some carrots, he ate them but they didn’t agree with him. Luckily for me, my mother-in-law was right there to assure me it was because I’d done it wrong, and also didn’t I know carrots were bad for babies?

    After that I gave up. Jars all the way. #shitmom

    Oh, there’s also the fact that the day care won’t accept homemade foods (I think it’s a state regulation), so the only way to keep my kids from getting baby food from jars would literally be to quit my job.

    • crazy grad mama
      April 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

      Oh gosh, I’m glad our daycare accepts homemade foods, because I’m a super cheapskate and in love with my immersion blender. But my kid gets the same 7 foods every week *and* I don’t buy organic, so I’m clearly failing somewhere along the line.

      • Roadstergal
        April 11, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

        Organic – another area where the research says ‘no better,’ but it’s more difficult and expensive, so #shitmom if you provide anything else.

        (As a chemistry minor, I’m the one who testily notes it’s all organic, as long as it has carbon.)

        • Mom of 3
          April 11, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

          Just so much yes. It is so refreshing to have one place on the internet where “organic” food can be mocked for the marketing scam it is (I put organic in quotes because, as you noted, most food is organic, but only expensive special food food for superior people is “organic”).

          • Roadstergal
            April 11, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

            I love to go to the farmers’ market and ask for the GMO section – “Oh, the food tastes better, and I like to support less pesticide use.”

          • guest
            April 11, 2016 at 1:39 pm #


        • namaste863
          April 11, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

          My relatives are super crunchy as far as diets go. Gluten Free, no dairy, one’s on a a Vegan Raw kick, juice cleanses, stuff that tastes like cardboard, the whole ball of wax. We all live within the same small Northern California town, so we eat together frequently. If I never see another kale and quinoa salad again it will be too soon. Thank FSM I’m moving back to Los Angeles in August. Whenever they pester me about my eating habits, I retort with “Sure it’s organic, it contains carbon, doesn’t it?” Another take home message from them: “Natural” deodorant does Jack the F Shit.

          • Allie
            April 11, 2016 at 11:34 pm #

            So true. I went to college with a girl who did not use deodorant (she looked sort of Goth/punk. Not sure what her deal was, but I quickly learned not to sit next to her.

      • April 11, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

        Ha, I was actually relieved to find out about that rule. It gave me an acceptable reason to stop trying to make it myself. I guess we both lucked out

    • April 11, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

      > the only way to keep my kids from getting baby food from jars would literally be to quit my job.

      And that’s exactly the point.

  17. Old Lady
    April 11, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    OT: So I gave birth to my beautiful healthy daughter last month and it went really well. My water broke first, to my surprise, and I didn’t go into labor in time so I was induced. Since this was a VBAC I had been concerned about induction beforehand and wasn’t sure I was willing to go through with it but I felt really good about my care and went for it. I felt they were taking all the necessary precautions, being gentle with the pit, continuous monitoring and the ability to have an immediate emergency c-section. Because I was induced my VBAC chances dropped to 58% so we decided I’d get an epidural at some point. So I didn’t wait until the pain was unbearable but I ended up having to wait a bit because someone else had a complicated emergency. That allowed me to experience the pain enough to realize I would have gotten an epidural for the pain anyway. The experience wasn’t too much like what I thought it would be. I didnt feel like moving around, drinking or eating and my way of dealing with the pain was breathing in a Lamaze type manner. The epidural was great, it allowed me to sleep the night and in the morning it was time to start pushing. Pushing with the epidural was hell enough, I can’t imagine how bad it would have been without. I pushed for a long time and ended up with a third degree tear. No incontinence so far *fingers crossed* and recovery was much easier and quicker than the c-section, which didn’t have any complications. So I was glad for the VBAC for that reason. I was up for caring for the newborn and my preschool twins right away, which wouldn’t have been the case for the section, even an uncomplicated one. My hospital had gone “baby friendly” but the nurses and doctors were really great and I had a good experience. Even the LCs didn’t say anything about the fact that we supplemented formula right away and were helpful with getting breastfeeding going. So not all “baby friendly” hospitals are horrible. We did miss the lack of nursery though when baby refused to sleep when put down but we managed by taking nap shifts. Nurse and doctor visits kept us busy during the day, when baby wanted to sleep but we were left mostly alone at night when baby was awake. I was lucky to have husband to help out.

    • Commander30
      April 11, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

      “Pushing with the epidural was hell enough, I can’t imagine how bad it would have been without.”

      I said the same thing after giving birth. I got an epidural fairly early on and was never in any pain during the first stage, but the pushing was horrible. I can’t imagine doing that after hours of painful labor. If I hadn’t had it, I probably would have lost stamina when actually pushing and quite possibly would have needed a C-section (nothing wrong with C-sections of course, but to go through labor only to have to need a section wouldn’t have been too great).

      Congrats on the birth of your daughter, btw!

    • demodocus
      April 11, 2016 at 2:07 pm #


    • Megan
      April 11, 2016 at 3:38 pm #


  18. Commander30
    April 11, 2016 at 11:14 am #

    This makes me so angry.

    Semi-OT: I was going through my bookshelf the other day and found the copy of LLL’s “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” that a coworker gave to me while I was pregnant. I don’t really remember reading it much, only flipping to the page on what to do about low supply, where the only advice they offered was basically “you don’t really have low supply! Nurse and pump more!” (the same advice everywhere else I looked, too). I finally said “screw this”, gave up breastfeeding, and forgot about the book.

    So the other night, I pulled it out and looked at other sections, and I was just appalled at the bullshit they were spewing. I mean, they had a whole section on how to feel better about your C-section–this is supposed to be a book about breastfeeding! Let alone the fact that a C-section is obviously nothing to feel ashamed about. A whole section on co-sleeping, too, which again is something different from breastfeeding, but they made it act like you wouldn’t breastfeed successfully (or as successfully) if you dared to let your baby sleep in a crib. And of course, the whole “don’t feed them any food at all for the first six months and pureed commercial baby food is pretty much the devil”. It made me wonder–what if a mother just genuinely needs help breastfeeding, with fixable, technical problems, and they open up this book? It seems to be one of the standard books on breastfeeding, and yet so much of it is about other crap that doesn’t make any difference on how well you parent your child, let alone on helping with actual breastfeeding issues. (Obviously they were no help at all with my actual breastfeeding issues.)

    I want to make this clear before I say what I say next–I’ve been an avid reader all my life, I studied to become a librarian, I am against censorship and banning books, and I would always support donating an unwanted book to the library so that someone else may get something out of it.

    I threw this book in the trash.

    • Puffin
      April 11, 2016 at 11:44 am #

      This book was a resource my medical school provided four our breastfeeding cases. Sigh.

      • Megan
        April 11, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

        Not sure what’s worse, tha being the resource or not getting any training in it at all (like I did 10 years ago). I’d like to think my practical experience (and all my difficulties) were more useful than that book.

    • D/
      April 11, 2016 at 11:57 am #

      Except now the message(s) will seek you out … the top of my fb feed this morning:

      • Commander30
        April 11, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

        Wow. An eleven-month-old? I mean, I did read where it said he won’t take a bottle or a sippy cup yet, but on the other hand, this would have been a great time for him to learn.

        • D/
          April 11, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

          Ummm, that or hope for five different internet strangers to breastfeed him for you??

          • Commander30
            April 11, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

            Good thing the strangers helped them from having to make such a horrible transition!

            Seriously though, while it is admirable that so many people were willing to help, it just seems like it was such a minor “problem” to have to fix. I know a lot of babies start making the transition to cow’s milk around that age. Asking for other mothers to temporarily breastfeed a child of that age is just… not that pressing of a problem, to me.

          • D/
            April 11, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

            My take on first-come, first-serve wet nursing arrangements is colored by a good friend’s slurry of STDs she didn’t know her cheating husband had shared with her while our kids were babies. Fortunately nothing untreatable, but it was the mid-80’s … and I know the idea of HIV in the back of her mind contributed to her weaning her son at that point.

            It never came up, but I imagine I’d have let her nurse my eldest without thinking twice about it at the time. We were that sort of friends. So, yeah …

          • AirPlant
            April 11, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

            I am on friend #3 whose wonderful, loving partner that I adored has had a surprise, this isn’t the marriage that you thought you had affair(s). It could just be my trusting nature or my perception of love, but I don’t trust my gut for anybody any more.

          • MaineJen
            April 11, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

            It can happen in literally any marriage 🙁

          • AirPlant
            April 11, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

            I am actually running low on marriages in my acquaintance of more than 5 years duration that don’t have some kind of infidelity in the mix. Like I almost feel like it is some kind of horrifying rite of passage for life long love.
            Then I apply that to my own seemingly idyllic marriage (we are seriously OMG so in love, it is gross) and it is terrifying. Like knowing that your arm is going to be ripped off and not knowing when or how.

          • MaineJen
            April 11, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

            It’s easy to fall in love, not so easy to *stay* in love. Marriages like yours (OMG so in love) are rare, I’m coming to find out…

          • Roadstergal
            April 11, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

            We don’t have infidelity, we have open discussions of folk we find attractive with the option to act on it. Some folk we know have the former and not the latter, others have other arrangements that work well for _them_.

            I don’t think it’s unusual to crave variety, but FFS don’t lie about it, and try to be as safe as possible. And then there’s this idea that being attracted to/having sex with someone else means you must not _really_ be in love with your spouse, which needs to DIAF.

          • AirPlant
            April 11, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

            I don’t mean consensual open marriages. That is completely fine if all parties are abiding by the terms of the relationship. I have just had a rash of cheating husbands in my predominantly monogamous social circle and it is hitting me hard in the feels. I think everyone can agree that stepping out on your partner without an agreement in place is super duper not cool.

          • Roadstergal
            April 11, 2016 at 5:48 pm #

            For sure, but I think there’s a lot of things one can do even in a 100% monogamous marriage. If you’re attracted to someone else after 10-20 years, it doesn’t mean you don’t love your spouse, and if you fantasize about it, you’re not cheating – and if this doesn’t do you, talk to your spouse about your wants and needs. Just IMO, but I think there’s a lot of black-and-white when the shades of grey might actually _save_ some marriages, instead of making folk feel there’s nothing between monotony and full-on cheating.

            This is, of course, all very tangential, and detracting from the main, important point – even your best friend’s breast milk might not be as safe as everyone thinks.

          • demodocus
            April 11, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

            In other words, it’s hard enough to know what’s going on in your own marriage let alone even your best friend’s. Even if, as in our case, both halves are naturally monogamous, there’s no guarantee that something could have been transmitted in an otherwise innocuous way. I’ve been bit by small humans before i had my own.

          • Megan
            April 11, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

            Yes. Confession time. I found out recently that my best friend’s husband cheated on her during both of her pregnancies. When my oldest daughter was a baby I used a little of her breastmilk when I was having difficulties not knowing that he’d cheated. She didn’t know either. Thank god all her testing after the fact was negative. It couldve been tragic. I’m so ashamed I didn’t think of this possibility and so glad it turned out ok. I love formula.

          • D/
            April 11, 2016 at 11:28 pm #

            And out in lactivist-land even if the possibility of unsafe milk is acknowledged then there’s the ‘let me help you put that risk into perpective’ discussions on top of that.

            Like this one a while back … “only about 3% of babies with HIV+ mothers contract the disease through breast feeding. So if each of those women donated to 97 women, chances are that none of their babies would become sick.”

          • Roadstergal
            April 12, 2016 at 11:27 am #

            That’s horrific. “Sure, this donor milk might have HIV in it, but odds are good it won’t infect the kid, and we all know the taint of formula is greater than a 3% risk of death…”

          • D/
            April 12, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

            Most definitely horrific … plus some simple-minded math. I’m nearly certain she was seeing the risk for the first 97 babies getting that donated HIV+ milk as somehow less than for babies number 98, 99, and 100.

          • AirPlant
            April 12, 2016 at 11:22 am #

            My husband and I both are monogamously oriented to a fault and even we get crushes! There will always be beautiful and charming people in the world that spark your interest!
            I just don’t see a crush as a sign that a relationship is doomed. We live in hormonal, human bodies and our brains are designed to bond with other people. IMO attraction is completely normal, and should only pose a problem if you blow the feeling out of proportion or prioritize the crush over your partner.
            I think you are right, really the problems are caused by a lack of communication and unrealistic expectations.
            And yes, breastmilk sharing is so not worth the risk. I wouldn’t even have sex with someone until I got a clean bill of health for both parties in my younger, sluttier days, there is just no way I would put my baby at risk with anything less.

          • BeatriceC
            April 11, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

            We have just tell me who you are with and when you are planning to be home, use condoms, and if one of us really objects then It’s a no go. There’s a little bit more to it, but power exchanges can be difficult to describe. And if anything g ever happened to MrC, I think my heart would be ripped out of my chest.

          • AirPlant
            April 12, 2016 at 11:39 am #

            When I first was falling in love with my darling Mr. Plant I used to listen to his heartbeat through his chest. We were 15 and I was saving myself for jesus and it was the closest piece of physical intimacy that I would let myself have. One afternoon I was lying with him and listening and it occurred to me how that tiny sound was a real physical thing that kept this wonderful person in my life. Just one small beating heart, and if it were to stop then I would have to live the rest of my life in a world without him in it. I naturally started crying like a crazy person and he just kind of ran with it because he really does know how to put up with my crazy, but so much time has gone by, and our love has grown so much since then, now when I think about him no longer being with me, my mind doesn’t even go on to the future. It sticks and stops because I just can’t find a path to keep going along without him.
            I figure that is either love or codependence and I am choosing to believe that is the former.

          • MI Dawn
            April 12, 2016 at 8:01 am #

            Oh yeah. One of the happiest couples I know has been poly for nearly 20 years, with long term (15+ on the wife’s side, nearly 5 on the husband’s) partners. If it works, it’s great. If it’s cheating, as AirPlant notes, it hits very hard.

            Hugs, AirPlant, and I’m so happy for you that you and your husband are still gaga in love! 🙂 Too bad your friends couldn’t learn from you.

          • AirPlant
            April 12, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

            My brother is poly and it works great for him! He recently broke up with his primary of ten years, but until that point she was just like a sister in law to me and their relationship was a strong as any that I have seen.
            That is a miles different situation from my friend who just found out that her husband of ten years and the father of their three children was applying the zip code rule to his military endeavors.
            As it is in so many things, consent and communication are the most important things.

          • Liz Leyden
            April 12, 2016 at 2:03 am #

            And hope they are all completely honest about their lifestyle and medical history?

        • Inmara
          April 11, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

          Wait, so the 11 month old is not eating solids, too? Because eating solids without drinking water is a recipe for constipation. We were stuck a bit when introducing solids to my baby at 5,5 months because he didn’t drink water from bottle or sippy cup, just played with them and chewed on nipples, consequently choking on unexpected waterflow. Then I found out about ingenious Doidy Cup ( and it solved our problems. Unlikely that 11 month old couldn’t learn to use it, it’s rather because of mom wants bragging rights about her all natcheral baby who loves boobie above all else.

          • Commander30
            April 11, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

            “it’s rather because of mom wants bragging rights about her all natcheral baby who loves boobie above all else.”

            Probably. I suspect she’s the same type of mom who is all “My three-year-old suddenly won’t nurse anymore! How do I get him nursing again?”

      • Madtowngirl
        April 11, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

        I love how the author constantly writes a THOUSAND! A THOUSAND!!!!!!!!!! 11111

    • Spamamander
      April 11, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

      The whole “no food at all for 6 months” makes me laugh. I tried to nurse my first… she grew very quickly (my midwife asked if I produced straight cream!) and I felt that every waking hour was spent with her nursing. I just couldn’t do it. We’d started formula supplementing early on so the grandparents could help feed and to give me a break. When she was on straight formula at 4 months she drank 40 oz a day! My CNM was like “feed this poor kid some cereal, she needs to eat!”

      • Roadstergal
        April 11, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

        Isn’t the most current research indicating that introducing common food allergens at 4-6 months is protective against developing those allergies?

        • Commander30
          April 11, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

          That’s what I’ve heard, which is why I was so alarmed that the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding book claimed the opposite. This was the newest edition, too.

        • Inmara
          April 11, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

          Yes, it is
          Specifically it says that there is benefit of introducing wheat and eggs between 4-6 months, all other common allergens should be introduced until 12 months (except when there’s history of allergies in family etc., then introduction of allergens should be cleared with a doctor first). The once common advice to delay introduction of allergens was being questioned some time ago (like, before 2010) but only recently major institutions have updated their guidelines (of course, except WHO and all breastfeeding commitees which continue to flaunt the “EBF until 6 months” card).

        • Montserrat Blanco
          April 11, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

          Yes. And that is exactly the reason why my son’s pureed fruits contained peanut butter/ground almonds since four months old. And every possible fruit I could laid my hands on.

      • Commander30
        April 11, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

        Funnily enough, we started my daughter on cereal and solids around 4.5 months, but she wasn’t super interested until, surprise surprise, six months. So from my own, one anecdotal experience, I can see putting it off (because every other child in the world is exactly like mine, right?) but at the same time, I’m pretty sure the early solids didn’t negatively affect her, either.

        She eats like a horse now (nine months). 🙂

      • guest
        April 11, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

        My twins didn’t eat huge amounts, but they wanted to eat every 90 minutes for four months! It was killing me by the end. I got the okay to start solids from the ped at four months, and shortly after that the frequency of nursing became less…and they started sleeping longer. Solids saved my sanity and our breastfeeding.

        I am sure other babies are not ready or interested exactly at four months, but even though mine couldn’t really sit unassisted and weren’t grabbing for my food (how could they? I ate while they slept) they didn’t push the food out with their tongues, either. They liked it. I think it also made their life more interesting, because now there were things to taste instead of just the same old ceilings and mobiles to look at.

      • demodocus
        April 11, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

        I had to make my 1st kid wait a week until he was actually 4 months. He informs me I still don’t give him as many apples as he desires.

    • Shawna Mathieu
      April 11, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

      Oh good, someone else who can’t stand that book. I thought it was great – until I actually tried to nurse. I have flat nipples, and their advice for that was pretty useless. They trashed nipple shields, yet that was one of the first things a lactation consultant gave me, because without it, there really wasn’t enough nipple for my kid to latch onto! Pretty much all the advice boiled down to “keep trying, it’ll all work out”, and giving lots of examples of martyr-mothers who did. When it didn’t, I figured there was something wrong with me.

      • Commander30
        April 11, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

        I got a nipple shield from the lactation consultant who visited me in the hospital, too! I only made it about three weeks breastfeeding before completely throwing in the towel, but I wouldn’t have made it even that long without her–and the nipple shields she gave me. If only they had stayed on more often since I had a hungry baby who kept flailing against me and knocking them off, making me have to carefully put them back on with a screaming baby in my arms… That plus the next-to-nothing supply is why I finally gave up. But yeah, without those nipple shields, my giving up would have been more like on DAY three, not week three.

    • guest
      April 11, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

      I also put a few pregnancy books in the recycling bin for the same reason. I’m against censorship, but I couldn’t in good conscious give those books to another woman.

    • Suzi Screendoor
      April 11, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

      *Slow clap*

      I’ve been browsing the parenting section of my library quite a bit lately and a particular book always catches my eye. I believe it’s called “Breastfeeding Made Simple” (or something along those lines) and it’s seriously about 12 inches tall and 3 inches thick. Like, how simple can it be if you need a manual that enormous?

      • DelphiniumFalcon
        April 11, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

        So I went and checked just to make sure, but my husband’s A+ and C++ programming textbooks are both smaller than that.

        Breastfeeding! More complex than building/troubleshooting computers AND computer programming!

        So much for it being so easy and natural.

        • BeatriceC
          April 11, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

          My biostats textbook from my PhD program is smaller than that.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 11, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

            …that ain’t right, man. O_o

  19. DelphiniumFalcon
    April 11, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    So this is me just running at the mouth and theorizing from my own observations, but I wonder if part of this is because there seems to be (at least in my neck of the woods) a lot of martyr contests. Who can be the biggest martyr in childrearing and all that.

    It’s like a contest but nobody wins. In my views they’re just trying to lose harder or something. One woman gave up a full time job to go part time but the woman who gave up her job entirely is so much better because she sacrificed so much more kind of thing. Or I labored with no pain medicine at the hospital! Oh yeah? Well I labored at home with no access to pain medication period so there!

    It ties into the whole mommy wars thing with the one upmanship. Like this weird thing about being the center of all the attention by being the most “selfless.” It’s weird and it confuses me.

    • Old Lady
      April 11, 2016 at 11:31 am #

      I think this is because women are just as competitive as men but not allowed to be direct about it.

    • Mac Sherbert
      April 11, 2016 at 11:45 am #

      My mother used say it was the wacky feminists who made it impossible for her to stay home with her kids. She used theorize they wanted women in the work force which was great, but in the end it created a need for women to work. Anyway…the problem is really that women are just judged today for their choices. It doesn’t matter whether you are a mom with a career or one that stays home you get judged by some group.

  20. CSN0116
    April 11, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    You must give up umpteen foods, all alcohol, and stop participating in numerous activities the moment you discover you’re pregnant (despite evidence)

    You must give birth the most painful way possible (despite evidence)

    You must exclusively nurse your baby, thus being its sole care provider (despite adequate evidence)

    You must delay solids for as long as possible, keeping baby dependent upon you for nutrition (despite evidence)

    You must sleep with baby and give up your space and often your martial/relationship intimacy (despite evidence)

    You must make your own food (despite evidence)

    You must cloth diaper (despite evidence)

    You must keep your child attached to you, physically (despite evidence)

    And all of these practices will keep you out of the labor force, or make your participation in it very difficult. They will also severely limit your ability to socialize, resulting in isolation. The fact that women impose these standards on each other is mind boggling. My great-grandma (still alive!) had it easier mothering in the 1940’s!

    • Gene
      April 11, 2016 at 11:13 am #

      Is there evidence for or against cloth diapers? We use them because we are cheap (and have used the same set for all three kids). So that saves us money (approx 50 diapers, $5 each, wash weekly). And, awesomely, DH does the laundry.

      We also made our own baby food. But that was also because we are cheap (can you see a theme here?). And we have a deep freezer. Blender stick and ice cube trays and a weekend, repeat twice, makes enough baby food to get a kid to regular table foods.

      • CSN0116
        April 11, 2016 at 11:28 am #

        Yes, I meant there’s no evidence to say they’re best for baby. They’re just the best choice for some families. Like everything freaking else…

      • Bombshellrisa
        April 11, 2016 at 11:59 am #

        I totally understand cheap, we made baby food because everyone was growing fruit and veggies and had a lot to give away, plus I gleaned. The immersion blender was free (given to us) and the ice cube trays we already had. I also can things anyway, so it wasn’t a stretch to do baby food.

      • Amy M
        April 11, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

        I made SOME of my boys’ baby food—the fruits/veg we tended to buy anyway, that were easy to puree and freeze. We also bought a lot of baby food. They ate both readily, so it came down to convenience and availability of produce. I’m with you, I don’t understand why this is even on the radar. Who frigging cares if the puree is homemade or storebought?! The ingredients are exactly the same!

        • Gatita
          April 11, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

          Our son has severe apraxia so didn’t wean to solid food until he was almost two. When he was on purees his diet was about 75% vegetarian. Now he survives on chicken nuggets and bean burritos. I wish I were kidding. The only veggies he will consume are the ones I sneak into his homemade muffins. TLDR version: I love jarred baby food.

          • demodocus
            April 11, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

            I didn’t like the ones with meat or the ones that were supposed to introduce an herb. The sage was overpowering in one I tried. The veggie-fruit groups were decent, though.

      • Dr Kitty
        April 11, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

        I made food for my daughter. Most of which went uneaten, apparently because it wasn’t as nice as the stuff in jars.
        My son is getting pouches and jars, and loving them, because at this point my time is more precious than my money.

        It isn’t all bad…the empty baby food jars will have new lives as bud vases for my sister’s wedding in September, which is about as Pinterest as I get.

        • Roadstergal
          April 11, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

          Those little baby food jars are also useful as stash jars. Um… I read that on the Internet.

          • Inmara
            April 11, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

            I’m trying to figure out what to do with mine – they could be used for homemade jams but their lids are impossible to put back straight and tight. At least I use some for freezing my own baby food if necessary, but the amount of empty jars is increasing over weeks and I have hard time throwing out something that could be useful later on.

          • Gatita
            April 11, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

            Candle holders! Twist some wire around the rims and you can hang them up too.

          • Sean Jungian
            April 11, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

            But…but…the glass is clear – light damage! Or at least, that’s what I heard. I wouldn’t know.

          • Kerlyssa
            April 11, 2016 at 9:45 pm #

            Paint the outside.

          • demodocus
            April 12, 2016 at 8:55 am #

            My stash does not fit in babyfood jars. I have 4 hampers of fabric and 3 milk crates of yarn. Took me way too long to remember what kind of stash *would* fit in babyfood jars. Even my tea stash wouldn’t fit.

        • demodocus
          April 11, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

          I gave my brother’s to my 4th grade teacher for crafts. (I probably blathered about my sib-to-be all year, lol. Mom had him on the 1st day of summer vacation) Since technically I was now in 5th, i have no idea what they did with them.

        • MI Dawn
          April 12, 2016 at 7:52 am #

          Nail the lids to a board, then you can put small things in the jars and screw them onto the lids. Quick storage for small stuff as long as you are careful taking them off again (says the woman who picked up tons of staples from the floor when her husband unscrewed one without paying attention…)

      • Inmara
        April 11, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

        From environmental perspective, if you’re living in an arid region, cloth diapers (=washing) is an unnecessary burden to natural resources. Also, there is some speculation that cloth diapers allow better air circulation (that would be good for baby boys) and they make potty training easier, but I suspect that contemporary cloth diapers are very similar to disposables in these aspects.

        I mostly make my own baby food (except for prune puree) and it’s definitely cheaper than jars, even non-organic jars (yes, I’m THAT mom who buys organic – but it’s EU certified organic and my concern is not that much nutritional content (no evidence that organic is better) but agricultural practices and impact on biodiversity). I have some jars for eating out of home and when I’m too exhausted to prepare anything. Don’t know what magic they do with these, because ingredients are the same I use at home, but baby eats from jars without hesitation, whereas my food sometimes is not met with immediate excitement.

        • Sean Jungian
          April 11, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

          “my food sometimes is not met with immediate excitement.”

          Yeah, this is still true in our house!

      • Sean Jungian
        April 11, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

        I had a little food mill so I just ground up whatever we were having. I did try to put aside some meat/rice/whatever with less seasoning, though.

        It was just easier for me to do that than to get him special food and schlep it home.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      April 11, 2016 at 11:13 am #

      Fantastic summary!!

    • Amy M
      April 11, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

      Huh. Well, if some of these people who think a woman’s place is in the home would like to employ my husband and pay him 30% more than I’m currently earning, I’ll gladly stay home. Of course, my children are already in elementary school, and I didn’t follow the above proscriptions. If I’ve already ruined my children by being a bad mom (shitmom?) is there any point in trying reverse the damage? (/sarcasm)

    • Sean Jungian
      April 11, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

      Small correction – remember you have to give up all alcohol just because you might, possibly be pregnant.

    • Marie
      April 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

      Purely anecdotal and non-scientific but kind of amusing personal experience: My husband I tried to conceive for 3 years and had 5 first-trimester losses. For those 3 years I more or less gave up caffeine and alcohol, drank kale smoothies, ate all organic etc.
      I came to a point where I decided it was all shit. One night I went out and played beer pong and got happily drunk for the first time in years. 2 days later I found out I was 5 weeks pregnant. Our healthy nearly 9 pound son was born 8 months later.
      I say it was the beer pong.

  21. April 11, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    Hi, I’m the BigDairy rep for this week.

    1) There’s not a ton of marketing about whole milk for toddlers now.

    2)People in the US have been drinking less and less fluid milk while drinking more fluids fortified with whey powder proteins. That works out fine for the industry because the US likes cheese so cheese + whey powder drinks = no excess milk product.

    3)The last new dairy marketing campaign I heard about for fluid milk was the “Drink chocolate milk after exercising!” aimed at recreational sports teams. While the idea makes me queasy, it seems to have worked.

    4) I don’t think the dairy industry cares much about how baby food is made except that they would be in favor of people adding milk to baby food. Or cheese. Or skim milk powder. We’re not picky :-).

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      April 11, 2016 at 11:10 am #

      3)The last new dairy marketing campaign I heard about for fluid milk was the “Drink chocolate milk after exercising!” aimed at recreational sports teams. While the idea makes me queasy, it seems to have worked.

      No, it worked that a single company was able to pay off a couple of researchers to send that message. The original research did not actually support “chocolate milk”, it only, amazingly, supported a particular brand of chocolate milk, and, coincidentally, it happened to be the chocolate milk company that funded the study.

      The Univ of Maryland researchers who did the work have been called out on it, and I think the work has been retracted.

      • April 11, 2016 at 11:54 am #

        We might be thinking of separate ideas. The National Dairy Council doesn’t like muddying up ads with things like research if a milk moustache on a teen hunk sell the same amount of milk for less ad dollars.

        You are describing the MilkPEP ad campaign that was aimed at adults, I think.

        I’m thinking of Fuel Up to Play 60 through the NDC and NFL. It was aimed at teenage and preteen athletes. I’ve never heard of any research attached to it, although it does have grants available to schools. Now, bribery, that we do….

    • Dr Kitty
      April 11, 2016 at 11:31 am #

      I advise my frail elderly patients to buy a bottle of milk powder, and add a tablespoon to each pint of milk they use.

      This gives a very calorie dense liquid that can be used in hot drinks, on cereal or porridge, to make soups or custards and puddings, or just drunk by the glassful.

      It just tastes like milk.

      Hell of a lot cheaper and more palatable than those supplement drinks.

      • April 11, 2016 at 11:56 am #

        Elder nutrition is a growing market. That’s code for “I think someone is trying to find a more expensive replacement for dry milk powder when dry milk powder works just fine.”

        • Dr Kitty
          April 11, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

          Also it is easier to plonk a ready to drink supplement with a straw in front of someone with dementia than to actually help them eat a bowl of cereal, soup or stew.

          The care homes LOVE the supplement drinks.

          A) because they are prescribed by Drs and are therefore free (cuts down the amount they have to spend on food and kitchen staff).

          B) because they cut down the work for the care staff, who don’t actually have to “feed” people.

          I am…less of a fan.

          Those drinks are not very palatable and sometimes food is one of the last pleasures someone has.

          I have one dementia patient whose family bring her a plate of sausages and mashed potatoes every evening- she loves it, doesn’t remember she ate the same thing the day before, and starts asking for her dinner from lunchtime onwards. The nursing home basically turns a blind eye.

          • Montserrat Blanco
            April 11, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

            Not remembering what you ate yesterday and enjoying your favourite meal every day… Does sound like one of the few perks of dementia!

      • Who?
        April 11, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

        We did that with my fussy eater daughter when she was a toddler. Was quite happy w milky things and it was a way to get more calories into her.

    • carovee
      April 11, 2016 at 11:44 am #

      Both my pediatrician and dentist basically said chocolate milk is not ideal but its better than soda or juice. Not sure why, though.

      • Roadstergal
        April 11, 2016 at 11:56 am #

        Less acidic and more protein?

        • April 11, 2016 at 11:57 am #

          My best guess is the calcium and vitamin D give some minor benefit along with the calories in the milk….

      • Daleth
        April 11, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

        Calcium, protein and fat, all of which little kids need lots of, and none of which are found in soda or juice. Also vitamin D, which is similarly crucial for little kids, but some juices might contain it.

      • demodocus
        April 11, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

        probably a little less sugar, too. My kid will only drink milk if it’s chocolate or the dregs from his cereal bowl.

      • Jasper
        April 18, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

        has Melissa Mcewan got a job yet? or is she still sitting on her fat ass while a white man pays her bills?

        • carovee
          April 18, 2016 at 9:47 pm #

          Are you seriously, stalking shakesville readers on other blogs? LOL, I think it’s pretty clear whose sitting on their ass with too much time to kill.

          • Jasper
            April 19, 2016 at 6:44 am #

            ah stalking..LOL. You feminazis are not be trusted.Same with your “Rape Culture” bullshit.

    • Roadstergal
      April 11, 2016 at 11:57 am #

      I tried chocolate milk after a marathon (husband was saying I should tryyy it…). I legitimately barfed. Horrible after-workout drink, IMO.

      • Commander30
        April 11, 2016 at 11:58 am #

        Yeah, I LOVE milk (chocolate or otherwise), but it’s about the last thing I’d want to drink after an intense workout.

        • Roadstergal
          April 11, 2016 at 11:59 am #

          Oh, yes, let my comment not detract from my non-post-workout love of chocolate milk, white mochas, fragrant cheese, and so many other dairy products…

      • April 11, 2016 at 11:59 am #

        That was what I thought I would do. I wasn’t sure, though, if my lactose intolerance was the reason or not.

        My husband drank milk after practicing for sports and didn’t have problems as a teenager – but he’s able to eat a lot of odd stuff without being sick, so I was skeptical.

      • Bombshellrisa
        April 11, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

        My husband does Darigold extra protein chocolate milk after his athletic stuff. Most notable when Mountains to Sound marathon started at Snoqualmie pass and ended at Shilshole. The thought made me sick! I usually hear coconut milk from the people in the running group.

        • Roadstergal
          April 11, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

          Coconut water is a big post-event deal – I think the reason is that I can only tolerate the taste when I’m dead tired and craving water and salt.

        • Spamamander
          April 11, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

          Wait they didn’t run uphill TO the Pass? Wusses 😉 the west slope is a breeze!

      • Liz Leyden
        April 12, 2016 at 1:56 am #

        Dairy Quebec gives our free milk samples during the Tour de Montreal. I’ve never taken them (they never have lactose-free samples), but the chocolate are very popular.

    • crazy grad mama
      April 11, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

      1) There’s not a ton of marketing about whole milk for toddlers now.

      Yeah, I’ve seen the occasional ad for toddler formula or fortified nutrition drinks, but never for plain whole milk.

    • Sean Jungian
      April 11, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

      The only “marketing” I recall from when my son weaned was his from his pediatrician, telling me to give him whole milk rather than nonfat.

      He loved it, and still loves milk, though I buy 2% now. I love milk but it’s too high in calories for me so I only drink it every so often. We still go through 2 gallons a week.

    • Liz Leyden
      April 12, 2016 at 1:44 am #

      In my state, WIC only provides whole milk from age 1-2, then 1% or skim until age 5.

  22. Madtowngirl
    April 11, 2016 at 9:52 am #

    I find it so ironic, being raised Catholic, that for as much pro-life, pro-family, abstinence, and anti-contraception rhetoric I was exposed to, breastfeeding was never something that was moralized, at least in the circles I ran in. Of course, the implicit message that the mother should stay home was there, but I guess the religious people I encountered were more concerned with abortion than formula. The more progressive side of Catholicism seems to be more concerned with social justice than pushing “family friendly” agendas. I’d imagine they’d find the moralization of breastfeeding absolutely ludicrous.

    It’s too bad LLL is so inherently flawed. The idea of supporting new mothers, whatever their feeding/working choices is a great one.

  23. T.
    April 11, 2016 at 9:43 am #

    Eva Canterella, one of my favourite author, wrote a book about Roman Women which really made me think.
    The title is “Passato Prossimo, donne romane da Tacita a Sulpicia” meaning “Simple Past: Roman Women from Tacita to Sulpicia”.

    Now, what most of us don’t know is that there was a moment in Roman history when women started to emancipate themselves. Not at modern levels, of course, but they started pretending things like being considered people, not property, to have a right of inheritance, etcetera.

    What did Romans do?

    They started to point out how important motherhood was.
    The story of Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi is an important statement. Women had to be good mother to make good Roman Citizens. The future of the Empire was on hold! If women didn’t stop their stupid ideas, the Empire would have only sub-standard citizens and would fall!

    And it worked.

    It is not a new strategy. It is very, very old.

    • Daleth
      April 11, 2016 at 10:27 am #

      Wow. Thanks for sharing. That’s so interesting.

      • T.
        April 12, 2016 at 5:39 am #

        I would totally suggest the book, which is a very easy read, but I fear it was never translated in English…

        • Daleth
          April 13, 2016 at 10:05 am #

          That’s too bad! I can pretty much read Italian, so I may see if I can find it.

    • Francesca Violi
      April 11, 2016 at 11:26 am #

      Also during fascism motherhood was strongly moralized: to the emerging emancipated urban women (deemed to be self centered, vain, sterile, histerical, slim: this model was called “crisis woman”) fascism ideologist opposed the model of the morally and physically “healthy”, prolific country housewife. It was a duty for the Fascist Mother to produce and raise children for the Country, you even had medals of honor for the mothers of many children.

      • Amy M
        April 11, 2016 at 11:58 am #

        It was similar in Nazi Germany too.

      • T.
        April 12, 2016 at 5:39 am #

        Yep, my great-grandmother was one of the “Massaie Rurali” during Fascism. Emphasize motherhood is always a great way to “keep women in their place”.

  24. Irène Delse
    April 11, 2016 at 9:33 am #

    When “barefoot and pregnant” describes the crunchy ideal.

  25. Taysha
    April 11, 2016 at 9:28 am #

    Just a note : “There is NO scientific evidence — none, zip, zero, nada — that homebirth infant foods are better than commercially prepared infant foods.”

    should be home made?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      April 11, 2016 at 9:32 am #

      Thanks! Fixed it.

    • Gatita
      April 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

      “homebirth infant foods” = placenta puree?

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