The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine’s Big Lie

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Dr. Alison Stuebe of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has had something of an epiphany.

Six years ago, I wrote a blog reflecting on Diane Wiessinger’s seminal essay, “Watch your language.” “There are no benefits of breastfeeding,” I wrote. “There are risks of formula feeding.”

For years the breastfeeding industry has insisted that all women will make enough breastmilk and all along they’ve known it was a lie.

That post remains the most-viewed piece I’ve ever written, with more than 74,000 views as of this writing. I’ve taken the lesson to heart. I’ve published a peer-reviewed study on the increased risk of hypertension among women with curtailed breastfeeding, and I’ve flipped odds ratios in teaching slides and review articles to frame associations as the “risk of not breastfeeding” or the “risk of formula,” rather than the “benefits of breastfeeding.”

…[W]hen we talk about risks of formula, we will motivate mothers to “clamor for help,” and thereby increase breastfeeding rates and improve the health of mothers and babies.

Weissinger’s piece is a paean to viciousness and inadvertently revealing. Weissinger writes:

All of us within the profession want breastfeeding to be our biological reference point. We want it to be the cultural norm; we want human milk to be made available to all human babies, REGARDLESS OF OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES. A vital first step toward achieving those goals is within immediate reach of every one of us. All we have to do is … watch our language.(my emphasis)

“We want,” “cultural norm,” “regardless of other circumstances.” This is language beloved of tobacco companies and other industries seeking to manipulate the public into buying their products. It is the language of business, not the language of healthcare.

Stuebe was impressed nonetheless:

It’s a compelling logical argument. And yet, I’ve been unable to find empirical evidence that it is true. To generate that evidence, we’d need to compare outcomes among mothers and babies counseled that formula increase risk with outcomes among those told that breastfeeding improves health and wellbeing. To my knowledge – and please let me know if there is a peer-reviewed study out there! – such a study has not been done.

What caused Stuebe’s change of heart? It wasn’t just that shaming language is ineffective at increasing breastfeeding rates. Stuebe was confronted by the inherent racism and classism of lactivism that elevates the personal preferences of upper middle class white women to norms that are used to criticize poor women and women of color.

… In her spectacular keynote address at Breastfeeding and Feminism, Kimberly Seals Allers used a baby bottle with the head of Darth Vader to frame a discussion about how “risks of formula” might be perceived among women of color. For a mother worried that her teenage son might be gunned down for walking down the street wearing a hoodie, “risks of formula” seem pretty trivial…

You don’t say.

In a breastfeeding context, messaging that formula feeding increases childhood leukemia risk is unhelpful for the 22% of employed women who return to the workforce by 10 days postpartum, or for the mother who lives 3 hours from the nearest lactation consultant. If the purpose of risk-based language is to motivate mothers to clamor for help, there has to be help within clamoring distance.

And that doesn’t even take into account that the claim about leukemia is almost certainly untrue.

Then there is an inconvenient fact that Stuebe and colleagues have been deliberately ignoring for years. Stuebe now acknowleges:

… a substantial proportion of infants born in the US require supplementation. Delayed onset of lactogenesis is common, affecting 44% of first-time mothers in one study, and 1/3 of these infants lost >10% of their birth weight. This suggests that 15% of infants — about 1 in 7 breastfed babies — will have an indication for supplementation. If we counsel women prenatally that Just One Bottle will permanently alter the infant gut, then we set up 1 in 7 mothers to believe the horse is out of the barn in the first week of life. A mother might even conclude that the damage has been done, so she might was well wean altogether.

This is a stunning, ugly admission. For years the breastfeeding industry has insisted that all women will make enough breastmilk and all along they’ve known it was a lie.

If that weren’t bad enough, Stuebe and colleagues have deliberately condemned 1 in 7 infants to starve for days by pretending that “Just One Bottle” of formula will damage the infant gut when we have yet to determine the normal state of the infant gut let alone harmful variations.

Stuebe is reassessing her efforts to promote shaming language in light of its ineffectiveness, inherent racism and classism, and its basis in a spectacular lie. Those are good reasons to reassess, but shaming language around breastfeeding should never have been promoted for a very simple reason: it is UNETHICAL. If patient autonomy means anything it means that all people have the right to ignore healthcare providers’ recommendations without fear of bullying and crude attempts at manipulation.

The fundamental problem with shaming language around breastfeeding is that it is CRUEL and cruelty has no place in healthcare.

Stuebe ends her piece with this:

And until we have evidence that risk-based language improves the wellbeing of mothers and children, we might do well to reconsider our rhetoric. It’s past time to conduct the research that’s needed to sort the real risks and benefits of risk-based language.

But she should have ended it with an apology.

Stuebe and her colleagues should beg forgiveness for the suffering they have caused to starving infants. They should beg forgiveness for the suffering they have caused women with their deliberate lie that all women make enough breastmilk. They should beg forgiveness for the suffering they have caused by placing the needs of the breastfeeding industry above the needs of their patients.

In other words, Stuebe and colleagues should beg forgiveness for their unspeakable, unethical cruelty.

  • ZanzibarAnnie

    I agree with so much of what you write on your blog, but I do want to defend Dr. Stuebe from my patient experience. A few years ago, I delivered twins and had many of the problems you describe in this article, including delayed onset of lactation and the absolute need to supplement what I produced. I had one baby who latched great, the other who couldn’t latch at all, and considerable pain with feeding even with good latches. The lactation consultants I saw were terrible, unhelpful, and made me feel like a failure. I then was referred to Dr. Stuebe. Dr. Stuebe provided compassionate, kind care and absolutely never shamed me for using formula. Instead, she made a very clear point of saying to me repeatedly, your best is good enough. She repeatedly told me that if all of it was too much, then my babies would be just fine with formula. To this day, I feel like she was the ideal person for me to see in that circumstance, because she never made me feel badly because breastfeeding was so hard for me. She made me feel like as long as I was taking care of myself, my babies would thrive regardless of how I chose to feed them. On the patient care side, she helped me make it through a very difficult time when others (lactation consultants) made me feel shamed.

  • BeatriceC

    OT, but sort of related to a discussion a week or so ago: I broke down and downloaded both of Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End” this weekend. I’ve finished pillars and in 2/3 of the way through World Without End. Reading it with a fresh eye and with childbearing and breastfeeding issues, along with women’s issues in my mind, I’m quite astounded at how deftly Follett deals with real issues faced by women of all classes in medieval England. He writes of the fear of childbirth, death in childbirth, infants dying from lack of milk, infants being saved by milk substitutes, abortion, women’s rights and more. I have far more respect for him as a writer these days.

  • AJBW

    “If we counsel women prenatally that Just One Bottle will permanently alter the infant gut, then we set up 1 in 7 mothers to believe the horse is out of the barn in the first week of life.”

    This part really resonates with me. I had a 35 weaker and we broke every breastfeeding “rule” I learned prenatally; we had no immediate skin to skin or immediate breastfeeding, used bottles and a soother, supplemented with formula, and he didn’t room in or even get discharged when I did. He went on to breastfeed just fine. Now, it all seems like a load of crap, or at best, a lot of exaggeration!

    • momofone

      With the exception of the 35-week part, sounds like we have very similar experiences. My son also went on to breastfeed with no problem. When I think of all the warnings I had about nipple confusion it makes me want to pull my hair out.

    • Sue

      Not to mention the fact that a newborn’s gut biota CAN’T be “permanently” altered – it’s a moving feast, so to speak, until a solid diet is established.

    • guest

      Same story for my 36 weekers, except they may not have been supplemented. It was challenging to get them breastfeeding after a week and a half in the NICU, but we did it. That’s not to say that 100% of similar cases would be the same, but it’s certainly possible to do everything “wrong” and still be successful.

  • Adelaide

    This is the language of privilege that trivializes the deaths, disabilities, and hardships of the babies and mothers who have no other options. Too often formula is vilified by those that always have it readily available as a safety net.

    Don’t tell me “Breast is Best” until you’ve sat with a woman who is desperate to learn to express her milk by hand into a cup so her bloodied and bruised nipples can have just a few days to heal and her baby won’t starve in the mean time. The look of despair on her face when she realizes she will need to haul extra water from the ravine and gather extra wood for the fire so she can boil that cup before she fills it will tell you she knows all about the risks of no breastfeeding.

    Don’t tell me “Breast is Best” until you’ve sat with a grandmother desperate to keep her twin granddaughters alive on overcooked beans and cornmush because her daughter died in childbirth. Explaining to her that we can bring her some boiled milk with sugar and oil added and some infant vitamins drops, all while wishing there was someplace within 300 miles we could even buy formula if we some how had enough money for all the babies in need.

    Don’t tell me “Breast is Best” until you’ve seen a women soon to be diagnosed with HIV with the worst thrush imaginable, severely malnourished asking for help because she has no milk to feed her screaming baby. Explaining to her that the neighbor who bought her a scoop full of powdered milk in a small grocery bag had most likely saved her babies life.

    Don’t tell me “Breast is Best” until you’ve wailed over the grave of a baby with the women of a village as they morn the death of another malnourished child who succumbed to starvation, kwashiorkor, giardiasis, dysentery, worms, TB or AIDS.

    Breastfeeding is great and all, but formula is nothing short of a miracle. Nobody, ever counts the babies that live, because they have access to it. The catch phrase “Breast is Best” is marketing scheme to some, a cruel shaming technique to others, but for mothers who have no other option it is slap in the face. It is a message that they killed their own children, and that is nothing but a dirty privileged lie.

    • moto_librarian

      Featured comment.

      • An Actual Attorney

        Guest post!

    • Mom2Many

      This made me tear up. Very powerful and so incredibly sad…
      Preach Dr. Amy!

    • Sue

      SO well said. Invokes the Bofa Law: “All other things being equal”.

      What lack of insight and hubris for Weisinger to say “regardless of other circumstances”.

  • Valerie

    I think it’s strange how people think there are magic words that will make mothers exclusively breastfeed long-term. It’s not a flippant decision made on a whim. There are real-life reasons why a mother may prefer one or the other (or combo)–why one method is better suited for their lifestyle or physiology. It’s like assuming that if public transportation is aggressively promoted in just the right way, nobody will choose to drive a car.

    • Megan

      I was thinking something similar. No amount of support or saying the “right” things could make me breastfeed. I suspect that’s true for a significant amount of women who don’t breastfeed, whether by choice or circumstance.

    • Madtowngirl

      This. No amount of platitudes, encouragement, or sunshine blown up my ass could make me produce enough milk to feed my baby. I wanted to breastfeed. It was not in the cards for us, and nothing was going to change that.

    • Gatita

      Even if it is a flippant decision, who fucking cares? It’s not an important enough decision to spend this amount of time and energy on it.

    • Kelly

      I was searching for a bottle for a friend online and as I was looking at the images, I started to feel sick. I had to get off because I could feel the feelings of PPD well up again. I know I made the right decision and you know what? Many people who are breastfeeding or have breastfeed have told me that I made the right decision and that they wish that they had introduced some formula as well. Nothing will ever ever make me try again. I have and continue to support what anyone chooses and will share my story with anyone who needs to hear it.

  • namaste863

    The truly wierd thing is that one cant seem to even hint at questioning that breastmilk and only breastmilk straight from the tap is anything less than the Magic Elixer of Life that will turn your kid into some sort of prodigy with the IQ of Stephen Hawking, the character of Gandhi, the physical prowess of an Olympic decathlete, and the looks of a supermodel without lactivists descending on you like a swarm of enraged hornets. All of a sudden, youre “Shaming,” monster working to “Attack breastfeeding.” They’re no longer activists, they’re the goddamn Thought Police. When did 1984 go from being a satire/cautionary tale to being a documentary?

    • AirPlant

      Didn’t you know? Low milk supply is directly caused by the anti-breastfeeding thoughts of strangers on the internet.

  • swbarnes2

    That bit about the “Just one bottle”. Steube says nothing at all about the accuracy of the contents of that link. Presumably, she thinks its accurate, since she cited it. If it was true that a bottle of formula in the first week of life causes permanent damage to the microbiome, leading to real health problems later in life, LCs and all health care workers absolutely should be telling women that. Even if it’s scary. But if it’s true, then it undermines HER cause of getting women to breastfeed after feeding that one bottle, so she thinks that info should be hidden. Not because she thinks it’s untrue, but because it doesn’t gel with her goal.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Is there any actual evidence for any of this? That is, that the microbiome changes with bottle feeding, that one bottle effects the change or that the microbiome leads to anything in particular with respect to health? I know it’s a hot area of research right now, but I’m not aware of anything solidly proven. Also, it seems unlikely that the gut microbiome would not change over time. If your gut flora were set at birth and never changed, we wouldn’t have C diff colitis, so it at least can be changed by extreme measures.

      • Inmara

        IIRC, mode of feeding affects microbiome (as does C-section vs. vaginal delivery) but the crux of the matter is whether it makes a significant difference in the long term (so far, there is no conclusive evidence).

        • Everyone on this forum who was bottlefed (as I was, because in 1946 that’s what a “modern” mother did — and Mom had to use a mixture of condensed milk, water, and corn syrup because powdered formula had not yet been developed), raise their hand. How badly did we turn out?

          • Commander30

            (raises hand) My brothers and I were formula fed (mid 70’s-late 80’s).

            My older brother is an RN, runs most days and has run a few half-marathons, generally making pretty good time on them. He has never had any major illness, and has no food allergies.

            I graduated summa cum laude from college, have a master’s degree in information technology, and while I’m not in as good of physical shape as my brothers, I still enjoy walking, hiking, and have climbed four mountains. Never had any major illness, don’t have any food allergies.

            My younger brother is probably the best example out of the three of us. He’s climbed as many mountains as I have (maybe more? I don’t remember), has gone on days-long outdoor hiking trips, that is when he has the time between the bands he plays in and his graduate classes in chemical physics. He’s on track to get his PhD in about a year and is thinking about applying to NASA to become an astronaut. Again, he has never had any major illness and has no food allergies.

            (He’s also the one of us who was born by C-section! Seriously, how did he manage all of this with such a horrible start to life?! /sarcasm)

            I say all of this not to brag, but to point out that despite the fact that our mom was apparently a “shit mom” by some people’s standards for how she birthed/fed/raised us, we have all turned out pretty good, in my opinion. We all have a good relationship with her too–none of us gives a crap how we were birthed or fed, only that she made the best decisions to keep us alive and healthy. Which she did.

          • Chant de la Mer

            I was bottle-fed, and have a very high IQ, learn very fast, ridiculously large vocabulary, and am the picture of health despite being about 30 lbs overweight. Only flaw, I have ADHD. I imagine it’s from the bottle-feeding and the inevitable lack of bonding with my mother /sarcasm/.

        • Dr Kitty

          I’m afraid I see a future market by the woo crowd for at-home faecal transplants to “fix” your micro biome.

          “Seeding” with vaginal discharge soaked gauze is already a thing, but it is easy for people to do themselves and therefore is not a money spinner.

          Now, having a naturopath insert an NG tube and put someone else’s faeces into your stomach…THAT sounds like a path to profit (with risks of infection, inserting the tube into the lungs and so on being minor inconveniences).

          I might be being cynical, of course. Time will tell.

          I do find it amusing that the same type of people who insist formula will ruin the micro biome are sometimes entirely comfortable with the idea of colonic irrigation for “detoxification” and bleach enemas to cure autism.

          • Irène Delse

            OMG, you’re right! “Home fecal transplants” are already a thing, but up to now it was adults getting to it for themselves…

    • Allie P

      The facts are that EVERYTHING changes the microbiome. The problem is no one knows what it “should” be, or if there’s even a should. They do that BS vaginal seeding based on the idea that c sectioned infant’s microbiomes are inferior, only to discover that the microbiomes of two different vaginally born infants aren’t the same either. It’s all BS.

  • Megan

    OT: I had asked the other day for tips getting my 6 week old to take her foul-tasting Zantac syrup without spitting it out. I finally figured out a solution and thought I’d post it in case other people might benefit. I measured the med in the syringe and then put it in an empty bottle nipple (in a nipple ring). She then sucks it down with no problem and I can then put the nipple on her bottle after a few minutes (I usually wait to make sure the new stays down) and she drinks that. This has worked great and her reflux symptoms even improved a bit more once I could reliably get her meds into her. Hope it helps someone else too.

    • CSN0116

      This thing uses your suggestion but helps with accurate measurement 🙂

      • Megan

        Handy!

  • 3boyz

    I’m a veteran breastfeeder, have breastfed two kids for two years each, and plan to do so with number 3. I haven’t really dealt with breastfeeding problems, so it works well for me and I’m happy to do it. My third baby spent over a week in the NICU and had a central line through his stomach so I couldn’t nurse him until that came out. I pumped around the clock mainly to get my supply going though of course, he got the milk,( still have some left over in the freezer) and the hospital gave some formula as well. So for a full week he got only bottles and when the line came out and I was allowed to nurse directly, he went right for it. No nipple confusion, no issues on either end and he’s happily mostly breastfeeding now with the occasional pumped bottle. When it works it works. Even a whole week of bottles didn’t mess us up. When it doesn’t work, there are plenty of reasons why it doesn’t work for everyone, it’s probably nothing to do with bottles, really luck of the draw.

  • Cartman36

    I say this a lot about home birth but it’s the same for breastfeeding BS. I don’t need a study to tell me that the “risks of formula feeding” are being over sold and that breast milk isn’t “liquid gold” because my own life experiences and undergraduate level anthropology and history classes tell me that. I think this is part of the reason that this propaganda type language doesn’t work. I went to a breastfeeding class when I was pregnant and one handout was called 100 reasons breast is best. I don’t remember the specific reasons but I remember rolling my eyes and chucking the handout in the trash on my way out.

    • Roadstergal

      “100 reasons breast is best”

      My dad used to tell an old joke about a med student asked to list 5 benefits of breastmilk over formula. He stalled after 3, and finally had to put in “It comes in a better-looking container” and “The cats can’t get at it.”

      • D/

        Well, every good lactivist knows that foils-the-cat benefit technically brings it up to 102 reasons 😉

        https://www.sa.sc.edu/healthycarolina/files/2014/04/101-Reasons-to-Breastfeed.pdf

        • Angharad

          Just for fun I read their “reasons”. Whoever wrote it doesn’t understand that correlation is not causation, or that formula is not the same as cow milk (ok, cow milk is designed for baby cows, but formula is designed for baby humans). Several of the listed benefits aren’t unique to breastmilk (yes, it does help with bonding but so does feeding a bottle). That isn’t even including the benefits that aren’t even benefits (I don’t care what breasts were designed for, or whether there are GMOs in formula), and the long list of falsehoods (perfect nutrition? Always available?) and over-generalizations (breastfeeding is easier and you don’t have to buy any equipment or worry about bottles or refrigeration).

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            yes, it does help with bonding but so does feeding a bottle

            BZZZZZTTTT. Wrong.

            Don’t you know, “bonding” is defined as “breastfeeding.” That’s why breastfeeding helps with bonding, because if you aren’t breastfeeding, you aren’t bonded. How do you know if you are bonding? If you are breastfeeding.

            Reading the rhetoric coming from lactivists, this is the message they are sending. And, based on their comments, this is the message mothers are receiving.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        TSA has a harder time confiscating it. At least if it’s kept in the original container.

      • Mariana

        It always comes out at the right temperature. You don’t need to boil your breasts before use. Can’t misplace your boobs.

        See? Breast is much superior!
        (Sarcasm)

    • Valerie

      I’m generally of the opinion that if you need to look at a huge population and try to regress out many confounders to see a small effect on a minor health outcome, it’s not worth worrying about.

      • swbarnes2

        Back To Sleep, for instance, drastically changed SIDS rates across whole countries. Child car seats drastically reduce the odds of kids dying in car crashes. The HPV vaccine really changed the incidence of those strains of virus. When smoking rates went down, cancer rates went down. A tripling of the breastfeeding rate from the 70’s hasn’t moved the needle on any serious childhood health issue. As a public health policy, increasing the breastfeeding rates…increases the breastfeeding rates, and that seems to be it.

        • Roadstergal

          “A tripling of the breastfeeding rate from the 70’s hasn’t moved the needle on any serious childhood health issue.”

          Nope. And I think that’s one reason why they keep getting more and more extreme – not a drop of formula, EBF ’til increasing ages, BF until increasing ages… the reason it hasn’t changed any childhood health issues is because women aren’t doing it _enough_!

          • BeatriceC

            Now that you mention it, the rate of autism diagnosis has been on the rise along with the rise in breastfeeding rates, increase in the ages in which kids are introduced to solid foods and the ages in which they’re weaned.

            (I can play this game too).

          • Who?

            And SUVs. Coincidence? I don’t think so 😉

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I’m generally of the opinion that if you need to look at a huge population and try to regress out many confounders to see a small effect on a minor health outcome, it’s not worth worrying about.

        We have a winner!

      • Cartman36

        Very well said!!!!!

  • Mel

    Depressingly on-topic: My sis-in-law is putting together her bag for when she delivers her son in a few weeks. She was wondering what you needed to put in the bag for the new baby.

    My two-cents from reading this blog and doing some online research of our local hospitals was “a binkie, some ready-to-feed formula and a few bottles” since all of the hospitals around here are working on getting Baby “Friendly” Certification.

    Sis’n’law is interested in BF, but I don’t want her to be stressed and pressured to BF while the baby is starving/screaming if her lactation is delayed. We’ve both been around enough babies to know that giving a baby a bottle or two or ten won’t destroy chances of breastfeeding.

    • Taysha

      I would think it reassuring to pass on the 44% have delayed milk production fact and reassure her that supplementation can lead to a good BF relationship (I always misplace the study that showed improved BF long term in supplemented infants).

      Good luck to your SIL!!

    • Dr Kitty

      Some of the formula brands have starter sets of six bottles of ready to feed formula in small bottles with sealed single use nipples. Ideal for bringing to hospital, or to have in the house, because you don’t have to sterilise anything. I If you don’t use them or use only one or two they can still be passed on to someone else, because everything is sterile (food banks and women’s shelters will often be happy to take leftovers).

    • Bombshellrisa

      Similac has a six pack of 60 ml ready to feed. Comes with nipple. Tell her to make sure they bring the car seat and base : ) congrats Auntie, how exciting to be awaiting your newest family member!

      • Kelly

        If you sign up for Similac and Enfamil, they will give samples of those and will give you coupons. I use the $5 coupons to buy those six pack and it only cost me $2 or something around that.

        • Sonja Henie

          Doctors’ offices usually have samples as well.

          • CandiO

            Not as much if they are owned by the same corporation that own your local baby friendly hospital.

      • Sonja Henie

        They could just install the car seat in the car. Not necessary to cart it into the hospital. some of those things are HUGE these days!

        • Megan

          Our hospital requires that the baby be carried out at discharge strapped into the car seat in mom’s lap so that they can see the baby is in the car seat correctly and put in the car correctly. So we did actually have to bring it upstairs. I think a lot of hosputals have a policy like this. I even had to do it for my daughters discharge after her readmission for jaundice (though I wasn’t in a wheelchair that time). Not sure how they manage it for the convertible seats; I’ve only ever seen them do it with an infant seat, which is also what we have.

          • Sonja Henie

            Interesting! When I had my first, in 1984, Colorado had not yet passed a car seat law. I just looked it up, Colorado’s initial law went into effect July 1, 1987, three days before my second was born! But we didn’t have to show it. I vaguely recall they had to see us putting her into it, however.

          • LovleAnjel

            We had a convertible carseat, and a nurse climbed into the backseat to check everything before we drove off.

          • Mac Sherbert

            Last time I gave birth my hospital had changed it’s policy and you were no longer allowed to put them in the carrier before you left. Mom had to hold baby in arms while being wheeled out to the car. … They did make sure we had a carseat, but that was it.

        • kfunk937

          Newbie parents may benefit from the reassurance of the Safe Carseat Installation centres at some hospitals, though.

          I bumped into (literally, rear ended at a roll 2 ft. at a stop light) a young couple with a 2-month-old infant, in a car seat in the back. There was no damage but I still recommended that they have the ped check her out, especially because they’d installed the car seat facing forward. Some people just don’t know, I guess.

          some of those things are HUGE these days!

          Very expensive, too. In line with earlier thoughts on donations, that’s another good one, along with strollers when no longer needed.

          • Sonja Henie

            Oh, absolutely the ped should see the child. We always said that when getting those calls on the triage line.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Very sensible, too. One of the things that’s making me consider switching peds practices, much though I like DD’s pediatricians, is that after we were in an accident and I called to get her checked out, I was told “we might be able to fit you in in three weeks.” Now, granted, she was properly restrained and rear-facing and the lot, but she was one! She couldn’t tell me if she was hurting.

          • Liz Leyden

            I tried to donate my twins’ infant seats after they outgrew them, but no one in my area accepts used car seats.

          • Chant de la Mer

            If the seat is still in good shape, it’s better to just do a direct hand me down to someone for a used car seat so that you can make sure they know it’s a safe unexpired seat.

        • Bombshellrisa

          Sometimes the hospital requires the baby to be transported from the hospital room to the vehicle in an infant carrier and sometimes the nurses are supposed to make sure the parents know how to strap baby in.

          • Sonja Henie

            Yes, several have mentioned that now. You still wouldn’t need to take it to the hospital to have the baby; you could bring it in later.

    • FormerPhysicist

      Good call!
      I took in my boppy (breast-feeding pillow) and that was great. The hospital pillows did not work well to raise the baby to the right height for breastfeeding. And the pillow helped protect my c/s incision.

      For 2nd and later children I packed a few new DVDs for when my older children visited. Patting my own back, that was brilliant! They cuddled with me and watched a new-to-them movie and felt like they got 2 hours of mommy time, while I just zoned out. I still have thankful feelings for those movies.

      • AirPlant

        You are a parenting genius and I need to sit at your feet immediately to absorb your wisdom.

        • FormerPhysicist

          One great idea a decade. But I’ll take the compliment.

          • AirPlant

            The last time I was that blown away by a good idea was when my coworker told me that his kid got one “bad decision rewind” per day to use as he chose. Like your kid knows that they screwed up, knows they can’t undo it, is ready to put a fight behind their bad choice because there is nothing left to lose, and you pause, give them a chance to go back in time and make a better choice no questions asked. I tried it out, it worked like a crazy genius charm. Some people have this parenting this wired.

          • MI Dawn

            For my kids (from age 12 on), it was “Mental health day”. Every semester, they could choose to stay home from school for one day, no questions asked. The only proviso was that it could not be on a day that an exam was scheduled or a project due. Preferably requested the night before as ex-spouse and I both worked and were up and out of the house before the kids were up, usually.

            Just knowing they had it was a great help. They didn’t always use it (and, being kids, they *did* test to see if we meant the “no tests/projects” thing), but it really helped us.

          • Megan

            My mom had this rule too. She would usually take off too and we’d do something fun. We’d play hooky together. Thanks for reminding me of a nice memory!

          • Sean Jungian

            Hey, we do exactly the same thing – right down to calling it a “Mental Health Day”!! My mother back in the late 70s permitted me to do it, and I let my son do it, too. Once per semester, and once you use it, it’s gone. Can’t be a day that has a test/quiz or a sports/extracurricular activity.

            I will definitely keep “Rewind a Bad Decision” in my back pocket for the future if it ever is required.

          • demodocus

            we had one per year, but same provisos

          • BeatriceC

            My older boys are in online school, so they can swap out a Saturday for a weekday, or do double work one day to give themselves a free day later on. My middle kid has a bank of about a month he could take off and not fall behind. At the rate he’s going, he could actually graduate from high school in 18 months. But he does use those days to spend more time on the ice if he’s working on something particularly intensely.

          • Old Lady

            My mother did this but I think it taught me the wrong things, to hide with my problems rather than face them. I don’t think that means that it’s a bad idea but limits would be really necessary for it to work. In my case it was not just the mental health days that did it.

          • AirPlant

            I have really mixed feelings about mental health days. On the one hand, I was allowed one or two of them a year, and I was a good student so it never hurt my progress and I loved the time with my mother, but on the other hand I have a friend who lets her kids stay home pretty much whenever they want in the interest of their mental health and it is really hard to not think that is teaching them a bad lesson. It isn’t my problem so I don’t get to have an opinion, but the children are not performing to grade level and the time at home is not spent doing enriching activities, just hours of TV and it is not how I would choose to raise my child.
            .
            So you know, everything in moderation?

          • MI Dawn

            Exactly, which is why they only got 1 MHD a semester (and…I didn’t note it above…they had to be doing WELL in school, not just getting by. If they were struggling in a class, they were expected to attend school every day.)

          • Roadstergal

            Fuck me, we need that in our marriage.

          • AirPlant

            OMG RIGHT?

          • FormerPhysicist

            I must steal that one!

          • BeatriceC

            I’ve used the “redo” option with my kids for years. But they have to come to me contrite about how bad their decision really was, and there’s a limit to how many times they can call for a redo. There’s usually also a small “penance” involved, which is enough to keep them from abusing the option, but not nearly as much as they would get if they got in real trouble for whatever it is. I like to give credit for self-correction, as that’s really the point of all this. People are going to screw up and make bad choices from time to time. The difference isn’t that you don’t fuck up, but how you handle the fall out.

          • AirPlant

            All kids are different. The sweet little four year old for which this system was invented had a tendancy to lose his temper in the heat of the moment and then figuring all was lost, turn into a total monster for the rest of the day. He is a really good kid at heart, and he genuinely mourned the outburst, he just wasn’t old enough to know how to process the mixed feelings of regret and anger and make things right again. The one per day rewind was a good tool for him to practice making a good choice. The parents would full out play-act the original situation and he would play act the right choice and they all pretended the first choice didn’t happen.
            .
            Older kids for sure will have different techniques as applicable 🙂

          • Daleth

            That sounds awesome. Can you give an example? I’d like to have a concrete sense of how this works…

          • AirPlant

            So my feelings about children and parks is that when you go to the park with a child it is their job to play and my job to chill on the bench with my smartphone. A child who is often in my care disagrees with this perspective. I imagine that most people can see how this clash of opinions would lead to a situation where a cherubic three year old is lying on the ground at the park, rage screaming her damn head off about the injustices of the world.
            .
            So in my experiences children have a couple different types of screaming. The first is the pure id screaming. Nobody in the world can break a child out of that because they are not rational in that moment. After that though, there is a short period where they are screaming but they are almost coming out of it, and I think that moment is the make or break bit where they can go either way. With my sweet darling I waited until there were the little breaks in the screaming where she was checking for my response and I tried to stay as calm and neutral as I could until she would hold my gaze. I told her that she had a choice that would dictate the entire rest of the day. On her first go round she made the wrong choice and we were stuck screaming on the astroturf, but I was going to let her rewind and pretend that we had just gotten to the park, and she would get to choose what she did at the park. She tried to insist again that she was going to be pushed on the swings and I told her that that was not a choice. Her choices were to scream and throw a fit again and we would be forced to go home where she would have to face punishment for bad behavior and that wouldn’t be fun for either of us, or she could choose to play by herself on all of the fun things that there were at the park and we would go on with a day filled with happiness and fun. It took about five minutes of repetition while she figured out that I was serious, but then she made the right choice and we had a lovely rest of the day.

          • Daleth

            Thank you. That’s really cool.

          • AirPlant

            You know, until I try it a second time, or mistime the offer. Kids are weird as hell and as far as I am concerned the exist to thwart you. I saw the same child last weekend. She is six now and she is still throwing screaming fits over being pushed in the swings so I can’t exactly give myself a gold medal for life lessons imparted.

      • Old Lady

        I brought the Boppy but It was too small to get around my still rather large belly. I made do with hospital pillows, which I agree aren’t that great for feeding support. At home I’ve been using the My Breast Friend I got to tandem feed the twins, it works better I think for newborns since it’s firmer and supports the baby more.

      • niteseer

        One thing that I did with my kids from about age 8 on was “Truth”. If I had concerns, I would come to them and say “I am going to ask you some questions. Some of them, I already know the answer to. Anything you tell me now, you have amnesty for. We will work together to solve the problem. Anything that you lie about, will bring the wrath of Ages down upon your head”.

        That is how I found out for sure one daughter was smoking, one needed to go on birth control pills, and one had experimented with drugs. I am happy to say that the result of those conversations was that problems were addressed before they became tragedies, and my kids learned that they could trust me to assist them in solving problems, instead of blaming them. In time, the kids learned that they could invoke the “Truth” rules, and bring their problems to me when they occurred, without fear.

        ((sorry, should have posted as a response to AirPlant’s post))

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      I second the boppy suggestion. Even if SIL doesn’t end up BFing, or combo-feeds, should she have a CS it’s really handy for keeping little, kicking feet off of a potentially achy midsection.
      FWIW, *some* BFHs and some working towards that certification aren’t too obnoxious about formula, though I heartily agree that some bottles of the RT as well as a binkie (or two–I swear the damn things grow legs sometimes) are a good idea for the bag. Even though my hospital was freaking obnoxiously lactivist while I was trying to EBF, once I had to supplement either the tech or the nurse, can’t remember which, made a point of bringing in several six-packs of RTF bottles with no questions asked, as well as sending us home with some extra, too. Short version: prepare for the worst, but it might not be the worst. I hope it’s a lovely experience for all! (Or, at least, as lovely an experience as giving birth can be. 😉 )

    • CharlotteB

      One thing I would do differently? I’d try to mimic my home set-up as much as possible in terms of nursing. The hospital had all the chairs and all the pillows, but at home I had a couch and a normal number of pillows. So, yeah, I could get a decent latch with the Perfect Nursing Chair and the 100000000 pillows and the Perfect Nursing Footrest, etc etc–didn’t really help that much when I went home and tried to feed the baby.

      Oh, and nipple shields are amazing.

    • ChemMom

      This list was invaluable to me when preparing my bag last time: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0091YYUAM/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1461554986&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=bissell+steam+mop&dpPl=1&dpID=31wN7o-1c1L&ref=plSrch

      Also soothies gel pads for nipple soreness. I had 2 pairs and kept one on and one in the fridge down the hall the entire time at the hospital. With each feed I would send my husband to the fridge for a fresh pair. So relieving!

    • Mrs.Katt the Cat

      Bring a manual breast pump. She can pump while baby has a bottle to see what her supply is, or give breastmilk via bottle if the baby has latch issues.
      The manual ones are smaller and you don’t have to look for a socket.

      • Chant de la Mer

        my hospital was pretty awesome (except for the lack of the well baby nursery) and part of the new mom/baby package was a medela manual pump and two bottles.

        • Megan

          Is your hospital baby friendly? I only ask because I find it interesting hospitals supposedly must protect women from formula advertising by not giving formula samples but it’s perfectly acceptable to get free breastfeeding stuff.

          • Chant de la Mer

            I don’t know for certain but I’m fairly sure it was. However except for the lack of a well baby nursery, which in the context of budget is understandable if still despicable at this particular hospital, they had no problems with formula or with me supplementing. After an offer to hook up some complicated system and my rapid refusal, a 4 pack of RTF was brought to us and we were instructed to start out with an ounce or two but to feed the big baby until he was satisfied. We also left with a good supply of RTF formula since breastmilk hadn’t come in yet on the second full day.
            So yes baby friendly but fairly sensible about feeding practices.

    • An Actual Attorney

      Not for baby, but make sure she had charge cords for the various electronic distractions. Those are easy to forget.

      And snacks, because hospital food can be ok, but it’s not likely to be your favorite snack.

    • Old Lady

      I brought my own bottles and formula and pacifier when I gave birth recently and it worked well for me at my Baby Friendly hospital. It was nice to be able to give her formula when I wanted to. I don’t know if I would have had to endure lecturing but at the least I didn’t have to wait for the nurse to bring it and it gave me peace of mind. I brought music for laboring but what I ended up doing was listening to a light read audio book that I had already read. It was nice to focus on it without missing anything when I wasn’t paying attention like during contractions. I listened to the first Harry Potter book.

  • Megan

    I saw this post last week and meant to comment here but forgot. I was actually really impressed that she was willing to even admit that the cruel rhetoric that they used before was wrong. I do wish an apology would’ve been included, but I’m just happy that it was written and posted on their page at all. It’s not enough but it’s something. I really hope it makes people think. As a mom with IGT and whose milk took 7 days to trickle in with my first, I now look back and sincerely regret the lengths I went through to breastfeed at the expense of my baby. The risks of not feeding your baby are so huge in comparison to the “risks” of formula. I just wish more of these people would have some compassion for new moms. This is what I most hope to teach the residents I supervise when they are seeing moms and babies.

    Also, the addendum sickens me (the fact that it was needed, I mean). That people think it’s ok to compare formula feeding to smoking is disgusting. One allows babies to grow and thrive, in some cases where they might otherwise starve, while the other increases risk of death. I will never understand such hubris.

    • demodocus

      Like that nutter on Dr. Amy’s facebook page who was calling formula “sludge.”

    • swbarnes2

      She was saying that the cruel rhetoric was ineffective, not that it was factually in error. And I think some of her article, she seemed to be sliding over differing motivations. If HER motivation is to get women breastfeeding as much as possible, then yes, telling women that their kid’s gut will be irrevocably damaged by the first bottle of formula hurts her goals. If another lactivist has the goal of having as many babies as possible with not a single drop of formula ever, then the “only one bottle” rhetoric is likely effective at forwarding THAT goal. If the goal was to keep babies as healthy as possible, than a hard look at the magnitude of the “risks” needs to be always at the front of the conversation, but it seemed to be mostly absent.

      • Megan

        I guess I’m just naive about it. I feel like at least someone on that site is acknowledging that the party line isn’t perfect. I guess I’m hoping for a slippery slope to non-judgement of infant feeding choices. I should keep dreaming I suppose.

        I do agree with you that the lack of evidence is always notably missing from posts, despite the fact that I do think Steube is one of the more reasonable ones there. They never respond to the one commenter (Anne Risch, I think?) that asks them to discuss the mixed/unimpressive evidence of breastfeeding’s health benefits.

  • Taysha

    “Delayed onset of lactogenesis is common, affecting 44% of first-time mothers in one study”

    so it’s perfectly natural to not have enough milk. HALF OF ALL WOMEN don’t make enough milk.

    Can we ugly-laugh at these people now?

    • swbarnes2

      Half of women (or maybe it was primips) don’t make enough milk by day 3. In the cited study, almost all women (not all) were making some milk by day 7. So more than 56% of women will make enough milk for their babies after the first week or so.

      • Taysha

        Which goes completely against the party line of “every woman can make enough milk for her child”

        I know I made close to nothing for 4 days and became a veritable milking cow afterwards. “Not a drop of formula” effectively sets up 56% of women to fail.

      • indigosky

        So HALF of women will not make enough breastmilk. That doesn’t look like 1% to me.

        How do you know when a Lactivist is lying? Their lips are moving.

      • Megan

        But there’s a differed between making some milk by day 7 and making enough milk for their babies. Did the study mention how many made some milk but couldn’t make enough for their babies?

  • guest

    Agree that shaming language should never have been on the table, but at least some few kudos to Steube for being able to change her position and publicly say so.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      As I tell people, one thing I learned from the Big Fat Nun in 2nd grade is that shame and humiliation is not an effective method for teaching penmanship.

      Nor promoting breastfeeding, apparently.

      • guest

        I recently had to deliver a report to a faculty governance group that included a reminder that it is not okay to publicly shame students when they are caught cheating.

        It’s definitely not effective, but it seems to be the go-to way to try and change behavior for so many people, in so many contexts.

  • AirPlant

    Seriously. How is it possible to care about breastfeeding so much? If you are not even pregnant or nursing, just how does it even ping on the radar? Do we need to start some kind of social wellness program where we donate hobbies to bored women? I have a spare sewing machine, we could find some nice lactivist and maybe get them into Game of Thrones cosplay?

    • AA

      It’s a variation of the classic “nya nyah I’m better than you”

      • AirPlant

        Be fair, so is a lot of hypercompetitive cosplay.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          So true. Plus add in some weirdass racial politics that get into it sometimes. And the body shaming… Oh dear heavens the body shaming…

          • AirPlant

            The no true Scotsman policing. Like you have one buckle that was just close enough but not perfect and suddenly you aren’t really a fan and are just there to show your boobs. That pisses me off every time.

          • Roadstergal
          • Gatita

            That pic is spectacular and has made my day.

          • Mishimoo

            Princess Batman is the best!! We had one at our local con last year, but I didn’t get a chance to have a photo with him.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            suddenly you aren’t really a fan and are just there to show your boobs. That pisses me off every time.

            I agree. So what if you are?

            [disclosure: I have no idea what you are all talking about, just that I find nothing wrong in going “just to show your boobs.” As you were…]

          • Roadstergal

            You’re not, like, a REAL FAN!!! I liked it before it got all mainstream.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            When I say “I have no idea” that is absolute. As in, “REAL FAN!!!!” of what?

            I told you, I have no idea what you are all talking about. None. Zip.

          • Roadstergal

            You know, that thing that you’re cosplaying. 🙂 There’s always a REALER FAN out there. Of everything.

            Did you hear about the hipster who burned his mouth?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Huh?

          • Taysha

            He drank his coffee before it was cool.

            Badumtshhhhhhhhhh!

          • swbarnes2

            To keep the metaphor closer to the topic of the blog, imagine a woman being told “Because you don’t babywear with exactly the right style of sling, you don’t really love your baby. You are just faking so you can call yourself a parent.”

            Except for genre fandom, add a heap of “The real reason I’m saying this is because if you won’t sleep with me, I don’t think you should exist, let alone be a visible part of MY fandom”.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            What metaphor are you talking about?

            I told you, and you don’t seem to understand: I don’t have the first clue about what any of you are talking about in this thread? For example, as hot as the chick in the dress wearing a batman mask is, I have no idea what it means or why it was posted.

          • Old Lady

            Are you not a geek/nerd or pay much attention to that community? I don’t follow cosplay specifically but I’m familiar with the issues they bring up (cosplay is found in all areas of geek on whether video games, anime, sci-if fantasy, comics ) Sexism in this community comes in the form of accusing some women of not being a real geek/fan because they dress in sexy costumes. Because some geeks are caught up in the old school male centric version. The misogyny has gotten pretty ugly.

          • Roadstergal

            The gender politics of cosplay are interesting. There’s a lot of sexism that goes into ‘classic’ sci-fi/comic/fantasy, and so a lot of women’s costumes are pretty revealing to start with. And then if you want to go the other direction and dress as a traditionally male character, or a femme version of a male character, you get backlash.

            That is all to say – the drag show version of the Mario Brothers as Ghostbusters to the original Ghostbusters theme song that they did at the Cal Academy last Halloween was amazing.

          • AirPlant

            I am all for showing up just to show off your boobs if that is your life choice! I hate salty dudes who feel like they get to police a community for participation just because they are pissed that they didn’t get to touch enough boobs in their estimation.

          • BeatriceC

            Meh. MrC and I regularly attend a club where the men have to be buck ass naked but women can wear lingerie. It’s kind of a nice change in the normal pattern of women wearing far less than men. Plus there’s the complete lack of judgmental assholes who think that every woman who shows off her tits is wonderful as long as she’s willing to fuck him but a slut bitch if she says no.

          • BeatriceC

            Men! Ugh! You’re all the same. MrC would likely make the same comment. 🙂

            And then I read your comment to him and he totally agrees with you, so I was right.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            This is why they don’t get to see boobs at all in my case in most of my costume. Soldier uniforms and the occasional legs in a Haruhi Suzumiya outfit are all you get! But mostly soldier types. I’m wide shouldered so I tend to look the part and photographers love a cosplayer that actually knows how to hold a gun properly.

            Quiz me on the fandom all you like, assholes! I’ve been playing this “not a real fan” game my whole life! Come at me bro! Bring out that Star Wars Trivial Pursuit and I will whoop your ass! Do you even know that Salaciois Crumb is a Kowakian Monkey-Lizard?!

            I might be more than a little jaded sometimes… But that’s why it’s even more fun now that I have my husband. No longer part of the meat market. @_@

          • Chant de la Mer

            I actually managed to create the perfect Leia costume that covered up everything. I did Hoth Leia and it was perfect since it was for Halloween in the arctic. I mention this because you said Star Wars and you could probably kick my but in Star Wars trivia, but I would holdout for a little while at least!

    • LeighW

      GoT cosplay?

      I don’t/didn’t breastfeed, but I’d gladly give up housework for that

      • Sean Jungian

        Ooooooo did you notice that Cersei seems to have a new simplified style to go with her new shorn hairstyle and increased ruthlessness? Gorgeous dress in her scene going down to the harbor.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          Oh good I’m not the only one going “I really like the way that dress moves. I need a dress that moves like that!”

    • Roadstergal

      I saw an awesome Sherlock crossgender cosplay a while back. It was a far more worthwhile contribution to society than lactivism.

      • AirPlant

        OMG that sounds AMAZING!!! I think the best I have seen was a set of women who did each of Dr. Who’s iterations reinvented as steampunk ladies. They even had a tardis lady. I am not normally into steampunk, but it was so freaking cool!

        • Megan

          This past fall, we went to our local Ren Faire all decked out in steampunk. My daughter got to wear her tutu and goggles and though maternity steampunk options are limited, I at least got to wear a steampunk womb Tshirt (from cafepress if anyone is interested) and a fun hat. I still love to look at the pics of my daughter in her goggles; so stinking cute…

          • AirPlant

            I went one year dressed as a WoW character and just pretended that I got super lost. It was hilarious in my mind only, but totally worth it.

          • Megan

            My husband wore a pickelhaube. He was really lost…

        • Roadstergal

          I would be so all over that.

          This isn’t the one I mentioned, but I love it:
          http://orig07.deviantart.net/da06/f/2011/303/4/1/41355bb5437a6c610a377c065c225789-d4ejem8.jpg

          • AirPlant

            Oh god, I think I just ovulated.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That makes two of us, which, given the fact that I’m pregnant already, is a tad disturbing.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “donate hobbies to bored women”

      Cosplay seamstress is a nice hobby, but best it can get you is some pocket change on Etsy. Lactation Consultant/Researcher, in contrast, is a career with a real salary and benefits. And there’s nothing like getting your customers to “clamor” for your services to increase your prospects even further.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        I need money for cosplay badly… Thinking of going for a more simple Spice and Wolf cosplay with my husband and I as Lawrence and Holo and maybe we can finally make it to a convention this year. Economics has never been more exciting.

        If anyone has a good resource for faux wolf fur in a kind of brownish orangy color I would love you forever.

        Screw lactation consultant. I may be poor compared to them but on my cosplay days I’m a freaking wolf goddess!

      • indigosky

        I disagree. A good friend of mine is bringing in about 3-4K a month (after expenses) doing cosplay costumes. Those costumes ain’t cheap. It did take her about a year to get going, but after people would attend Cons in her costumes and others would want them it drove word of mouth business to her.

        • AirPlant

          And the skill transfers into being a kick ass Halloween costuming mom, so there is that too….

    • Heidi

      “Seriously. How is it possible to care about breastfeeding so much?”

      One of my theories is these people want to feel like they are helping society but pick a cause that absolutely requires them to do nothing but froth at the mouth and relies on other people doing something instead of them. If you really care about hunger, for example, you’d have to invest either time and/or money to volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry or donate money.

      • Roadstergal

        Actually doing something to help the children of poor women/women of color is a lot of work, after all. Stealing their formula is easier.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Heh. Quite.
          We’ve had some really, really bad weather stuff locally in the last week. I and mine are fine, but there are plenty of hurting families and damaged/destroyed homes. At church Sunday, various announcements were made about service opportunities for helping with cleanup and such, as well as a request from the local food bank for, in particular, diapers, formula, and blankets, as well as food.
          On hearing this, I admit to mentally grinning at the fact that some heads are probably exploding over a request for formula, sighing over the same individuals no doubt being nasty about “the moms should have just breastfed and they wouldn’t have to worry about this,” and planning my next shopping trip with formula sale prices in mind. Regrettably, I’m almost as motivated by “because screw the lactivists, that’s why” as I am at the prospect of babies getting full tummies without their moms worrying, but hopefully the kiddoes won’t mind.

          • BeatriceC

            Are you somewhere I could send an e-gift card (won’t be much…$20 bucks or so), to buy formula with? I can’t keep track of who lives where, and there’s so many people from so many different countries.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That’s very, very kind of you! 🙂
            I’m in the Texas/Gulf Coast region. The Houston area was hit rather hard with floods last week due to record rainfall: eight people died (last I heard, may be more by now) and a lot of people are either homeless or unable to return to their homes for some time–and, of course, the worst-hit areas were pretty impoverished ones to begin with.
            As far as places to donate, I can suggest two. The first is a sort of conglomerate of nearly a hundred local churches plus a lot of community service organizations. Its Form 990s, at least according to Accountant Husband, check out, and they do a lot of good ranging from helping kids get school supplies/vaccines/medical help to running food banks. They’re accepting formula donations, and I imagine that if you sent them a donation earmarked for formula, they’d be happy to see that that’s what it buys. The organization is called Northwest Assistance Ministries: http://namonline.org/
            The second is an organization which specifically gets formula to babies in low-income families. They do have their Form 990s posted, but I didn’t get a chance to pester the AH to review them, so I can’t speak for them beyond the fact that they seem to do good work. http://www.lifehouston.org/
            While the Houston Food Bank is a generally awesome organization, they don’t accept baby food donations (and I assume that includes formula) for some reason.
            Hope that helps, and thanks again! 🙂

          • BeatriceC

            I’ve had some tough times in my life. I was in homestead Florida for hurricane Andrew and vividly recall the misery caused by total destruction. More recently when I fled my old situation I had some difficulties landing on my feet and spent some time in a shelter. Now that I am stable again, I like to pay forward the kindness of the strangers who helped me (and my family), during the times I was in that situation. I’m not rich, but I’m secure, so I can afford a small amount. I will trust your judgement on who to donate to.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I managed, via the kindness of people and a hefty dose of sheer dumb luck, to not have to either live in a shelter or accept food stamps and the like, but it was a very, very close thing for years. (Short store: “ran away” from mentally-ill/dysfunctional/in one case, substance-abusing parents when I turned 18, drove across the country to escape the crazy, didn’t have a support net or a job at the time.) I feel insanely wealthy to not have to worry about the basics of everyday life anymore, so if I can, I try to pass the favor on. And who (lactivists aside) can argue with the fact that full baby tummies are a Good Thing?
            Many thanks once more for your help!

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        Heck even donate clothes and blankets! You can do the former just doing a “Have I worn this in the past year?” spring cleaning. Then put it in a box and drop off at the local homeless shelter. Boom! Cleaner closet and clothes for the needy! You can do the latter with some scissors and fleece to make a tied blanket. No sewing required!

        But I suppose that is more effort than typing on a keyboard and sneering smugly. And no one usually sees your actions with the above so you can’t lord it over everyone.

        Which is the freaking point! Service isn’t about you, it’s about those you serve.

        Though speaking of service I do need to ask what the shelter needs in the summer. Hats and sunscreen maybe?

        • kfunk937

          Personal care items are generally a good bet year-round: diapers, shampoo, deodorant, etc., because these are not covered by food stamps (EBT). However, because folks donate these things already, depending on location, contacting the locals to ask what they need isn’t a bad idea. Local shelters may or may not accept donations directly, which is another reason to check.

          In our county, there are a couple of umbrella social services organisations that accept donations centrally. Even things like furniture, which is then donated (along with retailers’ stock) to formerly homeless folks starting over, sold in thrift shops or given away to those in need. Even torn up clothing is resold to rag makers to help fund continuing efforts. It’s all good.

          • Roadstergal

            Sam Bee had a spot recently on how you can’t use food stamps for diapers, and it was jaw-dropping to me. It definitely makes me want to find a way to shunt some money towards low-income moms for diapers – any suggestions for US/California area charities is appreciated.

            I guess I never really thought about the political reality of the Eminiem lyric. :p

          • AA

            Google “diaper banks” and you’ll find them.

          • Roadstergal

            Thanks!

          • Bombshellrisa

            This past summer I wanted to help the people displaced because of the wildfires in my state. We held a supply drive and then made my house the drop off point for donations. I noticed that people were quick to donate water and things for the firefighters, but that diapers and feminine hygiene products were needed much more and nobody was donating them. This was not the time to suggest cloth diapers and Diva cups. In the end, a few women came through when I pointed out that there was a clear need for these items. I just kept thinking about the women with newborns and little ones in diapers, whose homes and everything in them were gone and they were reduced to sleeping in a shelter, hoping there would be diapers donated or that they could get pads or tampons when they needed them.

          • BeatriceC

            I was in Homestead, FL during Hurricane Andrew (the hardest hit area), in 1992. You are so right about the need for feminine hygiene products and diapers. Though diapers seem to get donated more readily than feminine hygiene products, so more than once we resorted to using diapers for the purpose. I was never so thankful to go to a boarding school. The hurricane came through the week before I had to leave for school, and that one week of absolute devastation was pure hell. I felt a little guilty for being able to go to school several states away and escape it all while my friends and family stayed to rebuild.

          • Sonja Henie

            I agree. My area has several social service agencies that take donations. I’m giving away some old, but usable dishes today on my way to the dentist. (Actually, at the rate I’m going, probably on my way HOME from the dentist!) I keep a running bag of donations for them. One thing they will not take is mattresses, probably d/t concerns about bedbugs.

            When I retired, I donated a lot of my old scrubs to an agency that resells them cheap, for people who’ve been hired as CNAs, etc who may not be able to afford their own until they’ve received a few paychecks.

          • kfunk937

            Oh, I forgot about kitchen ware. And lamps and stuff. Very useful and much appreciated.

        • AA

          Unless you happen to have used leftover items, it’s more efficient to donate money rather than buy items and then donate those.

        • BeatriceC

          I spent a little time in a homeless/battered woman shelter (not a period of my life I talk about much). One thing I noted is that black women did not have what they needed to care for their hair. African-type hair is different than caucasian-type hair and requires different products to keep healthy and decent looking. Most people, when they buy hygiene products, seem to gravitate to the cheap stuff, and practically never think of the extra oils and conditioners required to keep African-type hair from splitting and breaking. The result is a vicious cycle. In my time at the shelter I saw so many women grow depressed because they lacked so much to make a good impression at job interviews, and then their hair started looking ratty, and it made it that much worse. When the right products did come into the shelter it was like they won the lottery. So these days, I spend about $25/mo on those oils and donate them to the women’s shelters. And, as you can see, I also encourage others to do the same.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Yeah this is why I’m looking for more “luxury” items people don’t think about.

            The good thing about where I live is that Utah has a pretty progressive system for the chronically homeless. Still working on the transient population but we’re getting there with resources. But the ones who have no idea what to do or where to go and just ended up in the area because that’s where they ran out of resources to get away from abuse or just ended up on hard times are offered a free trip up to Salt Lake City to take advantage of the homes for the homeless program with priority given to women with children. That way they can get some semblance of normal with a private apartment and resources for jobs. Not to mention good food and a place to prepare it.

            The ones who want to stay in the area are the ones who stay with the local shelters. Most do choose to go to SLC so we fortunately don’t usually have an overcrowded shelter. The big focus for the ones who stay is getting them steady employment. The local hospitals and clinics also have programs to write off 100% of healthcare expenses for the homeless as charity so they don’t get saddled with even more debt.

            The homeless shelters benefit from very generous church organizations in the area too. My denomination commonly makes hygiene kits with dental supplies, soap, and shampoo along with feminine hygiene supplies. I know the Baptists and the Catholics also donate a ton of food and toiletries. It’s still kind of a contest between them all some days but if the displaced peoples benefit then I’m fine with it. And that’s not including donations from the non-denominational organizations and individuals who are also extremely generous. They also do a lot to bring attention to the shelters when they’re low on resources. Despite some of the jackasses who support cutting off the homeless and all that crap most people here don’t believe in that.

            This last winter though the shelter specifically asked if instead of food or toiletries if people could donate blankets as they were running low and the ones they had were looking pretty threadbare. So that’s what got me thinking about the unconventional ideas.

            I thought sunscreen because we get blistering hot days with some pretty punishing sun in the summer and they’re usually outside taking their resumes to different job leads. They get pretty crispy and that’s got to be miserable. I’ve got a lot of sunscreen of varying strengths trying to find one that works but doesn’t make me break out everywhere or get a rash. They’re all still good. I’ve also considered donating those gel packs you can freeze and reuse so they can cool down or ice their joints after all that. Just because they’re homeless doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to ice hot and sore feet.

        • Mishimoo

          Menstruation/post-partum supplies! At least, that’s what’s on my list for when our budget isn’t quite so tight. Other than that, we donate nice clothes and shoes with a decent amount of wear still in them.

    • Zornorph

      But if you got them into Game of Thrones cosplay, they would all want to be Lysa Arryn, who was breastfeeding her kid when he was like 8yo.

      • Bombshellrisa

        I was thinking that too!

      • AirPlant

        You know, sometimes in cosplay you have to commit.

  • Sean Jungian

    I notice she’s not completely tossing out negative motivation – she’s calling for more study to determine if it really works or not. Way to take a stand, Stuebe.

  • demodocus

    How does turning the language negative (i.e. risks of formula feeding) jive with many people’s belief in only using positive words with their children?
    It is nice to know she has apparently learned that hyperbole isn’t always helpful.

    • guest

      We use positive words without children and save all the negative ones for hormonal post-partum women.

      • guest

        “with our,” not “without”