Breastfeeding and the obsession with representation

Funny baby girl with mom make selfie on mobile phone

Yesterday I wrote about the role of class and race in natural childbirth and breastfeeding advocacy. Natural childbirth and breastfeeding advocates, whether they realize it or not, define themselves in relation to poor women, often women of color.

One one hand, advocates claim to emulate poor indigenous women, whom they view as exotic, authentic and close to nature. On the other hand, they demonizing poor women (black and white) in their own countries whom they stigmatize as too ignorant to recognize the “truths” of natural childbirth and lactivism and too lazy to employ them when they learn of them.

I quoted from ‘The New Reproductive Regimes of Truth,’ a chapter in Alison Phipps book The Politics of the Body: Gender in a Neoliberal and Neoconservative Age.

Phipps offers food for thought on a variety of issues including breastfeeding and the lactivist obsession with representation.

Phipps writes:

The central tenet of lactivism isn’t “breast is best”; it’s “breast-feeders are best.”

The new reproductive politics is largely concerned with representations of birth and breastfeeding and attitudes towards them rather than how they are structurally framed. A key element of breastfeeding activism, or ‘lactivism’, is the general public’s reaction, with initiatives such as ‘nurse-ins’ … and campaigns to prevent social media sites such as Facebook from deleting pictures of mothers with their nurslings under obscenity rules.

The obsession with representation now extends to endless brelfies (breastfeeding selfies), as well as breastfeeding stunts wherein women breastfeed while wearing uniforms, etc. Lactivists refer approvingly to their obsession with representation by claiming they are “normalizing” breastfeeding.

But that’s not what’s really going on.

Such campaigns are an example of the politics of recognition, the identity-based activism in which issues around representation supplant those of structure and socio-economic redistribution.

If lactivists truly cared about what was best for babies and mothers, they’d spend far more time addressing economic barriers to breastfeeding, and no time at all posting pictures of themselves breastfeeding. But that’s hard, and in any case, it is far more enjoyable to coerce women, “for their own good,” into lactivist approved behaviors like rooming in (by closing well baby nurseries), then bemoan the purportedly ignorant and slothful poor who quit breastfeeding as soon as they are out the hospital door.

The project of “normalizing” breastfeeding,” encompassing brelfies, breastfeeding stunts and complaints about Facebook censoring, are forms of “virtue signaling.” What is virtue signaling?

[It] is the popular modern habit of indicating that one has virtue merely by expressing disgust or favor for certain political ideas [or] cultural happenings …

Virtue signaling is a form of personal micro-branding. As Phipps notes:

‘Natural’ birth and breastfeeding have become part of an identity package around organic or holistic parenting, while formula feeding and birth interventions (and in particular, caesarean sections) form aspects of a negative Other associated with other practices such as ‘cry-it-out’, vaccination and corporal punishment…

How does the lactivist obsession with representation intersect with the issue of class?

Lactivists represent poor indigenous women who have no choice to breastfeed as authentic and closer to nature, when the ugly reality is that there is no “authenticity” in a subsistence existence and the only thing they are closer to is death. They represent poor women who bottlefeed as ignorant and slothful, when the reality is that many work far harder for their children’s wellbeing (multiple low wage jobs) than privileged women who have husbands to support them, as well as a store of intellectual and social capital (e.g. college educations) paid for by their own privileged parents.

As Phipps explains, natural childbirth and lactivism:

… often play into broader class and ‘race’ antagonisms in which the white middle classes judge other social groups as ‘lacking’ and attempt, through education and occasionally through ridicule, to force them into the dominant mode.

The truth is that lactivism isn’t about what’s best for babies or mothers. It’s about what’s best for lactivists.

Lactivists themselves don’t have a clue to what lactivism really embodies. It isn’t about breastmilk, which in countries with clean water has only few benefits compared with formula. Lactivism reflects power relationships and philosophical beliefs about mothering, feminism and economic privilege.

The central tenet of lactivism isn’t “breast is best”; it’s “breast-feeders are best.”

The ancillary tenets are:

  • Ignore pain, inconvenience and  babies’ cries of hunger; if there’s no suffering, you aren’t really mothering.
  • Women can and should be judged by the function of their reproductive organs.
  • Institutions can and should violate women’s bodily autonomy to compel them to use their breasts to feed their babies.
  • The views and values of who don’t breastfeed can be ignored because these women have no moral agency; they are victims of formula marketing.

The lactivist obsession with representation is not an effort to normalize breastfeeding; it’s an effort to enforce a particular view of women while simultaneously ignoring the extraordinary privilege required to hold that view.

When I write in opposition to lactivism, many people — mothers, lactation consultants, some physicians — are incredulous. How can I be opposed to breastfeeding?

But I’m not opposed to breastfeeding; I breastfed my own four children. I’m opposed to the conceit that breastfeeders are better than other women, the beliefs that suffering is integral to mothering, that women have no right to control their own breasts, and that women who choose not to breastfeed are pawns of the formula industry, incapable of independent thought.

In short, I’m thoroughly opposed to the notion that breastfeeders are best.

I don’t want to normalize breastfeeding; I believe that we should normalize support for all mothers, regardless of how they feed their babies.

  • Sue

    “the reality is that many work far harder for their children’s wellbeing (multiple low wage jobs) than privileged women who have husbands to support them, as well as a store of intellectual and social capital (e.g. college educations) paid for by their own privileged parents”

    Yes, this.

    My mother only breast fed me for a few weeks, but she and my Dad courageously migrated to a country where they didn’t speak the language, and laboured at menial jobs. Our family progressed from only primary school education to tertiary in one generation.

    SOmehow, I don’t think more prolonged BFing would have had the same effect.

  • BeatriceC

    This is completely off topic, and it’s from a blogger whom I like, though don’t necessarily see eye to eye with all the time (mostly she’s Christian and I’m atheist, but other than that, she’s got a lot in common with how I view this whole parenting gig). I haven’t read a lot of her, as I just discovered her, but what I have read, I’ve liked. Anyway, here’s a post of hers on home birth. I loved it.

    http://sacredgroundstickyfloors.com/2015/05/16/when-did-natural-childbirth-start-involving-inflatable-wading-pools/

    • Erin

      Was at a first birthday party yesterday and whilst our various children were running amok, me and another friend were eyeing the bouncy castle as a possible birthing location. Although she did want to site it in the Maternity hospital carpark and possibly take the balls (and small children) out of it.

      • BeatriceC

        Ohhh! Don’t take the balls out of it! That would make it more fun.

        • Erin

          That’s what I thought. Plus they might come in handy to throw at people if the need arises.

          “Trust birth”… plastic ball to the face.
          “It doesn’t really hurt”…lots of plastic balls to the face.

          • BeatriceC

            I think that would be more effective than breathing techniques, honestly.

    • Deborah

      Some of those comments were illuminating! Really gives a snapshot into the mindset of these ladies.
      The Christianspeak is a trigger for me 🙁

      • BeatriceC

        Yeah, that part is a turn off for me, but she does have some great things to say in spite of that.

      • sdsures

        “Christianspeak” – I love how you put that! Nailed it! It’s a turn-off for me, too.

      • sdsures

        Jesus never had kids, so I don’t get where the commenters are getting all the “you should be more Christlike” stuff from. About the only thing she could have done to emulate Christ when she found they did not have pink inflatable birthing pools was to…flip some tables.

    • Ayr

      I didn’t realize there was a difference between a regular inflatable pool and a birthing pool…. seriously, aren’t they the same thing? I had a c-section, with an epidural (obviously, who wants to be cut open and feel it?), I even took pain meds afterward, does that make less of a mother? No, it does not, it just means, I know my limitations and would rather be in the one place that fix things, should something go wrong.

    • sdsures

      “Associate: Ma’am, we have an inflatable Elmo pool?

      Preggo: Pink?

      Associate: No, just Elmo.

      Preggo: Grrrr! I need pink. I had a dream I gave birth in a pink birthing pool!”

      LOL!

  • Amazed

    Oh my, I did something terrible. I visited the Breast milk is best but only if you have breastmilk page. I knew I shouldn’t have but I did. The breastfeeding hysteria in the comments defies belief. One proud breastfeeder insists that no baby should have formula as long as breastmilk is available. They, breastfeeding mothers are ready to donate.

    Ugh, no, breastfeeder.I don’t want your bodily fluids anywhere near my baby because 1) I don’t trust strangers; 2) I don’t trust strangers’ husbands. Honestly, if I was married to her, I would have cheated left and right. Her feeling of superiority and great knowledge is too suffocating; 3) if breastmilk is this magical, my kid might be infected with her lack of compassion for starving babies and exhausted mothers and lack of any common sense. Why, she even claimed that her breastfed baby was one proof that breastmilk was best for all babies! Ugh.

    • Heidi

      Yes! I’m curious as how they think providing breast milk would work. Obviously, most lactating women aren’t making that much extra milk, if any. Do we force lactating women to pump extra milk? Is it voluntary? Because if it’s voluntary, who is going to be willing to do that? Who gets the milk? Women who’ve proven they can’t make enough by sending over lactation consultants to their house? Do they have to choke down possibly dangerous drugs or herbal teas and have a pumping schedule? Do we force them to get their child’s tongue clipped? Are mothers still allowed to give their children formula over breast milk? I suppose some of them might realize how stupid what they just proposed is, but I think some of them would reveal their dark sides.

      • Pinky

        In the UK we have milk banks which supply donated breast milk to babies in scbu or nicu . Women donate voluntarily. They are tested for blood-borne diseases beforehand. They are supplied with special labels and bottles so that their milk can be identified. Whatever they pump is then frozen until it is collected by the” Blood bikes” (they transport donated blood too) and taken to the milk bank where it is pasteurised before use. Moms can donate as little or as much as they want until their baby is 6 months old. Then they stop because you can’t give a premmie mature ebm. Hope that answers your questions

        • Heidi

          I was actually referring to this idea that no babies should drink formula and instead drink strangers’ breast milk when in reality there isn’t enough breast milk for all the preemie NICU babies as it is. Just curious how the people who think this is even remotely plausible think we could even do that.

        • Heidi

          Thanks for the info though. I was half considering donating milk once my son turned a year old, but I didn’t realize that milk wasn’t ideal for NICU & preemies.

    • BeatriceC

      I like a lot of what that page posts, but I have to be very careful not to look at any of the comments or I get far too close to rage-stroke.

    • Ayr

      I went to this page and OMG, the arrogance of one particular poster! Trying to refute everything the author mentioned, including the fact that there are women out there who do not produce enough no matter how hard they try, I happen to be one of them. My son has been supplemented with formula from the start, I pumped what I could, but it was never enough. My son’s latch is perfect, I am the problem, and now due to complications {pulmonary embolism, and have to be on blood thinners} I am no longer able to provide what little breast milk I did produce. Needless to say, I hate people who preach ‘Breast is best’ and say ‘If you just try a little harder you can make it work.’ What am I supposed to do, pump 24-7?

    • Sue

      Meh – I’m evidence of the opposite effect.

      When my daughter was exclusively breast fed, she could only babble. Once I started supplementing with formula, she progressed to speech, reading and writing, and later, excelling at school.

      She also seemed to develp and get brighter with every vaccination.

      QED.

  • Amazed

    OT: Do you think you can relate to those ladies’ problem? There seems to be an epidemics of faulty babies!

    http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/parenting/2646956-Noooo-Dbaby-is-broken-and-I-cant-find-a-guarantee?pg=1

    • Who?

      Those women are v funny.

      • Amazed

        Oh there was one who thought OP was just calling for help… even after the told her that she was just aiming for some fun. Obviously those evil women have ganged up on OP, just ask PP!

    • Deborah

      Hilarious 🙂

      • Amazed

        One of my faves must be “My 1994 and 2001 models are operating quite well, although the 2001
        version still makes odd noises at times, sort of grrrr sounds. Seems to
        happen mostly when we say 10pm curfew or you’re not going.” Also the nipple wondering what rights it can demand.

    • BeatriceC

      Bwahahahahahaha! I seriously needed that today. Major things keep breaking around here (50-odd year old house…it happens). Today was the hot water heater. Of course the part can’t be obtained on a Sunday. MrC is currently getting it temporarily fixed, but it’s been all day and I haven’t had a shower yet so I’m grumpy. So I really needed the all-out belly laughter that page produced.

    • MI Dawn

      That’s very funny! Thanks for the laugh.

    • Daleth

      I love this one (biscuit is British for cookie): “My 2013 model has developed a curious glitch. Upon hearing the word ‘No’ it starts emitting a very loud, continual, high pitched noise.
      A biscuit seems to reset the unit so the noise ceases.”

      • Amazed

        I loved the input from the lady who agreed that 2001 models must have a glitch in their listening software. Her mum had a 2002 model and it had the same fault. But she is a 91 model herself and thinks this batch is awesome!

        Another fave was hoe the 2001 blue unit finally found the auto-clean upgrade but only used it before collaborating with a pink unit.

        I couldn’t believe it when this poster barged in to ride the high horse on a band of women who were just having some witty fun.

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

    “Can’t Feed It, Don’t Breed It” ~ Libertarian Child-Rearing Philosophy:
    The problem is that babies and children have become a status symbol in America. Raising a kid to adulthood costs north of $250,000. More if you include 4 years of college. So only the wealthy and privileged can “afford” to have a kid. So the wealthy and privileged have kids so they can brag that they have the perfectly groomed child the way they’d brag about a designer pure bred dog.

    We all know how the upper class detests it when the lower class breeds. Poor people are shamed and punished for breeding: Compared to animals if they have more than one (or any). Condemned as neglectful or abusive for a single misstep. Excoriated as lazy if their child misbehaves.

    The thing is the wealthy have made it impossible for poor people to be “good parents” through institutionalized poverty because supposedly the children of the poor are a burden on taxpayers…. but really they do it because how else would they look down on the poor?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Also they’re slackers who just don’t want to grow up and take responsibility if they don’t have kids.

    • indigosky

      And I know people who could feed it when they bred it, but circumstances changed. A close friend was in a car accident (luckily baby was at daycare) and no longer can work. Less than a year after that her husband’s company shut down and everyone was out of a job with no severance. So they went from easily being able to feed two kids to being pretty much homeless. Their only income was her disability checks. Her husband finally found a new job, but it paid less. Took them six years to finally get back to where they were after she could no longer work.

      • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

        The libertarian mindset insists that parents be psychic and plan financially for every contingency. Unexpected job loss or illness or other disaster? Shame on you! (Never mind they have relied on social services or affluent relatives at some point in the past)

  • namaste863

    Anybody who has the time and energy to stress out over how people they’ve never met feed their kids needs to get a life. In a major way.

    • CSN0116

      Right?! That’s what it really comes down to.

      I’ve tried to ask lactivists why they REALLY care – is it about the health and well-being of children everywhere, or something else? They never answer. Because let’s just pretend that they are charitable, loving women who want peace and perfection for every baby. If it were true then how the babies are fed would not even register on the scale. They would back 1,000,000 other programs first that could actually have a chance at accomplishing that goal – income equality, universal health care, early literacy programs, improved mental health services, severely improved child protection services, dissolving food desserts, my God I could go all day……………..

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Thank you to Rick Kleffel for one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve ever done! This is an hour long podcast about my book PUSH BACK: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting. You can also read Rick’s wonderful review.

    (FYI: It takes a long time to load in your browser, a minute or more, before it starts playing.)

    http://www.rainbowlight.com/blog/amy-tuteur/

    • sdsures

      Your book hasn’t yet made it to my tiny local library in Salford, Manchester, UK – not even as an inter-library loan! Can I ask them to order a copy?

      • Erin

        If memory serves (did some part time work in a library whilst a student) you can request that they purchase any book. The request then goes somewhere central to be considered. It’s helpful if you can get multiple people to ask about the same book.

        • sdsures

          I’ll do that next time I’m there. Thanks!

      • MI Dawn

        Do you have any way to use an ereader? It might be easier for one of us to lend it to you, if the book is set up to be lent.

        • sdsures

          You mean does the library have an ereader?

        • sdsures

          OK, I found out why it’s not available here. It won’t even be RELEASED in the UK until January 10, 2017! :'(

  • Roadstergal

    “The central tenet of lactivism isn’t “breast is best”; it’s “breast-feeders are best.””

  • indigosky

    And this is what I keep saying – these lactivists don’t seem to understand what the problem with because of their own privilege. They can afford to stay home for months and months, or to not work at all. Until there is PAID maternity leave, breastfeeding rates will never go up. Period. That is a cold, hard fact. Look at how many people are living in poverty or are toeing that line. They can’t afford to take time off to breastfeed, nor do they work jobs where they can pump. I know a lot of formula feeders who would have loved to breastfeed, but they knew after their maternity leave they would not be able to pump and feared their baby would not take a bottle, or they only got 2, 3, 4 weeks off because they could not afford more.

  • lilin

    Brelfies are like Wear Orange for Gun Violence: a cheap and easy substitute for real work.

  • Madtowngirl

    “The central tenet of lactivism isn’t ‘breast is best’; it’s ‘breast-feeders are best.’”

    A-freaking-men. Breastfeed if you want, in public, in private, whatever. But, lactivists, stop telling me that my child and I are inferior because it didn’t work out for us. I’m not poor, I have a Master’s, I learned about breastfeeding while pregnant, and saw lactation consultants. It just didn’t work. I’m not better than you, and you’re not better than me.

    • Tori

      This a hundred times over, and you’ve put it better than I can. Breastfeeding is just not possible for me. I can’t produce enough even using an SNS and chained to a pump after feeds. I cannot make my body comply, and am sick of being judged for this.

  • Brooke

    I can’t tell if you don’t know how to use Google to find the opinions of actual women of color and low income women or if you genuinely don’t care what their opinions are because you are actually racist/classist and only value the opinions of people in your same academic circle that completely agree with you.

    • MI Dawn

      Brooke: have you worked with women of color or low income women? I did, in the clinics. Most of them don’t have the time, money or energy to breastfeed, and, to be honest, many of them don’t want to. I refuse to force any woman to do something against her will, be it birth without pain relief, breast feed, cloth diaper, baby wear. If she wants to do them, I’ll give her all my support.

      And yes, we all know that *everything* on Google is 100% accurate and written by the people named.

      • Heidi

        Like Google Maps, Google has a car they send out to ask women their opinions on breastfeeding, attachment parenting, baby-wearing, cloth-diapering, etc. and they have two categories, “middle class to upper class white women” and “low income women and/or women of color.”

      • sdsures

        I’m interested to know, if you can share this information, that is – have you ever worked with disabled mothers? How do they feel about FF vs BF?

        • Amy

          I’ve never “worked” with any moms with disabilities (I work with teenagers), but I do have a few friends who ARE moms with disabilities. Their opinions are mixed. One is your classic stereotypical “crunchy mama” and is very pro-BF because it’s something her body CAN do and do well. Several have to take meds such that breastfeeding isn’t even an option.

        • MI Dawn

          Hi! Sorry I missed your question. We had a few disabled mothers, but, to be honest, I don’t remember if they breast fed or bottle fed. We didn’t make a big thing of it either way in our practice. We figured they were able to make their own decision from the information we gave them about both methods.

          We had a lot of teen mothers, who, almost to a woman, bottle fed. Most of them “didn’t want a baby on their tit all the time” although a few did say their boyfriend didn’t want them to do it. Most were more interested in post-partum birth control pills over breastfeeding. We did give breastfeeding classes to all the women and encouraged those who wanted to do so. We just didn’t force anyone against their will.

          But, this was also nearly 20 years ago, before the breastfeeding mafia took over hospitals.

          • sdsures

            They certainly sound like the Mafia! *Godfather theme in my head*

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        I once had an African-American woman explain to me that in her family and community, breastfeeding is seen as having strong ties to pre-Civil War days and the history of black women being forced to nurse white babies to the detriment of their own. As a result, very few women in that group breastfeed or even want to. I’m not sure if that was specific to the group and/or area in question (southwestern US, a once-Confederate state), but I (a white woman whose ancestors primarily came here in the early 20th century) found that interesting, and wonder if it’s a common association or not.
        (Needless to say, I support moms however they want to safely feed their babies for any reason; I just found that perspective interesting from a “huh, I never considered that, thanks for sharing” point of view.)

    • Azuran

      So……you think the proper way to get the opinion of low income and people of colour is to ask google about their feelings? Ever thought about asking them?

    • Heidi

      You must not be reading the same blog post as me. I don’t think Dr. Amy said, “This is women of color and low income women’s opinions.” In fact, I’d assume she wouldn’t say anything like that, because you know, I’m sure there are differing opinions amongst “women of color” and “low-income women.” Or did they all get together at the yearly women of color and low-income women picnic and decide to have the same opinions and then post it on the interwebz as the official women of color and low-income women opinions for 2016?

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        Well, you know, it is a matter of *opinion* as to whether you must choose between working 2 or 3 low paying jobs or exclusively breastfeeding. It’s not, like, economic necessity or anything.

        • CSN0116

          Don’t say that to Brooke, she has already shared that she is poor but EBFs and participates in multiple other maternal behaviors that make her superior to you DESPITE her socioeconomic status. If she can do it, you can and should as should all poor and disenfranchised women. No excuses. She, however, disregards the fact that she does not work, qualifies for government assistance, and lives with a friend who supports her housing and other practical needs. That shit is irrelevant and in no way contributes to her parenting “success.”

          • indigosky

            So she’s a Welfare Queen* and a mooch. Why does this not surprise me?

            *Noting that I believe Welfare Queens are as rare as voter fraud – there are very rare instances, but not even close to the stereotype that has been given in either situation.

          • CSN0116

            “Flat Broke With Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform,” by Sharon Hays, gives a good breakdown of the definition and actual instances of the “Welfare Queen” – good book. Ironically, that book inadvertently sheds a lot of light on how breast feeding for poor women is just not in the cards. It’s a raw, qualitative, ethnographic analysis of what it’s like to live this life.

          • indigosky

            I have actually read it, when I was looking into becoming a social worker when I got to my “quarter life crisis.” After doing some shadowing later into my schooling, I knew I could not handle it because I get too emotionally attached. Wonderful book.

          • CSN0116

            What is a quarter life crisis? I think I may be having one…

          • Mishimoo

            It’s when you hit about 25 and realise that what you thought you wanted isn’t what you wanted and change things entirely and/or embrace aspects of yourself that you were previously unsure about. For me, that meant realising that I wasn’t going to grow out of being a nerdy goth-type person and so I started enjoying it instead of second-guessing myself constantly. I also realised that hey, I don’t actually want to be a stay at home mum forever, I want to be a librarian, so I started working towards that as well.

          • MI Dawn

            So *that’s* why my youngest decided out of the blue that she wants to become a nurse! Quarter-life crisis! (The fact that her mother and stepmother are nurses, her father is a hospital based pharmacist, and that I was a midwife for her early elementary years had nothing to do with it, I’m sure…)

          • indigosky

            I went from wanting to be a social worker, to joining the military. My parents were in shock. But, no regrets. It gave me a foot in the door to federal jobs after my medical discharge and it’s how I met the husband.

          • sdsures

            What’s a “Welfare Queen”? I haven’t heard this term before.

          • demodocus

            A term coined long ago by American conservatives that implies a woman stays on handouts from the government for life, having as many kids as she feels like and never bothering to even look for a job.
            I doubt it was all that common even before they limited the amount of time a person could collect welfare and demanded the person be showing that they’re looking for a job to receive it. This law was enacted more than 20 years ago.

          • sdsures

            OK. Thanks.

          • Amy

            Yup. Welfare reform was passed (under a Democrat!) in 1996. The term “Welfare queen” dates back to the 1980 presidential election when Reagan made up a demonstrably false story about a woman in Chicago who was collecting six figures (in 1980) and driving a Cadillac by using eight different aliases and a number of false addresses.

            When people researched it, the closest they could find was a woman who fradulently collected $2000 under ONE false name. The Reagan camp’s response was that it was a good story and made the point. And judging by the number of people using the term close to 40 years later, apparently it WAS a good story.

          • demodocus

            I remembered the Clinton thing and the rough date (though it was definitely a republican controlled congress). 1980 might have been the year we were on welfare, too, because Dad was so ill and my sister and I were toddlers, so working enough to pay the bills was hard.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Someone who lives off the dole and likes it. Enjoys it. Think the people on “Shameless” and that is a start.

          • Kelly

            Unfortunately I do know a few of those. On the other hand, I really think that there are a lot of good people who are on welfare but I don’t know about it because they don’t go around talking about it. I know of two families who were temporarily on welfare to support their families. They worked hard to get off and work harder than we do to stay off it.

          • BeatriceC

            I received food stamps for a couple months a few years ago. I tried my damnedest not to let everybody know and stopped using them as soon as I no longer needed them. That was when I first cut off my family and moved 3000 miles away with nothing but what I could cram into my little Honda Civic and no job lined up. I was in a homeless shelter for a short time. But I landed on my feet and will forever be grateful for the safety net that existed to keep my kids fed. I’d venture a guess that a huge chunk of food stamp recipients are just like me in that they just need a little help to get through a rough spot, and that the overwhelming majority of them are hard working people stuck in low wage jobs. Hell, I know teachers who’s families qualify for food stamps.

          • indigosky

            I know a lot of people who have been on food stamps, and other assistance programs. I fully support those programs, because s*** happens to good people and I have come dangerously close myself once. I managed to secure a temp job after my previous one laid me off and soon got a new one that I am still at and have had raises to keep up with the cost of living, which is incredibly rare and I realize how lucky I am.

            I don’t support people like Brooke who refuses to work because she has some crusade and thinks that makes her entitled to assistance. Especially when she thinks that means she’s the voice for the low income women of the country when in fact she knows nothing of their plight because she refuses to actually support herself.

          • BeatriceC

            I completely support the food stamp program, even long term beneficiaries. Like I said, I’ve been a food stamp recipient. It was a life saver in a very tough time of my life. I’ve also had a cash benefit EBT card because that’s how my state gave me the foster parent stipend when I had custody of my son’s friend for a few months. I’ve seen this stuff from both sides of the fence. The stories of people buying expensive steak and lobster and going off on cruises are complete hogwash. I got some dirty looks when I pulled my EBT card out of my Coach bag which I bought when I was pregnant with MK (so over 10 years old at the time I was getting food stamps) , back when I had money, and took care of, so I was still carrying it until the strap broke earlier this year, or had my fancy iPhone out, which again, I obtained before the crisis and was paid off, and I needed to do silly things like stay in touch with doctors and look for jobs, but apparently poor people are supposed to sell everything of value even if it would be a net detriment in the long run. I probably shouldn’t get started on this topic. I’m prone to rants.

          • Kelly

            I think it depends on the state on whether you could buy expensive stuff. I know in my state that people get more than we budget for food and so it could be possible.

          • BeatriceC

            But define “expensive”. Just yesterday I bought a bunch of New York strip steaks. Somebody not paying close attention might think I was spending a fortune. If I was paying with food stamps, I would have probably been judged harshly. But the reality is that I bought them because they were the cheapest meat in the store. They were on sale for $4.99 a pound and then marked 75% off because yesterday was the sell by date. The next cheapest meat in the store was chicken drumsticks for 2.49, double what I paid for the “expensive” steaks, yet if the people who want to further limit what food stamps paid for got their way, a food stamp recipients would not have been able to take advantage of that sale, and would have had to pay more for their meal.

          • Kelly

            I have never seen anyone buying lobster on food stamps. I am just stating that what you get in food stamps vary from state to state. So it could be plausible that people could buy things that are expensive depending on the state. Some states you can barely live on food stamps and other states you can eat well. I only judge those people on food stamps that I know for sure are gaming the system or are not working towards independence. I do know a few of those and some that are within my own family. I do not, however, judge anyone in line because I don’t know their situation and really, it is because I don’t pay attention.

          • demodocus

            Lobster in season is quite cheap in Maine, lol.

          • BeatriceC

            Thanks for clarifying. I believe the maximum amount on a federal level is $125/mo/person. I can see where in some areas with low food costs that could stretch quite a bit. And I do get irritated with people who abuse the system, but I’d rather a few people get things they shouldn’t than any child starve because the rules are too tight.

          • Who?

            I do love a bargain, and even more so when feeding a houseful of hungry boys.

            The butcher is in a decline since my son left home, and now lives a flight, not an easy drive, away.

          • BeatriceC

            Yup. $1.25/pound for some really nice steaks that normally go for $14.99/pound pretty much made my week.

          • indigosky

            That’s how I do all my meat shopping. Get the 75% off stick it in the freezer and it’s still good. I have made friends with a lot of the employees at the grocery store to find out when they put the meat on sale, so I can be there and get first dibs. That’s why one should always be nice to minimum age employees.

          • Amy

            I had (note, HAD) a friend I met in a few different online crunchy-mama circles when our kids were babies and we both were breastfeeding and using cloth diapers. She’s nine years younger than I am and was 19 when her baby was born. She also lived in a suite of rooms in her extended family’s sprawling compound and had income from a trust fund. And she thought she was superior both to moms in her own age group who made less-crunchy choices, AND to moms my age and older who were less young/hot/hip than she was. And she was utterly lacking in any empathy about WHY women her own age might not have the agency to make the choices she did, or why women my age might have already done and tired of maintaining a hot body and being hip.

            I cut ties with her after she indicated she thought Obama was the antichrist. Literally, not figuratively.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Not to mention she believes people should fund her business endeavors like a vegan food truck, instead of her getting a business loan ($8000 isn’t a huge business loan) and working it off like the rest of us have.

      • corblimeybot

        It’s really Brooke acting like “women of color” and “low income women” are a monolithic group. It’s possible to talk about challenges overwhelmingly faced by these groups, without pretending to speak for them as individuals. Which is what Dr. Amy did just fine.

        • Amy

          Right? I mean, we’re supposed to Google what “women of color” and “low income women” think about breastfeeding? As if they all think the same thing? (And that same thing happens to be what Brooke thinks it should be….)

    • guest

      “…you are actually racist/classist and only value the opinions of people in your same academic circle that completely agree with you.”

      This is actually a very good description of you, Brooke.

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      How would you suggest phrasing that Google search?

    • Burgundy

      Hi Brooke,
      Please don’t take this question the wrong way. After reading so many of your commons in this blog, I wonder is English your first language? Your commons show that neither you skim through Dr. Amy’s posts then write whatever your pre-concluded opinion based on the title or the posts are over your reading comprehension level and you just don’t get it.
      English is my 3rd/4th language and it took me 5 years to reach from elementary level to college reading level. You can find reading classes for ESL at local community colleges or adult schools if you live in US. They do wonders.
      I have to say that it is beautiful to read Shakespeare in the old English text. Certain things just got lost in translation, don’t you agree?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Some of the people who comment here are “actual women of color” and/or with low incomes. No need to go to google when we’re already here.

      • Bombshellrisa

        OMG I have been mistaken for being a white, privileged woman! Well, I will have to go call my mom. This may be the funniest thing she will hear all week.

    • Deborah

      I work full-time in a clinic for Aboriginal women in Australia. Many of these women are too poor to breastfeed exclusively OR formula feed. That’s right, too poor to do either. Their own malnourished state means they cannot sustain a baby’s nutritional requirements for any length of time and they simply cannot afford to buy formula. Suggesting they go out and buy breastfeeding paraphernalia would be like suggesting they fly to the moon.
      You may want to google the disparities in health between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Australia.
      Your ignorance is astonishing.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Stupid and slightly OT question from an American: is there no program to get moms and babies food in Australia? Here–at least theoretically, and as ever no program is perfect–we have WIC, which provides either breastpumps and extra food or formula and, later, milk/eggs/cheese/that sort of thing to babies.

        • Bombshellrisa

          I only have heard about what it can mean to be Aboriginal in Australia. There is so much distrust about government or programs because of the horrible things that happened to the Stolen Generations. I had to talk to my Aussie friends after I watched “Rabbit Proof Fence”. Two are Aboriginal, and have grandparents who were from that generation. Apparently not much has changed for these people, even after the official apology issued. (Do watch Rabbit Proof Fence, but be ready with tissues. I cried so hard, it’s based on a true story. I totally understand why nobody whose family had lived through that time would want to seek help from the government).

          • BeatriceC

            I just looked for Rabbit Proof Fence and can’t find it anywhere for download/streaming. Any idea where I might be able to find it?

          • Bombshellrisa
          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Amazon video–you can rent it for $4. ETA: clearly, I’m not the first person to think of this…:p

          • BeatriceC

            For whatever reason I didn’t spot that when I searched. I might be brain fried though. MrC and I took a drive today through the mountains and out to the edge of the desert. We stopped at a bar there and when we got out the temp was 111F/44C. We headed a few miles west but up about 2600 feet in elevation and it was still 97. We played around in a “boulder garden” (google “Desert Tower” near Jacumba, CA), which was great fun, but not I have heat induced brain rot.

          • Bombshellrisa

            It actually sounds fun, just very warm : )

          • BeatriceC

            We had a blast. What made it even better is that we got to turn an annoying chore into a fun day. MrC’s car didn’t pass the smog inspection last month. He replaced the appropriate part but the sensor still had to reset itself. Apparently his particular make/model/year vehicle is notorious for being unreasonably difficult to reset. There’s a specific sequence you have to go through, which includes driving between 35-45 miles per hour for 15 minutes, while also not allowing the throttle to fully close. There’s absolutely nowhere in San Diego County where that’s possible, so we drove out to the desert. We actually stopped for lunch on the way out, wanting burgers, but the power to that town went out just a few minutes before we arrived. The staff at the restaurant allowed us to bring in our emergency PB&J stash and make sandwiches and kept our ice cold sodas full for us, which was awesome. Anyway, car’s all taken care of and we had a fantastic day.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I Wiki’d “Rabbit Proof Fence,” and have decided not to watch it in my current oh-so-hormonal state. I never used to be bothered by violence in TV shows, and up ’til this pregnancy, counted “Blacklist” as one of my favorites, but can’t watch it anymore. Bleh.
            Anyhow, it did lead me on a Wikiwander about Australia/treatment of Aboriginal groups/etc, and while I’m sure I’ve only skimmed the very top bit of the surface, it was…educational, to say the least. What a complete fuckup. (Not that the US can exactly carry its head high over the treatment of Native American people, of course.)

          • Bombshellrisa

            I completely understand.
            Even after the pregnancy hormones are gone, being a mother has turned my eyes into watering cans. The St Jude commercial makes me cry.

          • guest

            I have the same problem – everything makes me cry now. Not just sad things, but really cheesy things, and cliched things. And violent films make me extremely tense. The problem is, I’m a professor of film, and I have to watch films with my students! I’m way past it being pregnancy or breastfeeding hormones. I hate crying in front of my students.

          • Allie

            Don’t even get me started on the St. Jude commercials. About 2 days into new motherhood, I realized the problem all of a sudden and said “oh, shit!” I realized how vulnerable I now am – I no longer only have to worry just about myself, or even just about my husband, but about an innocent creature whom I am responsible for bringing into the world. So ( am responsible for everything that befalls her, good or no. Yikes! How I feed her is actually the least of my worries.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Isn’t that the truth?
            We were at the hardware store with my dad the other day. My son was so excited because “Bumpa” was with us, and that he would be able to share his little bag of free popcorn with his beloved Bumpa and visit “his fish” (the huge koi pond in the garden section). He was so precious, so happy and my heart melted until the only reasonable thing to do was let my eyes leak. Nothing else matters. My son felt loved and safe and content. I would hope those things would be more important to strive for with a toddler than getting over a lather about how long they were breast fed.

          • Inmara

            After having a baby I just can’t watch or read anything where a child is endangered or, worse, injured or killed. The very thought of something bad happening to baby clenches my guts.

          • BeatriceC

            It gets better when the kids get older. Particularly when they are teens and you begin to understand why some species eat their young. But seriously, I still get teary at those types of scenes, but not nearly as bad as when the kids were little.

          • Charybdis

            Oh, don’t forget the pre-teen times. We are *thoroughly* enjoying this special 12 year old time, so much so that I fear for DH’s and my sanity. On an hourly basis.

            Last night, DS had a full-on, diva-esque meltdown because he dropped a rank on Rocket League. Complete with couch pounding, angry tears and yelling. I turned off the Xbox, told him to walk away and get something to eat. I wouldn’t allow him back on until he ate something and had calmed down. He had some pizza, got his blood sugar back up (he gets hangry) and calmed down. He then asked quite calmly and cheerfully (?!?!) if he might get back on to play more. It was as if the previous scenario had never happened.

            Jeebus, I’m glad he’s not a girl. That might kill us all.

          • Megan

            Your baby is due pretty soon right? I figured with mine almost 3 months old, it had to be right around the corner. Hope things are going well.

            I totally get the emotional thing. I’ve been that way ever since my pregnancy with my older daughter. Even the Campbell’s soup commercials can make me cry if it’s the right moment! I can’t watch violent things as much either. Interestingly, my husband feels the same way. I think once you have someone you love so much and are responsible for, it’s really hard to even put yourself in a situation where you could think about something happening to them. It’s hard for me because at work we do see horrible things happen to kids. It really is like having your (figurative) heart on the outside of your body walking around.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Yep, Baby Books the Second is due in 11 days, though if he’s not out shortly thereafter, he has a sunroof eviction scheduled. 😉 (Insert gasps of horror here from The Usual Suspects.)
            I think you’re right. Even though most TV still stays away from kids getting explicitly hurt or killed on screen, scenes involving any sort of emotional or physical torture or pain leave me a mess, despite the fact that back in the day they simply didn’t bother me. At various points this pregnancy, I had to step away from *gaming*, for goodness’ sakes, because a sad storyline would come up in my favorite MMO and I couldn’t play through it. Insane! Though it did give me some insight into why DH’s grandmother watched nothing but (*gags from overly saccharine plots and bad acting*) Hallmark movies and the like in her later years. When I initially found that out, I admit to mentally rolling my eyes because, well, Hallmark movies. Now I just hope I can avoid hitting that point before I, too, am in my 80s. :p

          • attitude devant

            Tell me about it. Motherhood has PERMANENTLY ruined me for all SORTS of movies, books, and plays. I mean, I have never even made it through the original Jurassic Park! Kids menaced by velociraptors? Not remotely possible, but NO THANK YOU. I mean, I just watched Room and sobbed out loud. Multiple times. On a plane, no less.

            edited to add: Congratulations in advance!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Thanks! 🙂
            Strangely enough, JP is my movie equivalent of comfort food. Not entirely sure why, though I’m sure that the score (one of John Williams’ best, IMNSHO) is part of that. Aaaaaand it apparently just went to instaplay on Netflix, along with the rather less awesome sequels, so I know what I’m doing tonight!
            But yes, in general, totally with you there. (I do wonder if part of the reason JP doesn’t bother me as much is that the kids are as annoying as they are…?)

          • demodocus

            I have that reaction to Romeo and Juliet. Half way through and I just want to say “Die already!!”

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Confession: I have, on occasion, been known to root for the velociraptors in the kitchen scene.

          • Bombshellrisa

            JP is comforting to me too. The music does make me sob, especially at the end. My husband unfairly blames me for my son’s obsession with dinosaurs because of this.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            He says that as though an obsession with dinosaurs is a bad thing!
            I still have highly mixed views on Jurassic World, but one thing that I thought they couldn’t possibly have improved on was the rescoring of the main JP theme from a joyous, wonder-filled, classic-John-Williams brass to that hauntingly-sad-but-beautiful single piano line. When I first heard that during the preview…oh yeah. So many tears. Whatever else the director may have screwed up (is it asking so very much to have a female lead who doesn’t spend all her time being bitchy as opposed to strong and knowledgeable?), on the music He Done Good.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Oh the dinosaur thing is scary. He even has dinosaur rain boots with a raincoat to match (thanks Buy Nothing project!). He can’t say dinosaur, but his sound for them is “ROAR”. Like the dinosaur at the end of Dinosaur Train. The barber we take him to has dinosaurs to play with and he sits completely still in the chair if he gets to hold a dinosaur. He spots them everywhere. We have checked out every dinosaur book at the library already : (

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Ha! DD and he would get along well. She doesn’t know what a dinosaur is, but she’s recently learned how to roar, causing me to nickname her “Toddlesaurus.” She may or may not have spent most of a recent grocery store trip ROARRRRing in a deep, ferocious voice…

          • Amazed

            What’s up with the whole dinosaur thing recently? *I* saw dinosaur bones at the dentist lately. They tried to convince me that those were your everyday dentist instruments but I knew the truth.

            Oh, and when I got a X-ray, I was quite scared for the future of humankind. I mean, if the most developed evolutionary form should look like a blend between Tutankhamun (sans bandages) and a dinosaur, things are NOT going well.

            I think dinosaurs are trying to return. Your kids with Bomb are just more attuned to their evil plan to make a comeback and conquer the universe.

          • Bombshellrisa

            She sounds precious! My son loves the ladies, he would adore a girl with a roar!
            Congrats on your newest addition in advance. How exciting!!!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I’m sure they’d have a grand time together! And thanks. 🙂

          • demodocus

            I don’t have an eviction planned, but I’m not far behind you!! Mine’s due in 13.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Yay for June babies! Baby Books is due 6/15, but as his older sister came via CS, neither I nor my OB are particularly crazy about my going really overdue, and that goes double when I consider the fact that DD’s head was in the 98th percentile for circumference. At the moment, the RCS, should we get that far/not do a VBAC, is scheduled for your kid’s due date! 😀

          • LaMont

            Advance congratulations and a quick notice for the impending-June-baby crowd, particularly from the American POV. As a June 14 birth, I feel it is my responsibility to let you know that I share a birthday with a certain presumptive Republican Presidential candidate. So, I guess what I’m saying is, if your babies end up sharing with me/Mr. Trump, I will welcome you to the club working very hard to Make Flag Day Great Again. 🙂

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Oy! Now I can’t decide whether to keep my legs together No Matter What on 6/14, or do my darnedest to persuade Junior to show up that day. What a birthday to share.
            Disturbingly, my family does seem to have a history of sharing birthdays with various historic tragedies. I was born on the anniversary of one of the atomic bombings in Japan, another family member has a birthday on the other, and a third’s birthday is 9/11. Considering that info, and given my highly cynical view regarding the current political situation (my plan for November at the moment is “vote for the candidate who’s pissed me off the least this week”), I’m beginning to wonder if I should start a betting pool on the arrival date and plunk for June 14…?

          • Charybdis

            June 14 is my mother’s birthday…

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            And, come to think of it, that of a rather cool friend of mine who’d get a kick out of Baby Books arriving on her birthday.
            Plus, let’s be honest: between the swollen feet, the insomnia, the having to pee every hour and a half, and the general “I’m freaking huge and want this baby OUT,” if June 14 (or 5…heh) were Hitler’s birthday, I wouldn’t care, I’d just be delighted to have him evicted!

          • demodocus

            That’s in April, so you’re good there.
            Personally, I think June 5th would also make an excellent birthday. Not least because it’s 8 am here on June 5th, lol.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I’d have no problem with June 5!

          • demodocus

            Somehow, I didn’t think you would, lol. Now, who can we ask to tell these babies to get a move one? 😉

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            If there was such a person, they’d be obnoxiously wealthy by now!

          • demodocus

            We’re not crazy about it either. My first was a more “delicate” 80%, lol.

          • Megan

            How exciting!! I’ll be looking forward to both of your announcements!!

          • D/

            Two overlapping fit-on-my-fingers countdowns in just a few days then! I’m really looking forward to the updates.

            Plus, barring any setbacks, the newest addition to my family is on a one-hand countdown to coming home from the NICU …. just in time for my 14 day vacation. I may just die from hugs!

            Yay for June 🙂

          • demodocus

            You have 12 fingers? lol
            Yeah for home from NICU!

          • D/

            Haha, no, but I wish! Just in case little Baby Books is listening to his mother and can’t be bothered in giving the few days needed 😉

            I know how babies run the world, and our little guy’s already forced a discharge postponement once … so I’m hesitant to get overly confident about finally laying eyes (and hands) directly on him this week as a promise. It’s definitely VERY close though! 🙂

          • D/

            Started out smiling this morning realizing that my 10 fingered self could officially count down to your due date now. Then realized that I evidently use finger counting *a lot* as I’m talking feeding expectations with families … Day one, day two, day three, etc.

            Your countdown was started on my “day one” finger, and I’ve thought of you more times than I can count today, literally. Hope you’re doing well.

          • demodocus

            lol, I was giving birth!

          • D/

            Oh my! Congratulations!!

            Thanks for the update. I hope you are all doing well.

          • Megan

            So exciting!

            Yeah, Hallmark channel. Barf.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Yeah, barf is right although “When Calls the heart” is a good series. I love that it’s based in British Columbia. BC is so beautiful.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I have never been able to stand sappy schock like that, but now I’m concerned that I’ll hit 70 and not be able to watch anything else. :p

          • D/

            You just gave me that little ‘squee!, jump up and down, hand-clapping feeling’ that I get for baby countdowns that finally fit on my fingers 🙂

            http://www.timeanddate.com/countdown/baby?iso=20160615T00&p0=64&msg=Baby+Books+the+Second%21&ud=2&font=hand

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Awwwwww!

        • Deborah

          Not stupid at all.
          The short answer is yes there are programs and resources and government agencies, all designed to “close the gap” between the health of Aboriginal women and non-Aboriginal. But that gap has remained virtually unchanged for the last twenty years as there are many barriers, both cultural and otherwise to Aboriginal women actually accessing those resources.
          Aboriginal people generally don’t have the same family structure of typical white non-Aboriginal families. Usually there are two or three generations of people all living in a standard 3 bedroom house, all sharing the same bathroom and kitchen space. There are usually many children within the family, often grandparents or siblings fostering children of other relatives who, for a range of reasons, may not be in the care of their biological parents.
          I have known women who, even though they may work and have money coming in regularly, still have empty cupboards and no money the day after pay day due to relatives and family members within the same household using up those resources as is the cultural expectation. Likewise with social security benefits or any other resource that comes into the family. Sometimes, family members, who don’t actually reside permanently within that home, will descend on that home when they know that the occupants have been paid, or have food available. The young women especially have no voice or power to refuse their older relatives, particularly if they are men. It’s not right, it’s not fair, but this is what happens.
          Many of these women become homeless or are transient making it very difficult for them to comply with requirements for government housing or benefits – some simply lack the education and skills to fill out the necessary paperwork and jump through all the hoops necessary to qualify.
          Death, bereavement and attendance at funerals is a constant burden borne by these women. Aboriginal people tend to return to their birth place as their burial place which again necessitates travel for grieving family members and all the cost that entails.
          Aboriginal families are large with women having 4, 5 or 6 children as the norm. Access to contraception is limited as is health care generally, and not always desired when available for cultural reasons.
          These are just are few of the underlying issues affecting food security for Aboriginal women and it’s really just scratching the surface.
          On a more personal level, I’ll never forget the day I visited one of my Aboriginal ladies with her newborn only a few days old. She wasn’t going to let me into her home for shame, but brought her baby to the door for me to have a look at as she thought there was something wrong with her tummy. She did indeed have something wrong. Her abdomen was distended and she was lethargic and pale. We took her into hospital where she was found to be hyponatremic.This had occurred because the mother had been diluting formula to make it stretch and had inadvertently been filling her baby up with water. She was breastfeeding but did not produce enough milk to satisfy her baby’s hunger. She was also caring for a number of other small children.
          A lactation consultant remarked that “that would never have happened if she had just stuck to breastfeeding” and I was absolutely aghast that someone could be so callous and flippant and ignorant of the whole picture, and not have the tiniest speck of insight into the lives these woman have to live.
          Anyway, this has turned into quite a marathon post but it is an issue very close to my heart and I think that is why I love the way Dr Amy addresses these issues and exposes the real nature of lactivism and the politics of gender, body and class and how they all intersect.

          • Gene

            Having cared for a baby who was having seizures from hyponatremia after formula dilution, FUCK that lactation consultant!

          • D/

            Having also cared for such a baby, this former NICU-nurse-turned-LC seconds your directive!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Wow, thank you so much for answering my question so thoroughly! I appreciate it. 🙂
            I don’t think I could have kept my mouth shut when dealing with that LC. What a right royal bitch! (Also, ironically, way to make breastfeeding into what it was in the US in the 30s/40s/50s: something that poor/immigrant/”lesser” women did out of necessity, vs nice, tidy, reliable but pricier formula feeding.)
            Thanks again for the snapshot of Aboriginal life.

          • BeatriceC

            “You’re right. If she’d stick to breastfeeding this wouldn’t have happened. The baby would be here from starvation instead”.

          • Sue

            Thank you for that insight, Deborah, and for the work you do.

            The contrast between your knowledge and commitment and “Brooke”‘s flippant , meaningless interjections could not be more stark.

    • sdsures

      Google as a reputable source. Really?

    • corblimeybot

      Hey, Brooke, I’m a “low income woman” (although I am not a woman of color, and do not meant to speak to that angle at all). My husband and I were laid off. For the moment, we’re making do with crap jobs and public assistance.

      My low-income opinion is that Dr. Amy speaks very accurately about the struggles of our situation. Maybe because (unlike you, apparently?) we don’t have a friend giving us free housing or subsidizing our vanity.

      Honestly, how dare you act like you speak for unprivileged families who are truly struggling. Most poor people aren’t like you. They’re desperately trying to keep their lives from falling apart. They’re not spending their days online, policing other women on bullshit like breastfeeding and AP. They don’t have the time or energy to wax their ego all day, the way you do. They’re too busy working all the time and making that EBT and WIC stretch to the breaking point.

      Anyway, you don’t speak for my low income family, Brooke. You’re no one’s ally but Brooke’s.

    • Anne

      Oh please, I am a woman of colour and Dr. Tuteur’s article is spot on.

      I make a comfortable living and had the privilege of a 6-month maternity leave where I could breastfeed freely (after my initial trials and tribulations). However, as a poor woman of colour, my own mother did not have any of these luxuries.

      She had to go back to work after 2 weeks. Breastfeeding was an impossibility for her. This is the reality for many poor, working class women and for many women who do not have maternity benefits.

      Dr. Tuteur is not classist. Rather, the expectation that all women should breastfeed–and those who cannot are lazy–is classist. Forcing women to breastfeed, without identifying and targeting the reasons why women cannot breastfeed (such as needing to work outside the home) is the embodiment of classist.

      And since people like you love anecdotes as “evidence”, let me tell you that my siblings and I are all successful professionals, have above average IQs, and are living generally happy lives, despite not being breastfed. I can attribute all our success to our mother’s love, her value on education, and her encouragement to continually strive to better ourselves.

  • demodocus

    Bf is all fine and dandy, and I have no problem if a small person is getting his lunch while his mother is too. But if it’s inappropriate to have your bottle fed infant in a certain situation, then it’s also inappropriate to have you breast fed one there. The reverse holds true, too. If you can feed your toddler cheetos, you can feed your newborn breastmilk. But if you’ve paid to see the London Symphony Orchestra, you’re gonna be p-o’d if the 2nd violin takes her own personal break to feed a small grumpy child.

    • BeatriceC

      I agree with you here as well. My previous comment only applied to everyday situations where infants would normally be allowed, regardless of how they are fed. On another forum I read, a poster was telling us about a woman who tried to bring her infant to a strict 21+ beer tasting festival and pitched a fit when she was denied entry. Then she tried to “hide” the baby under her coat and go in through a different entrance, was denied again and pitched another fit. I’m firmly with the event organizers. Breastfeeding your baby doesn’t make you special and above the rules, but a woman shouldn’t be shamed for breastfeeding in a place where bottle feeding wouldn’t be looked at twice.

      • MI Dawn

        I agree! If you wouldn’t normally take an infant or toddler to an event (or they are prohibited), then breastfeeding mothers don’t get to play the “but I’m speshul” card. I understand exclusive breastfeeding and I don’t really care when or where you nurse in most situations. But in an event where EVERYONE under 21 was prohibited, your nursling is in that group and you shouldn’t expect an exception.

        • GuestWho

          My wedding was child free. My SIL got pregnant during the engagement and was expecting to have a one month old baby at the time of the wedding. We reminded her that it was a child free wedding and she laughed and I didn’t think anything of it until she RSVPed with the baby written in. I called her up to remind her that it was a child free wedding. Her response? “I will be BREASTFEEDING. My baby goes where I go.” I told her “for starters your mother is a NICU nurse, I am sure you could work something out if you wanted to. Since you obviously don’t want to then I guess some sacrifices go along with your choice.”
          .
          I did not win and the baby was at my wedding. Because she was BREASTFEEDING and heaven forbid.

          • MI Dawn

            Probably the ONLY time I won that argument. I simply hired a babysitter and her sister, rented her a room in the hotel where the reception was, and told ALL parents of children (only 2 who came against my wishes) that their babies would be safe and A would come get them when the babies needed them. They fussed, but fortunately my mom backed me up, so I won.

          • GuestWho

            I married into a big catholic family that didn’t like city dwelling liberal feminists but loved babies. That side of the family essentially ignored me and played pass the baby for two hours before leaving early.
            Ironically they were the ones that raised a fuss when I said that I wanted to elope. At quiet moments I like to think back on the 10 grand we spent making them happy and imagine what I could have done with it instead.

          • BeatriceC

            I couldn’t figure out how to get what I actually wanted. I wanted a child-free ceremony, but a child-welcome reception. MI Dawn’s idea would have probably worked well: hire a sitter and rent out a space for children during the ceremony, and then bring them back for the reception. Anyway, since I didn’t think about it, I just capitulated on the child-free ceremony thing.

          • MI Dawn

            Actually, that was the reception. The wedding was in a church and moms could sit in the nursery and watch in comfort on TV if they wanted. But no crying during the ceremony happened anyway (at least from babies).

          • BeatriceC

            I bow to your awesomeness and shiny titanium spine.

          • CSN0116

            My sister just hosted a bachelorette party for a friend and they took a limo on a wine tour – it was an all afternoon and evening event. One guest, breastfeeding her 9-month-old, asked if there were outlets in the limo and if anyone would care if she pumped in there, because she simply can’t go that long without. LOL

            My sister said fuck, no. And the girl drove separate and pumped in her own car.

            Speshul is so obnoxious.

          • FormerPhysicist

            She might have actually meant *she* couldn’t go that long. When I was bfing, I would have been wearing a sopping wet shirt if I left baby at home and didn’t pump for more than 3 hours. I was willing to pump and dump, but I was in pain, and then embarrassed if I didn’t pump.

          • momofone

            Same here. My son would have been fine, but I would have been in physical misery, and covered in milk.

          • CSN0116

            But to pump in a limo with 20 other guests?!

          • J.B.

            I’ve pumped at a water plant, had to call up staff and arrange in advance. Mastitis sucks, trust me. Pumping must be done every day and sometimes being gone long enough to need it just isn’t worth it. Also asking about plugs doesn’t mean you’re going to pump in front of others, most likely that you’ll hang back when they go to have fun.

            Personally I would have skipped the whole wine tour as bachelor or bachelorette events and overblown weddings trip my “speshul” meter.

          • guest

            How is it different from breastfeeding in a store with 20 other patrons?

          • CSN0116

            Ummm doesn’t a child latch onto you and cover your breast while it nurses? It’s quite a modest process. And 20 in a limo is some cramped quarters compared to a Target. A dual electric pump repeatedly sucks nipples into a see thru cup. IMO the practices are pretty damn different. Agree to disagree. I wouldn’t care to sit 6 inches away from a woman pumping in a packed car. She never offered to stay back in the car to do it, she wanted to do it en route, which qualifies as weird and presumptuous to me all day long.

          • demodocus

            not mine, sigh. Fortunately, toddlerboy didn’t mind the cover too much.

          • CSN0116

            LOL I was in a mall once and this woman was nursing a small baby, who was latched to the breast she was feeding from, with the other breast just totally hanging out there… like waiting to get used? Haha. I have never seen that one since.

          • guest

            Meh, I used to pump with my shirt hanging over most of the flanges and bottle once I had everything in place. The limo probably felt more private (among friends, as it were) than the winery. And pumping in bathrooms is EXTREMELY awkward.

          • Rachel

            What is wrong with her request? She didn’t ask to bring the baby, she asked how to take care of a physical need. Why does that mean she thinks she is “speshul”?

          • CSN0116

            It was the fact that she didn’t assume to make other arrangements that didn’t involve pumping in between wineries in front of 20 people (her original proposition) that annoyed my sister. Hell, even asking to sneak out to the limo for a few while everyone else was inside a winery would have been a more normal proposition, or pump inside a given winery where electrical outlets are easier to access…

            It was a bizarre request from the get go and she only made other arrangements because she was told no to her first request. I was with my sister as they were texting about it. It was weird and presumptuous.

          • Jessica

            Why is this obnoxious? When you’re breastfeeding the need to either pump or nurse regularly is important – it is physically uncomfortable to not do so, bordering on painful. The woman asked if others would be uncomfortable, and when told no arranged for other transportation, missing out on the fun girls’ bonding that was part of the trip.

          • guest

            Agreed. I don’t see anything off about that scenario. She asked, because she had a real need. She was told no, so she made other arrangements.

          • Valerie

            For some people, breastfeeding trumps everything, as if all common courtesy goes out of the window when the baby is hungry. EG, with no warning, pulling out a boob in front of your dad. Or putting the nipple pics in with the baby pics that you show your in-laws. We talk a lot about public breastfeeding, but I think it’s pretty rude to force such awkwardness on your friends and family.

          • Mattie

            I mean fair, but like it’s probably ok for your own father to see your boob… he’s your dad lol

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I think that probably varies wildly in family cultures. Leaving aside our now non-existent relationship, I would have been really, really skeeved out to breastfeed in front of my dad. I wouldn’t have been comfortable sleeping in the same room with him, either, even though whatever else he might be, he’s not incestuous.
            On the other hand, in DH’s family, his dad wouldn’t have batted an eye at one of his daughters breastfeeding, and when we were recently sorting out sleeping arrangements for when our baby arrives and family comes to visit, DH said that it wouldn’t cause family any discomfort whatsoever for opposite-sex parents and adult kids to share a room for a few nights. Different families, different standards, and all that.

          • BeatriceC

            That’s insane. I would have cut her out of my life after that. She’d no longer be welcome in my home or anything I was hosting. And I’d give her the “cut direct” (where you ignore even the person’s very existence if you must be around them). But then again, that’s now. I’ve fought hard to get to where I am now. There was a time I would have allowed somebody to steamroll me like that and get away with it.

          • GuestWho

            That is the thing though. You can’t cut someone out who doesn’t want to be a part of your life. We have never been close and before the wedding she had not expressed even the slightest interest in any part of me or my life. She felt empowered to charge over my boundaries because she just did not see me as a person with wants that mattered. She did not see my wedding as anything but a time and place where she would be able to show off her new baby. You can’t fight selfish indifference and since all the inlaws were on her side of the conflict there was nothing that I could do to have my way without further alienating people that my husband cared about. My only comfort is that she was incredibly fat in the pictures.

          • indigosky

            I would have had someone show her the door. MY wedding, that I am paying for so MY rules. I have seen enough wedding ruined by crying babies, even very young breastfed ones.

          • sdsures

            Depends on your definition of “ruined”. We all know what Birthzillas are like, and the association with what a Bridezilla is.

            Maybe it’s a cultural thing. But if things don’t turn out EXACTLY the way I plan for a given day, you pick yourself up, dust off, and continue. My wedding was low-key, no muss, no fuss. That’s how we wanted it. Relaxed. We literally had about 5 guests because my family from Canada couldn’t come over to the UK at the time. Often, it makes me sad that my mom never saw the wedding (my dad died when I was 2) – but what can you do? **** happens. My older sister’s wedding, in Canada, was HUGE by comparison. Bridezilla to the max. But there was one thing: Everyone was included in the wedding photos…except me. I wasn’t told this until the DAY OF THE WEDDING.

            That hurt. Still hurts. A lot.

            For what it’s worth – sister and her husband are separating, and me and my hubby are still together after 8 years and counting.

          • BeatriceC

            I just had an interesting wedding experience that started off with some hurt feelings (mine), but got rectified in totally unexpected and spectacular fashion. In a nutshell I was feeling left out due to certain decisions that were being made regarding what was and wasn’t safe for me to attend on account of my food allergies, then found out I was being excluded from events where MrC was playing a major role (it was his daughter’s wedding). The brides fixed it in a way that I would have never even dreamed of them doing. For example, I just wanted to be around for the five minutes of his speech/toast at the rehearsal dinner and would have been content to stay out in the car the rest of the time. Instead the brides rearranged the schedule to make the overwhelming majority of the event safe for me. Then they went the extra mile and included me in parts of the wedding and reception that I thought were totally appropriate to exclude me from. Of course, one of MrC’s sister’s hates me with an unbridled passion and attempted a power play, which she lost (MrC really stepped up on this one…I’m really impressed), and has refused to speak to me since (wedding was last weekend). Let me tell you how (not all all) devastated I am by her silent treatment.

            Anyway, the point of all that is that even though it got fixed at the last minute, I can totally understand how hurtful it is to be excluded form major family events.

          • sdsures

            They would have made you stay out in the car??? That’s horrible!

            I was sent to a friend’s home for part of the reception. :-/ At least that friend had a baby grand piano in her living room, so I was able to entertain myself for a few hours. But still. Ouch! Sister hs never apologized or discussed this with me.

          • BeatriceC

            Actually, I was originally not invited. I was bummed, but that was okay because my tomato allergy is severe enough that it really wasn’t safe for me the way it was originally planned and I have zero expectation that they would spend more money than they could afford just to make that event safe for one person (they went out of their way to make the wedding reception itself safe for me, which again was more than they had to do…living with severe allergies sucks). Then when they told MrC that he’d be doing his toast at the rehearsal dinner, I was really hurt, because now that was an important part of *his* life that I was missing. I fell apart the Monday before the rehearsal and his other daughter was here to witness it. She told her sister and the other bride about that and the other bride, who had no idea all this was going on in the background (my step-daughter was the one in charge of the rehearsal dinner) stepped in and said “this is not right” and re-arranged the whole event to make it safe for me. I honestly wanted just to be able to be there for the speeches and toasts, and would have been content to wait in the car for the rest of it, but I didn’t have to, because my new step-daugther-in-law is apparently far more awesome than I thought, and I already thought she was pretty awesome. In the end, it all worked out. My step-daughter learned a lesson about *why* etiquette rules exist (you don’t separate committed/married couples), and if she had to learn that lesson the hard way, at least it was with somebody who forgives easily and doesn’t hold grudges.

          • sdsures

            Why do people have “rehearsal dinners”?

          • BeatriceC

            Oh, and the power play on the part of MrC’s sister was funny. As far as I know, the brides still don’t know about it, and that’s perfectly fine by me. I certainly haven’t told her, so unless my SIL told her, she doesn’t know. When we got to the venue for the ceremony we were told “no formal seating arrangements, pick where you want to sit”. There was one exception. MrC’s late wife, and my step-daughter’s mother passed away almost 20 years ago. The aisle seat in the first row was to be left empty in her honor (My step-daughter placed her bouquet, in which MrC’s and his late wife’s wedding rings were attached, on that empty seat in her honor, which was very sweet). So MrC and the other bride’s parents decided where they wanted to sit. MrC wanted to sit next to the empty seat and wanted me next to him and my boys on the other side of me, effectively taking up the entire first row on that side. But he’s the father-of-(one of)-the bride(s), so he gets to decide that since the brides did not. So 10 minutes prior to start time, his sister comes up to me and demands I move so her mother could sit next to her son. I gave her a blank look and she repeated herself. My boys skedaddled since they don’t like confrontation. I then said cooly, but politely, that she’d have to discuss that with her brother, who at the time was at the back of the hall getting ready to start the wedding procession. The sister then found my boys and told them to make me move. They ignored her and came back to sit with me. Having no luck with me or my boys, she did eventually confront MrC, who told her “Beatrice and our boys are my family and they belong next to me. Mom will have to find someplace else to sit.” My SIL didn’t speak to me for the entire reception and continued to give me the silent treatment at the post-wedding brunch the next day. She actually hasn’t spoken to me since. That’s okay by me. She’s kind of a bitch anyway, and disapproves of me as a choice for her brother, not that she gets an opinion on that, and never fails to miss an opportunity to attempt to put me in my place, in the world according to her. So her silent treatment is actually a relief for me.

          • guest

            I have yet to have a single day of my life EVER turn out exactly as I planned it. I guess I just don’t expect anything different from a wedding day. Life is unpredictable.

          • nomofear

            My wedding was small, too! It was great, my mother in law planned it and I just had to pick a flower color and a dress, and show up.

          • sdsures

            What colour and flowers? My dress was purple, and I didn’t do flower because of allergies and I have to walk with a cane.

          • AnnaPDE

            Your husband’s, too, and if we’re talking about his sister here, he has a say in the matter too. TBH this whole “my speshul day when it’s all about me being a princess, and RUINED by anything I didn’t specifically plan, such as a baby’s sniffle” business is just awful and childish in my book.

          • Charybdis

            Define “ruined”. Our best man refused to come to the wedding because of some imagined slight. I and DH had been really good friends with the best man and worked with him, in the same lab. He said nothing to either of us about backing out until I left work at noon, to get my manicure and pedicure and told Best Man that I would see him that evening at the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. He shook his head and said “I’m not coming. I won’t be there”. I was stunned and asked if DH knew about this development. Best Man said no and I walked out of the lab, stunned and speechless. Also trying to scramble to figure out what the everlasting fuck we were going to do about this. Cried to my Matron of Honor (as she worked in a different department and she was ready to go beat the shit out of Best Man), then got myself together and dealt with the problem.

            I told the wedding party at the rehearsal that Best Man refused to come to the wedding and that there would be a promotion for some of them. The groomsman became the Best Man, an usher became a groomsman and reader as well, and the other usher also became a reader (we had a nuptual Mass). We got married, had a nice reception and nobody mentioned Best Man. He and I had a discussion when I went back to work and, seeing as how we had to work together in a small space, hit upon a civil existence. We would say “Hi”, “going to lunch/break” and “bye” and that was about it. Our former close, joking and loving relationship was destroyed. I walked him out when he left for another job and have never spoken to him again. Or spoken of him.

            He is now the second person Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken, with my evil ex being the first. I didn’t specifically plan for one of my best friends in the world to back out of an important life event that he had been happy and pleased about sharing with us right up until the day before the wedding. Did it ruin my wedding day? No, not really. It did cast a shadow across the day, but I refused to let it ruin my day.

            I don’t think it was selfish or childish to be angry, upset and disappointed by his actions at the time.

            Refusing to have anything to do with him, not even friending him on Facebook, for the past 16 years, THAT might be construed as childish. I don’t care. He fucked us over, I don’t have any use for him or for any apologies/explanations he might offer.

          • AirPlant

            I feel like the whole concept of “bridezilla” has morphed into a horrible policing tactic where women are not allowed to show even the slightest disappointment Or preference about their wedding day.

            You are well within your rights to be pissed. Being upset that a person you cared about let you down in glorious fashion is not an unreasonable response. Calling that a bridezilla moment is some weird gas lighting shit.

            If it makes you feel any better my SIL called me a bridezilla because I had the audacity to buy a wedding dress and hire a photographer for my tiny wedding. My husband is painfully shy so for his comfort we did one step up from elopement but I really wanted something for the mantle, so we did dress up photo time and that is apparently enough to get you thrown into the pile with everyone else.

          • BeatriceC

            My mother called me a bridezilla and broke into hysterical sobs because I didn’t want the song “Amazing Grace” sung at my wedding. You know, since that’s such a normal wedding song and deity forbid I actually wanted to pick out my own music.

          • Kelly

            My mom called me one because when she first made my dress it was four sizes too big for me and I wanted it form fitting. I really didn’t care about anything but the dress and pictures and I let her get her way about a lot of things.

          • BeatriceC

            What! You wanted a dress that fit! Now you’re just being unreasonable.

          • Charybdis

            What is wrong with you? Wanting your dress to fit is the absolute height of being unreasonable. ;P

          • Mishimoo

            I still get called a bridezilla by my inlaws because I sat on the floor of a store and refused to move until they picked a dress for my mother-in-law. Mind you, that was after 6 hours of straight dress shopping with no food, one coffee, and we were back in the same store we’d started in!

          • Who?

            They are monsters. No food and at the shops. Aagh.

          • Mishimoo

            It was Chermside! Chermside, for 6 whole hours with loads of people and no food.

          • Who?

            I remember you telling the story at the time, but had blocked out the horror of Chermside as venue. Really hate shopping. And it is always noisy and packed there. Packed. My mother and daughter both love it. Did I mention I hate it.

            So cold today. Were you okay in that awful weather on Saturday?

          • Mishimoo

            I hate it too, but once I’m finished this course I’m going to book an appointment at Mecca Cosmetica (like you suggested ages ago) to try and find some make-up that works for me and maybe learn some new techniques.

            We’re lucky – we’re in a really good spot so all we did on Saturday was enjoy the rainy weather and mostly stayed indoors. We did go out for a bit of necessary shopping once it calmed down, but all that happened for us was that my garden got a good drink. How did you fare?

          • Who?

            Mecca does not count as a hateful shopping destination. Have I mentioned how much I love makeup? I’m sure they will be able to help, such a great range at many price points. And you can start with a few things, and a plan, and pick up bits and pieces as you go along.

            We had an okay day Saturday, the rain was steady rather than terrible. I too went out for a few supplies once it had settled. My garden is also looking less dry, though if this wind keeps up we might be back to square one.

            How is the job/course/assessment?

          • Mishimoo

            Disqus is finally loading for me again! That wind was ridiculous, it really beat my cannas up.
            Your enthusiasm for make-up is awesome, it’s so nice to see it mentioned in a happy and non-judgmental way. It makes me more interested in dabbling with make-up and actually going in to get advice.

            I finished closer to home work placement last Friday and it was really positive. There’s a great culture and I fit in perfectly. Everyone wants me to work there and all told me to make sure I kept an eye out for openings. In fact, the librarian put a note on my exit interview for HR basically saying “We want her here” and asked if she could call/email me when something comes up just in case I’m busy and miss it. I’ve finished this semester’s components and am working on next semester’s, which I’m hoping to have finished by the end of next week.

          • Who?

            So glad the work has been such a success-sounds very promising for the future. Good luck with the study, sounds like you’re all over it.

            Sorry about the cannas: my ‘winter flowers’-pansies, primulas, primroses, snapdragons etc are all very happy for now. I’m rehabilitating my garden beds out the back, mainly with recovered plants from the rest of the garden and my lovely neighbours, which is a very enjoyable winter project. The weeds got out of control in the long hot summer.

            The makeup is just such a pleasure-I feel better when I’ve made an effort to look nice. I don’t wear a lot, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s important to feel confident about what you’ve chosen and how to use it, which is why I’m so keen to go and get proper advice. It also keeps you ‘modern’-colours, what detail is fashionable etc-the assistants do it for a living and are really handy at it. Whenever I buy lipstick on my own I always choose the same colour-much better to let them choose for me!

          • Mishimoo

            I need to weed everything, at least that’s how it feels. I didn’t start out by spreading mulch which is what I normally do, and now I’m regretting it. I have lobelias for once and they’re actually doing well now that the weather has cooled down. I’ve transplanted an olive tree and dug out a broad-leaf pepper tree, and my potatoes are growing happily thanks to the rain.

            That’s exactly what I like about make-up, and people also react to it. I find that I receive better service when I’ve made the effort to put some on even if it’s just a bit of foundation. I also want to learn about techniques because it would be nice to teach my kids how to apply make-up instead of leaving them to figure it out for themselves.

          • Who?

            Good job on the lobelias, mine get eaten. Every time. There are some less attractive and evidently less tasty options that I sometimes use, but nothing is as good as their colours.

            Rain in winter is not the natural order of things. Not that it’s a problem-we had a dry summer-but it feels somehow not right.

          • Mishimoo

            And a second weather event forecast for this weekend! We’re planning to attend Sydney Supanova and it’s just so frustrating.

          • Who?

            Hope you still get to go! We thought we might go to the beach but that will be off by the sound of it.

          • Mishimoo

            We’re hoping that driving will work in our favour. If we go down on Friday and drive back on Monday, we should miss the worst of it (if it acts as predicted). I just really don’t want to miss out on getting Tamora Pierce to sign one of my books!

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Damn, we’re heading down to Brissie tomorrow and staying through the weekend, hope flights don’t get affected. Although an extra day or two in Brisbane would probably be fun (if not so fun for my husbands coworkers).

          • Mishimoo

            I hope not! If you get a chance, raid Pulp Fiction and the Noosa Chocolate Factory while you’re down. (Which is my plan for the next time I have a chance to go into the city lol)

          • sdsures

            I hate shopping too. I bought a purple goth dress on Ebay for my wedding.

          • TownTart

            Deranged.

          • sdsures

            Problem?

          • demodocus

            tut-tut, It’s not like AG isn’t sung at all the funerals, too. Oh, wait…

          • Bombshellrisa

            My mom insisted I was a bridezilla too. Because I wanted to pick out anything different from what she was picking. My parents also told me they didn’t want to attend the wedding unless we had it in a tent in the backyard. At the time, they lived on a golf course and I had a vision of all the half drunk old men who played on the weekend, swearing if they missed a shot or having a ball hit someone while we said our vows. In the end, even though hubby and I paid for everything ourselves, it just was easier to give in the put up with the crap my mom was throwing at us. I have always hated looking back at my wedding pics because of it. At least the important part (my amazing hubby) was worth it.

          • corblimeybot

            My mother also pulled the Bridezilla thing on me. I can’t even begin to tell you how much of a non-Bridezilla I was. I have no idea what she was even referring to.

            I’ve noticed some especially nasty mothers-of-brides like to level that Bridezilla charge at their daughters, if the daughters have any opinions at all. It’s a way to shut them down and continue to control them. That was my mom’s angle, at least.

          • BeatriceC

            That’s pretty much my mother’s angle as well. This is just a minor example of the kind of crap she can dish out. When I was planning my wedding, I swore if I ever had kids I would fight to the death if their future in-laws tried to hijack their wedding and make sure that the bride and groom (or grooms or brides) got the wedding that *they* wanted.

          • sdsures

            My mom didn’t even make it to my wedding. Maybe I was lucky, but it still hurt.

          • TownTart

            Maybe if you didn’t act so nasty and call decent, intelligent people names, maybe your own mother would have liked you better?

          • sdsures

            Did I do something?

          • sdsures

            Who peed in your coffee?

          • sdsures

            Tjetje doesn’t qualify as intelligent, and judging from your replies, neither do you.

          • sdsures

            We were in different countries with the Atlantic in the way, ad flying just wasn’t possible – not that it’s any business of yours, but I figured I should be polite and explain.

          • guest

            Oh, look – Sapphiremind is trolling under another name.

          • Erin

            I got called that and other things by my Mother because I eloped.

            Yep, a big wedding when certain members of the Bride’s family who would have had to be invited (or would just have turned up like the evil fairy) are proud of the fact that they gave money to the political wing of the same terrorist organisation who happened to murder the Bridegroom’s Grandfather sounds like awesome fun doesn’t it. I “selfishly” didn’t want to be in the Daily Mail when the Wedding turned into a riot.

            Although this thread has helped me deal with my “wedding” envy tremendously.

          • Empliau

            I don’t envy your family events … I thought I had drama! You are a brave woman.

          • Erin

            The current “battleground” is our son’s baptism (or not). I’ve avoided it so far mostly because I don’t go to church but I’m contemplating going to our local Church of Scotland because a lot of my friends go and the creche do messy play and all sorts of exciting things that my son would love. Plus it’s neutral territory as it’s not the Church that either me or my husband were brought up in.

            Everything else is fine. We’re going to a big Catholic wedding on my side this autumn. My husband knows that there will be people there he would like to stab but has promised to refrain. To make sure, I’ll be hiding his Sgian-dubh and making sure he doesn’t smuggle another one in the sock of baby Braveheart (who looks so cute in his mini kilt).

            What annoys me with my Mother is that her own wedding ended in a fight partly due to the same wing of the family because she married a a serving member of the British forces and yet, whilst bemoaning the fact that the police were called and several Uncles didn’t speak to each other until my baptism which was 7 years later…she wanted to do it all again so she could be Mother of the Bride.

          • demodocus

            *eyeroll* There’s still some of that back and forth American Irish areas, in a milder form. My FIL (who was born and raised in County Tyrone) pretty much ignores our 5th generationers.

          • sdsures

            Baby Braveheart…. Awwww!

          • sdsures

            Nobody from my side was able to come to the wedding.

          • TownTart

            Good.

          • sdsures

            Aren’t you just a ray of sunshine, dear?

          • BeatriceC

            You win the thread. That’s lower than I thought possible, and my mother is pure evil.

          • D/

            Your mother would have felt special if she’d have compared notes with mine.

            I married *very* young. In truth to be certain to get out of my mother’s house as soon as physically possible. When I asked if she’d sign for me to get married before I was 18, her “Yes, but you have to graduate first” was one of two conversations I had with her about it.

            She found out about the wedding less than a week before when one of my high school friends working at the local grocery struck up a small talk check-out conversation. Her asking Mother what she thought about me getting married the day after graduation saved me the trouble of finding an ice-breaker for the “Let’s go to the courthouse and get that signature I need for this weekend” part of her wedding participation.

          • BeatriceC

            You are wiser than I. You got out a lot sooner than I did. I didn’t have that kind of spine when I was in high school.

          • D/

            Looking back, my resolve in just getting out is still impressive to me. Although it was likely more dumb luck than wisdom that I didn’t end up jumping from my frying pan into the fire.

          • BeatriceC

            I think half of life is just pure dumb luck. The other half is hard work. Tons of people work hard and never make it anywhere. Those of us who have succeeded have had an awful lot of luck (or institutionalized privilege) on our sides. Still, I’m glad you got out, no matter how it happened.

          • D/

            Same to you. Glad you found your way too, no matter how long it took.

          • sdsures

            WTF?

          • AnnaPDE

            Wow, what a flake. That was an excellent logistical effort to get everything happening on such short notice!
            But you know that’s not what I referred to as childish in that comment: You don’t make an impression that the wedding was the one-and-only best day of your life that was all bad now. And it wasn’t a minor detail like a guest bringing a brand new baby (whose birth was likely not specifically timed to wreck weddings) but someone breaking an important commitment they made.

          • Amazed

            I live in a country where CFW aren’t the norm. I’ve been on more NOT CFWs than I can count, both as a child and adult. I’ve always enjoyed it. I was never bored as a kid, I was never impressed when a child was being quite the trouble. If I ever do get married, the only way it will be CF is if all the kids invited with their parents decide that it will be better not to go to a boring adult event.

            This said, I couldn’t disagree more that in this case, a “guest” bringing a baby was a “minor” detail. The guest in question was related to half the other guests and they turned the wedding into the big “meet my new baby!” case. There is a time and place for everything. Her SIL was offered options and the asshole chose to make it all in a way that would turn the wedding into a welcome baby shower. Of course, she couldn’t have done it if the other assholes weren’t ready to play right along. Really, they couldn’t arrange to meet the baby a few hours ago if they’re such a big cuddly family and then go to, I don’t know, wedding? With the baby if they had to. But then, it wouldn’t have been all about the baby and by the way everyone behaved, it was simply not acceptable.

            That just beats a kid’s birthday I was invited to a few years ago. The kids were playing in the other room, so it was all OK for them. The SIL there took out a ton of pictures of her kids (you know, the ones playing in the other room, so it wasn’t as if we didn’t know what they looked like) and started showing them to everyone for about an hour. And since it was a small gathering, it wasn’t as if we could form another group and have a conversation. A few hints on, she, her husband, and her parents still hadn’t gotten it. Finally, I told my friend, the mother of the birthday kid, that I wanted to talk to her and we escaped to the kitchen. A little after, she went back and then her brother came to have his share of escape. It was ridiculous. Like prisoners on a break.

            There is a place and time for everything.

          • guest

            See, now THAT is seriously bad wedding behavior on his part. Wow.

          • sdsures

            The phrase “rehearsal dinner” has always sounded weird to me, as in, “You have to practice eating?”

          • Perverse

            Next time I’m invited to a child-free wedding I’m going to cry and sniffle my way through. You know, to ruin it.

          • AnnaPDE

            My husband’s coworker brought his 6 month old to my wedding. She was definitely better behaved than some of the adults and cuddling her served as a welcome distraction for guests between photoshoot and reception.
            Enough last minute things came up without any baby involved, including surprise mushrooms in one of the dishes when about a third of the guests plus DH are allergic to it, but somehow the day still turned out just fine.

          • T.

            If I pay for an event, I set the rules, including who partecipate. Which includes children.

            Coming with a child in tow is like coming with an uninvited friend. It is rude. Period.

            If you can’t leave your children, don’t go.

            Example: friend is going to be married in July. She is preparing a pool party. Children are strictly forbidden due to liability problems. She has made clear that antbody coming with a child will be shown the door.

            Her party, her rules.

          • BeatriceC

            I maintain that there’s some sort of cosmic law that dictates at least one catastrophe per wedding. For me it was a giant lipstick stain on the front of my dress (smack in the middle of the skirt). My sister, however, wins the best catastrophe ever award. Her wedding was in Miami, Fl, in December. The month of December is crazy in Miami, with pretty much every possible venue for a reception completely booked for years prior, and most churches doing at least one wedding every Saturday before Christmas. The church where my sister scheduled her wedding also had a fancy reception hall, where she booked her reception. Three days before the wedding, the church and reception hall were condemned by the county building department. She had three days to find a church and reception venue capable of accommodating 500 guests on three days notice when the entire town was completely booked. Eventually a priest at another church got wind of what was happening and took pity. He squeezed my sister’s wedding in between two other weddings that day, and opened up the school cafeteria (that church had a large school attached) to be used for the reception. It wasn’t the fancy decorations that it would have been, but at least the caterers were able to come in and serve dinner.

          • Tori

            Someone brought their baby, about 6 months old to our wedding reception. I didn’t know until I saw the baby – I wouldn’t have minded if only they’d asked me about it.. Baby wasn’t on the invite either.

          • guest

            Your choice is fine as long as you fully expected your SIL to not come. It’s very difficult to leave a one-month baby for many women, for a whole variety of reasons. But especially if breastfeeding since it’s a crucial time for establishing supply and learning the ropes, etc. I’m not saying you should have allowed the baby to attend, but I hope you didn’t act like she could have “easily” left the baby home for your wedding at that age. Having a NICU nurse for a mom doesn’t actually make that easy.

          • GuestWho

            I offered to provide a place for her to pump. I offered to pay for hotel room in easy distance and a sitter for her. I told her I was fine with her staying home. Her position was that she and the baby both needed to be there and obviously she got what she wanted. In reality I don’t think how she maintains lactation is really my problem, but I tried my best to be a nice person.

          • guest

            It isn’t your problem, but it’s very common for mothers to feel that they cannot be separated from their baby at one month of age. Feeding choices are part of it, but it also goes beyond that. I would have resented an expectation from anyone that I should attend an event alone during that period. I would have declined invitation, mind you, but I can picture certain family dynamics that make that difficult.

          • Charybdis

            You totally had dibs on the day/event, as you were engaged and planning the wedding *before* she got pregnant. Obviously, she did this to spite you and steal the spotlight and where else could she show off her new baby to the extended family? So CONVENIENT of you to be getting married a month after her delivery./ slight snarkasm.

            You were more than willing to accomodate her with a place to pump, provide a sitter, etc. If she felt that she couldn’t/shouldn’t be away from the baby for an hour or two, then she should have been adult enough to forgo the wedding and reception, make it to one or the other, or accept one of your compromise options. Besides, isn’t one month still a little young for a large gathering of people, what with being too young for vaccines?

            My evil side would take note of this event, then bide my time until I had a baby, then insist on bringing the baby to either her or her kid’s *special event* (graduation, award ceremony, kindergarten graduation, bar/bat mitzvah, Christmas program, etc) because reasons. And not give any thought to her *adults only* admonition. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

          • sdsures

            “Besides, isn’t one month still a little young for a large gathering of people, what with being too young for vaccines?”

            That was my next question.

          • sdsures

            I’m sorry. That must have been stressful. 🙁

          • Megan

            If I’d asked for my wedding to be child free, we would’ve had perhaps ten people there. I’m just picturing my husband’s catholic family’s reaction to a request like that…

          • sdsures

            “Eeeevery sperm is saaaaacred…”

          • demodocus

            I was quite hurt when as a kid we weren’t allowed at my aunt and uncle’s wedding. Their choice of course, and if I were youngest rather than oldest they might’ve made a different choice (I was in middle school) but I felt snubbed.

          • Amazed

            Middle school? That’s quite old to be banned! AND old enough to know you have been banned. I can’t imagine not being included in such an important event of a family member when they and I were close. And then, of course, the Intruder would have had to be invited as well because it wouldn’t do to only invite one child.

            While CFW are not a thing here, I have missed many weddings as a child. Not because I wasn’t invited but because Mom and Dad were able to arrange something else for us and didn’t want to take care of kids while celebrating… or bore the kids to death. And of course, there were the weddings that we simply didn’t want to attend because we knew it would be boring. That, without exceptions, were the weddings of people who were my parents’ friends but not this close to us kids. They didn’t particularly want or not want us there and we didn’t particularly want to go there, so everyone was happy at the end. But that’s different from a CFW.

          • demodocus

            That’s why I was excluded, because although us 3 oldest cousins would have been fine, and the middle probably okay, the youngest 3 were all pre-schoolers/toddlers. The toddlers were my brother and eldest cousin’s sister.

          • demodocus

            This thread reminded me about one pre-wedding drama I’d almost forgotten. Dad hated Mom’s boyfriend (he hit on us as teens, thinking he was complimenting us, plus he was an alcoholic.) and tried to get us to not invite the boyfriend BUT insisted we invite his girlfriend. Um, yeah, that’s going to go over like a solid lead balloon. Invite one ex’s new SO and not the other’s, especially when Mom had been with her guy for nearly 20 years and Dad been with his less time than the bride and groom had been together. We ended up inviting both and telling Dad to behave.

          • Amy

            My cousin showed up with a baby at my wedding even after we offered to pay for a sitter. And she wasn’t breastfeeding.

      • Mattie

        Why was she going to a beer festival while breastfeeding? I assume she was gonna be drinking, isn’t that kind of the point? I’d hardly be wanting to shout about breastfeeding while drinking haha

        • demodocus

          Beer is good for promoting breastmilk production, donchaknow

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Well Guinness was traditionally recommended for nursing mothers 🙂

            Funnily enough, the thing that lead me to question the whole breastmilk is magical unicorn tears thing was when I was looking for information on alcohol and breastfeeding. I read the Australia Breastfeeding Association factsheet about alcohol, which had to throw in that breastmilk with some alcohol in it is still better than formula. I realised that there is no ethical way to properly test that, and couldn’t believe that a one off bottle of formula could be that dangerous. When I went and looked at the actual studies, I found that all the studies were riddled with confounding factors, and that the evidence for long term effects just wasn’t that impressive.

        • BeatriceC

          Good question. I just assumed she was accompanying her husband and not drinking. But I’m not the original poster of that story, so I have no idea.

  • BeatriceC

    While I agree with most of this, I do think it’s wise to acknowledge that some of the “stunts” that have been done do have a basis in an actual problem. Once you get out of lactivist/NCB circles, at least in the United States, there is a lot of negativity surrounding breastfeeding in public. Just a few days ago one of the women in one of my Facebook groups posted about a woman making disparaging remarks about how “disgusting” she was for quietly nursing her infant *with a cover on*, in a quiet, low traffic corner (with her back to the traffic) of the car dealership where she and her husband were shopping for a new vehicle. Women are still regularly asked to feed their infants in bathrooms and forced to listen to ugly comments while nursing. This is still a problem. It’s not as big of a problem as it used to be, but it does exist. I don’t think it’s right to trivialize that issue simply because another problem, that of women being shamed for formula feeding, exists as well. I think we need to acknowledge both issues and not just automatically discount all of the breastfeeding stunts as narcissistic lactivist propaganda.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      Where I live there was recently a story in the news about a young woman breastfeeding in a *hospital* who was told it was inappropriate by a hospital volunteer. I do think this is all kinds of wrong!

    • LaMont

      The other day a guy on Facebook posted an article by a mother who advocates “covering up” while breastfeeding, and I tried to gently explain to him that other people being exposed isn’t his problem. Then a bunch of more militant feminists came in to (justifiably) throw invective at him, and he condescendingly dismissed the whole thing due to their vehemence. Yay for issues that have no bearing on anyone’s actual life* bringing out just the best in everyone!

      *ETA: Which is to say, someone else’s choice about breastfeeding affects only them, not an onlooker

      • MI Dawn

        I loved the FB meme of the woman who was told to “cover up” so she wrapped the cover around her face and head and kept nursing!

    • Glia

      Agree completely.

      I have breastfed in zoos, parks, restaurants, malls, basically everywhere I took my baby. People basically left me alone about it. I have bottle-fed in most of those places, too, and people basically left me alone about that too. I believe this should pretty much be considered ideal. My baby was fed, other people minded their own business, everyone is happy.

      I will continue to object to breastfeeding pics being removed from Facebook, though, because I find it deeply sexist and objectifying that the same amount of visible boob is fine if is presented for sexual gratification of men, but not if a baby is eating. I will not, however, ever post a breastfeeding picture of myself, because, as I said above, I believe the goal around feeding of babies is that they are fed a good quality milk source, and beyond that, no one cares.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Quite. My perspective on public nursing is this: the vast majority of the time, mom’s just trying to feed her baby, in which case, the best thing you can do is MYOB and leave them both alone. (Obvious exceptions if mom is visibly distraught or what-have-you.) Every once in a while, you run into someone who’s breastfeeding *at* the world and for attention, in which case, the best thing you can do is MYOB and leave them both alone, thus effectively taking the wind of obnoxiousness from her sails. 😉

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Although I strongly support breastfeeding in public, I believe that the furor over this is another example of worrying more about representations of breastfeeding rather than addressing structural and economic issues related to breastfeeding.

    • indigosky

      And some of these “stunts” are because entitled moms think they can breastfeed anywhere. One of the Target nurse-ins was because the mother just plopped down in the middle of an aisle and customers were complaining they could not get to the merchandise. The employee offered her a fitting room and she went crazy screaming that she was allowed to breastfeed anywhere. No honey, NOT where it inconveniences everyone else.

      It’s hard to see these nurse-ins seriously, because so many have been because of women who take things out of context or just blow things out of proportion. I’m not saying there isn’t a problem, but due to hysteria, it’s hard to know where the actual problems are anymore.

      • Charybdis

        But then how could she be on display, rub the breastfeeding in everybody’s faces and then complain loudly when anyone dared venture an opinion that maybe some discretion would not be a bad thing.

        It’s one thing to breastfeed your baby when it is hungry, no matter where you are. It is another thing entirely to go out of your way to call attention to the fact that you are breastfeeding and do so in as loud, public and obnoxious way possible to drive the point home to everybody else: BREASTFEEDING IS NORMAL AND NATURAL. NOBODY SHOULD RAISE AN EYEBROW AT IT. LOOK AT ME!

      • BeatriceC

        Oh, I’m totally with you on that. Note I said “some”, not “all” or even “most”. The obnoxious ones drive me bat-shit crazy. But there is mom-shaming in a lot of places for normal, discrete breastfeeding in locations where bottle feeding wouldn’t warrant a second thought. Those problems don’t go away because there’s this other loud, obnoxious contingent trying to hijack the very real needs of breastfeeding women.

    • Sarah

      Absolutely. A great many of the things beloved of lactivists have their roots in actual problems that need/ed addressing. Campaigns to normalise public breastfeeding are no different. It’s just that unfortunately, some of these ‘solutions’ such as the WHO code and BFHI then also go on to create their own issues.

  • sdsures

    Also ignoring the duties, roles and bonding of fathers and non-lactating partners in the family.