The BoobGeek gaslights women who complain about lactivists

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Lactivists have woken up to the fact that their ugly behavior — placing the process of breastfeeding above the wellbeing of mothers and babies — has been noticed.

Whether it’s grossly exaggerating the benefits of breastfeeding, promoting the humiliation of women who formula feed through the cruelly named “Baby Friendly” Hospital Initiative, or engaging in acts notable for their ignorance and viciousness like telling women who have had mastectomies that they ought to try to breastfeed, lactivists apparently believe they cannot promote breastfeeding by sticking to truth and kindness.

As practiced by The BoobGeek, gaslighting means responding to stories of hurt and harm with a wall of denial.

Now you might think that having become aware of the fact that many women view lactivists in general, and lactation consultants in particular, as disingenuous, dishonest and cruel might cause them to reassess their approach. It hasn’t. Instead it has given rise to a new lactivist technique: gaslighting. Tipper Gallagher, IBCLC, known as The BoobGeek, is an expert in this form of psychological abuse.

What is gaslighting?

According to Wikipedia:

Gaslighting … is a form of psychological abuse in which a victim is manipulated into doubting their own memory, perception, and sanity. Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

The term comes from the play Gas Light:

… The plot concerns a husband who attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment, and subsequently insisting that she is mistaken, remembering things incorrectly, or delusional when she points out these changes.

As practiced by The BoobGeek and her colleagues, gaslighting means responding to stories of hurt and harm with a wall of denial.

For example, yesterday Gallagher wrote on her Facebook page:

Let me be blunt. The people who say that lactivists, breastfeeding advocates, and lactation professionals care only about breastfeeding (rather than individual parents and babies) and believe that breastfeeding is perfect, easy, magical, and foolproof are lying to you.

I don’t know if it was in response to my piece The irrational worship of breastmilk, but it was posted approximately 2 hours later. In my piece I tore apart a lactivist article, 15 Magical Benefits of Breastfeeding. I concluded:

There’s absolutely nothing magical about breastfeeding, and the endless efforts of lactivists to insist that there is tells us more about their need for self-justification than about breastfeeding itself.

If the BoobGeek’s Facebook post was in response, it represents gaslighting at its finest. Though I was discussing an article that claimed from the title onward that breastfeeding is magical, Gallagher has the temerity to insist that lactivists don’t claim that breastfeeding is magical. Who are you going to believe, Tipper Gallagher or your lying eyes?

It seems that gaslighting is something of a specialty for The BoobGeek.

Last fall she produced this gaslighting confection, How to write an anti-breastfeeding article. It appears to have been written in response to Courtney Jung’s NYTimes Op-Ed Over-selling Breastfeeding. Apparently, in the world of lactivists anyone who doesn’t offer full throated support of their methods is “anti-breastfeeding.”

Gallagher starts with this delicious bit of psychological projection:

Congratulations on your decision to write your first anti-breastfeeding article! Although this is no doubt a column, opinion piece, or blog post, we will use the word “article” to describe the outcome for simplicity’s sake, and not to imply any degree of journalistic integrity. We can’t, after all, get people riled up about breastfeeding if we are moderate or accurate.

Gallagher proceeds to engage in one logical fallacy after another including the fallacy of the lonely fact:

…[P]lease avoid telling stories where you met an IBCLC who was helpful and mindful of your goals and limitations, your baby-friendly hospital provided formula supplementation and did not make you sign a scary waiver, you had a difficult start but going to some La Leche League meetings got you on the right track with no judgment whatsoever, or your lactation consultant taught you how to use a bottle or counseled you through weaning when it was necessary or desired. No one wants to hear this.

Gallagher apparently believes that if even one lactivist was kind or helpful, it proves that all lactivists are kind and helpful.

The argument from authority:

All of those silly breastfeeding advocates like the World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund, American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control, Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), et al. use really awful studies to talk about how great breastfeeding is.”

Two wrongs make a right:

Remember, though, that no formula company has ever undermined breastfeeding by providing free samples of their products. There is no proof that advertising affects us in any way.

Gallagher also denies the role of privilege in overselling of breastfeeding:

You also will increase your cred to do a shout-out to those less fortunate. Remember, it is upper-middle-class people like you who are protecting those in poverty from the predatory lactation industry. Breastfeeding absolutely doesn’t matter when it comes to outcomes for black babies, or those babies born in poverty, no matter what experts have to say on the issue.

Gallagher ends with the logical fallacy beloved of lactivists that anyone who decries the exaggeration of benefits believes that there are no benefits:

Assure the reader that since he/she was fed formula and is fine, breastfeeding doesn’t matter at all, on any level …

Gallagher engages in zero introspection. She never questions her personal beliefs and motivations, while misrepresenting and dismissing out of hand the personal beliefs and motivations of anyone else. If you are hurt or angry because of the overselling of breastfeeding benefits, the cruel nature of programs to promote breastfeeding, or the inappropriate behavior of lactation consultants don’t tell it to The BoobGeek.

She’ll just say you misunderstood … the classic gaslighting response.

  • Emilie Bishop

    So I realize this is an older post, but I got a letter today that so exemplifies lactivist gaslighting that I needed to share. I had my son almost two years ago, but for a number of reasons, I never told the hospital how badly I was treated when trying to breastfeed him until just after Christmas. I sent them a five-page letter detailing our experiences to the best of my memory. I got a letter back today, showing they pulled our charts from two years ago to look into my claims. They don’t deny the things I said, but they claim that because the LCs noted my odd breast shape in the charts, they must have told me it was a marker for low milk supply (they didn’t, and they certainly never said I had insufficient glandular tissue, because I would have said hallelujah for an explanation and quit driving myself crazy to nurse). They said my charts list me as still wanting to breastfeed exclusively, which was why the LCs made the recommendations they did. But NOWHERE do they suggest that the reason I might have said such a thing was the way they framed all such “questions” and all the indoctrination I’d received during pregnancy and immediately after delivery on the magical benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. They said my son lost “only” 4% of his birth weight at 24 hours of life instead of the 7% I remembered. Okay, I could have misremembered, I was a little groggy then, but that’s still considered a dangerous threshold by the AAP and no way should we have been discharged without further evaluation. I sent it to one of my best friends who was in an emotionally abusive relationship when we roomed together in college. I would bet money she will agree with me that her ex and this letter have things in common.

  • Melaniexxxx

    Had my first “Baby Friendly” horror story this week – i’m an Obs/Gyn resident for the next 6 months and had my Registrar react with horror at someone having prescribed a lactation suppressant medication on a chart she saw

    “Never ever give this out! Ever! We are baby friendly, you have to tell the woman to go elsewhere like her GP or somewhere. Just say no”

    Ummm.. woman did not want to breastfeed due to sexual trauma.
    Fuck that shit. I’ll prescribe what i want, for the BENEFIT of my patient. (this initial script wasn’t me)

    • Anj Fabian

      How was your poker face?

      • Melaniexxxx

        Stared furiously at my notes then snuck back in later and told the woman it was HER CHOICE to feed how she wanted. Whilst whispering. Fuck. Never thought id have to sneak around to do the right thing

    • Clorinda

      I wonder how the registrar would react to those women who come to the hospital and deliver a stillborn baby or miscarriage or a baby who survives for just a few hours and they still experience having their milk come in. (I’ve known some women with miscarriages before 18 weeks who still had some let down.) Would the suppression medication be “OK” in those cases? Or would it be a strike against the breastfeeding stats and be discouraged. (Let them bind their breasts and deal with it at home.) How do pregnancy and infant losses count in those statistics? There is zero breastfeeding but zero suppressant prescriptions.

      • Melaniexxxx

        Had the LC tell me yesterday that supression meds dont work anyway (when speaking about infant loss) and that lactating helps the “natural greiving procees” so ughh…. i doubt anyone gets out with their dignity and autonomy respected

        • Clorinda

          Helps the natural grieving process???? Tell that to my friend whose milk decided to come in at the FUNERAL of her son.

          • Melaniexxxx

            Oh god 🙁 your poor friend, how heartbreaking

        • Emilie Bishop

          Um, that’s insane. I can think of no worse trigger after losing a baby than having your milk come in. That is the most delusional thinking I’ve ever heard, and clearly said by a woman who never lost a baby.

    • Dr Kitty

      As a GP I do not enjoy being treated as a houseman by secondary care.

      My job is not to do bloods or referrals you forgot to do at clinic or prescribe medications you don’t want or can’t be bothered to.

      If that OBGyn Reg pulled that on me there would be a) an angry phone call followed up by b) a formal letter of complaint that I would request go in their personnel file.

      I guarantee that that would have taken a 20 minute phone call with the patient, or even an emergency same day appointment at the very least to sort out. Which is completely inappropriate use of my resources if you are a specialist who already happens to be in the same room as the patient.

      It is a complete disregard for the time and skills of GPs, who are already seriously overstretched.

      Do not shaft your GP colleagues for your convenience or ideological reasons.
      It is not appreciated.

      • Dr Kitty

        I should say that if this feels like an overreaction, know that on an average day 20 of my patients are discharged from hospital and another 30 will come with chits from outpatient clinics, never mind the 40 clinic letters that have to be read, a fair proportion of which invite me to “consider a referral to X” or “please arrange investigation Y” or “ensure bloods are checked prior to next clinic visits”.

        The goodwill is wearing thin.

      • Melaniexxxx

        Exactly! its disrespectful to LMOs and basically a refusal of care for the patient, with a medication only effective in first few days postpartum. Having access to a GP (toting around a newborn with a CS scar) within the timeline of effectiveness is exceedingly unlikely.

  • Anna

    Dr. Amy, what happened to you to make you hate lactation consultants, breastfeeding mothers, and breastfeeding in general with such a powerful, ugly hatred? The Boob Geek and other IBCLC’s like her have helped so many women reach their mothering goals and so many babies to get the healthy, normal food they need. You are mongering hate and creating division where none exists. You are a bully. You are misrepresenting information to a point that should be criminal for someone with a medical degree. My only hope is that moms who do want to breastfeed can see your hideous lies for what they are and not give up on nursing their babies if that’s what they want. For the love of the peace in our community, stop attacking people. Leave them alone. This is flagrant cyber bullying, libel. It needs to stop. You’re lucky someone doesn’t take legal action against you.

    • Charybdis

      As opposed to all the LC’s and IBCLC’s who don’t misrepresent information at all. Or spread misinformation about breastfeeding and fearmonger that “a single drop of formula” can utterly destroy your baby’s chance to be thin, super-healthy and get into MIT at age 12.

      Some, not all, LC’s and IBCLC’s bully new mothers about breastfeeding exclusively and tell them to “breastfeed more, breastfeed harder, and here, take these herbs and/or domperidone to boost your supply”. And they are willfully ignorant about formula feeding: their cost estimation is wildly inaccurate, as is their perception that formula is incredibly difficult and time consuming to prepare.

      Nice try, and thanks for playing.

      • The Boob Geek

        As it turns out, I’m one of the “good” IBCLCs – and there are a lot of us out there. I challenge you to read my blog posts and show where I’m treating breastfeeding or formula-feeding as you describe. I challenge you to find where I’m not supporting individual people meet their individual goals with breastfeeding, which sometimes include weaning or long-term formula supplementation. The worst you might find is that I do share that formula preparation, if following guidelines from the CDC and other comparable organizations, is more complicated than most people believe it to be.

        If Amy Tuteur can find it in herself to attack me personally, do you really think she’s accurately representing the attitudes of nearly every other lactation supporter? The best she can find to dissect to attack me is a tongue-in-cheek blog post that breaks down the formula (no pun intended) used to write nearly every article about how terrible breastfeeding advocates are. Even if you’re keen on those articles, you gotta admit that they’re a bit repetitive.

        • swbarnes2

          Where is she attacking you personally? And if you

          want, sure, don’t count a single thing that Dr. Tuteur has said about bad LCs. Just read all the stories posted by all the other women who had awful experiences. This site is just an aggregator for them. Their stories matter, not the masthead personality.

          And as a technical point, in 2013, this was the AAP’s stance on HIV+ women breastfeeding:

          “The AAP recommends that HIV-infected mothers in the United States not breastfeed their infants, regardless of viral load or adherence to antiretroviral therapy.”

          I know that IBCLCs might be working in all countries, but an American woman searching their site for the AAP’s medical and scientific recommendation would have a VERY hard time finding it among the plethora of pages saying that breastfeeding is recommended. This is a serious problem.

          • dawnal

            Lol! Dr. Amy is literally (using the actual use of the word) attacking The Boob Geek! Saying someone is gaslighting their clients, is a serious acusation…I would recommend Dr. Amy read The Boob Geek’s body of written work, and get some firsthand accounts BEFORE writing negative articles… And for The Bob Geek; I recommend consulting a lawyer regarding libal.

        • Charybdis

          You may be one of the “good ones” out there. If so, wonderful. There is a parade of lactivists, LC’s, IBCLC’s, etc. that post here trying to “educate” us on the magical, ephemeral properties of breastmilk and how it is just a myth that women can’t make enough breastmilk to keep a baby healthy and thriving.. There was one, Nikkilee, who went numerous rounds with various posters about how our experiences with formula feeding, breastfeeding and pumping were simply all wrong. She didn’t understand how someone could lose $130/week in wages while pumping. Her figures for how expensive formula feeding is were WAY off base. Even when several people broke down how they formula fed for $500 or less per year, she still did not quite believe it could be done for that amount of money.

          So, collectively, the attitude of LC’s, IBCLC’s, LLL leaders, etc is one of BREASTFEED AT ALL COSTS. Jump through a bazillion hoops to help increase your supply! Pump, power pump and pump some more. Eat some oatmeal, have some lactation cookies, drink some mother’s milk tea, have some domperidone, Take a “nursing vacation”! Do nothing but breastfeed your baby 24/7/365. Check the latch, change your hold, eliminate foods from your diet. Don’t use pacifiers, nipple shields or bottles because NIPPLE CONFUSION!! If the baby wants to suck for comfort, give them your breast. Use a SNS! Cup or syringe feed instead of using a bottle. Breastfeeding is wonderful, magical and SO, SO BONDING, why would anyone not want to do it and have this OMG amazeballs bond and relationship with your baby.

          I’m sure there are wonderful, supportive LC’s out there who are willing to help a formula feeder just as much as they are willing to help a breastfeeder, just as there are ones who are prize bitches who will browbeat and shame a formula feeder and/or a formula supplementer while moving heaven and earth to help a breastfeeder with IGT who had a lip-and-tongue tied baby.

    • guest

      Oh please.

      • Anna

        Well said…

    • moto_librarian

      LOLZ forever! Dr. Amy is one of the few people NOT misrepresenting the benefits of breastfeeding. She actually grasps the reality that the majority of women in the United States work outside the home, have little or no maternity leave (and don’t even talk about how few have paid leave), and often work jobs that make pumping difficult or impossible. I might be able to take lactivists more seriously if they quit bitching about the number of women who don’t breastfeed and actually start campaigning for mandatory paid leave. Even then, you don’t get to make up the benefits of breastmilk over formula.

    • graysmama

      Except Dr. Amy was a breastfeeding mother herself and doesn’t hate breastfeeding or breast feeding mothers or even all lactation consultants. Just lactation consultants who continue to bully and make mothers who do formula feed for any reason feel like failures while they oversell the benefits of breastfeeding. I was breastfed myself but was unable to exclusively breastfeed my own child due to IGT. I was fortunate that the lactation consultant at the hospital recognize this and provided me the support I needed not to be successful at breastfeeding because that was an impossibility for me but to understand that primarily formula feeding was what I would need to do because nothing I did would make my insufficient glands produce enough to exclusively breastfeed. I am delivering my second child at the same hospital tomorrow and told them my goal was combo feeding. No judgment from the hospital or the lactation consultants there which is how it should be. Many women are bullied and face so much judgment by some lactation consultants for either being unable to exclusively breast feed or for choosing not to.

    • Deborah

      I think you will find, if you take the time to really read and understand, that what Amy finds detestable and worthy of such a strong term as hate, is LACTIVISM. Not lactation consultants, not breastfeeding mothers and not breastfeeding in general.
      Lactivism in all its hideous forms is the problem – not breastfeeding.
      If you don’t like Amy’s communication style here on this site but you are interested in finding out what the real issues are Courtney Jungs’s book Lactivism may shed some light and help you understand why Amy writes so persistently and scathingly about lactivism and its proponents.

  • Anonymous

    OT and also tmi but my husband and I went to a therapist last night to deal with issues in our marriage after baby. One big issue is I feel there is a lack of equality in the marriage. Anyway we discussed many examples of the ways things are not equal and even my husband said yup I see how things are unfair. Then he pointed out the one thing he did do was feed the baby at night. Therapists response: you are not breastfeeding with a look of horror. So we just said that our marriage is lopsided and the one freaking thing he does do I get guilt tripped for. I think she realized her mistake because she backtracked with “well it can be hard to breastfeed.” Um how about just saying good let’s find other ways to build equality.

    • demodocus

      Oh, good lord.

    • MI Dawn

      Holy crap! You need to find another therapist. That was a totally inappropriate thing to say.

    • Amy

      So the marriage therapist has a background as a pediatric nutritionist?

    • An Actual Attorney

      Find a new therapist. And send an email to this one telling her why.

      • Daleth

        If you do change therapists–it MIGHT be worth staying with her if in every other way she’s good and she quickly backed down on this–definitely tell her why, and perhaps refer her to some non-militant sources of accurate BF’ing information.

        If you don’t change therapists, this issue might be worth a little 2-minute PSA at your next session.

    • Jules B

      I echo the rest – new therapist!

    • mabelcruet

      New therapist immediately-this one is judgmental, intemperate and thoughtless. Sack her, tell her why, and leave her crap feedback on her website. Nasty person. I hope you find one that is a better fit for you both.

  • Dr Kitty

    OT:
    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00192-014-2376-z#page-2

    I read the full version of this 2014 paper today. Some obstetricians are trying to predict who is likely to suffer obstetric pelvic floor injury and to have conversations with these women about their risks and individualise management (i.e. opting for elective CS, or moving rapidly to emergency CS rather than forceps if trouble develops in the second stage) in order to prevent long term pelvic floor dysfunction while minimising risks in future pregnancy if large families are desired.

    The scoring system they propose is called UR-CHOICE.

    COMPLETELY OT:
    One of the co-authors is Prof James Dornan.
    You may have heard of his son Jamie.

    • Gatita

      Does he look anything like his son???

  • Rose

    OT, but I had a great experience at work today (I’m a technician in a remote animal hospital). A woman brought in her Chihuahua and requested ‘a quick check’, explaining that active labor had started some five hours earlier with no progression. When I went to examine the bitch, I noticed that she had partially delivered a pup, which was breech (head and forequarters still inside) and had thick meconium staining in the unbroken membranes. When I mentioned this, the owner replied, “Oh, yes. She’s been like that for about a half-hour.” I immediately brought her to the back where my vet and I were able to manipulate the pup enough to deliver it. I began resuscitation while my vet went to check with the owner how she wanted us to progress. My vet came back fuming. Not only had she stopped for McDonald’s on the way in /after/ noting that the pup was partially out and stuck, but she was confused about why we had to pull the puppy. “[the bitch] was doing fine, she didn’t need help. Dogs give birth all the time without people. She was just taking her time on the puppy, you should’ve left it. I just wanted you to make sure she was OK.”

    Which would be bad enough, except that this is a well known client who quote-unquote breeds Chihuahuas, and we’ve done no less than four c-sections on her dogs in the last year alone, with multiple more stillbirths and birth accidents.

    The puppy survived, incidentally, and she went on to deliver two more, one which required resuscitation as well after prolonged labor and cord compression. On the way out, the owner refused to pay her bill as ‘we didn’t do anything the dog couldn’t have done on her own’.

    • Azuran

      Ahh the joy of the job….breeders are the worst.
      I’ve had one who woke me up at 2am when I was on call because her french bulldog had been in obstructed labour for 6 hours. Then she refused to come to the hospital for a c-section because I wouldn’t do the c-section with only an epidural on an awake dog ¬_¬
      She then waited until the morning until her usual clinic opened.

      • Madtowngirl

        What the hell is wrong with people? Dogs do not give a crap if they are awake when their litters are born! They just don’t want to be in pain anymore.

        • Sarah

          These stories are just disgusting. I’m by no means an animal lover, goldfish and petting the odd cat is as far as I go. But the wanton neglect and stupidity of some of these people who apparently are is appalling. I don’t want a dog in my house or in my presence, but it’d be a cold day in hell before I expected one to suffer through abdominal surgery whilst conscious. Why on earth would someone who presumably likes animals enough to want one living with them try to inflict that?!

      • momofone

        Well, sure! Throw in some birth affirmations and it would have been fine!

      • BeatriceC

        Meanwhile I’ve dropped nearly $1000 on Charlotte in less than 3 weeks just for vet care. I don’t understand people who take in animals and then don’t care for them. Also, I’m typing this with Leo on my left index finger. My birds might be spoiled.

      • Rose

        Ha, right?! I’ve had a couple of the ‘they do epidural-only csections on people, why not dogs?’ and they never seem to understand no matter how many times you explain why HAVING A DOG AWAKE DURING SURGERY IS NOT REALLY A GOOD IDEA. I also truly enjoy the severe dystocias who don’t want radiographs because ‘the radiation is bad for the puppies’. Not half as bad as them croaking because we can’t tell WTF is going in there and you won’t let us open them up, people.

        Honestly, I find my large animal clients are so much better when it comes to reproduction, probably because that’s usually their livelihood. There’s always crazy equine owner/breeder or four around but for the most part they’re OK. And so long as whoever you’re going out to has a decent maternity pen or at least some kind of setup (or are willing to haul in) and you’re not doing a standing c-section with the half-wild heifer tied via halter to a tree at 1:00am like one particularly memorable occasion, you’re golden (that one ties with ‘down cow in a ditch calving out fuckin MASSIVE twins for most “fun” on call)

        • Azuran

          Yea, that’s what I liked most about cow farmers. Since the cows are their livelihood they usually pay great attention to them. Most will call a vet instantly the second one of their cows eats less or won’t get up.
          In contrast, yesterday a woman brought in her cat because it had been constipated for over 2 weeks, anorexic and vomiting for over 10 days. By this point poor cat was severely dehydrated, had lost 8 pounds and was jaundiced.
          I wish I could say it was a rare occurrence, but things like that happen practically everyday in my clinic.

          • MI Dawn

            OMG. I can’t imagine letting any of my cats get that miserable. I wasn’t the best owner in the world (indoor cats so I skipped some of the vaccines but always made sure they got the rabies vaccine), but anytime they were off their food or in pain, they were in the clinic asap!

          • Heidi

            I know some cats are larger than others, but 8 lbs on any domestic cat has to be huge. None of our cats even weighed 8 lbs. That’s just awful!

          • Azuran

            It used to be a severely obese 16 pounds cat. And sadly it’s very very far from being the fatest cat I’ve seen.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            In contrast, yesterday a woman brought in her cat because it had been
            constipated for over 2 weeks, anorexic and vomiting for over 10 days.

            Ha. I read this and say, consider yourself lucky that she came in during business hours and didn’t call it in as an emergency at 3 am. That’s what I usually expect to happen.

          • Azuran

            Oh don’t worry, it happens ALL the time.
            Lucky for me, at my hospital the calls are filtered by a technician. So she only calls me if it is indeed an emergency (and not someone calling at 2 am to ask what brand of food she should give her guinea pig….yes that happened) and if the owners agree to pay the emergency fees.
            I’m probably getting a call for every 10 calls that my tech gets.

            Basically every morning there is a 10 minute discussion over coffee about the stupid calls of the night.

          • Gatita

            A lot of times it’s a financial decision. People wait to see if the animal gets better because it’s a big deal to shell out several hundred dollars (at minimum) to run tests. Once you get into treatment it can run to thousands of dollars.

          • Azuran

            I know it’s financial. But people have this ridiculous fear of even calling us, or just coming to an appointment.
            Just having an appointment doesn’t force you to pay anything more, but at least you can know what is going on. If you are lucky, it’s nothing too bad and it can be treated with simple care, or a little bit of medication. Or even more severe illnesses can be treated easily if they come in early enough.
            If your pet needs a treatment that costs in the hundreds or thousand, then that’s because it is severely sick (and likely to die without treatment). But again, you don’t have to do it. But you know what’s going on, and you can make an informed decision about it, instead of letting your pet suffer for days and even weeks, until you find it dying in a corner.

            I see cases that are clearly severe neglect, or outright animal abuse or cruelty on a daily basis (absolutely not kidding). If those pets were children, I’d be calling CPS every single day, and at least once a week, someone would be criminally charged with criminal neglect or outright homicide.

            All because they want to save 60$

        • Dr Kitty

          Cattle farmers, however, are not good patients themselves. Not as bad as sheep farmers, who tend
          to treat everything themselves with home remedies, but definitely not ideal patients.

          The 80 year old who managed to put his back out while walking a cow with milk fever…The man who waited a week by which time he had osteomyelitis in the open fracture on his foot after being stomped by a bull…the elderly man who had a heart attack trying to get a cow out of a ditch and wouldn’t get in the ambulance until the paramedics had got the cow back in the field…

          • mabelcruet

            I started out as a junior doctor in a very small rural hospital. I learned very quickly that farmers are the worst patients-absolutely stoical and wouldnt take time off being sick unless they were near death. We had them coming in with ‘a bit of a rash’ (half their scalp , face and eyeball eroded by a BCC), ‘a bit of an ulcer’ (venous ulcers exposing bone), honestly, I was just waiting for them to come in with severed limb over their shoulder with ‘a bit of a cut’. We also got wary of the local GPs-they were great GPs, so we only got the very sickest folk being admitted. I learnt an awful lot of medicine that year!

          • Daleth

            Their severed limb wouldn’t be over their shoulder because they would have reattached it with duct tape last week in order to keep working. They only came in this week because their wife made them.

          • Mel

            I swear to God. When I married my husband, I had to set some boundaries for him about self-treatment like “No swabbing rashes or injuries with antibiotics from the farm until you’ve called the doctor.” “If a body part is visibly deformed, go to the doctor.” “No stitching your own wounds”.

    • BeatriceC

      Ugh. Animals die in childbirth all the time. Even animals that don’t have live births can have life threatening reproductive issues. One of the biggest problems in female birds is egg binding (when an egg gets stuck). It’s always fatal if left untreated. Most bird breeders spend huge amounts of money on vet bills, but maybe that’s because just acquiring the a breeding pair of birds can cost upwards of $20,000 depending on the species (a hyacinth macaw can cost $15,000-20,000 for just one, depending on where you live).

      • Azuran

        People just don’t know what reality is. I’ve seen a cat with uterine rupture and 2 dead kitten just floating in her abdomen. One of my colleague had a dog whose puppies died in-utero and were never expelled. they rotted in the uterus until they were only bones, then the bones shredded the uterus and caused massive damages to the internal organs.
        We get calls about dogs and cats in dystocia 2-3 times a week. do 1-3 c-section per month. Whenever we do a c-section, about 75% of the time, at least one pup/kitten don’t make it. (I’ve had a few were all the pups where dead) Whenever I do post-partum exams on pets, about half of them had at least one stillborn or death in the first week.
        And that’s without counting the less frequent complication. I’ve had a few cases of egg binding, eclampsia, post-partum uterine infection, pregnancy toxiemia and maternal death.

        • BeatriceC

          I’m not a vet, so I haven’t seen even a small fraction of what you have, but I’ve done a lot of animal rescue in my life so I’ve seen more than the average Joe. People are doing the same with animals as they are with humans with the whole “nature is a wonderful thing and nothing can ever go wrong”. I think it’s even worse because unlike human women who can actually tell people “Something is very wrong” (usually they can, there are definitely more and more cases of women being brainwashed to believe that what they’re feeling is perfectly fine), animals can’t speak up for themselves.

          • BeatriceC

            Except parrots. My parrots use actual words to tell me things. Goofy uses quite a few phrases in context and Charlotte is showing some signs that she can do the same. Leo doesn’t use human words, nor does Cookie. But both Charlotte and Goofy can give me an ear splitting NO when they don’t like something.

        • Madtowngirl

          Yep – I mentioned above that one of my rescues had multiple litters – the last one, she had two pups, and one died within a week. She had no prenatal care, since no one knew she was even pregnant until the pups were delivered.

          I had her spayed as soon as the surviving dog was weaned.

        • MI Dawn

          This is why I spay/neuter my cats when I get them…

      • Guest

        We had a chicken literally explode (it looked like she had swallowed dynamite) from egg binding. She showed no signs of anything up until we woke up one day and she was exploded in the coop. She was kind of genetically messy anyway (she had rooster-like saddle feathers, and every egg she ever laid floated), but it was spectacular. But chickens have been laying eggs for centuries no problem, right?

        • MI Dawn

          Wow!

        • BeatriceC

          And that’s the other problem with birds. They hide symptoms until they’re pretty close to death’s door. I’m paranoid about observing my birds for the slightest behavioral changes for that reason. I’m sorry about your chicken. That had to have been horrifying.

    • Madtowngirl

      That poor dog. How awful. I know my rescue came from a situation where she was simply left alone with intact male dogs – so she had multiple litters. I shudder to imagine if this may have been her.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      On the way out, the owner refused to pay her bill as ‘we didn’t do anything the dog couldn’t have done on her own’.

      Has your office advised her to find another veterinarian?

      I know vets have this commitment to helping animals, but there is a line. Not just in the fact that she refused to pay, but that she has no respect for the doctor.

      Then again, I don’t think the collection agency will care for her complaints.

  • yentavegan

    Woe unto the unsuspecting emotionally fragile mother who seeks information/support from lactation groups online or in person. The baseline mindset at these groups are anti-doctor, anti-prescription medicine and they are openly hostile to believing that a post graduate level credentialed/insured highly educated physician has a mothers’ best interest in mind when s/he recommends weaning.

    • demodocus

      there’s so much of it floating around. I’mm afraid i’m not very popular on my current due date group because i was blunt about not caring for all the stuff and being rather negative. (a consequence both of the depression and my belief that positive thinking does not guarantee positive results.)

  • Brooke

    How is she gaslighting you when she’s not even responding to you directly? You and your followers constantly “cyberbully” people and take pride in it, even gloating about journalists blocking you on Twitter. Grow up. Not everything is about you.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      I didn’t say she was gaslighting me. Did you even read the piece?

    • corblimeybot

      I feel like you’re high whenever you come around these parts.

      Dr. Amy clearly represents something very weird in your psyche. It’s like you aren’t fighting with her, you’re fighting with an imaginary bully in your head.

      You aren’t accomplishing anything by coming over here and barfing up easily-refuted nonsense. You aren’t convincing anyone. Your comments often don’t make any sense in context of the conversation. You take screenshots of Dr Amy’s readers to mock them elsewhere, yet hilariously accuse Dr Amy of cyberbullying. Everything you do here reeks of both futility and bizarre fixation.

      So this must do something for you psychologically. Maybe you’re obsessed with Dr. Amy because there’s someone else in your life that you can’t lash out at. I don’t haunt anti-vaxx and AP blogs, because they do nothing for me except piss me off. Yet you’re always here. Maybe you like being pissed off. Maybe your life is that shitty and ineffectual, that you need that flare of self-righteousness, and need that feeling that you DID something today – you fought the Evil Dr. Amy like the tireless warrior you are.

      Whatever the reason, there’s nothing healthy about your behavior. You’re highly annoying, but another part of me is sort of concerned that this shit you do here means too much to you.

      • CSN0116

        Brooke gets abused here, no doubt.

        But the fact that she compulsively comes seeking it is very telling.

      • Gatita

        Like I said yesterday, Brooke is giving off stalker vibes and if I were Amy I’d be concerned. She is all over FB and here too. And you are so right about her responses being weird, off topic, missing context, etc.

    • guest

      Look, there goes Brooke, drifting away from reality.

    • Azuran

      You should take your own advice. Grow up and get on with your life. No one here is going out of there way to bully you, you are the one who keeps coming here and making stupid comments.

    • MI Dawn

      Brooke: the title of the article says it. Couldn’t you even read THAT much? “Boobgeek gaslights *women* who complain…”

      No where does Dr Amy say the Boobgeek is gaslighting her. And having gone to the Boobgeek’s site and read some of her posts, I’d say “yes, she has a habit of doing that”. Her ‘Breast is Best and you better have tried really really really really hard before you do anything else or you’re a failure and a loser but if you can’t do breast, get donor milk, if you can’t get donor milk (and you have to have tried really hard to get that), then maybe, just MAYBE it’s OK to use commercial formula to supplement with, just don’t do homegrown formulas’ mentality is telling.

      In her mind, women shouldn’t be able to choose to bottlefeed. She’s willing to concede some women can’t due to health issues like double mastectomies, but EVERY OTHER woman should be able to, and no, it doesn’t hurt and no, you shouldn’t quit until you’ve tried and tried and tried and tried and used a Lactation consultant and, and, and…

      Telling a woman it “shouldn’t hurt” is telling her that she’s doing something wrong. Telling a woman it doesn’t hurt when the woman is doing EVERYTHING properly and it STILL HURTS is gaslighting. Denying a woman’s experience as to what is happening or what did happen and giving a different narrative is gaslighting.

      Go watch the movie. Maybe you’ll understand then.

  • NewMom

    Sort of OT: I’ve been looking at hospitals in areas we might be moving to since if we have another baby, I don’t want to be at a baby friendly hospital. Anyway, I found this gem in a hospital’s infant feeding policy:

    “10. Mothers requesting supplementation will be asked a reason for their request. Staff will address
    the concerns raised by the mother and explain the risks of artificial supplementation. If the
    mother makes the decision to supplement, staff will discuss with the mother the available
    feeding options and she will be taught how to administer a feeding, safely, with the device
    chosen. The reason for supplementation will be documented in the infants EMR.”

    https://www.osfhealthcare.org/media/filer_public/d1/dd/d1ddaa9a-f0fc-4049-84a9-2baf229808bf/infant-feeding-policy.pdf

    Risks of formula? That’s nice. Make sure women feel judged and shamed if they can’t or choose not to breastfeed. I think it’s pretty normal for new parents to feel lost and clueless. These policies seem designed to exploit that.

    I should note that I had my daughter at a hospital trying to get baby-friendly status. I didn’t know they were wanting baby-friendly until the tour. My OB assured me that formula would be available and baby could go to the nursery if that’s what we wanted. When my daughter was born, the nurses and docs were wonderful. Formula was provided automatically and I got all the breastfeeding help I needed.

    • Madtowngirl

      “Mothers requesting supplementation will be asked a reason for their request.” ARGH. Why? No really, why? We don’t ask why people want to eat sandwiches instead of salads. We don’t (routinely) ask men why they want vasectomies instead of using condoms. Most sane doctors don’t ask a woman why she wants to go on the pill instead of practicing abstinence. Let women make their choices that are best for their families for Pete’s sake. It’s not like she’s asking for a line of coke for the baby!!!

      • Liz Leyden

        I’m a nurse, so I can provide some insight. They probably ask for the same reasons patients are asked why they don’t want to use certain medications or treatments. I was asked why I didn’t want to take narcotics. It’s a CYA move, so if the hospital doesn’t meet its breastfeeding goals the staff aren’t blamed for not discussing it with the patient. “Because I don’t want to” is a perfectly valid reason for not breastfeeding.

        The risks of formula feeding come from improper preparation or storage. Mothers should know how to feed their baby by discharge, including the right way to fix a bottle. I got no instruction with my son, besides “follow the directions on the label.”

        I didn’t deliver at a baby-friendly hospital. They had breastfeeding benchmarks, but no one pushed me into breastfeeding. One of the nurses encouraged me to stop trying if breastfeeding was stressing me out. When I was readmitted at 10 days postpartum, they asked me if I was breastfeeding once, then never asked again.

        • Madtowngirl

          Thanks for your response! I hope that all nurses are asking for the same reason you are. The language in the above paragraph really rubbed me the wrong way. Admittedly, none of the nurses in the BFH I delivered at gave me trouble about my breastfeeding issues – they were all way, way more helpful than the LCs.

      • Steph858

        If LC’s behave like toddlers (“But WWWHHHHYYYY???!!!”) then they’ll be treated like toddlers (“Because I said so!”) Least they would by me …

    • CSN0116

      That’s copy pasted language from BFHI item 6 or 8? I can’t remember. But that’s not the hospital writing it. It’s verbatim BFHI policy.

  • Mel

    Time out. Which “experts” have been pounding the drum that breast feeding is the key to escaping racism and poverty?

    To the best of my knowledge, no one has done a study where minorities or only low-income parents are followed for childhood outcomes based on feeding choice of infants.

    • CSN0116

      This is not to mock or demean or stereotype the poor (I grew up dirt poor), but the day they can show me that the baby born to a mom with unstable housing, couch crashing monthly, no father present, limited prenatal care, high school level education, limited access to fresh produce and good food, failing schools, no books at home, no health care, polluted and crime-ridden neighborhoods … is breast fed and goes on to fair better than my non-breastfed baby (for which none of these issues are present) – well then you’ll get me to buy in.

      (none of these things make you bad, or a bad parent, but they make raising a child extremely difficult)

    • swbarnes2

      Well, there’s this, from an article in the Lancet:

      ” Breastfeeding is clearly relevant to the third sustainable goal, which includes not only maternal and child health but also non-communicable diseases such as breast cancer and diabetes as well as overweight and obesity. It is also relevant to the second goal (on nutrition). The effect of breastfeeding on intelligence and on human capital is relevant to the fourth goal (education), the first goal (poverty), and the eighth goal (inclusive economic growth). Finally, by helping close the gap between rich and poor, breastfeeding can contribute to goal number ten—reducing inequalities.”

      So yeah, they are saying that breastfeeding is magic that will significantly alleviate deep social problems.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    I had to lol when I saw the title “15 Magical Benefits of Breastfeeding”. No sense of irony or self-awareness here! That title pretty much says it all…

  • moto_librarian

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my parenting and the expectations that I set for myself (thank you, regular therapy with a psychiatrist). It has occurred to me that a lot of the advice that I was given during pregnancy and in the early postpartum period set up ridiculous expectations. The fact that much of this advice was offered as evidence-based by healthcare professionals makes me very angry. If I hadn’t felt such ridiculous pressure to breastfeed despite the fact that there were clear signs that it wasn’t going to work (no changes in breast tissue during pregnancy, inability to pump more than 0.5 oz after 30 minutes of pumping at 10 days postpartum, no sensation of letdown or engorgement), I just kept being told to work through it. Pump every two hours, put baby to breast, give pumped breastmilk, then top off with formula, wash bottles, wash pump – that routine left me with maybe 30 minutes in which I was supposed to rest before starting it all over again. I was exhausted but too anxiety-ridden to sleep. I couldn’t stop crying. I honestly felt like I was losing my mind. If my mother hadn’t managed to talk some sense into me, I probably would have wound up with a psychiatric admit. I should have been resting in my bed, snuggling with my precious new baby, enjoying him. Instead, the first month of his life was a nightmare of exhaustion, pain, and tears that I don’t even like to think about. This is what lactivism does, and if you are a lactivist, you don’t fucking get to tell me what my experience was like. You need to take responsibility for promoting an ideology that hurts women. You need to do something about the large numbers of unprofessional LCs and IBCLCs in your ranks. You have an obligation to report the real findings of studies, including the fact that the benefits of breastfeeding a term infant in the developed world are trivial.

    • Madtowngirl

      Your story is very similar to mine. It’s absolutely cruel to put these expectations on new mothers.

      • moto_librarian

        A former student of mine is expecting her first baby. I sent her a copy of Dr. A’s book and she’s been reading it. I hope she takes it to heart.

    • lawyer jane

      Yes, I know exactly how you feel. It’s kind of a scary betrayal when it’s the actual health care professionals (in my case, including midwives) give bad advice at a vulnerable time. The ONLY person who gave me good advice was my psychologist, who was neither a mother nor particularly trained or experienced in post-partum issues. She just had the good sense to help me think through the situation, and had no agenda other than to help me.

    • OttawaAlison

      The problem is often that these people absolutely ignore anything that go against the pre-conceived notions. Any study that says “babies who are formula-fed have similar outcomes to breastfed babies when co-founders are acknowledged” must have been funded by Big Pharma or Nestlé. If we dare say our formula fed kids are healthy either “we’re in denial” or our kids “dodged a bullet” or “we’re lying”. I think they’ve staked so much on breastfeeding being far superior that they don’t want to change their minds.
      I absolutely hate the fact that I let these people make me so miserable when I was a new mom. I was doing my best. My daughter was healthy. On formula she was thriving. That said, looking back, those things should have never been said to me.
      Big picture (which I could really only see a few years afterwards) was I had a child to love and raise, not to just BF her. Being miserable wasn’t good for me, her starving wasn’t good for her. Once she had formula in her belly she became a much happier baby and I became a better mom.

    • yentavegan

      AMEN.

    • Jules B

      My experience mirrors yours in lots of ways. I drives me nuts when they say “no one does that to women” when it actually happened to me! Gas lighting to the max.

  • Amy

    OMG. We used to be friendly in online mommy groups and friends on social media. She is the queen of cognitive dissonance.

  • Roadstergal

    “Gallagher apparently believes that if even one lactivist was kind or helpful, it proves that all lactivists are kind and helpful.”

    Which number Bofa’s law was it again? “They’re not all like that” isn’t a useful, helpful, or even meaningful response.

    • Sarah

      Not all lactivists are like that, but enough lactivists are like that.

      • yentavegan

        I am humiliated by just how many women I interact with in lactation discussion support groups overstep their scope of knowledge ALL THE TIME. I am fighting an uphill battle because I do believe that mothers who want to know if xyz is normal deserve a place to safely ask questions and to be heard.

    • corblimeybot

      Some of my lactivist friends are nicer than others, but every last one of them believes they’re superior people who made superior choices.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      That’s Bofa’s (first) Law. It goes without the “first” formally.

      I’ve noted before that LCs are really on the border of Bofa’s Law. For LCs, the defense is more likely to be “There are some bad ones, but mine was good.” But they are close to having a problem.

      • Gatita

        They have a problem. Maybe it varies by city but where I live all of the pediatricians refer you to one IBCLC practice and not only do they call formula poison and shame women for CS (a friend of mine was told, “No wonder you’re having problems after you let the doctors do that to you”), they utterly failed to ID my son’s oral-motor issues. We only got it diagnosed when he was nearly two and still unable to speak or eat solid food. The LCs told me his latch was perfect and to keep BF even though I literally had bleeding scabs all over my aerolas. If there are good LCs out there, they aren’t practicing in my community.

    • Gatita

      #NotAllMen vs. #YesAllWomen

  • OttawaAlison

    The gaslighting drove me crazy when I was struggling to breastfeed. They tried to tell me why breastfeeding didn’t work out for me (formula companies – nope, having formula in the cupboard- nope, never knowing a woman who breast fed – nope I was breastfed, not seeing breastfeeding as normal – nope, looking at the clock while breastfeeding – nope, not trying hard enough- nope, throwing in the towel when it was a little bit difficult – nope), but wouldn’t listen to my story or reality (breast hypoplasia, breast scarring and my daughter losing weight at 2 weeks).
    With my daughter now being 10 years old now, healthy, happy, smart and a lovely human being, I am literally mad at myself for being gaslighted and not calling them out on it (and getting Maya Angelou quotes and Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes slung at me). That said, I am also older and have a lot more perspective now so I have no problem calling people out on their BS.

    • Amy M

      Oh I HATE the Maya Angelou and Eleanor Roosevelt quotes. Those are completely misappropriated, and Maya and Eleanor are rolling in their graves. Those are just excuses to act like big jerks. I am not a confrontational person, let alone a violent one, but when I see/hear that crap, it induces a murderous rage.

      • Roadstergal

        I appreciate that Dr T did an entire post about mis-use of that Roosevelt quote.

      • AirPlant

        Some day I am gonna take those quotes and just SPAM them at the people claiming a human rights violation because some dude left the room just as they started feeding their 56 month old.