Fed is best? Intolerable!


How dare The Leaky Boob advocate tolerance!

Jessica Martin-Weber of The Leaky Boob wrote an ode to tolerance of infant feeding choices Why I’ll stick to saying “Fed IS Best”. In it, she chides lactivists for their intolerance of tolerance, lactivists who say things like “…[I]t is scientifically proven that breast is better. This is not a shaming statement, it is factual.”

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]For lactivists, the question is not what is best, but who is best.[/pullquote]

came across an image boldly making this statement recently and I’ve seen others like it and in the infant feeding support group I run on Facebook I was accused of not really supporting breastfeeding because we don’t permit formula bashing or shaming and discourage the use of the phrase “breast is best” (a marketing tool developed by formula manufacturers, no less).

Reading that phrase above it strikes me that it sounds a lot like when kids are trying to one-up each other with “well, blank is better!” …

“Fed is best” is a big thing here in this space… “Fed is best” isn’t a perfect phrase but then there is no such thing as a perfect phrase. Words are limited, expressions are clumsy, one-liners are inept. But as far as words and phrases go, this one leaves room… for the personal story. The narrative, the humanity, the journey.

It leaves room for tolerance. For lactivists that is intolerable.

Witness the comments on TLB Facebook page:

of course babies need to be fed, however promoting fed is best undermines breastfeeding. fed is not best, fed is the minimum…


Saying fed is best really undermines breastfeeding. Saying fed is best makes people feel that the other option is starvation. People shouldn’t be having babies if they can’t feed their children…


This is (the now classic) “cover off every angle so you don’t upset anyone” social media post when we all just need to be real and understand what we put into our bodies matters and especially from birth… [W]hy is it that we can’t focus on the wonders of breastmilk??????? It’s also free!!! Let’s not undermine breastfeeding!

And my favorite:

Oh whatever. Sell out.

It’s instructive watching Sanctimommies strenuously defending their sanctimony.

Why do they find tolerance intolerable? For a very simple reason: ego. For lactivists, the question is not what is best, but who is best. If “fed is best,” they’re not best.”

I’ve quoted sociologist Stephanie Knaak (Contextualising risk, constructing choice: Breastfeeding and good mothering in risk society) on this topic in the past:

…[T]his discourse is not a benign communique about the relative benefits of breastfeeding, but an ideologically infused, moral discourse about what it means to be a ‘good mother’ in an advanced capitalist society.

When lactivists say “breast is best,” they mean “I am best.”

…[T]his association of breastfeeding with ‘good mothering’ and formula feeding with ‘not so good mothering’ has been argued to be a key characteristic of today’s dominant infant feeding discourse. In large part, this can be attributed to the fact that pro-breastfeeding discourse is organised and mediated by: (a) a moralising public health ideology; and (b) the ‘ideology of intensive mothering’, today’s dominant parenting ideology.

Militant lactivism shares some ugly traits with racism. Racism is fundamentally about boosting one’s self-esteem by declaring the inferiority of another group. Racists use all sorts of empirical claims about the supposed deficiencies of non-white people (they’re criminals; they’re terrorists; they’re stealing our jobs) but those are just dog whistles to other racists. Lactivists make all sorts of empirical claims about the supposed deficiencies of formula, but those are based on weak or non-existent science, and primarily serve as dog whistles for other lactivists.

Both militant lactivists and racists feel themselves under siege even when they’re not. They always portray themselves as long suffering victims who will suffer further if anyone dares acknowledge the humanity of those who are different.

Militant lactivism is also ableist.

According to Stop Ableism.org:

Ableism – a set of practices and beliefs that assign inferior value (worth) to people who have developmental, emotional, physical or psychiatric disabilities…

An ableist society is said to be one that treats non-disabled individuals as the standard of ‘normal living’…

Militant lactivism is a set of practices and beliefs that assigns inferior value to women who do not use their breasts to feed their babies. Despite the stark scientific reality of lactational insufficiency affecting up to 15% of women or more, lactivists aggressively insist that it is so rare as to be unworthy of consideration. And as we can see from the comments above, it treats breastfeeding as the standard of “normal living.”

Which leads to an important question: how could another woman’s choice to breastfeed hurt the children of lactivists? It’s not like vaccination where individual decisions can harm the entire community.

It couldn’t. But it hurts the egos of lactivists and that’s more important.

264 Responses to “Fed is best? Intolerable!”

  1. March 3, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

    Fed is adequate. Breast is best.

    • Empress of the Iguana People
      March 3, 2017 at 12:37 pm #

      Usually when people say “adequate” its with a bit of a sneer, as if they’re saying “Oh, you mean you didn’t really bother trying”. For my 60 year old friend, sweetened condensed milk was also adequate for her to survive.

      • myrewyn
        March 3, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

        I remember an old sitcom where a character got a performance review at work where he was labeled “adequate” and he spent the whole episode trying to spin adequate into something positive. Yeah, adequate is definitely a put-down.

    • Azuran
      March 3, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

      -Breast is best for some.
      -Combo feeding is best for some
      -Formula is best for some.
      Fed is best regroup everyone and supports absolutely everyone in feeding their child in the way that is appropriate for them.
      Breast is best is ignoring the struggles of a huge portion of mothers and making them feel inferior.

      I was lactose intolerant as a baby. Breastmilk landed me twice in the hospital with my skin falling off. I was fed on soy formula and couldn’t eat of drink any dairy product until I was 2. Are you going to argue that breast was still best for me?

    • fishcake
      March 3, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

      Gross. You’re just trying to get readers to your blog.

      She has a new post up “The Problem with ‘Fed is Best'” on her blog. I didn’t click.

      • Dr Kitty
        March 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

        Well, I mean there has to be a reason to post on a five month old post, rather than any of the newer posts.

        this post is from September, you parachute in in MARCH, leave your trite little comments, hoping to drive traffic to your blog.

        It’s transparent.

        If you want to have an actual debate, or a productive conversation, come and post on posts from the last week, or at least join the same conversation that everyone else is having…

        You know, the one about baby Landon dying from dehydration because breastfeeding wasn’t best for him.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD
        March 3, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

        I linked to this post on Twitter in response.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      March 3, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

      And you are contemptible.

    • March 3, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

      *ahem* All other things being equal, breast is (very, very slightly) best. But all other things are never equal, are they?

    • Roadstergal
      March 10, 2017 at 9:25 am #

      Heather is inadequate. Fed is best.

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild
      November 2, 2017 at 9:05 pm #

      The breast is best if you don’t have indoor plumbing or a supply of infant formula from a reputable manufacturer. If you don’t live in a developing nation, the breast is just a way to virtue signal for middle/upper class women.

  2. sdsures
    December 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    Drives me nuts to see lactivists scream that “fed is minimal”. Are they in favour of starving babies?

    • March 3, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

      Fed is adequate. Breast is best. Adequate means “satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity.” Best means “of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality.” Saying breast is best does not mean that breast is the only way. But the fact is that breastfeeding provides many benefits and advantages that formula cannot.

      • rosewater1
        March 3, 2017 at 12:18 pm #

        So mothers who can’t breastfeed-or, heaven forbid, choose not to-are lesser than mothers who breast feed? And before you say, “that’s not what I mean/meant/said….”YES YOU DID.

        Who are you to say that how a baby is fed is the gold standard of motherhood?

        People like you are one reason why I’m glad that I didn’t have children. What business is it of yours how another woman feeds her baby?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        March 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

        And vice versa.

        I have explained our situation previously. My wife breastfed our older son for about 9 months. However, she worked for 6 of those months. My wife is a veterinarian, working part-time she made about $1000 a week.

        Now, she tried pumping, but was not able to pump enough to provide full feedings. Therefore, when I stayed home while she worked, I combo fed. By combo feeding, I was able to stretch out our supply of pumped milk to last for all 6 mos of her working. If I had not done that, she would have only been able to work about half as much as she did.

        Now, 3 months of work at $1K a week is about $12K, after paying for formula (conservatively – we had a lot of free samples).

        Now tell me, Heather, do you think an extra $12K will provide any benefits that we would not have otherwise had?

        The case was the same for our younger guy, except it was worse, because he wouldn’t drink ANY EBM from a bottle, and it was only formula. But because we could give him formula, she was able to, again, work for 6 months that she would not have been able to work AT ALL without. So $25K she could make. However, taking into account the cost of formula and the cost of daycare, because I was not able to stay home, it was only about $20K.

        Don’t you think there is a benefit to an extra $20K in the bank?

        Not having or using formula would have cost us more than $30 000 in lost wages.

        Now it seems we are spending it all on dance and gymnastics classes…

        Come on, now, Heather. Tell me how it would have been better for us to only breastfeed?

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
        March 3, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

        Please state the benefits and advantages the breastfeeding provides that formula feeding does not, with citations. Preferable citations from peer reviewed studies that controlled for confounders.

      • sdsures
        March 7, 2017 at 7:43 pm #


      • sdsures
        March 10, 2017 at 4:53 am #

        You are full of shit.

      • Who?
        March 10, 2017 at 6:53 am #

        What’s wrong with ‘adequate’? 99% of the people born in the whole history of the world would have been better off if they had ‘adequate’ of the things we take for granted-food, clean water, decent sanitation, a reliable roof, a basic education.

        That thing dragging around behind you is your privilege-you’d look a lot tidier if you picked it up and dealt with it.

      • Roadstergal
        March 10, 2017 at 11:16 am #

        “Best means “of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality.””

        And for many, many women, breast is not the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality. If you make lots of milk with the right amount of fat, sugar, protein, and water, if the kid can extract and digest it well, if you find breastfeeding comfortable, easy, and convenient, and if your work and/or family situation allows you the time to do it – go to town. Breast is best _for you_.

        If one or more of these things are not true, breast is not necessarily best. Formula or combo might be best, instead.

        Fed is always best.

        Which is the whole point.

        But it doesn’t allow you to smear the biological and SES privilege you have all over women who didn’t or couldn’t make the same choice as you did, in order to pretend to be superior. Which is fairly petty and vile.

      • Roadstergal
        March 10, 2017 at 11:37 am #

        Also, too – expecting no response yet again, I will give you the same challenge I give every lactivist that pops in.

        I was born and raised in the ’70s. My generation had a breastfeeding initiation rate under 30%. These days, the initiation rate is over 80%, and the 6-month EBF rate is higher than the initiation rate for my generation.

        If breastmilk has all of these advantages you claim, we should see a huge effect on the current generation vs my own, with all of this breastmilk they’re getting that we didn’t. Point me to a health advantage they’re enjoying. There must be so many of them!

        • Azuran
          March 10, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

          It’s funny cause the ‘natural’ crowd is always complaining about how there is an epidemic of autism, obesity, diabetes, auto-immune disease, allergies, asthma etc etc etc.
          So…..I guess breastfeeding isn’t so great after all.

  3. cyberbat
    September 28, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

    Makes me glad I live in Australia- at least for my hospital I was so pleased to read in the birth plan that for mum’s that don’t want to breastfeed from the word go they can get some medication to help stop milk flow. I was impressed by that! That’s being respectful of different mum’s life choices.

  4. MichelleJo
    September 27, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    “People shouldn’t be having babies if they aren’t going to feed them.” takes my breath away. I’ll just have to believe she’s extremely stupid and not err.. there are just too many discriptive words. I might have met this person in the street, not knowing that they would say a sentence like that. Scary.

    • cyberbat
      September 28, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

      I am truly amazed at how any sane person could say that sentence too! Unless some crazy mum is deliberately starving her baby- and in which case I hope to hell they got help right away for mental problems. Its like shaming working mums with “you might as well not have kids if you don’t stay home with them”. I think some people really do live in a bubble.

  5. KeeperOfTheBooks
    September 23, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    May God have mercy on the soul of the medical professional who suggests I have a needle stuck unnecessarily into my newborn rather than give him a bottle, because I sure as hell won’t.

  6. MaeveClifford
    September 23, 2016 at 10:06 am #

    So IVs are “unnecessary interventions” that “chain you to the bed” when you’re a laboring crunchy mama, but newborns should have them shoved into their tiny, collapsed veins instead of letting them drink from a bottle. Makes perfect sense.

    • lawyer jane
      September 23, 2016 at 10:13 am #

      WOW, a class actually taught you that you should insert an IV into a newborn instead of feeding a few ounces of formula?? WTF?

      • L&DLaura
        September 23, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

        Right? So much of that class had me banging my head on the desk. So much misinformation guided by outdated studies.

    • demodocus
      September 23, 2016 at 10:49 am #

      i could barely stand seeing ivs in my babies, and they were for medicine, not lunch

  7. Inmara
    September 22, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    Damn. That’s what happened to us, IV instead of formula, because of ped ‘s directions and me not knowing better. I was certain that he’s getting enough colostrum just spitting it all back (which was true to some extent) so IV seemed a good option. Nobody mentioned formula at all, and neither the risks of placing IV (other women have complained that the same hospital pushed formula without troubleshooting breastfeeding at all, so it seems dependent on what kind of staff is in particular shift).

  8. Roadstergal
    September 22, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    Your whole story was horrible, but the last sentence is unconscionable.

    • swbarnes2
      September 22, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

      And of course, parents are not informed as to the risks of establishing an IV…

      • Monkey Professor for a Head
        September 22, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

        I have personally seen a patients life ruined because of an infection from an IV line. Bacteria got into his blood stream, settled on his heart valves and then embolised to his brain causing several strokes. IV associated infections can be absolutely deadly. The chances of a term infant being harmed by a single correctly prepared bottle of formula are somewhere between incredibly minuscule and zero. This kind of rubbish makes me angry.

        • Hilary
          September 22, 2016 at 11:27 pm #

          That’s rare though, right? I mean I’m not defending IV fluids for lactivist purposes, but isn’t there a similarity between a story like that and telling stories of horrible reactions to a vaccine or c-section complications resulting in death? My son has had numerous IVs since he was born, for hydration, medicines and surgical procedures, and has never had a complication with the IV.

          • BeatriceC
            September 22, 2016 at 11:43 pm #

            The difference here is that in the case of IV fluids for lactivist purposes, there’s a perfectly safe and healthy alternative in formula, whereas with vaccines, the alternative to not vaccinating is the diseases themselves, which aren’t perfectly safe nor healthy.

          • lawyer jane
            September 23, 2016 at 10:16 am #

            Exactly. It’s a medical ethics and informed consent question. Subjecting a child to a riskier procedure for little benefit (and not informing the parents) is really unethical. But giving a child who actually needs an IV is not. Agree thought that we should not demonize certain procedures without context.

    • L&DLaura
      September 22, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

      You have no idea how painful that training was.

    • Christy
      September 22, 2016 at 4:48 pm #


  9. AA
    September 22, 2016 at 11:43 am #


    The Ten Steps for Breastfeeding Friendly Childcare Facilities

    “Child care centers can create a culturally appropriate breastfeeding friendly environment by Storing supplies of baby bottles and infant formula out of view of families” Are you serious? it’s s culturally inappropriate if a child care facility has visible bottles? What do they think infants drink out of while they are at childcare?

    “Infant formula and solid foods will not be provided at the
    center unless prescribed by the infant’s medical provider” Whoever came up with these dingleberry ideas? So if a parent brings a child and formula to the childcare center, the parent is supposed to bring a note from their kid’s pediatrician?

    These ppl have no experience with the real world…

    • CSN0116
      September 22, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

      That’s disgusting and I hope (and doubt!) that any daycares observe those recommendations. Around here they sure as hell don’t!

      OT: “Breast feeding — that thing that is so simple, pleasurable and awesome that you must be shielded from all things pertaining to the alternative in order to keep doing it.”

      • AA
        September 22, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

        I’ve always found that funny as well.

    • CSN0116
      September 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

      They site kellymom! JFC!

      • AA
        September 22, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

        there’s a CDC website that cites evidencebasedbirth.com ….

        • CSN0116
          September 22, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

          I just can’t. My blood pressure can’t take it today.

          In the same piece of shit brochure it tells caregivers to give clients “accurate information on breast feeding” …ummm you’re not even doing that in this brochure!

          The tide has to change here soon, it just has to.

    • lawyer jane
      September 22, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

      A prescription for formula and solid food??? seriously? Just trying to picture the expression my awesome ped would give me if I told her I needed a prescription to feed my child …

      • AA
        September 22, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

        We know that IRL, daycare centers can’t comply and do not comply with these guidelines (which is fine). Did the authors put any thought into them? If the authors worked at a daycare center, what do they expect to do–tell parents to bring in a prescription for formula and food or the staff won’t feed the kid? Or boot the family out of the facility?

      • demodocus
        September 22, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

        because they’re dying for more paperwork

      • Mariana
        September 25, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

        My ped is very old-fashioned, and he always wrote a prescription for everything, including formula and solids. He actually prescribed apple sauce and the likes. He wrote a prescription for one egg yolk, every other day, mashed with olive oil to be given at lunch.
        I take that this is not common? Lol! Never knew other doctors didn’t do that…

        • AA
          September 25, 2016 at 10:50 pm #

          In the electronic medical record they use here–there are visit summaries in which the staff can free type information summarizing the visit and outpatient dietary advice could be in that.

          but prescriptions are all electronic, even the ones that are required to be on paper are sent through teh computer and then printed. The electronic medical record doesn’t have a prescription for “egg yolk and olive oil” 😉

      • guest
        September 25, 2016 at 11:33 pm #

        I did get a prescription for Poly-vi-sol from the hospital when my kids were released from the NICU. I guess it was there way of trying to stress how important it was, but my mother was certainly confused trying to fill it at the pharmacy counter (I was not able to go myself yet) because we thought it was a prescription and it’s just OTC vitamins.

        • demodocus
          September 26, 2016 at 6:59 am #

          Same here, though they did tell us it was OTC vitamins. We quit around a month, after doing it sporadically, because miss was a term baby on formula who was constantly constipated. Her ped approved

    • moto_librarian
      September 22, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

      And the could do real harm. Daycare centers with a certain population below the income threshold qualify for formula and baby food.

    • lawyer jane
      September 22, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

      I’d argue that putting up a false barrier to formula feeding (requiring a prescription when none is actually required!) violates the ADA for mothers who are unable to breastfeed for a physical reason (insufficient supply or need to be on medication for a disability under the ADA). Truly nuts to sneak that in there.

      • An Actual Attorney
        September 22, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

        OOOOH, I like that. I mean, I don’t like that, but I do love the issue spotting.

        • lawyer jane
          September 23, 2016 at 10:11 am #

          Thanks! Issue spotting is my only true legal skill.

          Here’s another one: The federal Data Quality Act requires all federal agencies to issue guidelines “ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity” of information they disseminate. You can file an administrative complaint with the agency to seek correction of any information you think is incorrect. So, anyone affected by the CDC or other federal agency’s crap propaganda on breastfeeding could file a request for correction. Here is the CDC page for submitting requests https://www.cdc.gov/od/science/quality/support/faqs.htm

          (Of course, the Data Quality Act is a darling of conservative activists because it helps derail regulation in general, but it can be used for good too!)

    • niteseer
      September 22, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

      I am concerned by all of those bottles of breastmilk being stored in the same refrigerator, and probably at risk of being given to the wrong baby. Breast milk counts as a transplant of living tissue, because of the living cells in it, and should never be given to another woman’s child unless the milk has been tested to rule out disease, and the child’s mother signs informed consent of the risks of her baby receiving donor milk.

      Most day care centers I have seen are fairly good with correctly administering medications to the right child, but the medication protocol involves more than just opening a refrigerator and reading the name on the bottle before popping it into the kid’s mouth. Feeding breast milk at a daycare center should require the same safety check as administering blood (another living biologic). Two people should read the name and date on the bottle, and identify the correct baby, before the milk is given. I am betting that this is not the case, and I wonder how many times the breast milk has been given to the wrong baby, whether breastfed or formula fed.

      In a hospital, if you are accidentally exposed to someone’s bodily fluids, the source person of those fluids is tested to rule out diseases. I believe that quite a few states have the same laws regarding exposure outside of the hospital, as in people giving aid to an accident victim. I am betting that if breast milk gets switched, the vast majority of the centers would keep it hushed up, rather than telling the child’s mother.

      ((Or, perhaps the milk is kept in an insulated container in the child’s diaper bag. Still, the possibility for mixups is there.))

      • An Actual Attorney
        September 22, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

        Or the older kids grab from each other. God knows it seems like toddlers are programmed to share every germ possible (I say while blowing my nose)

      • guest
        September 25, 2016 at 11:30 pm #

        a “transplant of living tissue”? No. Eating something is not a transplant. I’m all for making sure the correct breast milk gets to the correct baby, but I don’t “transplant” carrot cells into my body when I eat a carrot, or cow tissue when I eat a cow. Your suggested procedure is actually quite hostile to breastfeeding.

        • Azuran
          September 26, 2016 at 9:23 am #

          I don’t think it was meant to be hostile in any way. It’s a legitimate question, even if it’s not a transplant of living tissue.
          We have often criticized people getting milk from strangers online because there is a possibility of someone with some undetected health problem or infection that could be passed through breast milk. It’s the same risk if your baby gets another woman’s breast milk. The risks are very small, but they do exist, I’d never want my baby to drink another woman’s breastmilk unless it came directly from a recognized milk bank.

          • guest
            September 26, 2016 at 10:01 am #

            It may not be intended to be hostile, but making a requirement that “Feeding breast milk at a daycare center should require the same safety check as administering blood (another living biologic). Two people should read the name and date on the bottle, and identify the correct baby, before the milk is given” would be throwing up yet another barrier for working moms trying to provide breastmilk for their child. It’s no better than requiring formula feeding moms to provide a “prescription” from a doctor.

          • Wren
            September 26, 2016 at 10:14 am #

            Why does that throw up a barrier for working mums? Send it in, just as you would now, but with a named bottle. Actually, named bottles are often used anyway. Then as long as there are at least 2 people working with the children, both just quickly check the name is correct. It’s not a difficult thing.

          • Azuran
            September 26, 2016 at 10:48 am #

            I don’t think there should be 2 people reading it or something. It’s really not that hard, you just ask parents to identify the bottles and put them in identified boxes in the fridge.
            But I do think it’s totally reasonable to expect that your baby or toddler gets whatever you brought for them.

          • myri
            September 28, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

            Um, not even close. Breastmilk is a body fluid. I do not want someone else’s body fluid fed to my child. The daycare my daughter was at had two workers verify each bottle, both formula and breastmilk, plus each baby before feeding. It’s not that hard. And this isn’t some hoity toioty daycare, it’s just a lower middle class one. They had a system and been in operation for over a decade with zero mix-ups because of this. Most of my other friends had at least 1 mix-up at their respective daycares (not always involving their kids). It works.

      • moto_librarian
        September 26, 2016 at 10:51 am #

        Our daycare required all bottles, be they formula or breast milk, be labeled. Breast milk bottles had an orange label; formula was white. Both required the name of the baby, date, and number of ounces. We were require to take all bottles home at the end of the day. So yes, a mix-up could happen, but it would be fairly unlikely.

      • J.B.
        September 26, 2016 at 11:21 am #

        The reality of my experience was that it was pretty darn easy to tell which bottle was intended for which kid. Our state requires that bottles be labeled by the child’s name. They are then stored in the child’s designated spot in the refrigerator. Either each child has his or her own bottle warmer or they have a separate bottle warmer for each breastfed baby. Depending on the baby’s age and appetite the bottles all contain different amounts of liquid, and as it happens most are different types of bottles anyway.

        Keep in mind that daycares have to handle allergies as well. I would be a lot less concerned about a milk allergic child in an older classroom getting cow’s milk than the wrong baby getting breastmilk. And realistically, there’s only so much you can do when it comes to mobile babies.

        • Wren
          September 26, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

          Different spots in the fridge sounds good. Way back when I worked in a nursery, we didn’t have a big enough fridge to do that easily.

          Allergies could very well be an issue for babies as well.

    • Roadstergal
      September 22, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

      “Child care centers can create a culturally appropriate breastfeeding friendly environment by Storing supplies of baby bottles and infant formula out of view of families”

      So, support public feeding of babies only if it’s out of breasts. If it’s out of a bottle, please refrain. :p It’s like they’re irony-proof…

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      September 22, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

      What do they think infants drink out of while they are at childcare?

      I know moms that would come to daycare during work to nurse their babies. However, that takes a very privileged situation to be able to do that.

    • OttawaAlison
      September 23, 2016 at 5:10 am #

      What on earth did I just read. thats ludicrous. So basically those poor women not only have to work shortly after their child is born, they also either have to have a pumping regiment or be able to leave their work to breastfeed. Do these people live in the real world?

    • Madtowngirl
      September 25, 2016 at 11:15 pm #

      Ugh, that’s my state………………..

  10. Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild
    September 22, 2016 at 1:32 am #

    Remember, folks! The anti-formula movement has never been about what’s best for baby (or mom and dad). It’s always been about enforcing “traditional” gender roles where the mother is the sole childcare provider at home and dad is dismissed as only being the distant breadwinner.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3fdcc1012f056c5fd6c66e033f147469b18e34c278b0433bf6c92faad60060b8.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cbe50bc24e2715cf2a65cd57e8c26694a311e2896a64d34b6029714bc32726a1.jpg


    • CSN0116
      September 22, 2016 at 7:12 am #

      HA! Love the placement of a bottle in each of these pictures — the look of father’s face and the “upset” children. As if the world will fall apart without the woman present. Where did these first appear?! I think I want to frame them and hang them in my home!

        • CSN0116
          September 23, 2016 at 9:27 am #

          Freaking love it!

        • demodocus
          September 23, 2016 at 10:43 am #

          Twins? He totally gets to stay home with the kids while she goes and votes. It’s called taking turns!

        • Azuran
          September 23, 2016 at 11:28 am #

          FFS just both grab a baby and go together.
          I know this is propaganda. But god do they make men look like impotent idiots who will burn the whole world down if left unattended for 5 minutes.

      • Mariana
        September 25, 2016 at 8:42 pm #

        It would be funny if people didn’t still think like that… You should see the people’s face when I say my husband takes care of the kids and puts them to bed two nights a week when I have to work until 9pm. You’d think he is some kind of Saint! Imagine, a father looking after his own children!

        • demodocus
          September 25, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

          yeah, we get that reaction, too. Especially since my spouse is also blind. How hard do they think lullabyes are?

        • LaMont
          September 25, 2016 at 9:10 pm #

          Maybe progressive women in progressive partnerships should perfect a passive-aggressive “oh your husband *doesn’t* do those things? God I’m so sorry, that must be TERRIBLE!” reaction. Just to un-normalize that sort of behavior. I realize that would be terribly outré, but a girl can dream?

        • CSN0116
          September 25, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

          I am an elected official; sit on an array of boards; volunteer; and serve as an advocate — a lot of those duties take me away in the evening time and my husband is “left” to run dinner, baths and bed.

          I am unapologetic.

          But my own mother loves to tell me how a good mother would never want to be away from her children so much. (I intentionally restrict my daytime work schedule and do most of it remotely at, say, 2 am, to be present for my kids as much as possible). There’s a lot more that I want to convey to my children via lead example than how to mother. Like a lot more… *eye roll*

  11. MB
    September 21, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

    Yes and yes. I’m sorry if I’m being repetitive and literally copying and pasting, from my post yesterday in response to a certain fishy red-herring personality we are all familiar with…but:

    I have found that the Naural birthers, AP, and lactivists that I have met over the years actually have personality and/or life style deficiencies that cause them to need to feel like better parents, due to their own underlying feelings of parental inadequacy, either real or imagined. Unfortunately, to make themselves feel better, and prove what their own mind believes to be a fallacy, they must make others feel like shit, attempting to prove themselves again and again.”

    Listen, nobody is perfect as a parent. It’s just I have found these people in particular that feel their own inadequacies so strongly that it compels them to prove their own self-worth by adhering to some set of arbitrary rules that they legitimize with trumped up science and a gang mentality.

    • Tori
      September 22, 2016 at 7:15 am #

      I feel fortunate that I never bought into the lies about ‘natural birthing’, but I have plenty of vocal acquaintances who have had difficulties feeding but ultimately been able to breastfeed. I believed that I could make breastfeeding work if “only I tried hard enough”. I tried very hard, but couldn’t make it work, and it hurts to think I was so wrong, and to remember the pain of that time and how vulnerable I was. I have to remind myself sometimes still of what happened, and why I couldn’t make it work (IGT) because that lie still hurts me if I’m not careful. Thanks for your observations, I’ll try to remind myself to consider these when I start getting down about the breastfeeding not working out how I hoped and just expected it to.

  12. Tori
    September 21, 2016 at 6:10 pm #

    I don’t really like the phase “fed is best” but say instead “fed is fed”. I think It invites less competition about what is such a personal thing, but I’m not sure.

  13. demodocus
    September 21, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

    Is her baby likely to be large? MIL tells me BIL never fit newborn size, lol

    • AirPlant
      September 21, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

      Well, I offered her something useful and that obviously was not the direction she wanted to go.

      • demodocus
        September 21, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

        Yeah, she’s a silly person! I’d love someone to give my daughter a quilt (bes https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a0e5ca6912d562fcb44b84cf9a36b6dd955885631a5e8ae250b9bdedfe715f91.jpg ides me, of course.)

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          September 21, 2016 at 11:37 pm #

          That is beautiful!!! Did you make it?

          • demodocus
            September 22, 2016 at 6:52 am #


        • MI Dawn
          September 22, 2016 at 7:59 am #

          Gorgeous. And very like one my mom has made (she’s a mad quilter – every bride in the family gets a quilt, all the kids got at least one, and EVERY bed in the house and vacation cabin have one to match the seasons! With bedskirts! And occasionally shams.

          Not counting the charity baby quilts her guild makes and donates for border babies.

          I love my mom. But we dread the day she dies and someone has to figure out what to do with all the fabric and all her sewing machine, quilting machine, surger…

          • demodocus
            September 22, 2016 at 8:13 am #

            Call her guild and tell ’em Mother Dawn’s stuff needs a good home, when the time comes. If you guys would rather it go to charity, contact the guild and ask for ideas of where to take it. Or just mail it all to me and Airplant! 😉

          • MI Dawn
            September 22, 2016 at 8:25 am #

            I’ll keep that in mind! 🙂

          • demodocus
            September 22, 2016 at 9:50 am #

            I wonder if she’s in QATW. We did a swap. I made the barns and 3 or 4 of the inner blocks (plus a whole bunch of the one in the upper left corner to share with everybody).

          • Charybdis
            September 22, 2016 at 11:10 am #

            Hey, Demo! Have you read “Stitches In Time” by Barbara Michaels? It is the third book in a loosely based Georgetown series that she wrote. And by loosely based, I mean that the characters are first introduced in “Ammie Come Home” and some continue in “Shattered Silk” and the third one is “Stitches In Time”. You don’t have to read the other two to understand or follow the last one, but they give a little history and context.

            Anyway, the third one is about a young lady working on her Master’s in textile anthropology or something like that. She studies quilts, quilting history, stuff like that. A fancy Bride’s Quilt shows up and sets off a mystery with paranormal overtones. I think you might like it, if you take book suggestions from internet strangers. ;P

          • demodocus
            September 22, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

            i’ve read her Amelia Peabody series under her other ‘nym. She’s cool

          • MI Dawn
            September 23, 2016 at 8:35 am #

            She’s done a few of those (and gave me one to do which is *still* in completed blocks 10 years later…sigh…) but most of her quilts are from various books. She likes themes – all of the Xmas quilts have Santas on them.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          September 22, 2016 at 8:58 am #

          I think Disqus ate my comment, because I swear I posted something last night to the effect of that being a GORGEOUS quilt!!!

      • Charybdis
        September 22, 2016 at 11:08 am #

        Hey, AirPlant! Have you read “Stitches In Time” by Barbara Michaels? It is the third book in a loosely based Georgetown series that she wrote. And by loosely based, I mean that the characters are first introduced in “Ammie Come Home” and some continue in “Shattered Silk” and the third one is “Stitches In Time”. You don’t have to read the other two to understand or follow the last one, but they give a little history and context.

        Anyway, the third one is about a young lady working on her Master’s in textile anthropology or something like that. She studies quilts, quilting history, stuff like that. A fancy Bride’s Quilt shows up and sets off a mystery with paranormal overtones. I think you might like it, if you take book suggestions from internet strangers. ;P

  14. Christy
    September 21, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

    The whole lactivist thing drives me nuts! Gather ’round, children it’s personal anecdote time! When I was pregnant I was unable to fully control my gestational diabetes, not for lack of trying. So of course when my little one was born he was hypoglycemic. He breast-fed like a champ from the beginning, but of course wasn’t getting anything but colostrum which wasn’t getting him where he needed to be. Poor bub was getting poked for blood glucose checks every couple of hours day and night. Eventually (I think it was our 2nd day in the hospital) the nurse reluctantly told me that his glucose was in the 30s and if we didn’t start supplementing him he would end up on IV fluids + dextrose. She said this as if I might be tempted to choose the IV fluids (do Mom’s do that???) and as if it was some horrible dilemma. I couldn’t wait for her to stop talking so she would bring me the damn formula already. I was indignant that we waited that long! My OB acted like it was no big deal, but my Dad’s a type I diabetic. I’ve seen him when his blood glucose is in the 30s. No way did I want my son to feel like that, especially when the answer was so easy. All that to say that I think the hesitation around formula is ridiculous and certainly detrimental to babies. I don’t understand it and I hope somehow the breastmilk and only breastmilk ideology gets squashed soon.

    • September 21, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

      God, I hope that glucose numbers for babies have a much lower floor than adults because I’ve had students with blood sugar levels between 30-50. It’s not pretty.

      Best case scenario is they have a 10,000 yard stare and can answer questions after a long pause.

      Worse case scenario is that the kid is having a full-on altered mental status episode complete with attempts to punch out ceiling tiles while standing screaming on a desk, attempting to jump out a window that was NOT on the ground floor or pretty much taking swings at any human that came within arm reach – or what they thought was arm reach. (True teacher confession: Once the kid is safely sugared up and feeling better, these made some damn good stories at teacher conferences with all identifying information removed.)

      Worst-case scenario would be seizures and coma. So far, no one was that far gone, but I have never prayed so hard in my life as when I was trying to convince a student with a 32 blood sugar to eat some pure table sugar that she wouldn’t start seizing or lose conscious right then and there.

      • Christy
        September 21, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

        I got to call EMS on my Dad when he got that low. I was furious that they let it get that far with my son. In fact, 7 months later I still am. I should mention that my son seemed ok, maybe a little sleepy. Still, that is not a state I think growing brains should be in!

        • Christine Lord
          September 21, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

          Yes the norms for term newborn infants are lower than adults. (In the 30s and then fed immediately, is no reason to worry about long term damage.) At my hospital we have a written protocol outlining when to test and what to do- less than 25, straight to nicu. Above 45, just keep on feeding normally. In between, feed and retest. (Basically. Its more complicated.) And likely the reason the staff person was hesitant- yes moms absolutely do chose iv fluids over formula, or insist “just let me pump, and finger/cup feed him!” And meanwhile their poor child has dropping blood sugar. Supplementing with formula has been sold as evil, toxic, impure, and you’d think we were offering sewer water the way some moms react. (Some nurses/docs have also drunk the “formula is evil” koolaide.)

          • Taysha
            September 21, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

            My son hit 41 and the nurse asked me for permission to give him a small amount of formula because it’d be NICU otherwise.

            My response was “why are you here and not shoving a bottle in his mouth? Feed him whatever he’ll take!” while testing my own blood sugar (hurray T1)

      • Heidi
        September 21, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

        I think they told me anything in the 40s was considered okay for a baby. So yeah, they definitely are different in that respect.

      • sdsures
        March 10, 2017 at 5:05 am #

        I have severe chronic migraines, some of which are caused by low blood sugar or salt (most are due to neurological damage from my hydrocephalus and shunt revisions).

        Therefore, in addition to my triptans and aspirin, I also always carry a small pack of salted potato chips and a Snickers bar as part of my emergency medical kit. There have been times when a migraine is so severe that I cannot fix myself either a snack or a meal because I can’t move without extreme nausea or pain.

        My husband knows what signs to look for; I very rarely feel actively hungry. No growling stomach. Instead, I get a thunderclap migraine, extreme nausea, or both.

        Naturally, I try to keep the junk food to a minimum, but when you need an instant sugar hit, just like a diabetic might do – you stuff an appropriate amount of chocolate or other sugar (ie juice) into your gob. Migraines are often (annoyingly!) accompanied by hydrophobia – a revulsion to drinking water. So something like apple juice can do the trick. Sometimes any of the above remedies can abort my migraines without grabbing immediately for the pills. But they’re there if I need them. I’m allowed 12 triptans per month, but naturally, the fewer I need the better.

        It’s either that or pass out whilst vomiting.

    • lawyer jane
      September 21, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

      One interesting thing in your story is that you talk about the OB and a nurse. Wasn’t there an attending pediatrician? In our local babyfriendly hospital notorious for discharging dehydrated babies, there’s apparently no attending pediatrician, but they’ve just change that. It seems really weird that in the hospital you see your own doc, you see the nurses, but you seldom if ever see a pediatrician.

      • Christy
        September 21, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

        My family physician was also my son’s doctor. He popped by once or twice after his initial exam and I assume he was in communication with my nurses. I don’t remember ever talking with him directly about my son’s blood sugar, but those first few days are a bit fuzzy so I’m not sure. I do remember that he was concerned that I not let the supplementation stop me from breastfeeding. We never saw an attending pediatrician.

      • MB
        September 21, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

        In our baby friendly hospital where baby was hypoglycemic and bottle and IV combo, there was an attending physician. But the midwives had let my labor go for what I suspect was a negligible length of time, so it seemed to me that the attending pediatrician was already suspicious that there might be issues with our baby. He also had some breathing issues upon birth, but I was getting my vagina stitched up, and my husband in awe of our new baby, so he didn’t know what type of thing was being performed on him, if anything, but he had some breathing issues at birth.

      • AA
        September 22, 2016 at 1:05 am #

        How is there no attending pediatrician? Or is it that family medicine service is currently the attending for babies?

        • lawyer jane
          September 22, 2016 at 10:15 am #

          Sorry, I misremembered and just went and looked up that bit of info. This hospital is said to be getting a new attending pediatrician and “strengthening” the peds. There are no local pediatricians with privileges there, so you are reliant on their apparently borderline negligent ped service. It’s a teaching hospital too which I don’t think is a bad thing — but that may have something to do with the many, many stories about breastfed babies discharged after having lost 10%+ of their body weight but with no advice to the parents about how to monitor. When I was there we never saw a pediatrician at all, just the nurses. The peds took great care of the baby right after birth to manage TTN, but after that when he was discharged from the NICU, they paid no attention to signs he was not getting any milk at all. This hospital is well known for having great L&D care, but terrible post partum care for moms and babies.

          • AA
            September 22, 2016 at 10:56 am #

            Thanks for the info. It would be fascinating to request your baby’s medical records while the kid was in the hospital after birth. Does it say that the doctor did a daily physical exam, if so, did they actually do it? If you never saw or spoke with the peds, is it possible that the note contained false info or does it say that the peds was relying on the nurse reports?

          • lawyer jane
            September 22, 2016 at 11:48 am #

            Yes, I should request those records! Per the discharge papers, the peds must have had to examine him (or at least review his paperwork) close to discharge time. But we never saw an actual pediatrician in the room. And we never had a conversation about why his weight was down (it was 9% upon discharge) or his bili levels extremely close to what I understand to be the cut off (he was 9.9 TcB at 48 hrs). We saw no lactation consultant and got no BF support. The only good thing they did was insist and verify that I had a ped appointment scheduled the day after we were discharged – I’m not sure I would have had the presence of mind to organize that otherwise. The older, very experienced ped took one look at his records and say that he was now 12% down, and insisted that we feed him some formula and send him for a TSB blood draw immediately. Luckily he was fine and regained his weight with supplementaiton in his first few weeks! Thank god we got a good, experienced ped who gave good advice.

    • niteseer
      September 21, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

      I worked in newborn nursery for 15 years, and more than once I had a mother wanting an IV started, instead of giving the baby formula. I refused, on the grounds that starting an IV on a baby is painful, and since their veins are challenging to access, it could lead to several sticks for the baby, not to mention the risk of fluids infiltrating into the skin, and the discomfort of having the limb restrained. Her next ploy was asking that the formula be given by feeding tube. Again, I refused, because there is the small but real risk of having the fluid enter the lungs, plus the discomfort involved in having a tube pushed down his nostril and throat into his stomach. I asked, “Would YOU rather have either of these things done to you, instead of just being given something pleasant to drink, that would solve the problem in minutes?”

      Luckily, she agreed to the bottle, rather than refusing. The baby nursed just fine after his blood sugar stabilized.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head
        September 21, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

        Wow, I’m glad you talked some sense into her! I’m pretty sure that the risks of infection from an IV far outweigh the “risks” of a one off supplement of formula.

      • Christy
        September 21, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

        That brings tears to my eyes! I’m glad you were finally able to help her see reason. I’m all for medical intervention if it’s necessary but it boggles my mind that a parent would prefer their newborn to undergo IVs than just having a bottle of formula.

      • sdsures
        March 10, 2017 at 4:56 am #

        Yoikes, putting a feeding tube in a baby when all he needs (and is perfectly capable of) is to have a bottle? Sure, let’s break my perfectly healthy leg just so you can show me how skilled you are at applying plaster of Paris. Not.

    • MB
      September 21, 2016 at 8:02 pm #

      Yeah, my son too was born hypoglycemic. Although in the case of my son, they didn’t give me the option of formula and/or IV. They did both. I’m glad they did.

      Edit: Forgot to mention, when we were released from hospital, even after EFF in the first days of his life, we went home and nursed successfully. After that he was EBF for about 4-5 months, then combo for another couple, and we’re still breastfeeding today 14 months later. But the formula in his first hours with such a condition prevented profound brain-damage and I am forever grateful for it.

  15. Megan
    September 21, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    “Which leads to an important question: how could another woman’s choice to breastfeed hurt the children of lactivists? It’s not like vaccination where individual decisions can harm the entire community.”
    This is the big question I was thinking about last night as I read the thread a few days ago with Anna Perch’s BS. I just do not understand why people care so much about how other moms feed their babies so long as they are using a medically acceptable option (breastmilk or formula). Seriously, why do they GAF? I mean, I guess I kind of know the answer, and it has everything to do with them and nothing to do with whatever mom they’re criticizing. Sheesh, get a life!

  16. swbarnes2
    September 21, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    It’s like criticizing a “Be Active” campaign, on the grounds that it undermines soccer.

  17. Michele
    September 21, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

    “It’s also free!!!”*
    *For an extremely limited sub-set of nursing mothers, i.e. those who don’t need to pump, buy nursing bras, pads, creams, pillows, milk storage bags, pay for lactation consultant appointments, magically don’t need extra food to cover the calorie cost of lactation, and if you don’t count their time or any opportunity costs as having any monetary value.
    I mean, it was cheaper for me the 2nd time around compared to the 1st because I already had some of the stuff I needed, but free? BWAHAHAHA

    • RudyTooty
      September 21, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

      It’s free – ish.

      It requires a lot of free time. Time devoted to the infant. Time not working and engaged as a member of society in the workforce, and if you do decide to work and schlep your pumping equipment to work with you, sure, you’re entitled* to pumping breaks (*I’ve really only found this true of white collar / pink? collar workers, not the lowest paid workers), but now you are defined at your place of employment by your status as a mother.

      Not that there is anything wrong with being a mother!

      But I would prefer to be released from my duties of motherhood when I am working. .Breastpumping makes women a slave to their bodies, and requires them to take time away from their job, their gainful employment, to provide calories for their newborns.

      Or – women with the privilege and means to stay home with their babies can choose to be off work to provide breastmilk to their babies ’round the clock.

      —>More pent up words from someone who has spent too much time promoting breastfeeding. I’m just not feeling it any longer.

      Feed the baby. That’s the rule. With or without your breasts .
      It is not morally superior to breastfeed! For crying out loud!

      • CSN0116
        September 21, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

        I deem the bottles in my kitchen cabinet and the formula on my counter to be as liberating as the BC pill that sits in my bathroom medicine cabinet. All are just pieces of technology that allow me to control my body (and therefore my time) and choose how it will be used. All are liberating objects in my life.

      • Madtowngirl
        September 21, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

        “Breastpumping makes women a slave to their bodies…”

        This was exactly how I felt when I tried to pump. I did it for 3 months, trying so hard to build up that magically supply so I could feed my baby breast milk. After a while, I came to resent that stupid device. I hated that it dictated my schedule. I hated that it took me away from my baby. I hated that I would stay attached to it for a half hour and get, at most, an ounce of milk between both breasts. I hated feeling like a dairy cow.

        I’m glad women have to choice to pump at work if they so choose, and I’m happy for them when it works out for them. For me, it didn’t, and I’m glad I could give my baby formula.

        • Megan
          September 21, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

          “After a while, I came to resent that stupid device. I hated that it dictated my schedule. I hated that it took me away from my baby. I hated that I would stay attached to it for a half hour and get, at most, an ounce of milk between both breasts. I hated feeling like a dairy cow.”
          Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!! I also hated that I ended up measuring my self worth in ounces.

          • Kelly
            September 21, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

            Yes to this as well. I wrote down every single day how much I produced and how much was in my freezer. I was obsessed. I hated that I could not wear underwire bras and so my boobs sagged down to my stomach. I hated the freakin sound that is in many videos as I pumped and took videos of my baby. I hated that I had to wake up at a certain time to pump and hope that the baby did not wake up before or during my pump. I hated always thinking about how I was going to fit in a pump if I was not at home. I hated the endless washing of dishes and handling of milk. I will never ever nurse or pump again. Every time I think I might do it in the future, I feel stressed out and anxiety ridden. Not worth it to me or my family.

        • September 21, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

          You know, I wonder how many women actually get a substantial increase in milk production from those absurd pumping schedules where “substantial increase” means enough production to feed an infant on an infant-demand schedule.

          I imagine that the number is quite low (less than 5%) and most of those 5% would have had the same increase without being attached to the pump for most of the infant’s early life.

          In cattle which have been studied a lot and the little bit of studies on humans, once lactation has started (i.e., Mom’s body is producing milk instead of colostrum regardless of how much she’s producing) the important variable is that the breast(s) are drained a few times a day. That’ll max out Mom’s production. If she’s naturally a “high producer”, she’ll end up pumping a high volume. Naturally lower producers will make a lower volume.

          Draining the breast 4-5 times a day followed by twice at night should be more than enough to stimulate milk production. Doing it 12 times during the day and like 6 times at night is just going to stress Mom out.

          Oh, and lack of sleep and physical discomfort will mess with a cow’s production a whole lot faster than missing a milking – so I’m assuming that’s true for humans as well.

          • Roadstergal
            September 21, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

            There needs to be a study, a la PROBIT. We have a lot of those horrible BFHI hospitals in the US, after all! Randomize some women to said absurd pumping schedules, some to breast on demand, and the rest to breast and formula. See if there’s any difference in milk production. (Exploratory endpoint – self-reported tiredness.)

            I imagine it won’t be done because the results won’t be to the LC’s liking.

          • RudyTooty
            September 21, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

            The problem with the breastfeeding initiativesi n hospitals is that there are breastfeeding benchmarks that are tied to Medicaid reimbursement.

            The hospitals don’t give a shit how newborns are fed, they care that they are getting paid.

            Two that I can think of off the top of my head (other knowledgeable folks, correct me if I’m wrong) are:

            – Breastfeeding opportunity within the first hour after birth.
            – Exclusive breastfeeding during hospital stay.

            There really is only one reason hospital administrators and management get all antsy about our practices – it’s $$$$. They’re looking at their bottom line, looking at squeezing out every penny, and looking at ways to increase revenue. Mothers’ preferences be damned. There’s no room for choice in that matter.

          • Amy M
            September 21, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

            Also, is not really ethical to put some women on absurd pumping schedules….;)

          • Sarah S
            September 22, 2016 at 1:08 am #

            My LC with my first told me to stop pumping and just nurse more instead. We did a gradual wean from formula (drop 1 oz every 3 days with frequent weight checks) to challenge my body to produce more. Never did get off formula entirely, but did manage to reduce from 24 oz per day (i.e. close to 80% of his calories from formula) to 11 oz per day (33% of his calories from formula).

          • Megan
            September 22, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

            One sensible LC (some do exist!) told me that it depends on storage capacity and that there is no point in pumping more often than it takes to reach your personal storage capacity.
            So for instance, if I can pump 2 ounces if I wait 2 hours, 4 ounces if I wait 4, but still only 4 ounces if I wait 6 hours (totally arbitrary numbers here), then my personal storage capacity is 4 ounces and I make that in somewhere between 4-6 hours (and you can experiment to get a more exact time). Pumping more often that every 4 hours will not net any more milk and pumping less often than every 6 hours could diminish supply.

    • AA
      September 21, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

      Maybe there should be a push for fathers to take prescription galactalogues and induce lactation. If a father received galactalogues and a breast pump at no out of pocket cost, isn’t lactation basically free, then? And actually, children drink dairy milk at all ages so really the father can pump milk until the kid grows up and moves out of the house.

      Wait, no one’s behind this idea? But it’ll save the American taxpayer so much money, after all, it’s free!

    • Megan
      September 21, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

      I’ve mentioned on this site before that breastfeeding cost me far far more than it is currently costing me to feed my youngest RTF Alimentum for a whole year. Between my pump, hospital grade pump rental, LC fees, bottles for pumping), nursing bra, tongue tie laser with travel expenses to the office in Albany, second trip to Albany for tongue tie revision, domperidone, and goat’s rue, I easily spent somewhere between $5-6k. That doesn’t even include my time/missed wages from not working, and I am the breadwinner in our home (and I ended up still needing to by formula after our donor milk ran out!). So don’t tell me breastfeeding is free. It is not. Not even for SAHM who don’t need paraphernalia or have to pump because they have to eat more! It’s like they think breastfeeding moms defy the laws of thermodynamics!!

      • Sarah
        September 21, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

        Women’s time is worthless, remember.

        • September 22, 2016 at 7:11 am #

          Our time is worthless, our hunger isn’t real, and our pain doesn’t matter. They really want us to be “the angel in the house.”

      • Megan
        September 21, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

        “So don’t tell me breastfeeding is free.”
        BTW, this was not directed at Michele, just at the general crowd who would say BF is free. Sorry if that came across the wrong way!!

      • Ceridwen
        September 21, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

        As I mentioned above, I have literally been told (more than once!) that most women are fat and need to lose weight, so the extra calories can’t be counted because they should just eat the same and use up their fat reserves. And that women put on weight during pregnancy so that they’ll be able to nurse without needing to eat more, so needing to eat more to breastfeed is actually fictional.

        When I pushed back and pointed out that 1) some women experience supply issues if they attempt to restrict calories enough to allow weight loss, even when they really *want* to lose weight and 2) not everyone is, in fact, overweight, and those women will indeed need to eat more to produce enough milk without causing nutritional problems for themselves they instead argued that it’s such a small amount of extra food that it’s inconsequential. I believe on this page someone told me I shouldn’t count it because “that’s a single Starbucks frappaccino per day and that’s nothing to most women”.

        I live well above the poverty line. I work. My husband works. We have ~$23/day in our budget right now for food, which is quite generous compared to what many people in the US have. That’s ~$8/day each for us and $3.50/day each for our two kids. Lets assume that since my husband is bigger than me and eats more it’s really more like $10 for him and $6 for me. A single extra Starbucks drink every day is more than half my food budget for myself every day. How is that inconsequential? Even if we go with the cheapest options available it’s still $1-2/day extra for most women to be able to get those extra calories (poor people in the US spend about $4/person/day on food for ~2000 calories, and extra 500 calories is going to run at *least* $1/day for most people). That’s $350-700/year even on the LOW end JUST for extra food to breastfeed.

        You can feed a baby for ~4-5 months on the Costco Generic formula for $350.

        There are obviously other factors that can play into cost, on BOTH sides, but it’s so patently absurd to claim that the extra food cost can be ignored or isn’t enough to matter. Even on the lowest end for a mother of normal weight or a mom who can’t cut food without losing her supply its enough money to go a long way if applied for formula instead.

        • Roadstergal
          September 21, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

          I wonder if the cheapest and most convenient way for moms to get the extra calories to make milk would be to drink formula…

          • Sean Jungian
            September 21, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

            Poison!! They should still be drinking breastmilk.

            In fact, all people everywhere should simply stop eating food and start relying on the only real food a mammal like homo sapiens needs!

        • September 21, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

          So let’s add “Everyone can afford Starbucks” to the privilege list.

          Added bashing for the fact that the fastest way I can think of to get 500 added calories without losing time would be to order a burger, medium fries and a sugar-based pop at a fast food joint. That should get an added 500 calories without costing a full dollar over the original meal price – but holy shit would the lactivists howl at that.

          • demodocus
            September 21, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

            Not to mention that there are, believe it or not, areas in the US where you cannot find a Starbucks in under a half-hour drive.

          • Sean Jungian
            September 21, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

            “Not to mention that there are, believe it or not, areas in the US where you cannot find a Starbucks in under a half-hour drive.

            You found me! 50 minute drive to the nearest Starbucks here!

          • momofone
            September 21, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

            Two hours here!

          • Sean Jungian
            September 21, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

            HIGH FIVE!!

          • demodocus
            September 21, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

            My mom’s old place, in Connecticut! It’s 35 minutes to the nearest one.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
            March 10, 2017 at 7:37 am #

            But we have Dunkin! Which is WAAAAY better! My town has 2 Starbucks and 8 Dunkin Donuts….

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            March 10, 2017 at 8:23 am #

            True. ‘Though there wasn’t even a Dunkin in town until I was old enough to use the drive through myself! Small town.

          • Roadstergal
            March 10, 2017 at 11:24 am #

            I have to admit, I’ve become disappointed in Dunkin’ Donuts – maybe my childhood memories are rosier? I’ve found a place near us that has the most delicious donuts – light and fluffy crullers, really solid and moist cake donuts, no limp soggy crap. If I’m going to pump that much fat and sugar in me, I want it to be _good_!

            Yelp reviewers complain about how rude the owner is, but she’s ESL and she’s taking care of her kids at the shop, what do they want? The food is tasty, the coffee is crap, that’s all I care about.

          • September 21, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

            *dies of horror*

          • Amy M
            September 21, 2016 at 9:41 pm #

            Right?! Which is better, according to lactivists: mom eats a ton of junk food to maintain supply (after all, your baby “eats” what you eat, right? at least according to that one ad campaign….) OR formula, which they compare to junk food?

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            September 22, 2016 at 9:05 am #

            I remember that. It was bizarre, to say the least. I’m a SAHM and DH makes pretty good money, but we’re still on a budget due to retirement savings et all. For the four of us, the budget for weekly food is $170, and that includes a) $30 worth of formula and b) $30 worth of wine/beer. 😉 An extra $5/day at Starbucks…? That’s like feeding another person! Or, yes, cutting out the booze budget, but fortunately that’s not a decision we have to make–I’m merely offering those numbers for reference.

        • September 21, 2016 at 11:06 pm #

          Oh, and a nursing woman’s hunger is as irrelevant as a starving baby’s…

          • Michele
            September 22, 2016 at 11:31 am #

            I haven never been so hungry as during the periods I’ve breastfeed. I’m overweight so I had plenty to lose and I’ve been on some very restrictive diets in my time, but I swear breastfeeding hunger is way worse than dieting.

    • Ceridwen
      September 21, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

      I didn’t break even vs. using generic formula until my son was 9 months old. And I never had mastitis, never needed a LC, didn’t use a nursing pillow, never needed a cream or anything for my nnipples, and had a baby that tolerate the bottles we already owned. But I worked. So I needed a pump, I needed bottles, I needed bags, I needed something to carry the pump, etc. And I’m underweight to begin with so I HAD to have extra calories to the tune of ~1000 per day at the peak (he was drinking 34+oz per day between 4 and 6 months) and 400 or so extra even now that he’s a year old.

      I made this argument at one point, in a supposedly science based group, and was told that I didn’t actually *need* most of those things. I should have tried to make do with my too small pre-nursing bras, should have kept using the pump I had from my daughter (that didn’t work well enough to allow me to keep up with her needs, let alone those of my much larger son), should have found some other bag that I already owned to use to transport the pump and supplies (nevermind that I tried that and it extended my time needed to pump and did not look professional for the job interviews I needed to go to), should have found a way to supply the milk to daycare that didn’t involve bags (which were what worked best for me). And I couldn’t count the money spent on food because it’s really such an inconsequential amount and most women are fat and could stand to lose the weight anyway (my normal intake of food is less than 2000 calories, I had to bump that by ~50%…). Couldn’t I see that then it would have been (mostly) free? I was just looking at it wrong and including unnecessary items! Fuck them all. I’ve nursed two kids for over a year each (as of today!). I donated 450oz of milk to a milk bank, which required quite a bit of my time and some hoop jumping since I lived out in the boonies and setting up the testing needed wasn’t trivial. I am NOT anti breastfeeding and I am NOT an enemy of breastfeeding. I just want people to consider that it might not be free for everyone, and can in fact be quite expensive and they should stop throwing that around as an argument because it makes them sound privileged and ignorant.

      • September 21, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

        What sort of sadist would recommend using too small pre-nursing bras? I’m pregnant with my first and the first “maternity” clothes I bought was larger bras so that my sore, sore, sore breasts could fit into a supportive bra.

        It’s also amazing how much privilege is hidden in their answers. Clearly, every woman has scads of bags around the house to choose from along with….Tupperware? Used jars of mayo? Enough bottles to house all the milk an infant needs? I’m a bit clueless on what else you were supposed to transport milk on a regular basis.

        • demodocus
          September 21, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

          they were the *only* maternity clothes i bought with my first. (i had only food aversions, nauseau, and not that much water gain. don’t recommend that method)

        • Ceridwen
          September 21, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

          I’d had some nursing bras with my daughter but they were completely worn out. Like parts poking out of them and straps breaking worn out. So I bought two new ones and one new nursing tank. On sale, but not the cheapest ones I could find (what i had done with my daughter). Such an extravagant spender I am. Honestly that was far fewer new clothes than I would have needed to buy to pump/nurse if I had a less flexible job (I’m a graduate student) or one with a stricter dress code. Pretty much as long as I didn’t have on open toed shoes I could wear anything I wanted. If I needed to be dressed up more I’d have needed a bunch of new tops to accommodate the increase in breast size. A number of my tops were pretty much indecent for the first 6 months or so of nursing.

          As for the bags, they expected me to pump into bottles and then pour directly from those bottles into the ones used at daycare. I froze in bags and sent bags to daycare because it was not good for my stress levels to try to stay just one day ahead of my baby and carting milk back and forth to daycare every single day left too much opportunity for me to forget and have to go back home to get milk. As it was I brought a bit over a weeks worth of milk at a time in bags that provided about a single feeding so that it was easy on my daycare provider and I only needed to remember milk once a week but had a couple of days of leeway if I forgot one Monday. Apparently this was a very extravagant and expensive way to manage my milk (I used the cheapest bags available to me) and cannot justifiably be used as a “real” nursing expense.

          I’m so glad they let me know that in these arguments I am not allowed to decide for myself what is a reasonable nursing-related expense, just as I am not allowed to decide for myself when using formula is appropriate.

          • swbarnes2
            September 21, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

            My supply was so sucky it was never a problem for me, but surely it’s occasionally a problem that a woman ruins a shirt with leaked or dripped milk? That’s another cost.

        • Monkey Professor for a Head
          September 21, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

          Yikes! I went from a 34B to a DD in my early days of breastfeeding. Trying to squeeze into my old bras would have probably ended up with blocked ducts and mastitis.

          • Ceridwen
            September 21, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

            32C/34B to 32E/34DD or larger here. So pretty similar.

          • demodocus
            September 21, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

            44DD-44G. Sigh

          • Kelly
            September 21, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

            30 D to 30 H here. It sucks and I have not gone down since the last baby. I was using my old bras while pregnant and I was spilling out all over the place.

          • BeatriceC
            September 21, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

            I was sooooooo happy that my boobs went down about three cup sizes after I weaned my last baby. Of course, I’m still a G, but that’s a hell of a lot better than a J or so.

          • Kelly
            September 21, 2016 at 8:29 pm #

            I have gained a lot of weight after my third and so I am hoping that when I lose the weight, it will go back down. I have lost some weight so I am on the right track but when I am done having kids, I will have a reduction. Wearing good fitting bras helps my self esteem because I feel less frumpy.

          • Kelly
            September 22, 2016 at 11:22 am #

            I went down one size after my first two babies. I remember waiting for three months after I weaned off the pump with my first and finally realizing that this was my new normal. I cried and finally found a place that can fit me with some nice bras.

          • guest
            September 22, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

            I am jealous. Somehow, I went from pre-pregnancy 34C to post-pregnancy 32J. I haven’t breastfed for two years. If I lost some weight, my cup size ought to go down some, but I seriously doubt I’ll ever be a C cup again. My favorite size was the B cup I was as an adolescent. The size I am now, I can’t find a single comfortable bra, anywhere.

          • BeatriceC
            September 22, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

            My mother did the same as you. She went from what today would be around a 26A (she was 89 pounds at 5’4″ before she got pregnant), to a 30DD after she had me and my sister (she has four adopted kids and two bio kids). She’s put on a little weight in the intervening years and is probably around a 34DD last I knew. I haven’t spoken to her in years, so that was just last I knew.

          • BeatriceC
            September 22, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

            Also, may I recommend this bra? It’s my all time favorite and it’s a really good quality.


          • Azuran
            September 21, 2016 at 10:37 pm #

            So far I’ve gone from a 36B to a 36D…….and I’m just 14 weeks pregnant….

          • Kelly
            September 22, 2016 at 11:21 am #

            I am so sorry. Get good fitting bras and it will help fitting into clothes.

          • BeatriceC
            September 21, 2016 at 6:33 pm #

            I went from a 32J to a I don’t even know because I had to have them specially made, but they were at least twice as large as they were before.

            I’ve settled down into a 34G these days. I think I’m the only woman on the planet glad for long term shrinkage after breastfeeding.

          • Mishimoo
            September 21, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

            34B to an overflowing 34F, I just gave up on bras except for special occasions and wore nursing tanktops constantly. Back down to a D, which I’m happy with.

          • September 22, 2016 at 6:44 am #

            Me too. Nursing tanks at all times.

        • Elizabeth A
          September 21, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

          34DD to 32J.

          I have an anecdote I run around sometimes about the lost wage cost of my pumping time ($130/week). I hear a lot about how it can’t possibly be true, and if it were, it wouldn’t apply to many women.

          It was true, and it applies to more women than anyone likes to think. Loads of women make lower wages than I did, but to those women, the cost of 5 lost hours of work time is a *bigger* deal, even with smaller absolute numbers attached.

          • September 21, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

            I believe you. I had friends who pumped while working as cashiers. The store was good at providing pumping breaks, but they were unpaid breaks. So, pretty soon you end up working 9.5 hours to cover an 8 hour shift if you need to pump every two hours for 30 minutes and could use your unpaid, state-required lunch break for one of the times.

          • September 22, 2016 at 6:44 am #

            This. The argument of the “but breastfeeding is free” people always, always boils down to “don’t have a job.”

        • Kelly
          September 21, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

          Plus if you your bras are too small, you can develop mastitis. I developed two by using underwire bras that were too small. Stupid.

      • corblimeybot
        September 21, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

        So they told you that you should have made your circumstances as miserable as possible, just so they could maintain their delusion that breastfeeding is always cheaper to do?

        Breastfeeding support, everyone!

        • Ceridwen
          September 21, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

          Basically. I think for them it boils down to this very incorrect equation: there are some possible conditions under which breastfeeding is free* and no conditions under which formula feeding is, therefore breastfeeding will always be cheaper than formula feeding!

          *These conditions are:
          SAHM who is not in any way inconvenienced timewise by breastfeeding
          Mom is at least 50 lbs overweight (in order to produce milk for a year without needing additional calories)
          Mom does not suffer supply problems when eating her normal pre-pregnancy/nursing amount of calories
          Mom does not require any new clothing or supplies related to nursing, already owns them from a previous child, or is given all she needs for free (bras, tops, pillows, creams, etc)
          Mom does not encounter any difficulties nursing that lead to the need for lactation support from non-free sources
          Baby does not need a tongue tie revision or any additional monitoring related to nursing
          Mom does not encounter any medical complications related to nursing (mastitis, thrush, etc)
          Mom never needs or desires to be away from baby for longer than the time between nursing sessions and thus never needs to use a bottle or pump or is given all items related to bottle feeding and/or pumping for free or has them from a previous pregnancy

          So sure, the scenario theoretically exists. But I’d be shocked if there are many women who fit into that scenario. When I looked up numbers I found that something like 1 in 5 women in the US who nurse end up with mastitis at some point during nursing for example. Plenty of women are overweight but not nearly as many by 50 lbs or more. And no one I know truly skipped buying any nursing related clothing or equipment or was able to obtain them for free.

          But even if we believe that a bunch of women fall into this group for whom free breastfeeding is even a possibility it still means NOTHING about whether formula or breastfeeding will be cheaper for any one particular woman outside of that group. Which is most women. They need to do their own analysis of the data to see which is cheaper, if that is an important consideration for them. And telling them “breastfeeding is free” without noting the HUGE asterisk that goes with that statement is useless and patronizing.

          (I did a bunch of these calculations when trying to help a friend who was pregnant with her second set of twins and in a difficult financial situation try to figure out whether she should attempt to breastfeed)

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            September 21, 2016 at 11:31 pm #

            Oh, but you could always do as I did, and not get treatment for ductal thrush, mastitis, or a seriously disgusting breast abscess because it might separate you from baby for an hour or two*, thereby DISRUPTING THE BREASTFEEDING RELATIONSHIP. Cos priorities. Or something. Then you don’t have to factor in the cost of treatment! (/sarcasm, to state the obvious)
            * While I couldn’t possibly care less if I tried if someone else nurses in public, I was never at all comfortable with it for me, so I couldn’t imagine taking baby with me to an urgent care type of place for a much-needed antifungal or antibiotic script.

          • Toni35
            September 21, 2016 at 11:58 pm #

            I come pretty darn close to that scenario –

            Sahm currently nursing 4th baby; husband travels extensively and is currently deployed, limited help when he is gone, so most of childcare falls to me anyway (this is a big part of why I sah in the first place – I’m not staying home just so I can breastfeed)

            I always gain 50 lbs with each pregnancy, and with the first three I was overweight to start (anywhere from just a few lbs to more like 20lbs), so I’ve never been hurting for calories while breastfeeding.

            Even after I lose those ample maternal stores, my supply doesn’t seem to take a hit with lowered food intake (within reason). It typically takes me between 8 months and 18 months to lose all the weight, and by then baby is well established on solids and only getting maybe 200-300 cal per day from me anyway.

            No difficulties nursing for either me or my babies. No medical complications either.

            I did invest a bit in nursing clothing (especially with baby number one), but then found some nursing bras that are actually cheaper than my regular bras (and that I liked a heck of a lot better than the expensive ones), and realized that nursing tops were pretty unnecessary for me (stretchy t shirts and tanks that I normally wear work well for me). Hated the boppy that I received as a gift with my first. Never needed more lanolin than what the hospital sent me home with.

            I did purchase a $40 electric pump that got me through the limited pumping I did with the first three kids. With my fourth child bam bam care changed my insurance coverage, allotting me a fancy dancy breast pump for “free”, but our premiums went up, our copays went up, and our coverage went down (imagine that), so I figure that “free” pump cost me at least $1000. But I already paid for it so I figured I might as well accept it. Was a lot more pump than I needed, but after three kids the $40 one had pretty well had it. None of my girls would take bottles, so I just used sippy cups to feed them pumped milk; something I would have needed to get them later on anyway.

            So, yeah, for me breastfeeding was very cheap, not free, but very cheap. Definitely saved us money over formula. But I make no mistake – I AM the asterisk, lol.

          • Ceridwen
            September 22, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

            Yeah, I don’t argue they don’t exist! Just that they are hardly the norm and are not going to be an appropriate point of comparison for *most* women. Especially ANY woman that works.

            For me it was:
            Pump: $95 after insurance because I needed to be able to pump without an oulet so I had to do the upgrade option
            Additional pumping kit: $50
            Bottles because the new pump (which worked much better and was huge for my supply) did not work with my old ones: $40
            Breastmilk bags: $70ish (usually purchased as cheaply as possible through Amazon but sometimes I had to get them locally in a pinch)
            Nursing bras and tank: $120
            Pump bag after I realized shoving the stuff in a canvas grocery sack wasn’t cutting it, especially for job interviews: $95 (cheapest that fit my pump)
            Nursing pads (because I leak tons and the cloth ones don’t cut it): $30

            So $500ish without me even having any difficulties. Just needing to work and have some bras that fit.

            I don’t count stuff like the freezer we stored all the milk in because we still use it now for food, or the cooler I used to transport the milk back and forth because, again, we use it for other stuff now. And I’m ignoring that we qualified for WIC and that it would have been far easier to formula feed with him at daycare because they provide formula so I wouldn’t even have needed to cart anything back and forth.

            If I ignore that stuff, it didn’t start to be cheaper to breastfeed him until he was around 9 months old (he’s got no sensitivities and has pretty much never met a food he won’t eat so no reason to suspect generic formula wouldn’t have worked). Including WIC…it would almost certainly have been cheaper for me to formula feed. Definitely easier in most regards. I wouldn’t have had to explain to potential employers that I needed a break during job interviews to pump. Sometimes I look back and am not even sure why I nursed instead of formula.

  18. Roadstergal
    September 21, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    “[W]hy is it that we can’t focus on the wonders of breastmilk??????? It’s also free!!!”

    This deserves a rousing FYYFF from _SO_ many angles.

    • Sean Jungian
      September 21, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

      As if there aren’t ninety-billion OMGAW BF’ING IS SO AMAZEBALLS!! forums on the internet already. Nope, they ALL have to be that way! Anything less than 100% worldwide compliance is undermining and persecuting!

      • September 21, 2016 at 11:11 pm #



  19. Heidi
    September 21, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    “Saying fed is best makes people feel that the other option is starvation.”

    Uh, yes the other option of not being fed is starvation.

    • Sean Jungian
      September 21, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

      I had a hard time understanding what that poster was getting at.

      • Roadstergal
        September 21, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

        Maybe… that ‘fed is best’ automatically means formula, and people will think the only options are formula or starvation? It makes little sense. I mean, for some babies, yes, those are the options! But it’s not like everyone doesn’t know that, well, breastfeeding exists.

    • demodocus
      September 21, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

      was that from the goldfish? she’s the first i’ve ever blocked, so haven’t read any of her more recent posts

      • Heidi
        September 21, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

        No, I think it was just from some random that Dr. Amy found.

  20. moto_librarian
    September 21, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    “Saying fed is best really undermines breastfeeding. Saying fed is best makes people feel that the other option is starvation. People shouldn’t be having babies if they can’t feed their children…”

    Right, because when you get pregnant, you know for sure that your breasts are going to produce an adequate amount of milk to feed your baby. And yes, I know, on planet lactivist, there’s no such thing as low supply or primary lactation failure. Only women who obviously didn’t try hard enough to breastfeed, therefore rendering them unworthy of having children.

    • corblimeybot
      September 21, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

      Lactivists don’t believe in Sheehan’s syndrome, either.

      • demodocus
        September 21, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

        what’s that?

        • Megan
          September 21, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

          Infarction (not enough blood flow to) pituitary after birth causing multiple endocrine issues, including insufficient or no breast milk production. Most common presentation is lactation failure with amenorrhea but severe cases can cause hypothyroidism, hyponatremia (low sodium levels) and low blood pressure. The pituitary is enlarged during pregnancy and it is vulnerable to decreases in blood flow postpartum, e.g. after a postpartum hemorrhage.

          • demodocus
            September 21, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

            o. Thanks for ‘splainig

          • Megan
            September 21, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

            Sure thing.

          • corblimeybot
            September 21, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

            Earlier this year, I read a blog post by a woman who had lactation failure that turned out to be caused by Sheehan’s syndrome. I seem to recall she’d seen a lactation consultant and done the typical things people do to increase their supply. It didn’t work, she developed other symptoms, then she was diagnosed with Sheehan’s.

            The post was a bit scattered, but she essentially wrote it defend herself against formula shaming. In a situation in which her pituitary gland had been damaged, lactivists apparently still found time to make her feel bad about herself.

            I’ll try to see if I can dig up that post later.

          • September 21, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

            To “quote” Bill Engvall, “When a critical gland injury doesn’t absolve you from breast feeding, THERE’S YOUR SIGN.”

          • BeatriceC
            September 21, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

            Why would a critical gland injury absolve you from breastfeeding? Double mastectomies and lack of pregnancy (adoptive mothers) aren’t enough. Why should a malfunctioning gland be an excuse?

          • corblimeybot
            September 21, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

            A real mama would have found a way. Anyway, maybe if she was going to carelessly let her pituitary gland be harmed like that, she should have reconsidered having a baby in the first place.

          • September 22, 2016 at 4:04 am #

            Nor is never having had the correct equipment an excuse. I asked a breastfeeding ra-ra person about families headed by men whether in the case of single fathers or gay men.

            Apparently, said men should hire a wet nurse.

          • corblimeybot
            September 22, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

            That’s right, gay male parents. You aren’t good enough on your own. You don’t have lactating tits.

          • corblimeybot
            September 21, 2016 at 10:48 pm #

            Okay, I can’t find it for the moment. I’ll keep plugging along. For now, this account on the Fearless Formula Feeder is pretty wretchedly sad:


  21. lawyer jane
    September 21, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    The more I think about breastfeeding, the more confused I am by the massive public health apparatus surrounding it. I’m not talking bloggers, but the CDC, NHS, state health agencies, etc. Are they really all deluded, or is it just that the lack of benefits did not become clear until recently? I feel like there must be some connection between the way public health recommendations get formulated and advocated for on an official level, and the fact that the recommendations have to do with women and mothers. That particular combination seems to be very vulnerable to the development of propaganda.

    • Gatita
      September 21, 2016 at 11:41 am #

      Well here in the US it’s a lot cheaper and morally satisfying to harangue women to breastfeed instead of providing universal access to prenatal care, paid parental leave, guaranteed minimum income, universal access to infant health care, etc. Makes you feel like you’re doing something meaningful to support child health while not actually changing the structures that lead to poor outcomes.

      • Roadstergal
        September 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

        *trying to upvote this more than once*

      • Sean Jungian
        September 21, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

        Also repeatedly clicking the “like” button

      • J.B.
        September 21, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

        And judging women who go back to work for pumping and missing out on work time or for formula feeding.

      • September 21, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

        Plus, you can hold up poor women who make absurd sacrifices to breastfeed as an example of how the system works which lets you denigrate other poor women and women of any other SES who choose not to breastfeed.

      • September 21, 2016 at 11:12 pm #

        Featured comment please?

    • CSN0116
      September 21, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

      Completely agree with you that the role of very influential and powerful public health officials may have created, but undeniably perpetuated, the moralistic infant feeding climate we observe today. Claims need experts and publicity in order to be promoted and widely accepted – the CDC, WHO, AAP have all given both of these in droves.

      I am left with the same question as you – are they deluded or was this all intentional? I have read the studies. I have seen the discussion portions of these papers in NO WAY represent the actual study’s findings. In no other discipline would this shit even get published and if it did it would have to be severely edited prior to being accepted. It’s as if nobody scrutinized a thing and now the people retroactively scrutinizing are “hysterical,” “not educated,” and “undermining breast feeding.” NO — they’re just revealing what was there all along.

      Lactivists wouldn’t ever have the power that they do if it weren’t for the medical establishment de facto backing them. It is the most pervasive, accepted, underhanded, and “invisible” attack on the female body of our time.

      • Megan
        September 21, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

        I was wondering where you’d gone! I was surprised when I was reading last night to not see your lovely comments on the Dr. Newman thread directed at our friend, Anna Perch.

        • BeatriceC
          September 21, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

          Ugh. That person. I rarely spar with the trolls, and I really didn’t much with her, but I showed the comments to several people who actually know me and they just snorted.

          She reminds me of my teenagers who will deny evidence of their wrongdoing even if they’ve been caught with their hands literally in the cookie jar.

        • CSN0116
          September 22, 2016 at 6:50 pm #

          That thread is so long now, I can’t even begin to tackle it though it does appear right up my alley. Sigh… I’ve been very distracted fighting The Man…

  22. guest
    September 21, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    Technically, if fed is best, then they are part of the best. They just don’t like how big the “best” group got. They’ve lost their elite status and become one of the crowd.

    • corblimeybot
      September 21, 2016 at 11:28 am #


    • Anj Fabian
      September 21, 2016 at 11:57 am #

      Fed is best says “If you want to breast feed your baby, we’ll help you do that. If you want to formula feed, we’ll help you. If you want to use SNS, breast AND tube feeding – we’ll help you.”

      Fed is best thinks that every method of feeding is worthy of support. All of them. Fed is best thinks that every method needs support, that it isn’t always easy to figure this baby feeding thing. What about reflux, poor transfer, colic? It can be complicated, confusing and frustrating.

      • Laura J
        September 21, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

        We are running out of 5 gallons of breastmilk in our separate freezer after 6 months of breastfeeding. I hope I can stretch it out for a while longer.
        I’d rather have a fed baby than a starving one, as Heidi mentions it.

      • AirPlant
        September 21, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

        The most telling thing I have heard is “if fed is best then the work a woman puts into breastfeeding is meaningless!”

        That phrase just makes me think of some poor woman desperately trying to justify her choices, and I just want to give a giant internet hug and be like if you truly want to breastfeed and your child isn’t being injured then the work IS worth it. Your confidence in your parenting choices shouldn’t be dependent on a third party’s opinion, your preferences matter and there is nothing wrong with going for what you want.

        • Roadstergal
          September 21, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

          “if fed is best then the work a woman puts into breastfeeding is meaningless!”

          But breastfeeding is easy and free!

          It’s like how C-sections are either ‘taking the easy way out’ or ‘horrible and traumatic’ depending on the angle they’re taking to shit on the moms who have had them.

          • AirPlant
            September 21, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

            Whenever I examine the AP Philosophy in my head, the dominant message comes off to me as saying that a good mother is defined by endlessly and effortlessly giving of herself. It can be difficult, but a real mother cannot be traumatized by this subjugation because it is just part of their nature should be surrendered to. The only possible trauma is in deviation.

            So not sleeping for years of bloody nipples or incontinance are not traumas, but formula and sleep training are. Saying that martyrdom isn’t needed or that a woman can forge her own path and her feelings are an end in themselves comes off as sacrilege.

          • Roadstergal
            September 21, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

            You should write a book on this…!

          • AA
            September 21, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

            @AirPlant, YES! you have hit the nail on the head!

          • Roadstergal
            September 21, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

            …I just realized, re-reading your comment, that AP/NCB/EBF makes total sense as a BDSM relationship between a sadist baby and a masochist/service sub mom. (BDSM isn’t always about sex, after all – you can have a sexless and very emotionally fulfilling D/S relationship. And not that I have any issues with a consenting relationship of that sort, but when it’s mandatory and involves one underage partner…!) Some subs take pride in how much pain they can take in the service of their doms, and show their marks at parties and munches. Some delight in how intricate and time-consuming the demanded service is. Etc. It doesn’t matter that the bathroom could be more effectively scrubbed in other ways, doing it with a toothbrush is a sign of a good sub…

          • BeatriceC
            September 21, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

            Throw in a a lactation fetish and this could be an interesting dynamic.

          • Cody
            September 21, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

            Have you read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein? My son just brought that book home from the library this week and this comment reminded me of that book.

            Many people have such a positive interpretation of that book. “It’s about the beauty of selfless love” they say. I’ve always had a darker interpretation of it. To me it’s so obvious that the tree symbolizes a mother (or father, I suppose). I read it to my son who is in grade 1 and I asked him thought. He thought the boy was cruel and selfish. He also said that the tree should have loved itself more.

          • Empliau
            September 21, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

            I’m a bad person. I hated that book. I couldn’t even pretend enthusiasm when it came up in conversation and everyone around me (it seemed) was saying how wonderful and moving it was. I just see it as a tree version of Mildred Pierce (the boy frames the tree for murder? Better ending IMHO. Yes, I am a bad person.)

          • Cody
            September 21, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

            I never liked it until I re-read it as an adult. I think my son was right on and that’s the whole point of the book. Only when the boy is an old man does he realize the folly of ways because he is also alone and forgotten.

          • Roadstergal
            September 21, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

            Your son has empathy!

            That book makes me think of a Tim Minchin song, “If you really loved me” – it’s a spoof of the idea of Unconditional Love. It starts off with cutesy things that the song-ee should do if she really loves him, and the ‘if you really loved me’ requests get progressively weirder and more intricate…

            ETA the link. NSFW.

          • BeatriceC
            September 21, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

            I loved that book as a kid, but when I read it as an adult I was actually kind of horrified. I love Shel Silverstein, but this was not his greatest book.

          • Cody
            September 21, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

            I don’t think it was supposed to be happy.

          • Empliau
            September 21, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

            I haz a sad that the genius who wrote “A Boy Named Sue” also wrote the enabling tree with self-esteem issues.

          • AirPlant
            September 21, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

            As a child that book gave me nightmares. My interpretation that was wanting things would cause something beautiful to die.

          • Cody
            September 21, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

            Wow, you had depth as a child! I was oblivious.

          • September 22, 2016 at 7:22 am #

            I hate that fucking book. I read it as “the right thing to do is to give and give and give until you are literally dead, and it will still not be enough.”

          • Cody
            September 22, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

            Ya if you read it like that it’s horrible. Next time you read it, try and see it as a cautionary tale.

          • Cody
            September 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

            Oh God. I made the mistake of posting some comments on a sarcastic opinion piece that was attacking the idea of c-sections being the easy way out.

            Many of the commenters took the position that c-sections are always harder than vaginal birth and that no one should ever want one. My comments were intended to remind everyone that all births are legit, and their is no bad way to have a baby. Some Moms like c-sections and they are very safe and I made sure to mention that I wasn’t trying to dismiss anyone’s situation because all birth is always hard. We all have our struggles with it.

            Sigh. It was like I had personally attacked these people. They were so angry. No one in their right mind would want a c-section they all said. It’s sad because somewhere there is a woman who knows she’s about to have a c-section and now she’s even more terrified because she has read that crap.

          • Madtowngirl
            September 21, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

            I guess I’m not in my right mind, then. I’m almost certainly going to request a c/s if I have a #2. Sure, I could try for a VBAC. But given my medical history, and the fact that #1 is a c/s, the chances of it being successful are still in the 60ish% range. I’d rather just get it done and over with, rather than being in labor and needing another emergency one.

          • FormerPhysicist
            September 21, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

            Loved my repeat c/s for baby #2. Felt very betrayed by my body going into labor with #3 two days before my scheduled c/s. Still was a c/s, just much less relaxed. Not smash and grab, just immediate.

          • RudyTooty
            September 21, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

            Sorry, Cody. It sounds like you’re trying to be reasonable in an unreasonable environment.

            “Many of the commenters took the position that c-sections are always harder than vaginal birth and that no one should ever want one.”

            These are clearly people who haven’t seen enough birth.
            The first time I witnessed a vaginal birth that was so physiologically and medically stressful (for everyone!) is not one that I will forget.

            I remember clearly thinking: “A cesarean would have been much less violent and traumatic than THAT.”

            And I was very much in the time of my life where I believed wholeheartedly that vaginal birth was always superior. Enough experience will change one’s beliefs.

          • BeatriceC
            September 21, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

            Even my “smash and grab” c-section (I think it was 7 minutes from decision to incision…I can’t recall exactly, but it was under 10), was less traumatic than my one live vaginal delivery. My other c-section was sort of like a party if you ignored the fact that my abdomen was cut open and there was a NICU team in the room (baby was 32 weeks, but it wasn’t rushed).

          • Erin
            September 21, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

            I got flamed somewhere for saying that my sister in law’s recovery from a fourth degree tear was way harder than my recovery from my section.

            Immediately I had people jumping on me to tell me that emergencies were different.

            When I pointed out that mine was an emcs after 75 hours of contractions, that I hadn’t slept for 4 days, had pushed for 2 hours, had a fever and was generally seeing things you’d have thought the sky was falling.

            I must have been lying about the fact that I got up and dressed myself 4 hours afterwards. The Midwife in charge of the ward had a priceless look on her face when she opened the curtain to introduce herself and I was standing there packing my stuff up. My husband thought she was going to faint.

            That’s what saddens me about the birth trauma groups I’m in. The vast majority of the emcs lot think they can “do it better” next time if they avoid x, y or z. Although I think the ones who struggle most are the ones who had x amount of “normal” births first and essentially put all the c-section mothers in the broken box.

          • Glia
            September 21, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

            I think my planned CS was quite a bit easier than plenty of vaginal births. I was happily out and about with no more than a bit of soreness and a lot of tiredness by a few days after. My mom told me after her (second) severe postpartum hemorrhage, she was in the hospital for a week, but it took a year to feel like herself again. I know which of those I would prefer.

            The “emergencies are different” thing reminds of something one of my crunchier friends said. We were talking about how “natural” isn’t always better, and she said something about how it was definitely better if all else was equal. Which, really, is just a way of saying it is better unless it isn’t. “Emergencies are different” is the same thing, it is always better except for when it isn’t, but ignore those times.

          • September 21, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

            My sis-in-law was doing pretty well 3 weeks post CS, was pretty much back to normal by 6 weeks CS with some muscle weakness that resolved by 12 weeks.

            My mom-in-law had 4th degree tears after a forceps delivery. She was unable to sit for any period of time without a doughnut cushion for over 6 weeks and remembers finding it easier to stand rather than sit for breaks in the barn at 10 weeks post.


          • Cody
            September 21, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

            … Ahhhhhh yes, fourth degree tears. I brought this up and and one woman told me that she would far rather have had fourth degree tears than her c-section, and anyone who disagreed didn’t know what they were talking about. That’s fine, everyone is entitled to their own preferences, but personally I’d take the section.

          • Erin
            September 22, 2016 at 7:04 am #

            I just don’t understand that. My section was an awful experience and I’m terrified about having another one but my sister in law’s edited version of dealing with her tear and my mother in law’s description of her 81 stitches (yay for big headed babies) plus the experience of one of my ante-natal class (big back to back baby yanked out with forceps in theater) and her description of her “Frankenstein’s vagina” make me cross my legs very tightly.

          • MI Dawn
            September 22, 2016 at 7:56 am #

            Oh, Erin. I wish I could sit with you and hold your hand while you have your c/section under GA, so you knew as you went to sleep that we all care very much for your well being.

          • Erin
            September 22, 2016 at 11:43 am #

            I’m actually wavering. People keep sharing stories about how awful their General Anesthetics for various things were, including an Egyptian friend who thought they were going to call the security services when he came around from having his tonsils out yelling “Terrorists win” (he was a big Counter Strike fan) so I don’t know if I’m going frying pan -> fire. Everyone seems as if they really want me to have a better experience with as many distractions as possible to keep my mind from wandering so is it better to trust them…I’m not sure.

            Got an appointment after my next scan with a new Consultant who used to work quite a bit with pregnant rape survivors before moving to the UK. From his phone call, he seems very nice although having spent a lot of summer holidays in Austria, I have a fondness for the accent.

          • Roadstergal
            September 28, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

            FWIW, I’ve never had a bad GA experience. I’ve been fully under for getting my tonsils out, for pinning a broken finger, for pinning and screwing a broken ankle, for putting in a plate for a broken collarbone, and for removing that plate (I really should stop breaking things). GA has always been a pleasant trip to dreamland, and recovery a lazy return.

            My husband has had a few surgeries, and only one bad GA, and it just made him feel a little loopy and sick for the rest of the day.

            It’s a crap-shoot to some extent, so it’s not guaranteed fantastic and it’s not guaranteed awful…

          • Erin
            September 29, 2016 at 7:22 am #

            I think your last line essentially sums it up. I started off so determined, so sure I was right but now the doubts are creeping in when I really need them the least.

            New Consultant got our relationship off to a “wonderful” start by suggesting that I’m too stubborn to admit I was wrong. On the plus side though unlike previous “hippy” Consultant and hordes of midwives, he’s asking “What can we do to make it better?” rather than the whole “Have faith, It will be better”.

          • Cody
            September 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

            This is the shit thing about birth. Sometimes even when everyone lives, it’s downright traumatic. I don’t know your story, but I had a traumatic birth too. I hear you and I understand. Unfortunately, sometimes medical staff can be part of the problem. They were in my case anyway.

          • Erin
            September 22, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

            They were in mine too although now I have some clarity I don’t think it was intended by the individuals concerned. It’s just left me terrified of surgery to the point that I get flashbacks and panic attacks whenever I think about it. If it wasn’t for my baby, I don’t think I could go through with it ever again.

            I hope you have a better experience this time around.

          • Cody
            September 23, 2016 at 11:46 am #

            Have you considered counselling?

          • Erin
            September 23, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

            Yep, I’ve driven more than Psychologist up the wall since my son’s arrival. I’m very good at talking but not talking. I’m still seeing a Psychiatrist because he won’t discharge me whilst I’m pregnant again just in case and he would like to try another referral but I don’t want to waste their time.

          • Cody
            September 23, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

            I’m sorry. The only thing that really helped me was time. Eventually I stopped having bad dreams and flashbacks. Being pregnant brings it all back though.

          • Heidi
            September 23, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

            I have read about 4th degree tears, get lightheaded just reading about or looking at pictures of it and I worked in an ER and seen some gory stuff and managed to hold myself together.

        • RudyTooty
          September 21, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

          Wut. Huh? Oh dear.

        • Charybdis
          September 21, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

          THERE YOU ARE!! I was wondering where you went. I’ve missed reading your posts.

          (Were you secretly making a quilt for your SIL and plan to unfurl it at Thanksgiving where everyone can see it?)

        • guest
          September 21, 2016 at 3:48 pm #

          But I thought bottle feeding was supposed to be sooooooooo hard because of all the “extra” work?

        • guest
          September 21, 2016 at 3:48 pm #

          But I thought bottle feeding was supposed to be sooooooooo hard because of all the “extra” work?

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