An open letter to Lucy Martinez Sullivan, Executive Director of 1000 Days

IMG_1921

Dear Ms. Martinez Sullivan,

Have you lost your mind? What are you doing posting a picture of a dead baby on the Facebook page of the Fed Is Best Foundation?

You’re not a random lactivist. I see from your bio that you are the Executive Director of children’s nutrition organization 1000 Days:

Is that a dead baby floating in a formula bottle?

We believe that all children deserve a healthy first 1,000 days and the opportunity to achieve their full potential. But too many children are robbed of this opportunity because they don’t get the nutrition they need to thrive.

As part of that, their goal is to ensure that:

More babies are exclusively breastfed from birth to six months and are continuing to breastfeed for at least one year.

What a coincidence! The Fed Is Best Foundation is also committed to excellent infant nutrition. They describe their mission on their homepage:

The Fed is Best Foundation believes that babies should never go hungry and mothers should be supported in choosing clinically safe feeding options for their babies. Whether breast milk, formula, or a combination of both – #FedIsBest.

You seem to have missed the fact that they too care deeply about making sure that babies are healthy. Instead you posted this bit of obnoxiousness on the Fed Is Best Facebook page:

IMG_1916

Is that a dead baby floating in a formula bottle? Did you just accuse FIB of being the new Nestle? Did you just expropriate the tragedy of poor women of color in developing nations to browbeat privileged women in industrialized countries to breastfeed regardless of whether their babies are being harmed?

Are you nuts? Do you think you do your organization any favors by behaving so irresponsibly? You write that you have worked in the past with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; do you think they would want to be associated with someone who behaves as you have just done?

What did the FIB Foundation post that caused you to take leave of your senses? It was this:

IMG_1923

They dared to share a post from 2nd Milk an organization that provides formula to babies whose mothers have died:

When a baby loses its mother it shouldn’t keep them from experiencing the fullness of life. 2nd Milk comes alongside these families from birth to 2 years old providing formula, porridge, fruits and vegetables.

We know that babies whose mothers die are far more likely to die, too. Could they be fed by a volunteer wet-nurse? Possibly if one were available, but I suspect that people reach out to 2nd Milk when there is no wet-nurse available. Who is going to feed these babies otherwise?

You provide no answer to that question yet you decided to lash out at a Foundation that is designed expressly to promote infant nutrition. Why? Because you apear to be more concerned with the process of breastfeeding than with the result of healthy babies. Here’s a pro-tip, Ms. Martinez Sullivan, if a breastfed baby is dehydrated, starving or failing to thrive then that baby is not healthy. And if you cared about infant health you would be rushing to support Fed Is Best.

Instead, like many lactivists, you are a zealot. You’ve painted yourselves into a corner. Instead of acknowledging that a substantial number of mothers can’t make enough breastmilk to meet their infants needs, instead of acknowledging that dehydration, starvation and death are real risks of exclusive breastfeeding, instead of acknowledging that judicious formula supplementation in the first few days actually improves the chances of extended breastfeeding you’ve doubled down on the absurd idea that breastfeeding is always perfect.

The chief manifestation of your zealotry is the belief that anyone who doesn’t agree with you is out to undermine you. I breastfed four children without too much difficulty and I enjoyed it. I recommend breastfeeding to every new mother. But I don’t agree with you that breastfeeding is perfect for every baby. I also know that the scientific evidence shows that the benefits of breastfeeding in industrialized countries are trivial and that the fanciful claims of lives saved by breastfeeding (as in the Lancet article) are merely theoretical and have not been demonstrated in real life. That’s not surprising when you consider that many of the countries with the highest infant mortality rates have breastfeeding rates approaching 100%. Exactly whose lives are going to be saved when all the women are already breastfeeding?

I have some suggestions for you. First, you ought to apologize to Jody Seagrave-Daly and Dr. Christy Castillo-Hegyi who are working tirelessly to prevent infant injury and death. Second, if you have a problem with what I write, feel free to address me directly. Third, you ought to recognize that outcome (a healthy, growing baby) is infinitely more important than whether or not that baby is breastfed.

I understand that you are afraid. Jody and Christie have reframed the issue and taken it away from lactivists like you with your exaggerations, outright lies and humiliating tactics. But the truth is that Fed Is Best whether you like it or not.

 

Updated: I initially linked Martinez Sullivan’s comment to the wrong post. 

Tags:

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    OT: when a former prime minister feels a need to publicly post “what is he smoking” when referring to another country’s leader, it’s probably not a good sign for the other leader.

    • Roadstergal

      Shall we put it on the ‘not good signs’ board for the current president? It’s getting really crowded.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        Yes, because it amuses me in a dark sort of way

  • Sheven

    Sadly, a part of the breastfeeding movement has moved from helping expand women’s rights (maternity leave, making breastfeeding legal and acceptable in public) to demonizing women who don’t breastfeed.

    She appears to be part of the toxic part of the movement, and she’s doing just what that movement has always done–demonizing people instead of helping them.

  • Adelaide

    I lived in rural Tanzania as a teacher, but spent every afternoon 7 days a week doing what I could to offer medical care and support to people in my local villages. The babies I saw dying were dying due to a lack of formula, not a refusal to breastfeed.

    Breastfeeding wasn’t an option where I lived, it was the ONLY way to feed your child. These women were beyond motivated. They were desperate. There was no formula even if you had the money. When a women couldn’t breastfeed, died in childbirth, or was HIV+ their children died. Water was a hard earned commodity coming from deep in the ravine, every dropped carried by women. Firewood was much the same. If they could afford to get their hands on powdered milk or cows milk they might give it to their babies in hopes of sustaining them, but even those things were rare and expensive.

    Breastfeeding saved lives, but the children dying weren’t dying because their mothers “chose” formula. They were dying because their mothers heroic efforts to breastfeed just weren’t enough.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      can’t upvote such a horrible situation for those poor babies and their families.

    • myrewyn

      Ugh, exactly. The first world lactivists are so far removed from the reality of life and death feeding like this.

      • sdsures

        We could drop them all on a deserted island and make a reality TV show. *evil grin*

        • myrewyn

          Well it’s all fun and games until a baby starves.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      The things I take for granted…
      My heart breaks.

    • SporkParade

      This is exactly why I’m so mad about public health organizations talking about babies dying due to lack of exclusive breastfeeding. They’re blaming women for being too dead in childbirth, too sick, or too malnourished to breastfeed. It’s positively vile.

  • MI Dawn

    Looked at the site, and it’s too bad she’s so strident. I would be more than willing to give money to help support people who are starving. But I refuse to give money to a program that ONLY sees “Breast is Best” as a way for a woman to feed her child.

    Yes, in some circumstances (bad water, extreme poverty so formula might be watered down but enough food for mom to make sufficient milk), breast *might* be best. But what if mom doesn’t WANT to breastfeed at all, ever, no way, no how? Don’t we respect a woman’s autonomy no matter what?

    Her actions speak louder than her words. She wants women to breastfeed no matter what and no matter why (even if they aren’t the mother because mom is dead). And I won’t donate to that cause. Sorry, Lucy Martinez Sullivan. I’ll give my charitable donations to groups that support women’s choices in all ways. Not just the ways I (middle class white American) think they should be made.

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    OT, I have a 3.5 month old baby. I’d planned to breastfeed until 6 months and am wondering how heavily influenced by lactivism the recommendation to wait until 6 months to introduce solids is? Is this really an evidence based recommendation?

    • Madtowngirl

      Our pediatrician told us 4-6 months is the best time to introduce solids. As for the evidence behind it, others here will be able to better answer your question. 🙂

    • Dr Kitty

      No, it isn’t evidence based.
      Emerging evidence is that delaying introduction of solids to six months increases food allergies.

      I wouldn’t advise solids before four months, but after that feel free to introduce solids at your baby’s pace.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        Thank you – I’d planned to start solids about 4 months, aiming to wean around 6 months but started second guessing myself.

      • To me, this is just another example of how theories tend to go around in circles (or cycles). In 1967, solids, beginning with cereal, were intoduced around 3-4 months. Later, it was a major no-no to give any solids before 6 months at the earliest. Now we’re back to 4 months. And amazingly, everyone, fed early or late, survived. I’ve got other examples.

        The main point seems to be to use one’s common sense. One of my children was drinking 250 cc every two hours while my neighbor’s child, same weight at birth, was drinking 50 cc every 3 hours, and both were gaining weight satisfactorily.

        • fiftyfifty1

          “One of my children was drinking 250 cc every two hours while my neighbor’s child, same weight at birth, was drinking 50 cc every 3 hours, and both were gaining weight satisfactorily.”

          One child consumed 3 liters of milk per day and the other only 400 cc and both were the same weight and growing normally? Not possible. Somebody was measuring, recording or remembering wrong.

    • Roadstergal

      As noted below, the papers I’ve seen (interventional studies, not bad) support introducing common allergens between 4-6 months of age to reduce the risk of food allergies.

    • Guest

      I have a 3 month old, and am just going to do solids when my kid is less gaggy and can sit reclined in her high chair without being as slumped as she is now. So 4-ish weeks from now? My Ped pointed out people worldwide just give kids food whenever and see what works, so 4-5 months is not known to be too early. You’re fine with your plan, for sure. The 6 month thing is pretty arbitrary, I bet it suits some kids but probably not most.

    • myrewyn

      My son would have gone mad if I had waited six months. Milk was just not filling enough to satiate him although he was growing very well. It depends on the baby.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        This is partly why I’m so eager. He nurses every 1 to 2 hours but often only wants one side, so it doesn’t seem to be a supply issue. At night he’s still waking 3 to 4 times. I keep hearing that this is normal and he’ll just grow out of it in time but I have some small hope it *might* help decrease the night feedings…

        • myrewyn

          I honestly can’t remember if my son was still waking in the night at that point. He just always seemed hungry and had hit all the physical milestones for solids a bit early so at my mother’s urging, we started solids a bit early as well. Sometimes old fashioned advice is best and my mom was right — he was an infinitely happier baby with a little rice cereal and pureed fruit. We started just before four months.

          • myrewyn

            And to add to this, he has grown into a young man who is in to weightlifting and bodybuilding and STILL really values a good meal! Boy can he eat…

          • BeatriceC

            My biggest eater as a baby is still my biggest eater as a teen. It’s almost like babies are people with their own needs and personalities…

          • StephanieA

            Aww! My chubby 1 year old ate solids at 4 months, while my skinny 3 year old didn’t want them until 7 months. He eats a wide variety of food but still doesn’t eat large volumes of it. I think my youngest will be my eater, judging by how enthusiastic he is about food!

        • Gæst

          I saw a decrease in nursing frequency shortly after starting solids at 4 months. It was such a relief – I might have quit nursing if they had kept up the frequency (wanting to nurse every 1.5 hours!)

        • Mishimoo

          My youngest started on solids at 4 months and it made a huge difference. He finally slept through because he was no longer hungry, it was amazing and I highly recommend it!

          I tried a few different types of formula and pumping because I needed sleep, he refused everything and was feeding every 2 hours through the night. It was hell; I was so glad when he hit 4 months.

    • yentavegan

      The best way to know when your baby is ready for food other than breastmilk or formula is to watch the baby. When you see her eyeing your food or mimicking eating and if you offer some mashed up food that is similar to the types of food your family normally eats and she does not gag ( too much..because initially she might gag a bit and then figure out how to get the food swallowed) …then hooray! She is ready for food. 4 months of age is at the early normal range of readiness…6 months is at the late early stage of readiness ..by the time baby can sit up unassisted and grasp food , she is smack dab in the full throws of readiness.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        He has some signs – we let him smell our foods and he makes eating motions if it’s something he finds appealing. He watches us put food in our mouths, can hold his head up but is still wobbly, can’t sit up on his own yet.

      • mabelcruet

        I have a friend who did baby led weaning. It was great fun to watch (very messy, finger painting with baked beans!) baby was still breast fed (and continued til she was about 18 months), but from about 5 months of age, she sat down to dinner with the rest of the family and she was mostly given the same food as the rest of them. Just a spoonful at first on the tray of her high chair, but it meant she got used to tastes and textures, dabbling her fingers in it and licking them. Not much went in initially, she was really just getting used to using her mouth and chewing, and the dogs hoovered up anything that fell off onto the floor. And now she’s 5 and happily eats anything.

        • myrewyn

          I had worried about the waste with baby led weaning but that’s a great point about the dogs cleaning up!

      • Gæst

        I’m not a fan of using baby’s interest in food as one of the signs of readiness. It presumes a certain lifestyle that not all babies have – and also that babies with motor delays aren’t ready for food no matter what. Take me, for instance. I was a single mother with twins living in an apartment with a small kitchen. For my babies’ first four months of life, I ate most of my meals out of sight from them (usually when they were asleep), because otherwise I couldn’t enjoy my food. So while it might be a good practice to make infants a part of the family meal, it didn’t work for us, and we didn’t do it.

        At four months, with the pediatrician’s blessing, I offered pureed food and cereal to my babies. They took to it like a fish takes to water – no tongue thrusting the food out or negative reactions. My daughter was not remotely able to set up alone at 4 months. She couldn’t do that until she was eight months old, because what I didn’t know at 4 months was that she had gross motor delays. But she WAS ready for solids, strapped upright in bouncy chair. She grabbed the spoon from me in the first week of trying it and tried to get it in her mouth herself.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          awwe

        • SporkParade

          Agreed that I wouldn’t go based on demonstrated interest. My first didn’t show any interest in the food we were eating, but when he was offered purees and figured out what they were for, we had to hold him back so that he wouldn’t give himself a tummy ache.

    • swbarnes2

      Some good links:

      http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/healthy-baby/art-20046200

      https://scienceofmom.com/2015/05/14/starting-solids-4-months-6-months-or-somewhere-in-between/

      Science of Mom has more related links posted right around the same time.

      Note also that the links point to a bunch of physical milestones to watch for, not just counting weeks on a calendar.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        Thank you!

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Both mine were -definitely- ready by 4 months after their due dates. (So girl wasn’t much interested until 4 1/2 and boy was trying to grab stuff before he was actually 4 months old.) But they’re both large for their ages, with good head control, and definite interest.

    • Gæst

      The current advice is to start solids between 4 and 6 months, based on readiness cues. Definitely no later than six months to start trying.

    • Kelly

      My youngest screamed at us if we didn’t share what we were eating. I think it really depends on the kid and really the 4-6 months is a window. I didn’t start food until five months with my youngest because I hated the four month tongue thrust and by five months with my other two, they had outgrown it. I think it is hard when it is your first kid because by the time I had my third, I had a better idea of what was set in stone and what was something I could do on my or my child’s own timing. You can always try it out and then quit if it is not working and wait until later.

  • OttawaAlison

    I do have a criticism though the FIB post and that’s just saying “Africa” – Africa is a very diverse continent and there are many places with access to clean water. I’d prefer the name of the country and perhaps the situation (do they live in a place where clean water is available etc). Us North Americans and as well as Europeans speak too often speak of Africa like it’s a homogenous entity while it is very diverse.

    • LaMont

      Hell, as a New Jersey native, I know you’ve gotta at least specify north, central or south Jersey when you talk about your background, b/c there’s a huge goddamn difference. The idea that a *continent* gets talked about like this is ludicrous. (North Jersey btw).

      • Dinolindor

        I really appreciate that you added central in there – I’ve had arguments about if central is a separate region. Just like David S. Pumpkins, it is its own thing. (I’m from central, in case that wasn’t obvious.) (And also I recently saw a map about the heroine issue and it showed a pretty clear difference between north, central, and south Jersey with central having a much lower rate of overdoses compared to north and south. I’ll link if I find it again.)

        • MI Dawn

          Central Jersey here, too! Though I’m not a “Jersey Girl” having grown up in the midwest. I still don’t think like my friend who *is* a Jersey Girl

          • LaMont

            Jersey Strong! Admittedly as a North Jersey girl my attitudes re: Central and South are a bit… snarky 😉

          • MI Dawn

            LOL. We started in North Jersey (Passaic then Morris county). I moved to Central (Monmouth) after my divorce to be closer to some friends for support.

          • Dinolindor

            Likewise. 😉

      • sdsures

        People always ask me, a Winnipegger, if that city is near Toronto. :-/ I help them get oriented by saying Winnipeg is straight north of North Dakota – a couple hours’ drive to the border. 🙂

    • Heidi_storage

      You’re quite right, but as a generalization I believe it is true that Africans are less likely to have access to clean water than Europeans or the inhabitants of much of North America.

      • OttawaAlison

        While I agree that there are far more places within the continent don’t have access to clean water, we can’t assume that those using formula in African countries don’t have access to it. That’s what I am getting at. From my cursory reading, only half the people in African countries that live in poverty and live in rural areas have access to clean water (and that is a huge problem right there and hopefully those numbers can increase), but it also means a lot of people do have access to clean water.
        I guess what I am saying – it is not the same thing that Nestle did in the least and a lot of things have changed over the last 40 years and that we need to start thinking of Africa as a collection of 54 countries with diverse populations, landscapes, GDPs, affluence and cultures, and not the “Africa” in the Band-Aid Song.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

        Possibly, but Africa is a huge continent so one statement about pretty much anything, generally is not going to apply to every one of the 54 countries that it contains. There is a vast difference in climate, rainfall, ethnic makeup, religion and customs. The United States by contrast is ONE country and even so, there are big differences, state to state in everything from the availability of heath care, to the quality of schools.

        Side note – so many people I know declare (regarding the US) “We are the best, greatest country on earth” So I ask, “and how many other countries have you been to?” Ummm none?

        Me: “So, how do you know?”
        I’m quite patriotic , but I was also in the Navy for 20 years and actually paid attention when I visited other places.

        • sdsures

          It scares me to know many Americans who have never been outside their own state, much less country. Is it solely a matter of economics? Or was I raised with the odd belief that traveling outside your own culture helps make your brain stronger?

          • I think a lot of it is economics. Especially in America, it’s hard for most people to pull together the cash to go to another country! I feel very fortunate that my job has taken me to so many places, since that’s an opportunity most people don’t have.

          • Dinolindor

            I think resorts also make planning a trip so much easier for those who can pull together the cash, but then also give the false impression of being “well-traveled”.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            A lot of time people only stay in the few square blocks of “tourist” area and never see what a place is really like. When we were stationed in Hawaii people would complain that Waikiki and Honolulu were “too touristy”. They never got out of town and saw the waves on the North shore or stopped for a plate lunch in Kaneohe.
            Or sat downwind of a controlled burn (look up Operation Green Harvest)

          • My husband and I did have that complaint when we went on vacation to Hawaii … so we rented a car and did exactly what you suggest! We drove around the island, stopping at random beaches on the way. We watched the waves on the North Shore. We went to go see the volcanic eruptions on the Big Island, and yeah that was super touristy but it was also super cool. And we asked random shopkeeps and people where they suggested for food, so we could get good and (relatively) cheap meals instead of just going to the same-old, same-old tourist spots.

            Is that so very rare?

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            To some extent, yes. If you have rarely been out of your hometown, and home state, and then you take a vacation (to celebrate your 10 yr anniversary maybe),then landing someplace where you are not in the overwhelming majority ethnically, can be, shall we say, quite a shock and wandering around the island may be way outside your comfort zone. FYI , (in the early 80s) there were teenaged Navy guys I knew who were SHOCKED by the number of interracial couples they saw in Hawaii.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I was more shocked by the number of large Japanese guys wearing speedos. But it helped me appreciate how little it mattered and made me far less self-conscious about myself. Who cares? We’re in Waikiki hanging out at the beach!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            For first time tourists, there is a lot going on Waikiki. You don’t have to get out and explore that much to have a really great time. And, be fair. Waikiki is NOT “the same-old, same-old tourist spot.” There is high-end shopping and cool dining, like at Jimmy Buffett’s place. You can get shuttle service to luau. You can book a snorkeling tour to Kaneohe Bay. Sure, it’s touristy, but if you’ve never been there before, it’s all new. And it’s not something you can get anywhere else.

            Yeah, it’s also great to get out and explore. I’ve had a car, so have been over other parts of the island, and last time I was there, I took the bus to the North Shore to watch the big surf (it was December, so Sunset Beach was covered with surfers; there was a competition going on at Bonzai, but I didn’t feel like riding the bus that far)

            So I don’t judge people who hang out in Waikiki. A week at Waikiki is better than 90% of other vacation places in the US (and 9/10 of the better places are somewhere on the islands).

            Of course, when we got to the Big Island, we needed a car to explore it sufficiently. Volcanoes was cool, but I thought Waipeo Valley was just unreal. We got lucky on our horseback tour because a group of 20 or something that was supposed to be with us cancelled, and so there were only 4 of us on the tour.

            Admittedly, after spending the time on the Big Island, with it’s relative solitude, Waikiki isn’t quite the same, but it really doesn’t matter. I can’t complain about going to Hawaii and being stuck in Waikiki. I’d do that any day.

          • We enjoyed Waikiki quite a lot, don’t get me wrong! But a few days is enough of that. We didn’t want to spend all two weeks just there.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            But how many people hanging out in Waikiki are on the island two weeks? For starters, if you can afford a friggin hotel room in Waikiki for 2 weeks, you wouldn’t be spending the whole time there in the first place.

            What if you only have 4 days? How far are you going to explore then? Or do you need to explore?

          • For sure. Also, AirBnB is awesome … because yeah, two weeks in a hotel there? Nooooo!

            I got lucky. I had a work conference/reward trip, so they paid for our hotel for the first 6 days and the airfare and a lot of the food. I was able to extend it another week so we got a full two weeks out of it. Would not have happened if we had to pay the whole thing, that’s for sure!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Yeah, so that explains why, to bring it back to your initial comment, that it’s not uncommon for folks to not do all the things you did on your trip. You had a really unusually good situation that most people won’t have.

          • This is true. But it was also a lot cheaper to rent the car and drive around the island than to stay near Waikiki the whole time, and even as a kid when we went on vacation we always went somewhat off the beaten path and didn’t stay in the resort sections. If given the choice, I would skip Waikiki for the other parts!

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            It’s probably both. I’ve always been curious about other countries so I tend to read about them although often it’s just mysteries and novels set in other countries, written by authors from those countries. Even English speaking countries have a lot of food, customs and traditions that Americans find weird. Going to Canada is interesting because it is very similar and quite different at the same time(Quebec especially as the bilingual everything confuses many USians).
            If you want to stay in North America but feel like you are in Cornwall or possible Ireland, go to Newfoundland(a Newfie accent is hard to describe).

          • Roadstergal

            Economics explains not going to other countries, but not other states, not big cities in the US. Kids in rural areas drive around aimlessly all weekend; they could drive to a nearby city and try a new type of food or see a show, or just walk around. But they don’t, because their parents have instilled a contempt of Big City Liberal Elites.

          • Who?

            Australia is the same. Time and money to get anywhere-it’s six hours on a plane and you’re still over Australia! Unless going to NZ.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Yeah, economics and not so hot public transport has a lot to do with it. And the sheer distance.

    • Madtowngirl

      That’s a pet peeve of mine, too. People talk about Asia in the same way, although less frequently than Africa. Having spent a fair amount of time in Asia, I can say with great conviction that it is a very diverse place.

      But I do agree with Heidi below, that as a generalization, Africans are less likely to have access to clean water.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

        Me too, I then have to be THAT person and say, Which part of Asia? South East Asia? South West Asia? China, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines ?

        And when I tell them that 3 of the 4 countries in the world with the highest Muslim population are in Asia(ok only sort of) most people don’t believe me.(Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh)

        • StephanieJR

          The only relevant thing I have to add is that my SIL is Indonesian, she and my (Scottish, white) brother currently live in Thailand (and we visited them last year), and are moving to Vietnam very soon.

    • Roadstergal
    • Roadstergal

      I spent some time around Cairo in the ’90s because my sister was living there. Everyone is So Surprised that a: I was in Africa and could drink the water and b: was in a Muslim country and could walk around in shorts and a T-shirt. :p

      • I got fired off a ship once (I wouldn’t give an untrustworthy captain my passport), and I got the boot in Hodeidah, Yemen. The company arranged my travel home, but it was a real treat getting to see a bit of the real Yemen. Americans tend to think that people in the middle east are seething and plotting against America 24/7, but they’re got their own local news to watch, and the average person is more curious than anything else. I got tons of greetings and questions from people who were very interested in what brought me to their country, what it’s like where I’m from, what we think of Yemen, and so on. The absolute worst I got was people looking at me like ﴾ ͠°_ °﴿ . o O ( what’s he doing here? )

        One airport employee in Sana’a kept giving me free coffee during my layover, and that was such a wonderful treat, since I was waiting there for hours and hours and hours before I could even check my luggage! Unfortunately, both the Hodeidah and Sana’a airports have had their runways bombed out, so my friend with the coffee has presumably had to find another job.

        • Roadstergal

          I picked up the audiobook of The Atheists” Guide To Christmas some years ago, and one story that stuck with me was the guy who was in Bethlehem over Christmas. He described the hospitality and warmth of the locals there with understated gratitude for the experience.

          • sdsures

            I wish religion was more like this instead of people constantly trying to bite each others’ heads off.

          • Roadstergal

            I get a lot of shit in atheist circles for courting the moderates, but I court the moderates. I can live with moderates. I can enjoy their company.

  • OttawaAlison

    Dear Ms. Martinez-Sullivan,

    Can I call you Lucy? We need to talk. I talk about dead babies more than the average person because well, I had one. It is not something I talk about lightly or ascribe to things that fit my agenda. My daughter most likely died due to a cord accident, or it may have been placenta failure, but had she lived I would have fed her formula either alone or in conjunction with breast milk. Really that doesn’t matter.

    You’re focusing on something that so rarely ever causes infant death in North America (usually preemies who need to be watched very very carefully to begin with, we’re not talking about healthy term babies here), yet you’re ignoring things that do cause infant death so I do take this personally. Don’t use non-existant dead babies when there are actually dead babies due to negligence, neglect, lack of health care, lack of adequate water, food insecurity, bedsharing, placenta and cord accidents, birth accidents, post-dates stillbirths etc.

    The reality is all those “death stats” from formula are based on models generally produced by people who believe that formula is harmful. Honestly if it was really that harmful as a majority of babies under 1 will receive some formula, our hospitals would be overflowing and cemeteries would be filled with baby graves – thankfully most babies survive infancy now.

    I was someone who doesn’t have enough tissue to produce an adequate supply so I supplemented. My eldest daughter was still losing weight at 2 weeks. I was so scared to use formula since I believed it was harmful, but then I started using it, my kid immediately started to thrive right away. She’s now 10, is smart and very healthy.

    Baby deaths are real, but they’re not happening in developed nations due to properly prepared formula. Please check your privilege and don’t use the words “dead babies” to suit your agenda. As a mom of a dead baby please stop and if you’re concerned about dead babies, organizations like First Candle in the US, SANDS in the UK/Australia and Baby Breath in Canada are all looking at ways to stop babies from dying.

    Thank you,

    Alison Brandon

    Mom to Geneviève (age 10.5 years old) and Jessamyn (born still on December 5, 2014).

    • sdsures

      I’m sorry Jessamyn died. Glad Geneviève is doing well. 🙂

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    Holy copulating feces! She’s insane!
    kids must breastfeed until they’re 2 3/4s years old (So if they wean at 2.5, they’re doomed?)
    And then there’s all the rest. ugh

    • myrewyn

      there’s no way I could have breastfed that long. At that age, my kids could have asked in a full sentence to nurse and I would have felt… weird. That’s cool if some people do it, but for me, just no.

      • Toni35

        Yeah, I breastfeed longer than most people I know, but sometime between 1.5-2 years I start getting squicked out by it. By that age they are speaking more clearly and doing more for themselves. I weaned my first two shortly after their second birthdays and my third went to two and a half. I think it didn’t bother me as much with her because she had a speech delay and so she sounded younger than she was (who knows? I just know I didn’t get that squickiness until later with her). I’m currently nursing an 18 mo old, and starting to feel that creepy crawly can’t sit here and do this much longer feeling. I find myself already employing distraction techniques and trying to space out feedings lol. I think she’ll be weaned around age two. It’s what I’m comfortable with. If breastfeeding is a relationship that means it’s over when either party says so. Even if one is ready to be done before the other!

        • myrewyn

          “If breastfeeding is a relationship that means it’s over when either party says so.”

          Yes! This!

    • ForeverMe

      Yeah, she’s crazy. I had plenty of breast milk, was able to BF and pump easily (full time), and honestly really enjoyed it… Yet I “only” BF my 2 youngest children for “just” 16-18 months, each. (My oldest was FF).

      They just keep raising the bar, don’t they?

      Responding to Empress:
      “Holy copulating feces! She’s insane! kids must breastfeed until they’re 2 3/4s years old (So if they wean at 2.5, they’re doomed?) And then there’s all the rest. ugh”

    • sdsures

      What does she do when they’re eating solid foods?

  • Young CC Prof

    It really is amazing how badly extreme lactivists behave when presented with evidence that there may be risks to the way exclusive breastfeeding is presented.

    Right now, many wealthy countries, including the USA, have a problem with infant care systems. Current protocols are not quick enough to identify nursing problems, and many babies suffer too long before getting supplemental food. Some become seriously ill.

    What’s the solution? Is it more monitoring? Different standards about when to encourage supplementation? Teaching expectant mothers to recognize the signs of insufficient intake? Or something else, or some combination of them?

    I’m not entirely sure what the solution is, but it starts with actually looking for a solution, not screaming at the people pointing out that there’s a problem and accusing them of murder.

    • Madtowngirl

      Honestly, I think a good starting point is to get rid of the BFHI and any sort of extremism in medical care. Medical professionals are only human, and can get too overzealous in promoting breastfeeding, natural births, etc., etc. I mean hell, there’s increasing concern that overweight and obese people aren’t getting adequate care because of an overzealous focus on their weight. People go in for a persistent cough and come out with a diet. I don’t know exactly how to reduce the extremism, but it really would be a good start

  • mabelcruet

    I hate to link to the Daily Mail, but at least it seems the tide is turning with a council having to pay damages for removing the infant from its parents because of formula feeding:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4231242/Social-workers-took-newborn-baby-parents.html?mrn_rm=rta

    • Young CC Prof

      They didn’t notify the parents about the hearing, and lied to the judge about it? Say WHAT?

      • mabelcruet

        It’s not unheard of, but at least the social workers have been called out on it.

        In England there is the ‘Court of Protection’, although the newspapers like to call it ‘the secret court’. It was created out of the mental health act in 2005 for people who lacked the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves and the cases are held in private. There was a recent case where the sister of a Portuguese man who was in a care home in Portugal was imprisoned because she wouldn’t move her brother back to a care home in England (he had a house in England and the social workers could have enforced the sale of the house to fund the care home in England). She refused, so got put in prison for refusing to comply, despite her brother being Portugese and very happy in his home in Portugal.

      • Sarah

        It is occasionally permissible not to notify parents when there is considered to be sufficient risk of harm. It’s rare but happens. The issue is more them not telling the judge.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      3 months is a long time. This poor family.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Erm…
      Did they expect the foster parents (or whatever the equivalent is in England) to breastfeed?!

  • Sarah

    So what are we going to do about this? Martinez Sullivan would appear to be in charge at 1000 Days, although the quick deletion suggests she didn’t want her filth to be associated with them. But what about funders?

  • Sarah

    She belongs in the sewer.

  • Amazed

    How low can you go?

    I thought it was just a song. What the hell, Lucy Martinez Sullivan? Bitch, please. You aren’t even a doctor. Just a rabid dog who should be shot, aka made harmless by the freaking authorities. Really, how can anyone see this and think bitch is still suitable to be director to ANYTHING baby-related?

    And the Nic creature from Dr Amy’s Facebook page is simply pathetic.

    • Sheven

      “Just a rabid dog who should be shot, aka made harmless by the freaking authorities.”

      This is not acceptable. Stop.

      • Amazed

        Oh get off your high horse. Didn’t you notice that no one else had rushed to tell me off? And on this blog, posters go at each other’s throats all the time when they disagree. Perhaps they have gotten my meaning? I am not offering shooting the bitch, for God’s sake. I am drawing a parallel. She should be dealt the way we deal with rabid dogs. We make them harmless because shooting them is the only way. We make the thing harmless by depriving him of its authority as the head of her organization. That’s all.

        • Azuran

          Honestly, no, shooting a rabid dog is not in any way an adequate parallel for taking someone’s authority away.
          Shooting something is not making them harmless. it’s killing them. So perhaps that’s not what you mean, but it really sound like you are advocating she should be shot.

          • Amazed

            OK, thanks for making it clear. I never took it this way because I’ve seen dogs being shot. I did live in a rural village where the only way to make a dog who had bitten once unprovoked harmless was killing it – and it was specifically done to make them harmless. If there was another way, people would have taken it. I thought it was self-evident.

        • Sheven

          I understand you are using metaphor. It is not an acceptable metaphor to use.

          • Amazed

            Your concern is noted.

  • Madtowngirl

    Disgusting.

  • myrewyn

    I’m sickened. And feeling stabby.

    • sdsures

      Me, too.

  • BeatriceC

    What a vile excuse for a human. I have no words.

    • Spamamander, pro fun ruiner

      That sums it up for me. I can’t even.

    • Charybdis

      Oh, I’ve got PLENTY of words……and assorted hand gestures to fully illustrate the point…