Lactivists can’t comprehend that Fed Is Best is about safety, not formula

Safety first, message on the road

I’ve long thought that lactivists were being deliberately obtuse about the assertion that Fed Is Best. They repeatedly claim, with no plausible justification, that Fed Is Best means routine supplementation with formula for all infants.

I’ve recently revised my assessment. Maybe lactivists aren’t being obtuse; maybe they just don’t get it. There’s a critical difference between ‘fed is best’ and ‘breast is best’ and lactivists imagine the difference is formula. They’re wrong:

Fed Is Best is about safety; Breast Is Best is about process. The difference between the two is the difference between life and death.

Fed Is Best is about safety; Breast Is Best is about process. The difference between the two is the difference between life and death. Seems simple, but it’s a difference that lactivists seem incapable of understanding.

For example, I’ve been participating discussion about insufficient breastmilk in a private group.

Someone asked me:

Truthfully Dr Amy, is it your professional opinion all neonates should be supplemented in order to prevent dehydration, brain injury and/or death?

I answered:

I view breastfeeding like vision; both have a natural failure rate. It would be malpractice for me to tell a mother who reports that her child doesn’t seem to able to see that she should ignore it since most children see just fine. Similarly, it is malpractice to tell a mother who reports that her child seems desperately hungry that she should ignore it since most babies don’t need supplementation.

I am no more in favor of universal formula supplementation than I am in favor of giving every new baby a pair of glasses. (emphasis added)

And:

When I did my pediatrics rotation in medical school, the preceptor told me something I never forgot: when a mother tells you her baby is suffering, believe her!

So when a mother tells me that her baby is screaming from hunger, no one, regardless of any policy, should ignore her. It is up to the professional to make sure that the baby is fine, not simply insist that the baby must be fine since most babies are fine.

I thought I couldn’t possibly be clearer, yet this was the response:

To be honest, that doesn’t clarify it for me. I’m still not sure where you stand as I feel you contradict yourself. I don’t say that in an antagonistic way. I’m genuinely confused.

Confused? What could she possibly be confused about? It certainly can’t be the meaning of my words since I was very plain. I guess she’s confused because since she’s obsessed with breastmilk, she imagines that I must be obsessed with formula.

No, I am obsessed with safety. That’s why lactivists’ claims that “fed is best” means you can feed your infant McDonald’s are wrong. Fed Is Best advocates don’t believe that McDonald’s is safe for infants anymore than they believe that goat’s milk or homemade formula is safe for infants.

Meg Nagle IBCLC doesn’t get it either.

IMG_2341

To say “nothing happens” with supplementing is incredibly hard for me to read because I’ve seen first hand the incredibly challenging situations women and babies find themselves in when their child has a reaction to formula. My friend’s baby was seriously ill in hospital for 3 months. She was routinely pushed to “fortify” (put formula) into her expressed milk. When she finally fell to this pressure he had a severe reaction and immediately threw it all up. She refused to allow this again. I’ve seen so many women in my office telling me the challenges they have faced trying to find a supplement that doesn’t make their baby have a serious reaction. So no. For many families supplement is a big deal and does cause further complications…

Situations? ONE baby who simply threw up? That was the “incredibly challenging situation?” A seriously ill baby wasn’t getting enough nutrition and Meg thinks the problem in that situation is that the baby threw up formula? Sure, formula might not have agreed with that baby, but it was worth trying since the only other alternatives might be malnutrition or an IV to administer TPN (total parenteral nutrition).

Does a baby who is not getting enough need to be fed? YES. Does a baby who is getting enough need to be supplemented? NO.

Duh!

Fed Is Best advocates do NOT recommend routine supplementation with formula for every infant. Why would we when our concern is safety? Babies growing and thriving on breastmilk are safe. But babies who aren’t growing, who aren’t thriving, who are screaming from hunger even after being offered the breast repeatedly AREN’T safe. Those babies should be supplemented to assure they are adequately fed.

Meg, a baby vomiting up a bottle of formula is “an incredibly challenging situation”? Really? I’ve got news for you: a baby struggling with permanent brain damage from dehydration or hypoglycemia is more challenging. Most challenging of all is a baby who dies a preventable death because lactation consultants like you demonize supplementation.

Breast Isn’t Best. Fed is Best because Safety Is Best. It’s just that simple.

  • Prim

    Jen York is so ableist. I have a mind to report her.

  • RMY

    When Meg says it’s “hard for her to read” she maybe needs it in smaller words and shorter sentences to make it easier. πŸ™‚

    “Babies need food. Breastmilk is food for infants. Women make milk. Not all women make the same amount of milk. Women can’t control how much milk they make. Some women don’t make enough milk. Wetnurse a thing anymore. Babies need food. Formula is also food for infants. If there isn’t enough milk, formula should be used.”

    • Roadstergal

      “Formula is the closest thing to ideal human breastmilk that exists.”

  • Jules B

    My daughter had pretty bad reflux. She puked everything up, including the few ounces of breast milk I had managed to pump during multiple pump sessions. Tbh, I preferred it when she puked up the formula I gave her – at least that milk did not represent hours of pumping….it was way less challenging and discouraging when I was covered in formula puke!

  • Dr Kitty

    Dr Kitty’s flow chart for breastfed neonates.

    Is the baby happy and thriving?
    Yes: keep doing whatever it is you are doing.
    No: move to step two

    Does your baby seem hungry?
    Yes: feed your baby EBM or formula as a top up after breastfeeds and move to step three.
    No: seek medical advice.

    Is your baby happy and thriving now?
    Yes: keep doing what you are doing, stop supplementing if your milk supply is enough to satisfy baby without top ups.
    No: seek medical advice

    That’s it.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Milk flow chart
      *laughs adolescently*

    • yentavegan

      I would add to this flow chart the caveat..If mother’s breast did not change in size and heft during pregnancy..supplemental feedings from birth are needed.

      • N

        My breast didn’t change during pregnancies, they were small, stayed small and are small now. And yet I had enough milk…

        • yentavegan

          Thank you for sharing openly and honestly. If you had been one of the hundreds of parents I give Lactation support to and you were experiencing low milk supply , your breast not changing in heft or size would have been an important piece of the puzzle.

    • yentavegan

      Early supplemental feeds do not interfere with the HORMONALLY dependant whoosh of mother’s milk coming in. If a mother is going to produce milk, the milk comes in regardless of the infant’s nursing/latching. Ask any woman 60 years ago ( when breastfeeding was not being promoted) their milk coming in was laughed about as a joke.

  • Amazed

    OT (and LOL): My parents currently have a little girl. It turned out that Amazing Niece was so noisily and handingly happy to have guests (her parents’ guests) that the Intruder had to throw her in the car and cart her off to her grandparents.

    For the record: she was fully breastfed. Shouldn’t she be, I don’t know, smarter than this?

  • Heidi

    Serious reaction? Throwing up is a serious reaction? I kinda reserve the term “serious reaction” for things like anaphylaxis, throwing up blood, wheezing, skyrocketing blood pressure, tachycardia, high fevers (stuff you would be inclined to dial 9-1-1 or run to the ER for) but not a little throw up.

    • BeatriceC

      YK has some nausea issues with general anesthesia. He had a hip and pelvic osteotomy when he was ten, which was an almost 8 hour ordeal, and the nausea was pretty bad. When they were moving him to his regular room after they got him stable in post-op the vomiting hit hard. This kid projectile vomited hard enough that it hit the elevator ceiling. The whole scene was straight out of the exorcist. We’re talking arched back, eyes rolling in the back of his head, and everything. That’s the point where throwing up is serious (along with vomiting leading to malnutrition, dehydration, etc). But somehow I doubt that Meg’s friend’s baby was at that point.

      • J.B.

        Hey I was thinking of you and concerns about politics/emigrating. Canada seems to have a pretty streamlined process for American students attending university.

        Know you’very had a lot going on lately, hope your family is holding up ok.

        • BeatriceC

          We’re doing pretty good, all things considering. MrC and I were wondering if France’s recent musings about offering visa’s to US scientists might include his area of expertise. Probably not though. Oh, well.

          • Roadstergal

            On Friday, I am going to Switzerland for a three-month stint working abroad at our Basel location.

            I wonder how mad my bosses would be if I didn’t come back…

      • Heidi

        Well, that sounds awful! When I first took sulfa, I threw up the whole day. Then I quit it assuming it was a reaction. Then I second guessed myself a few months later and decided it was because of taking it on an empty stomach or a random stomach bug and took it again. Took the whole week dose and all seemed well. Three days after having finished it, shit hit the fan as they say. Hives, facial swelling, tachycardia, fever, high blood pressure, two trips to the ER, many steroids… If any drug ever makes me throw up multiple times, I’ll probably start considering at least a potential serious reaction.

        • Merrie

          My husband said that when he took erythromycin, he couldn’t even keep down water. It may technically be an intolerance rather than an allergy, but in either case, it doesn’t seem like a smart idea for him to get it again.

        • Eater of Worlds

          Throwing up was my first reaction to the food I am allergic to. It later became life threatening. I no longer ignore serious vomiting after eating something.

        • Roadstergal

          Sulfa! My dad is deathly allergic to penicillin, so when I had an infection as a little girl, they gave me sulfa. My face swelled up like a goddam balloon. It turns out, penicillin works great for me. :p

          But I was ‘lucky’ in that it was immediate and 100% recognizable as an allergy, so they didn’t try that again.

          It’s my one allergy. It must be because I was formula fed. :p

          • Heidi

            My son got his first illness at 16.5 months despite being primarily formula fed. I thought he was supposed to be sick about a 100 times by now cause of the lack of ***stem cells***. But anyway, his first sickness couldn’t just be a cold. It had to be an amoxicillin resistant ear infection. So after the amoxicillin failed, he got omnicef and developed a full body rash. He’s fine now thankfully. But evidently the omnicef is an important antibiotic and it sucks he’s allergic to it. But I’m holding out hope the rash was roseola and not an actual reaction.

          • QuantumMechanic

            My child had a course of amoxicillin for an ear infection and two days after the course was over broke out in full body erythema multiforme minor. So we go to the ER and they say to pretty much just wait it out, give us a sheet about Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and tell us to come back ASAP if any SJS signs develop.

            Thankfully none did, but now the ‘cillins are off the board for kiddo.

            Though a pediatric ER doc we know did tell us that there’s a chance it’s not an allergic reaction. Apparently being on amoxicillin when you have mononucleosis can trigger EMM. And our child had the ear infection after an illness that was at least consistent with mono in kids less than one year old (the doc said that mono in kids that young presents rather differently than everyone’s idea of mono).

            We play it safe and say on all forms our child is allergic to amoxicillin, but will probably mention this at adulthood in case our child wants to talk to an allergist about it.

    • Kq

      Because exclusively breastfed babies NEVER vomit up a massive geyser of liquid gold. It just never happens.

      OH WAIT.

      • Merrie

        I distinctly remember babywearing and having my daughter throw up on me (not just spit up, but distinctly large quantities of barf) and my reaction being “Okay, that’s really gross, but I don’t think she’s done, and if I remove her and she barfs again, cleanup will be even worse, so let’s give it a minute and see if there’s any more in there”. She was EBFed, but we did one time (months prior to this incident) give her sugar water for a hospital procedure, so clearly we ruined her gut health.

      • AnnaPDE

        Only for horrible near fatal reasons.
        Such as not liking the taste of infant Nurofen. (I have to agree on that one though. I almost added my coffee to LO’s puddle of milk vomit after trying the sickly sweet fake cherry taste.)

      • Wasnomofear

        Right. My second baby is on the smaller end of the growth chart (as am I), and she also spit up so much breast milk after every nursing session for the first few months that I was sure she was not okay. (I bugged the pediatrician repeatedly!) She was, and is. I also tend to make massive amounts of milk, and was especially taken aback, since my first daughter is on the opposite end of the growth chart, and barely spit up at all.

    • mabelcruet

      My cat vomits regularly. It’s not really vomiting, it’s regurgitation. There’s an old Yorkshire saying ‘My eyes are bigger than my belly’, meaning you ate too much and now you’re uncomfortably full. If the cat is hungry, she gobbles her food really quickly, and then it all comes back up again almost immediately, unchanged. The vet said it was due to her stomach distending rapidly and I have to feed her little and often. Im sure the same thing happens to human babies too, except cats are a bit more gross. She regurgitated outside recently, and the next day the vomit was gone, eaten…

      • Who?

        My dog does the same thing, particularly if he gets upset or anxious. I was messing around trying to get out the other morning, and he threw up. In the time it took to get the kitchen towel etc to clean it up, he’d eaten it.

        • Azuran

          My dog take medication that makes him drink more. So once in a while, after emptying the toilet, he regurgitate on the floor.
          But he’s been raised well and always clean his mess πŸ˜‰

          • Who?

            My dog is too small to drink out of the toilet, but my son’s dog does it. Ick.

            Then he wants to lick me with those chops. No and no.

          • Azuran

            We tried to make him use a bowl. But he just kept going in the toilet. We tried closing the lid and the door. H sits in front of it and whines…
            Honestly, he also licks his own ass and his genitals so toilet water doesn’t make much of a difference.
            I just don’t let dogs lick my face regardless of where they drink.

        • Roadstergal

          We got a slow feed bowl for our most ‘enthusiastic’ dog. It slowed her down enough that she only finishes slightly ahead of ‘actually chews food’ sibling, and doesn’t upchuck.

          She’ll still barf up grass if she’s eaten too much of it in one go (we have cows for dogs).

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    Feh, my ebf’d kid spewed like the exorcist baby. (The basso growls helped with this image, but that’s a different story.)

    • Mel

      Ooh! Spawn gave up growling a few weeks ago as his primary form of communication – but only after waiting until a stormy night so he could make low growling noises from a slowly rocking cradle that looked empty (he likes to squish himself down in the bottom and wiggle so the cradle rocks) during flashes of lightning.

      This one has a great sense of timing, if nothing else….

      • StephanieJR

        Can I just say that I love Spawn?

      • Mattie

        Sometimes you get a Drama Kid, and sometimes you can tell from birth πŸ˜› start saving for the audition circuit

  • Amazed

    Amazing Niece was a day old when she vomited sacred breastmilk. Thanks, Meg, for letting us know that her mom should have supplemented with formula in this incredibly challenging situation!

  • GΓ¦st

    I, on the other hand, am in favor of fairly routine supplementation. If a child is breastfeeding and seems content and gains well, sure, don’t bother trying supplementation. But as I understand it, supplementing in the early days leads to better breastfeeding rates at six months anyway. It’s not like putting glasses on every child regardless of whether they need it, but trying glasses on them to see if it helps them see. That or there should be routine weighing of infants before and after a nursing session as a screen for supplementation.

    • Wasnomofear

      Agreed on that point!

  • Spamamander, pro fun ruiner

    A baby throwing up is a severe event? Maybe when it’s constant projectile vomiting… but that was caused by the fact my son had pyloric stenosis, not because he drank formula! (Looking back, I am very glad that as baby #3 I decided not to nurse at all, having tried twice before. Trying to latch and feed him while holding him upright, then vomiting up my breastmilk would have been traumatic.) Even with the narrowed pyloric opening I still managed to get enough in this lil guy for him to have gained a pound at 6 weeks, not usual for babies with the condition. Surgery and help for ongoing reflux and now he’s a pain in the behind 17yo.

  • J.B.

    Has Milk Meg never been spit up on? Like ever? My breastfed babies liked to take in extra and vomit it all over me. I guess I should be traumatized by that instead of humblebragging about super smart kids who DO.NOT.LISTEN!

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Confused? What could she possibly be confused about?

    Because your response was reasonable, and that doesn’t work with her premise that you are pushing formula. Obviously, it’s confusing, because it has put her whole worldview out of whack.

    • Sheven

      Yeah, the confusion was that she couldn’t spin it. Amy was supposed to say, “Yes, yes, yes! Every child must be supplemented with X brand formula, which is paying me vast amounts of money to undermine women’s confidence and sabotage the next generation of babies. I won’t be satisfied until every baby who could have been an athletic supergenius who never gets sick actually grows into an asthmatic, dangerously obese, depressed victim who struggles in school.”

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        I’m an asthmatic, dangerously obese, and depressed, but I did very well academically, thank you very much!

    • MI Dawn

      The thing that always amuses me is that they totally ignore the fact that Dr Amy breastfed all 4 of her own children. One would think they’d feel she knew a thing or two about the procedure, since breastfeeding magically gives THEM PhDs in mothering.

  • Roadstergal

    What really angers me is that there’s considered to be no harm if the baby isn’t in the NICU or dead. How much hunger is okay for a growing baby? How can the lactivists be sure that the baby of the mom that ‘pushed through’ and ‘made EBF work’ didn’t have some delay or damage that didn’t reach the level of hospitalization?

    And yet, all they care about is the horrible notion that some mom, somewhere, might feed her baby something other than tit juice and feel okay about it.

    • Allie

      “And yet, all they care about is the horrible notion that some mom, somewhere, might feed her baby something other than tit juice and feel okay about it.”
      LOL, you just made my day. Best thing I’ve read on the internets in a while : )

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  • lawyer jane

    O/T (sort of): devastating investigative report on maternal mortality in the US. I think BFHI is one example of massive over-focus on things that don’t really matter, neglecting things that do. https://www.propublica.org/article/die-in-childbirth-maternal-death-rate-health-care-system

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      As is the focus on C-section rates (process) instead of maternal death rates (outcome).

      • crazy grad mama

        Yeah, the ProPublica report overall is really well done, but it falls into the usual trap of saying, “Greater prevalence of C-sections leads to more life-threatening complications.” The assumption that C-sections are the cause instead of a symptom is so aggravating.

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          Plus they said induction is more likely to lead to a C-section which is not true.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            I’ve had 2 inductions and no c-sections, though I was really wishing I could change my mind when that kid’s gigantic head was half out.

    • Spamamander, pro fun ruiner

      This broke my heart.

    • How the heck does someone in the US, in the hospital, die of undiagnosed preeclampsia? That OBGYN deserves any and all lawsuits heading his way.

      • Amazed

        My GRANDMOTHER left the rural hospital alive and with a healthy baby after a full-bloom eclampsia. They expected the seizures and actually had a midwife sit with her preparing to safely handle her. These primitive measures perhaps weren’t much but that was what they could do and they did it. They knew what they would deal with. I am ready to believe that the other eclamptic woman who didn’t make it and neither did the baby (Grandma was told about this occasion from five years back when she was finally released) just drew the short stick.

        Nowadays? In the USA? In the hospital? NOT KNOWING THAT THEY WERE DEALING WITH PREECLAMPSIA? What the hell?

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          This is why i was induced a couple hours after my firstborn forgot that Mommy isn’t a trampoline. Already wandering into scary places. That is truly horrible.

          • Amazed

            And she was left into this scary place because her blood pressure was not high enough to the doctor’s subjective standards. No one threw her a rope to pull her out.

            Without pretending that I know much about that, it makes no sense to me that a physician should place their own arbitrary BP to start suspection preeclampsia. I mean, my BP is perfect after three coffees in an hour. To me, 180/110 would mean much more elevated than a woman who actually has this BP all the time. Same with pulse. In the middle between tipsy and drunk (meaning 3 glasses of wine), my pulse is in the exact middle of normal. Should I be measured by a physician’s personal limits that are considerably higher than the officially recommended ones?

            But well, he was a laborist. Guess that played a part as well.

          • Wasnomofear

            Yeah, my BP runs way low. If I’m 180, I’m strokin’ out.

      • Sullivan ThePoop

        I got better care 28 years ago when I was a teen mother at a public hospital than she got at the hospital she worked at. It is unbelievable to me.

      • MI Dawn

        This drives me crazy. I had severe pre-eclampsia *with my second child* (it’s normally a disease of the first child). Even though my BP never got really high, I had other signs and it was recognized because my MD LOOKED for the signs and treated appropriately. If he’d waited for my BP to go up, I’d probably would have been dead.

  • Azuran

    But when your baby vomits breastmilk there is nothing challenging about it. Handling a baby soaked in breastmilk vomit is easy and fun! Because it’s breastmilk vomit, it’s magical and good for them!!!! And probably good for you too if you were lucky and baby threw up on you as well.

    • maidmarian555

      My son threw up breastmilk straight into my mouth once. Magical is not how I would describe that particularly special moment……

      • J.B.

        But it’s majicul breastmilk! Ungrateful monster!

    • AnnaPDE

      Admittedly it beats solids vomit, especially in that it doesn’t fly that well. My 11yo stepson can tell you what second hand semi chewed and digested edmame tastes like, from when his baby brother decided to voice his dislike of rear facing travel on Christmas Eve.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I have a friend who’s oldest daughter knows me as the guy she threw up on when she was 1 month old. It was New Years Eve and we were at their house. She had just nursed, and I was holding her, and she spew like Mt Vesuvius. I mean, pretty much everything she ate came back out.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Regrows the hair on your head and makes your skin so smooth and shiny!

      • Azuran

        …so……does that mean I’m going to grow hair wherever my baby threw up on me?

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          Nope, Just your head. It’s magic, remember?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Shit. I missed my opportunity when the kids were little. I tried to avoid being spit upon. Should have kept them above my head. I really need it.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          Imagine how much less you’d have without that drop or two! Liquid gold!!

  • Charybdis

    I wish the lactivists would get their party line/s straight. “Formula should be provided by prescription ONLY, it is MEDICINE!” vs. “Formula is like feeding your baby McDonald’s or other junk food!” Which one is it? Is it just food (although lactivists spin it as French fries, twinkies and soda masquerading as “real” food) or is it medicine that needs to be doled out via prescription? Is breastfeeding for the “lazy” moms who can’t be bothered to get up and make a bottle, or use RTF for outings/nights, or is formula feeding for the “lazy” who won’t breastfeed? Is breastfeeding “free” (never mind the $$ going out for satellite breastfeeding costs) while using formula will break the bank and put you in debt up to your eyeballs?
    Milk Meg is particularly odious with all her claims and so-called sage advice. I remember her posting about the fact that her oldest son drew a Wonder Woman (?) picture to give to her and she asked him why he didn’t draw Wonder Woman breastfeeding? Had he not been paying attention to her lifestyle? Didn’t he know that breastfeeding was the most important thing to her? How could he draw a female superhero and not have her breastfeeding? She recently posted that her youngest son just turned 5 and that he was not done breastfeeding yet. Oh, sometimes he’ll go for a weeks without asking to breastfeed, but then he will ask. AND SHE LETS HIM. She asked him once if there was any milk left and he indicated that there wasn’t, but she will continue to dry nurse him whenever he asks. Because “breastfeeding to natural term” and all. Bedshare, cancel all your plans and just hang out topless with your baby, let everything else go (housework, laundry, grocery shopping, etc), offer the boob for everything, don’t let your baby cry, etc.
    The lactivists are neither practical nor pragmatic.

    • Sarah

      I must say I don’t think the second anecdote is like the first there. The Wonder Woman thing is unremittingly awful. Letting her 5 year old comfort suck, meh, whevs. I wouldn’t do it, but then I wouldn’t breastfeed a 5 day old either. In both cases because I don’t want to.

      • Charybdis

        It is just my belief that by age 5, there should be alternatives to comfort sucking on mom’s breast. If, for whatever reason, you are still allowing your 5 year old to comfort nurse, that is certainly you and your child’s business. I feel the same about the folks whose kids still have pacifiers/bottles at that same age; there are alternatives for comforting and soothing. That being said, I wouldn’t confront and challenge anyone about it. I might cock an eyebrow, but I would keep my comments to myself and internally shake my head.
        If the lactivists’ are all touting the magical, stem-cell laden, immunity giving, immediately morphing, unicorn sparkly “liquid gold” of breastmilk and how important it is to the baby, how perfectly tailored to your child’s needs and how it can somehow sense the exact illness your child is coming down with and immediately manufacture the proper antibodies to deliver with then next feeding and that all of that is SO, SO GOOD for the child, then how can dry nursing be as beneficial?
        Basically, if there is no milk left, then why continue?

        • Sarah

          Mmm, I tend to think that even if you don’t take my view which is that the best bet is to MYOB, even if you think it’s inappropriate, it’s not comparable in awfulness to the Wonder Woman incident.

          • fiftyfifty1

            I’m with you on this one. I have exactly zero interest in criticizing or policing extended breastfeeders. Now I just wish that lactivists would return the favor and stop criticizing and policing women who use formula.

          • Sarah

            Yes, that would be lovely.

        • Merrie

          A lot of people thought it was creepy AF to have crazy Aunt Lysa nursing her tween son in Game of Thrones. The character is 7 in the book and portrayed by a ~10 year old in the first season on the show. (The actress playing the mom wore prosthetic breasts over her undergarments.) Somewhere in there the line has to be drawn, but where?

          • J.B.

            Well, I don’t know that I’d use Game of Thrones as a model for much πŸ™‚

          • Merrie

            LOL, very true… But I was wondering more what the cutoff for extended nursing being an emphatically bad idea is. And the situation depicted on the show is not regarded as normal or okay by the other characters… that character is clearly off her rocker to them as well as the viewers.

          • Azuran

            Generally, I’m of the mind that while breastfeeding is entirely natural, nobody wants to actually remember sucking on their mom’s breast. So I’d probably put the line at somewhere around when you turn five.
            But that’s just totally arbitrary.

          • Dr Kitty

            I have clear memories from before I was three.
            If “won’t remember” is the cut off, five is far too late.

          • StephanieJR

            I remember reading a story in a trashy women’s magazine about a thirteen year old still breastfeeding (and the woman’s husband).

            It definitely scarred me.

        • Who?

          Oh yes.

          Food as comfort is a tricky path to negotiate at any age.

          Using another’s body for comfort, whenever you feel like it, is a very dark path indeed.

    • namaste863

      Oh, good god. Her won drew a kickass woman who actually has a life and interests beyond breastfeeding. If anything, he deserves kudos for portraying a dynamic, interesting woman who isn’t reduced to her reproductive functioning.

      • namaste863

        Errrrr, son, not won,

    • Roadstergal

      I’m just imagining a kid drawing a picture of Superman, and the parent asking why Superman isn’t ejaculating in the picture.

      • Ken S., As Seen On Watch Lists

        Well, why not??

        • Roadstergal

          Because it’s faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive?

          • Spamamander, pro fun ruiner

            Coffee, meet monitor.

          • Roadstergal

            Christopher Reeve was a sexy man, but that doesn’t mean sex with Superman would have been a very, very bad idea for your average human woman.

            Unless he used a green kryptonite condom.

          • Charybdis

            Wouldn’t that have rendered him unable to perform?

          • Roadstergal

            I was wondering that. Does kryptonite affect his erections?

            I have a hunch that Archive of our Own has a whole section on this. If it doesn’t, I’m going to have to write it…

          • Charybdis

            Well…

            When in proximity to Green Kryptonite, Kryptonians have displayed loss of their superpowers; weakness; nausea; pain; their veins pop out and look dark, and their skin also begins to turn slightly green after long exposure. Prolongued exposure to Green Kryptonite is fatal to Kryptonians.

            If that didn’t affect the erections, I don’t know what would.
            On the flip side, I wonder how much Viagra would be needed.

          • Roadstergal

            Gold Kryptonite? Just for the peen?

          • StephanieJR

            I love you all.

            Also, TV Tropes is calling.

          • Merrie

            Well, maybe he was on top of his pull-out game. It would probably be okay then.

          • MaineJen

            Is that why he had to lose his powers before he could sleep with Lois? That always confused me…

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Is that why he had to lose his powers before he could sleep with Lois? That always confused me…

            There’s a deep message there about men/women relationships, but I don’t want to get into it.

          • Roadstergal

            It made no sense to me as a kid. Once I hit puberty, I got it. Maybe not in the way they meant, but it did suddenly made sense…

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Then again, Jen, who wants to have sex with a guy who is “faster than a speeding bullet”?

          • Poogles

            “Brodie: It’s impossible. Lois could never have Superman’s baby. Do you think her fallopian tubes could handle the sperm? I guarantee you he blows a load like a shotgun right through her back. What about her womb? Do you think it’s strong enough to carry his child?

            T.S.: Sure, why not?

            Brodie: He’s an alien, for Christ’s sake. His Kryptonian biological makeup is enhanced by Earth’s yellow sun. If Lois gets a tan the kid could kick right through her stomach. Only someone like Wonder Woman has a strong enough uterus to carry his kid. The only way he could bang regular chicks is with a kryptonite condom. But that would kill him.” (Mallrats)

          • Dr Kitty
          • Eater of Worlds

            Hey, a vampire as strong as Superman did it. Even created a sentient embryo, because abortion is wrong. So is sex before marriage which is why they got married when the woman was 18. It’s also bad to have sex without babies which is why they didn’t use condoms or the super sperm plowed through the condom, I don’t remember the reasoning for birth control failing. Then he had to rip the baby out of the mama’s belly to save everyone.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Is that the plot of twilight?

          • Eater of Worlds
          • Empress of the Iguana People

            *shudder* No thank you.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            *shudder* No thank you.

          • Azuran

            It really made no sense. Female vampires can’t have babies because they are basically dead and frozen in time, so no menstrual cycle. But Male vampires somehow can still make sperm… because you apparently don’t need to be alive for that.
            They also don’t have heartbeats, which means that either Edward can’t get an erection or his penis is constantly hard as stone, like the rest of his body.
            And somehow, despite his super human strength, his urethral muscles weren’t affected so he didn’t go Hancock on Bella.

            If I remember correctly, they didn’t use birth control because no one with basic biololgy knowledge would expect pregnancy to be possible.

          • Eater of Worlds

            I wonder if it was related to those stories of grandparents and wives taking their husband’s sperm after they had died. Probably a woman’s eggs would be viable shortly after death but the chances of there being an egg ready to harvest are nearly nil.

            That hard as stone cold penis sounds as inviting as a glass dildo. At least that can warm up. I bet his spooge was cold as ice too.

            Which brings up another thought. If he couldn’t make sperm, how would he make seminal fluid? Heck, how could he make spit? So you’d think the gush of ice cold fluid in her nether regions would have been a tip off that she could get pregnant. So many inconsistencies to that horrible series.

          • Azuran

            If anything, I guess the sperm that was there when he turned could still work and become vamp sperm.
            But that would imply that he was totally abstinent, didn’t masturbate or didn’t have any wet dream for 100 years.

          • Azuran

            If anything, I guess the sperm that was there when he turned could still work and become vamp sperm.
            But that would imply that he was totally abstinent, didn’t masturbate or didn’t have any wet dream for 100 years.

    • OttawaAlison

      Formula to lactivists is any analogy that can demonize formula and/or those that use it.

    • Azuran

      I make efforts to not judge people who breastfeed very late. But damn dry nursing a 5 years old is just way too much.

      For the rest, I love how I’m basically doing everything right………because I’ve very freaking lazy.
      My main reason for breastfeeding was how convenient it is (when it goes well) I’m lucky, breastfeeding is super easy for me and I have awesome 1 year paid maternity leave. But I would switch to formula in a heartbeat if it ever stops being convenient for me. And I’d probably be super freaking lazy and use RTF for the night feedings (and probably a lot of day feedings as well) because, again, I am lazy.

      I’m spending most day with my baby on me and not cleaning the house……mostly because I’m lazy, I already did spend most of my day in front of the computer and wouldn’t clean the house much anyway.

      I’m offering the breast often (during the day) because oh well, baby is on me, it’s crying, I have breasts. Offering the breast works and is just so much easier than getting up and walking around the kitchen to soothe the baby.

      • Charybdis

        This goes back to the “if it is working for you and you are happy/pleased/contented with how things are, knock yourself out”.
        But the whole “formula feeding is HARD WORK! What with the mixing and washing bottles and nipples and all; I’m breastfeeding because I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to mix up formula or wash the bottles and nipples afterwards.” message gets confusing when it is followed by “Formula feeding mothers are lazy because they won’t even try to breastfeed”.

        • Azuran

          I totally agree that it makes no sense.

        • Young CC Prof

          It’s hard work if you haven’t had the baby yet or are thinking of switching. It’s easy if you are currently doing it.

        • Mel

          If we’re making that argument, I propose that breast-feeding directly from the breast is laziness.

          Try combo-feeding pumped breast milk with formula made to a non-standard calorie content.

          You get to combine lots of basic math with washing parts for a breast pump, storage containers for breast milk AND all of the items for bottle feeding.

          By that line of logic, breast-feeding moms are lazy posers. πŸ˜›

      • Mel

        Tip to save some cash:
        We pre-make all of Spawn’s formula once a day and put it in the refrigerator. It takes my husband about 10 minutes of work total.

        I just need to get up a few minutes before Spawn’s scheduled feed time, put the bottle in warm water to take the worst of the chill off, and it’s time to feed him. And honestly, heating the bottle is more for us than Spawn so far. Spawn has clamped down on a bottle full of cold milk and refused to let go.

        Which reminded me of one of the most mind-blowing NICU moments for Spawn. It was in the first week after he was born so he was 26 weeks gestation and was getting oral swabs of colostrum several times a day. His primary nurse let me give one to him. As soon as I got the swab in his mouth, he started gumming it happily. I wasn’t sure when to take it out, so I decided to pull it out gently. Spawn clamped his jaw shut. Hard. I took a wild guess that Spawn was trying to tell me he still wanted the swab so I released the pressure. A few minutes later, I pulled it out again. This time, he let me remove the swab because he’d sucked every bit of colostrum off the swab and left a string of preemie drool.

        So…some things never change πŸ™‚

      • Eater of Worlds

        If you look online “nursing 8 year old” shows tons of links about people who nurse their kids that late. There’s even a documentary about a woman who does it, it used to be easy to find but I can’t find it now. The woman is British. There are screen shots of her feeding her child that are easy to find but not the entire documentary.

        This woman had her child taken away for breastfeeding when he wanted to stop. Now that he’s back, and 8, he still breastfeeds. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=125961

        Its flabbergasting.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          If your child is subject to peer pressure, it might be time to stop. Peer pressure isn’t a thing to a 3 year old, but it definitely is to an 8 year old!

        • Azuran

          I’m pretty sure that’s sexual abuse at that point.

    • Dr Kitty

      Hard no on having a 5 year old suck your nipples if there is no milk involved.
      It’s not “dry nursing”, it’s just inappropriate.

      My son nursed until he was about 15 months.
      My supply dried up pretty quickly when he stopped.

      Now, he’ll occasionally lean towards my breast, open mouthed and then burst out laughing at the look on my face.

      He clearly remember there used to be milk there, the milk isn’t there now, and mummy makes funny faces when he pretends to want some, which is clearly hilarious to him.

      He’s not even two and he gets it.

      Milk Meg doesn’t want to stop “nursing” her youngest child because her entire shtick is about nursing. She doesn’t want him to grow up and move on, because she can’t move on.
      That is not healthy.

      At five kids need to have learned various ways to comfort themselves. Hugs, kisses, cuddles, a favourite toy, a blanket, a song, or dance, or joke, or story- most kids will have lots of things that will cheer them up by that age, or at least will do if you give them the chance to discover them!

      • Charybdis

        I totally agree.

      • swbarnes2

        Maybe the kid has learned that ‘nursing’ pleases and soothes his mother.

        • Roadstergal

          This keeps getting creepier.

    • Ruxa a

      Oh god, my mind’s eyes are burning!

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Or hang out topless with your grade schooler

      • Charybdis

        That too.