Mayim Bialik tries to invalidate the experience of a woman violated by a lactation consultant

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Tina Eschel wrote a fabulous piece that was excerpted on Mayim Bialik’s website Kveller.

Eschel explains how a traumatic experience with a lactation consultant made her give up on breastfeeding:

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Bialik should apologize. Eschel shared an intimate, distressing incident to make others aware of how lactation consultants behave and in return got shut down by a celebrity who apparently doesn’t give a damn[/pullquote]

I still remember that awful moment when the consultant first came to visit me. I was semi-conscious after a semi-emergency C-section, anxious at the sound of my hungry newborn crying, and exhausted by a long delivery and lack of sleep. What happened next scarred me for years.

Without permission, the consultant whipped open my hospital gown to expose my breast and began to squeeze and pull and poke at me, ignoring my feeble plea for privacy. She insisted I could breastfeed, even and despite the physiological challenges, and seemed to care less about the extraneous medical factors that were making it difficult…

I was exhausted, weak, and confused, and felt violated by how she kept touching my breasts and squeezing my nipples all without having asked if it was OK by me…

Inexplicably, Bialik uses her Facebook page to publicly invalidate Eschel’s experience.

I love when people have one bad experience with a person and use it to generalize about all of the lactation. community . This is what I call posting something for shock value. If anyone touches your breasts and it’s not ok with you, that’s a violation. Let’s not write posts about how all of the lactation community is shaming you for not breastfeeding. Enough already.

Bialik makes no effort to determine whether this has happened to other women, whether such behavior is sanctioned by lactation consultant credentialing organizations, or whether the lactation consultant involved was reprimanded for her inappropriate behavior. Bialik offers no suggestions on how to deal with the violation, how to deal with a hospital that hires someone who treats patients so shabbily, or how other women can be sure it never happens to them.

Let’s try a thought experiment:

Imagine if the person who squeezed, poked and pulled Eschel’s breasts was a man claiming that she needed an immediate breast exam. Can you imagine Bialik claiming I love it when a woman groped by a doctor uses that bad experience to generalize about male physicians? Or This is what I call posting something for shock value? Or Let’s not write posts about how some doctors sexually violate patients. Enough already?

I hope not. The last thing someone needs after having her body and her trust violated by a medical professional is someone who tries to invalidate that experience.

Bialik appears to believe that promoting breastfeeding is more important than Eschel’s trauma.

Many women writing in the comments share their stories of being violated by lactation consultants yet that doesn’t seem to move Bialik.

Indeed, she doubles down:

… That is NOT the entire lactation community. i meet rude people all of the time. to smear the entire breastfeeding community – who are simply TRYING TO HELP YOU FEED YOUR BABY THE WAY MAMMALS FEED BABIES – is ridiculous. bad experiences suck. i’ve had them too. but let’s not make it about breastfeeding advocates being horrible people.

Since she hasn’t bothered to investigate, Bialik has no idea how much of the lactation community engages in this type of behavior, but that doesn’t stop her from making assertions she can’t prove.

And what does how mammals feed their babies have to do with anything? It is not prescriptive for breastfeeding; some mammals eat their young but no one suggests that humans copy them.

Moreover, it is entirely irrelevant that the lactation consultant is trying to promote breastfeeding. It’s one thing if a health professional is trying to saving your life; that’s an emergency. It’s another thing entirely when she’s trying to promote her personal view of how women should feed their babies; that’s a violation.

This is NOT rude behavior. Making a nasty comment to a new mother is rude; grabbing her breasts without her permission is unethical.

Most importantly, this is not an isolated experience. Lactation consultants and their organizations have instituted programs that are literally KILLING babies from dehydration, starvation, smothering in hospital beds, or sustaining concussions falling from hospital beds. A significant proportion of their advice is contradicted by the scientific evidence. Pacifiers don’t interfere with breastfeeding; they prevent SIDS. Judicious formula supplementation doesn’t hamper breastfeeding; it actually increases the likelihood of long term exclusive breastfeeding.

The ultimate irony is that the benefits of breastfeeding in industrialized countries are trivial, 8% fewer colds and 8% fewer episodes of diarrheal illness across the entire population of infant in their first year. That means the the MAJORITY of infants will get no measurable benefit from breastfeeding. No doubt that’s not what Bialik believes, but I challenge her to show me any real world data from the US (not theoretical models) that the vast changes in breastfeeding rates in the past 100 years have had ANY impact on infant health.

Bialik should apologize to Eschel. She shared an intimate, distressing incident to make others aware of how lactation consultants behave and in return got shut down by a celebrity who apparently doesn’t give a damn about the way that lactation consultants have been making women and babies suffer.

Efforts to promote breastfeeding have gotten entirely out of hand, to the point where women are being traumatized and babies are being harmed.

Enough already!

  • Julanar

    After actually reading the article, which I highly recommend, I wonder if Bialik actually read it. The experience with the lactation consultant isn’t even the main topic; it’s mainly about how women in Israel breastfeed in public without any shaming at all and how great the author thinks this is. She goes out of her way to explain that her experience did NOT color the way she thinks about breastfeeding in general; she actually empathizes with women who are shamed for doing it in public in the US.

    Also, she NEVER says or even implies that all LC’s are awful. Her decision not to breastfeed either of her children was because of the trauma from the sexual violation, not because of overly generalized beliefs. This makes Bialik’s comment even more odious – she’s telling a woman to “just get over” her sexual assault, because lactation consultants’ egos are more important than a woman’s trauma!

  • E;f

    Great article. My wife and I had a similar experience. The nurse was basically shoving my son onto my wife’s breast to get him to feed. It was an uncomfortable situation with someone handling my wife’s breasts with no concern about my wife’s comfort. We tried to breastfeed but it just didn’t work for us.

  • Emma

    Wow, this is not one experience. Something similar happened to me too! Female lactation consultant reached over and starting touching and manuevering my bare breast to correct my breastfeeding. Didn’t ask, didn’t even warn me…just felt entitled to start grabbing at my breast. This is not acceptable. I don’t care what the purpose is and I don’t care if you’re just trying to help, you need to ask people before you touch them and let them know what you’re doing! For the woman to accuse the other woman of posting for shock value…wtf. You know what’s actually shocking? When people do that to you! Unfortunately, I suspect this kind of unwanted touching is more common than we think, but it’s hard to know when people are shut down for daring to speak out and share their experience. And of course we know the shaming part is extremely common. That’s not even debatable!!

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Yeah, this crap is intolerable. I don’t remember if my son’s ped actually touched me when he helped us adjust to a more workable position and gave me recommendations that actually helped us. The word “he” is not a typo. A guy, part of the “patriarchy” and he had better manners, not to mention sensitivity.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Waaaaaaah, Not All Lactivists!!! Bialik may not investigate how prevalent this kind of behavior is in the lactation community but, in a way, it doesn’t even matter. Because she amply demonstrates that you don’t need to engage in this kind of behavior yourself to be an asshole. I don’t know if Bialik, like many lactivists, sees her advocacy as feminist or not but, if she does, it blows my mind that anyone could respond this way to a woman speaking out about an assault and call herself a feminist.

    • Cynthia

      I read Bialik on Kveller a fair bit. I often relate to her and agree with a lot of what she says….until I don’t. I was a mom who did exclusive extended breastfeeding and babywearing and co-sleeping, so I do relate to the Attachment Parenting thing, but I also ended up experiences that didn’t always match the Attachment Parenting script. So, while a lot of what Bialik did with her kids looks like what I did, and some of our thoughts were the same, she sometimes has a preachy vibe with her parenting advice that just hits me the wrong way.

      I’m not going to say that all lactation consultants actually assault patients. I would say, though, that while some do incredible work (I’m forever grateful to the public health nurse who came to my home and fixed our latch problems, making the pain go away), I did see a trend among some breastfeeding advocates to think that it was okay to shame women or limit their choices. That’s not okay. It wasn’t okay that Toronto Public Health had “Every baby deserves to be a breastfed baby” posters in 1999. It’s not okay that some hospitals discourage moms who intend to breastfeed from ever using formula, even if they are begging for relief because their nipples are bleeding and in excrutiating pain.

  • Amazed

    OK, Mayim, let’s put it like this: What measurable benefits does breastfeeding provides? How can you sleep at night knowing that you defend the community that puts women down and physically manhandle them for no better reason than a few ear infections and diarrhea bouts less (across the population)?

    Earth to Mayim: if breastfeeding actually DID something, your agressive propaganda and perhaps your hysterical closing the ranks might make SOME sense. This far, your logic goes along the lines I can use to explain Amazing Niece’s long sightedness (diagnosed just a few days ago): she was exclusively breastfed! OMG, EBF fucks over tiny babies’ eyesight!

    Of course, I’ll leave the small detail of family medical history aside.

    Still, if breastfeeding was a miracle that could have protected her from this experience, I could have considered some of your points, as agressive as they are. As it is: fuck you, your LC-shaming-and-violence-advocate colleague. I read the article you commented on. I think you have a problem with your eyesight. Lactation propaganda induced impaction of comprehension ability. I strongly recommend deprogramming.

  • SN

    I recently completed a nursing school capstone project on hospital breastfeeding policies and I uncovered a lot of disturbing practices that are being implemented by both hospital management and by lactation consultants on labor and delivery floors at my local hospitals. I read the entire Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative” (BFHI) training guide and I researched it’s implementation on two L&D floors at local hospitals in my area.

    The BFHI breastfeeding training program for nurses is the most disturbing and infuriating training program for medical professionals that I have ever encountered. The training basically teaches nurses how to con mothers into breastfeeding using therapeutic communication techniques. The training is full of false information and I am unsure how or why a reputable hospital would even adopt this initiative and make it a policy, other than no one has actually read or researched anything about it.

    I interviewed nursing staff at two local hospitals. I went into it assuming that these nurses would clarify that these practices weren’t actually being implemented. I mean, afterall they were nurses and they’ve been educated just as I have, right? As a new nurse, even I knew this initiative was just flat out wrong. As it turns out, I lost a lot of faith in the nursing field that day. Here are a few things I discovered…

    1. I was informed that a lactation consultant visits EVERY mother after birth regardless of whether or not they have chosen to breastfeed. That’s right, even if the mother says NO, I am formula feeding, they still enter the room and “educate” the patient (use therapeutic communication techniques to try and con the mother into trying to nurse).

    2. No more pacifiers on the floor, they were phased out. Why? Because they cause nipple confusion and interfere with breastfeeding. This policy extends to babies who aren’t breastfeeding as well, they don’t get one. They don’t get a pacifier because it reduces the chance that a mother will agree to breastfeed. Yes, I’m serious.

    3. Both of these hospitals “lost their grant funding for most of their formula stock and samples”… They stated they offer banked donated breastmilk BEFORE they offer formula… to formula fed infants. I was absolutely disgusted. These hospitals are pushing parents to feed their newborns donated bodily fluids.

    I asked the hospital staff if they felt they were undermining patient choice by forcing lactation consultants, banning pacificers and pushing stanger’s breastmilk onto their patients, and I got a unanimous “No.” These nurses were adamant that these mothers “Needed to be educated” they “Needed to be able to make informed decisions.” I haven’t been a nurse very long, but I recognize these are not informed decisions, this is not promoting and supporting patient choice.

    The best part of my project was being able to educate the public and medical/educational professionals at our capstone project presentation. I didn’t encounter one single person who knew what the BFHI was. People were very shocked. It felt so good to be a voice for these patents!

  • Jules B

    I had an LC/public health nurse give me an extremely painful breast massage without really telling me what she was doing. She just said “Here, this will help you.” I swear I nearly passed out from the pain and I have a decent tolerance. Now, what she did help – a lot, actually – but it might have been nice to know beforehand that it might hurt!

  • Cody

    Respectfully, I’d like to suggest that this community has been guilty of doing the same thing. I’ve been an occasional commenter on this blog for at least seven years now. To find the statements that I’m referring to, I’d have to sift through years worth of comments and I’m not prepared to do that. My purpose in bringing this up is not to discredit this article. I agree with the point that Dr. Tuteur is making here. I just want readers to consider the following:

    If a woman has a traumatic birth experience with the conventional medical system, she may seek alternatives for subsequent pregnancies. Especially if she feels that her concerns are never properly addressed. In the past I have brought up some of the following occurrences in this comment section as being the reasons why some women have turned to homebirth, or have at least become critical of OBs and hospitals.

    Doctors who do routine episiotomy without asking consent.

    Nurses who choose to expel blood clots from sleeping patients.

    Nurses who do the exact same thing that the lactation consultant did in this story.

    Doctors who reach into women with no explanation (with no epidural) using their whole hand, in order to retrieve a placenta.

    Women being screamed at during second stage.

    I could list many. The point is that I have in the past brought many examples up as a reason that women turn away from hospitals and the response that I have received from other commenters has been similar to that of Mayim Bialik.

    I think that what is lacking within the skeptical community is an acknowledgment of some of the reasons for the deep distrust that many have for the medical system. When these concerns are brought up, they are frequently dismissed and framed in such a way that paints the complainant as being a soft woman who’s more concerned about her own experience than the well-being of her baby.

    Anyway, I’m not trying to troll or start a fight. It’s just something that has always bothered me.

    • T.

      These things are true, they happen, and they are horrid and should be addressed.

      However, they are not a good reason to go all out to the woo-side. I can be empathetic and help somebody get justice, if need be, without validating an objectively dangerous choice as eschewing medical care is.

      In short, there are two part of the problem you present:
      1. People are having bad experiences in a conventional medical setting.
      2. Therefore, they go to the woo-side.

      It is true. That does not means it is a good idea. It is still a bad idea, even if it is understandable. I can tell somebody I understand their reason, but still think their actions are wrong.

      • Cody

        I don’t necessarily agree with all of this, but I think it’s more relevant to point out that before a person decides to take a different path, woo or not, there has already been both a problem with the conventional system, AND a failure to properly address the problem after the fact. Keep in mind some of the alternatives to the conventional system are seen as legitimate options by medical systems and governments.

        • fiftyfifty1

          ” think it’s more relevant to point out that before a person decides to take a different path, woo or not, there has already been both a problem with the conventional system, AND a failure to properly address the problem after the fact.”

          Is that really the case though? That for a person to go woo, they need to have 1) a bad experience in conventional care 2) And a failure to address that problem after the fact?

          The reason I ask is that this directly contradicts what I have observed in my own family. I grew up in a homebirthing family. My mom’s early hospital births WERE bad experiences (1960s, no father allowed in the room, paternalistic, rude treatment of her as a teen mom etc). But after that, she found a great doctor who did everything she wanted: warm, egalitarian, first name basis, no episiotomy, fine with her going home as soon as the baby was born. She had a great hospital birth. She will say so herself. She still decided to homebirth thereafter. Her friends were into the woo, and then she was too.

          And nowadays I see plenty of first time moms who choose to birth at home. They haven’t had a bad experience, they will admit they were happy with their OB, but then they read woo-stuff. The woo promises them empowerment, fulfillment and a Pinterest worthy experience.

          Another example is vaccinations. What bad experience is driving people not to vaccinate? Did all their kids have vaccine reactions? No. My oldest sibs got all their shots with nary a reaction. My mom still went anti-vax.

          So to sum it up, there are some exceptions, but by and large the woo is not about conventional medicine driving people away. It’s about lies and false promises that attract customers. Add to that the fact that it is a status symbol (read the homebirth story of baby Wren) and it lures a lot of people.

          • Valerie

            Yeah, the people I knew who were interested in home birth were first-time moms (who had no hospital birth experiences to drive them away).

          • Cody

            I think it’s hard for me to see homebirth as problematic in all contexts. If we are talking about homebirth in the US with homebirth Midwives then yes, this is a problem. If we are talking about homebirth in Canada (in provinces where it’s regulated appropriately) then I don’t see it as an issue. In this context, many of the women doing it are choosing this option based on bad first experiences with the traditional system.

          • Valerie

            You have made assertions about why women choose homebirth (bad hospital birth experiences). I live in the US, and I think the reasons why homebirth might appeal to somebody here are complex. I believe that some people are mistreated in hospitals, but I don’t believe that the appeal of homebirth is mostly derived from personally being abused at a previous birth (because the people I personally know who seriously considered or chose homebirth were first-time moms, so their interest could not have stemmed from a bad hospital birth experience). So, it might be true in your area that medical abuse is common and a driving force of the homebirth movement, but where I live I don’t think it is.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Note that, as 5051 mentions above, you should not ignore the extent to which woo providers lie. Including the extent to which they lie about what medical practice is like.

            “They’ll tie you down and shave you! And then give you an enema and an episiotomy! And they’ll force you to have an epidural and induction. And a c-section!”

          • Amazed

            And not just woo providers. Mothers themselves happily keep spreading the lies they believe to be true.

          • Azuran

            Seriously, how can you even force someone to have an epidural? It requires you to stay motionless in a specific position. The anesthesiologist even depended on me to tell him when I had contraction so he’d pause the placement.

            I think they did tie my legs on the table when I had my c-section. But seriously, I couldn’t even move my legs and I couldn’t even feel it because of the epidural. Unless you have some kind of phobia/PTSD or something (In which case, you should absolutely discuss it with your provider), I really don’t see why people are making such a big thing out of it. I sure as hell wouldn’t have wanted to accidentally move or fall off the freaking operating table while my abdomen was open.

          • Gæst

            And I don’t believe I was tied or strapped down at all during my c-section (though I suppose it’s possible they did my legs without me ever realizing it). So it’s not like it’s a given that you’ll be all tied up.

          • Azuran

            I wouldn’t call this ‘all tied up’
            My arms where free, not like I was going to do anything with them (wouldn’t want to contaminate the field) so it’s not like it really matter.

          • Gæst

            I didn’t mean you said that, I meant the fear of being tied down as a horrible experience. Certainly, yes, if you have prior trauma and that’s a trigger. But in general, it’s not like they hog tie you.

          • fiftyfifty1

            I can’t speak to the motivation of Canadian women who homebirth, as I don’t know any. At least in Canada (from what I understand) if you homebirth you at least still have a medically trained provider and still do all the medical testing and are risked out if you show abnormalities. It’s not a total (or near total) rejection of conventional medicine as it usually is here in the US.

          • Azuran

            I think their motivations are generally about the same as US women: I only know one person who considered it, basically for the same ‘woo’ reasons we hear all the time: wanting more ‘personalized’ care and comfort, pregnancy isn’t a disease, ‘natural’ is better, avoiding ‘useless’ intervention.
            She didn’t do it (I don’t know if she risked out or just decided against it) and had an epidural. She didn’t talk about it when she had her 2nd child.

            But even in Canada, almost everyone is followed by an OB or their GP. Homebirth it’s still only about 1-2% of births.

          • Bugsy

            I have a few friends here in BC who had home births, and have also spoken with my OB about it generally. It’s a completely different situation from what I’ve seen with friends in the states who have opted for it. Up here, it is a tightly regulated system. The local midwifery works closely with the hospital system and screens out a lot of moms. My OB is obviously pro-medicine but was positive about this midwifery unit.

            Of the moms I know who have opted for home birth, they’re pretty mainstream. One is somewhat of a “birth enthusiast,” but the other is completely mainstream. I know I’ve spoken with other moms who had home births with this unit, and I don’t remember anything else suggesting they’d fallen into alternative medicine or other forms of woo.

            My friends in the U.S. who have had home / non-hospital (birth centre) births, on the other hand, have tended towards the other extreme. Generally speaking, they were against medicine, anti-vax with extreme dietary concerns. One, a second-time mom with a history of health concerns and pregnancy complications, decided to avoid all testing and ultrasounds in her second pregnancy and to follow it up with a non-hospital birth. There definitely was more of a focus on the “alternative” side of things and the need to reject conventional medicine.

            I’m not saying this can be generalized to across the board – just that from what I’ve seen anecdotally, there definitely is a difference in motivation between my own personal friends here in Canada versus those in the U.S.

          • Roadstergal

            My Dutch friends did homebirth because that’s the default for low-risk women. It’s just a given that unless something’s very wrong during pregnancy, you give birth at home with no pain relief, and I’ve been privy to some interesting ‘water cooler’ discussions they’ve had with American and Brazilian women in our group.

          • Cody

            I have read about baby Wren, although not recently. Can you define “going woo” for me? What does this mean to you? yes what I’m describing really happens and I think it happens more than people want to admit.. I do agree that yes sometimes it is about lies and false promises and that is frustrating.

            Can we leave vaccinations out of the conversation? I am completely pro vax. and I agree with you completely on this. I wasn’t referring to vaccinations at all in my comment. It’s just easier if we’re discussing the same thing.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Can you define “going woo” for me? What does this mean to you? ”

            My definition is when people reject conventional medicine in order to embrace pseudoscience. Examples are homebirth, anti-vax, homeopathy etc.

            “Can we leave vaccinations out of the conversation?”

            I think it’s important that we include it. From my observations, woo/pseudoscience beliefs often cluster. For example, my parents embraced homebirth, anti-vax and quack eating all around the same time. And I feel that a lot of the same motivations underlie them all: status, magical claims, anti-authoritarianism, the naturalistic fallacy.

        • Amazed

          Before a person decides to take a different path? Careful here, you’re close to making generalizations that simply are not true for everyone.

          In fact, many of the homebirthing mothers who experienced a tragedy had little to no negative experience with the conventional system. Liz Paparella’s words have stayed with me – she had your average hospital deliveries. Not too good, not too bad. She just got her babies and left. All was fine, as in – not the greatest day of her life but not really worth wasting time on thinking about. Until she stumbled upon the viper nest, aka MDC, where she got educated how terrible her hospital deliveries were and how sacred it would be when she’d have her next babies at home. She was promised promotion to homebirthing goddess, that was it. Pure and simple. We know how it ended. And yes, the hospital didn’t address her problem. Mainly because she never told them there was a problem. She didn’t know it herself until MDC enlightened her.

          Danielle Yeager’s situation was a similar one – she was taught that spending time with her was equal to good care. Her negative experience with the conventional system came when she went there to deliver her stillborn baby. OBPI Mama says that when she decided to have a homebirth, she had never even seen an OB. And that her homebirthing friends have never seem a L&D ward.

          I have no doubt that there are many women betrayed by the hospital system. I also have no doubt that many of those who choose a different path have never set a foot inside a hospital, other than to have minor problems addressed.

          • Cody

            I think my experience with homebirth is completely different based on location. Perhaps I don’t have as much experience with what you guys are talking about.

    • Melaniexxxx

      I agree that this is a problem. And yes, have seen the same response of “not ALL medical professionals…”
      I think all parties who harm or assault women in a medical context should be sanctioned and have their practice limited.

      The difference I feel, which is hard to articulate, in these two contexts lies in the potential and incentive for change – doctors and hospital midwives, even BAD ones, WILL eventually stop doing routine epis, or MROPs with inadequate anaesthesia as hospital policies and practices change, and as evidence changes.

      There is NO incentive for lactation consultants and crappy woo midwives to change their deceitful and exploitative practices because they are ALREADY working in defiance of evidence, already have little to no oversight by any licencing body, and are convinced that they are ‘correct’ and morally superior. Add that to the fact that their income depends on kowtowing women… and it’s a BIG BIG problem, much bigger than isolated incidences of poor care in the hospital system

      • Melaniexxxx

        Obviously, none of the ‘potential for change’ stuff matters in the moment when you are the person being victimised, however

        • Cody

          Very true.

    • Amazed

      You might have brought examples but respectfully, this isn’t the same as women themselves describing abuse and being told that they’re against all things medical. I find it weird that you choose to complain of your second-hand anecdotes not being treated with the seriousness we accord to Gavin Michael’s case without mentioning all the occasions Dr Amy has brought up medical mistakes here to criticize them and usually, the commenters agree. And then you deem us equal to Bialik’s following?

      The equivalent of the Mayim Bialik situation would be Dr Amy defending to death the decision of a hospital to force a c-section on a mother and we all agreeing that the hospital was right. Did you see this happening? Dr Amy regularly brings up the failures of medical system. Sometimes, we do it in the comment section. When I said a British doctor was out of his mind for pointing out that his hospital has average mortality for the country and that somehow made it OK for healthy babies to die because rate, Dr Amy didn’t start explaining how I was vilifying the whole medical system. She actually liked my comment.

      I do agree we can be hard here sometimes. Especially true for me. But compare us to Bialik? Just no.

      • Cody

        Some of those anecdotes are personal… and I’m some instances I think it’s a fair comparison. Again, I’m not going to dig up the old comment threads. Some people are worse than others.

      • Roadstergal

        I’m thinking of the man who gave the woman an episitomy in the video, and Dr A offered legal help. I’m thinking of the commenters describing bad hospital experiences and getting not just sympathy, but advice on how to contact the hospital and lodge formal complaints. I’m thinking of Erin’s horrid experience and Dr Kitty having to push back against being refused adequate pain relief. Etc.

        I think there’s a difference between “vaginal exam is birth rape”/”heplock is assault” and genuine bad treatment and malpractice, and I don’t see the folk here as giving the latter a pass. Quite the opposite.

      • E;f

        Dr. Amy? Yeah, I know, she’s got a PHD. But you make is sound like she’s an MD.

        • Amazed

          Haha. This was a good one. Thanks.

        • Azuran

          ……..She actually is an MD

          • Nick Sanders

            I believe E;f is referring to Bialik. I think that what they mean is that putting her on equal footing with a medical doctor such as Dr. Tuteur, even in an analogy, makes it seem as if her own doctorate is a medical one, rather than a PhD,

          • Amazed

            I was not talking about Bialik’s PhD. I meant that she’s a LC, as far as I know. A LC and rushing to defend LCs, no matter how terrible, by declaring that the woman who has suffered by their hands has basically declared war on breastfeeding or something.

          • E;f

            No shit.

          • E;f

            No shjit. But who cares?

  • rosewater1

    I really don’t get this. I’ve worked in an inpatient hospital setting for nearly 15 years. When I go into a patient room, I introduce myself, tell them why I’m there and what my role is, etc. If I touch the patient, I ask. If I touch the baby, I ask. It was one of the first things I was taught. And more importantly, IT’S POLITE. Seriously!
    Even in an emergency, SOMEONE talks to the patient and tells them what is going on.
    Heck, even when I change a baby I talk to them and tell them that I know they don’t like it but it will be over soon & they’ll feel better.
    Why is this such a hard concept for people to grasp?

    • Dr Kitty

      I ring hospital wards all the time.
      You’d be surprised how often people answer the phone and identify themselves either as job description alone without name, or by first name, no job description.

      “Hello, surgical ward, Ann speaking”
      “Hello, ward 23, nurse speaking”
      “Hello, medical outpatients, you’re speaking to Jo, one of the doctors”
      “Hello, labour ward, midwife speaking”

      “This is Dr Kitty, GP, calling from Practice X, just for my notes, to whom exactly am I speaking please?” is my standard response.

      Name (both parts) and rank is literally the least I expect.

      Ann could be anyone, including a confused patient who picked up a ringing phone.
      The nurse and midwife could be any of a cast of thousands.
      Jo could be the consultant or the most junior doctor, and as Drs usually sign letters with first initial and surname only, first name alone isn’t particularly helpful…

      • MayonnaiseJane

        I work in a hospital… when they call other people inside the hospital they go overboard. “Hi I’m Anne, a nurse in oncology. I work with Doctor Jo, at [Hospital Name] treating lung tumors. We have clinic today from noon to four and I think my mouse is broken.” That’s great Anne. I work at [Hospital Name] too. You called an inside extension. I don’t care what your specialty is or who your coworkers are. I need your freaking LAST NAME and the ROOM NUMBER where we need to bring a mouse. “Hi, I’m Anne Smith and I think the mouse is broken on my computer in Room 457.” THAT is what I want to hear.

    • Roadstergal

      I never even thought about it until you said it, but every time I’ve gone in for surgery, I’ve had “Hi, I’m xx xx, the nurse, and I’m going to put in the IV,” “I’m xx xx, the anesthesiologist, and this is my assistant, xx xx, and we’re going to [nerve block procedure, how the anesthesia is going to work, etc]. Any questions or concerns?”

      In fact, I’m always asked by the first nurse I see what surgery I’m getting – I’m sure it helps avoid medical errors, but it also feels more proactive. “I’m coming here to have this done,” not “We’re doing this to you.”

      I’m sure it contributes to the relaxing nature of those experiences so far!

      • FallsAngel

        Pretty much. Plus, the idea is to find out if the patient knows what is going to happen to him/her.

      • Gæst

        I just had an x-ray and sonogram on my wrist today, and even then I was asked first about touching my hand. The x-ray tech helped move my hand into the positions he wanted, but he always first told me where to move it so I knew exactly what to expect. A++, would have cyst aspirated by them again.

  • Melaniexxxx

    It’s not rude, it’s sexual assault.

  • Young CC Prof

    First off, you NEVER respond to a complaint of inappropriate behavior with “not all,” or scolding the reporter, in any context. If LCs with poor respect for bodily autonomy are rare, prove it by condemning and disciplining the ones who mistreat patients.

    Second, I really don’t think it’s all that rare. Medical professionals touch people, they touch people in places that strangers don’t normally touch one another, that’s an unavoidable part of the job. But they aren’t supposed to do it by surprise. I have been through medical exams and procedures that I didn’t enjoy, but I’ve never felt caught off guard, except by a hospital LC who demonstrated hand expression without giving me the chance to explain that I already knew how to do it.

    I wasn’t particularly bothered by the incident, but that does NOT make it OK.

  • Mark

    I don’t get it. If a medical person touches you after you said stop, that is called assault.

    Since lactation is not a medical emergency the lactavist could of been criminally prosecuted, at the very least sanctioned.

    Why didn’t the mother, or rather, could not the mother call the nurse over to have the lactivist removed from the room? I am bottle feeding so leave, Now.

    • Young CC Prof

      Ever had anesthesia, or open surgery? Did you feel like getting into an argument with someone an hour afterwards? (Or doing anything other than existing?)

      • Mark

        I have had general anesthesia before, but I don’t recall how I really felt.

        If it bothered me, I might say something after I was fully awake.

        Why was someone messing with me while I just got out of anesthesia.

        But don’t know. Not being judgmental, just asking.

        • Young CC Prof

          Yeah, lactation support during the Golden Hour immediately after birth is the standard of care in many hospitals, and there are advantages. But the mother can be in a pretty rough state after birth, and the breastfeeding support brigade often fails to realize it.

          Afterward, you leave the hospital still with basically no sleep, and go home with a newborn. By the time you are in a mental state where you can handle reporting, it’s been so long that there seems no point.

          So, they keep getting away with it.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            sigh, the one advantage of a baby going straight to the NICU (besides the much better chance of his or her survival, of course) is that no one is bleating about golden hours.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Sort of.
            A friend had her kid taken to the nursery post-C-section, as she was very out of it. Couldn’t keep her eyes open. The nurses, lactation consultants, etc kept barging in every couple of hours to tell her to pump. They neglected to mention, while ragging on her to PUMP MOAR NAOW, that her son wasn’t doing well and had been transferred to the NICU 6+ hours before, was having breathing difficulties, and had an IV going…apparently, that informational tidbit was less important than All The Breastmilk.

          • Wasnomofear

            Thank God she sent him to the nursery; if she’d fallen asleep with him rooming in, it may have taken too long for anyone to notice his troubles!

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            ugh

          • Young CC Prof

            Um, they were giving her child interventions and not keeping her up to date? Seriously not OK.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Oh, she about lost it when the nurse casually said the next morning, “So, your son is stable for the moment, but we don’t like those X-rays of his lungs and we’re not sure when he’ll be discharged yet. Do you want to go see him?” (Understandably, of course…I would be demanding someone’s head on a pike at that point.)

          • Bugsy

            I still think fondly of the day nurse during my hospital stay with son #2. I’d had an overnight labour – no sleep – and early morning delivery. I was in the hospital a full day and night before being discharged at noon the second day. The hospital’s policy was to wake the sleeping mom every two hours during the night to ensure the baby is feeding.

            My day nurse was amazing, and told my night nurse flat-out that “she’s a second-time mom, she and the baby will be fine. LET HER SLEEP.” Apparently they’d gotten into an argument about it, but night nurse finally acquiesced. I got caught up on some sleep, and never stopped appreciating her kind gesture.

            And kiddo didn’t suffer by the lack of regimented feedings. It obviously was a different situation than the baby you mention…but with my son a full-term, healthy baby, we were both fine only waking up for feedings when he demanded it. So thankful to the kind nurse.

    • maidmarian555

      When it happened to me I had been awake for almost 5 days, been through surgery, had been over 12 hours without any pain relief and felt dazed, exhausted and very confused. I had two midwives pin me down and manhandle me and my son whilst I was feebly telling them not to touch me (whilst sobbing). Seeing as these were the people responsible for my care, there was nobody to call for help. I was very lucky as my OH walked in during my ordeal and told them immediately to leave me alone and get out. Had he not shown up, I do not think they would have stopped what they were doing.

      Normally I would not put up with anybody treating me in that way but I was just about in the most vulnerable state I had been in my life. It should not be down to mothers who may be exhausted and traumatised by birth itself, to take responsibility for the inability of some health care professionals to respect their bodily autonomy. For them to behave in that way in the first place is totally unethical.

      You know how my hospital deals with complaints about post-natal care? First step is you get to sit in a room with the head midwife to discuss what happened. There is no fucking way I was going to go back and sit in a room to relive my trauma with the person who caused it. No. Fucking. Way. It’s easy to tell people what they should do in such a situation, what the ‘right’ thing is and how things should be dealt with. Not quite so easy when it’s you and you don’t think that your fragile mental health would survive dealing with it ‘properly’. Reporting this stuff can be as traumatic as the assault (and it is assault) itself.

      • Mark

        I am sorry for your experience.

        My intention was to ask a question not to criticize.

        • maidmarian555

          I was just trying to explain why the mother may not have reacted ‘normally’ and called for help or even complained after the fact. I didn’t think you were criticising her. Obviously my personal experience is still a bit painful for me. It made me feel ashamed and guilty for some time after the fact and talking about it can be difficult. But we do need to talk about these things. That’s why Bialik’s criticism of the original piece is so disheartening, it is helpful for those of us who’ve experienced these things to talk about our experiences. It helps you realise it wasn’t your fault and also, that you aren’t alone.

          • Mark

            I had no idea.

            Thank you for sharing your experience.

            The Bialki piece was heartless. Even if she thought it was a rare event, it obviously was not rare to the woman experiencing it. It had zero sympathy.

            As a man i wonder why would one woman treat another like that? I would of wondered how we can prevent that from happening in the future.

          • maidmarian555

            It seems to be an unholy alliance (certainly here in the UK) of budget and staff cuts, an ‘I know best’ attitude (in some staff), some clinging tightly to particular ideology surrounding birth and infant feeding and a good dose of old-fashioned internalised misogyny. I felt very much after my experience that I was treated the way I was (and I should stress that during my post-natal care this applied to these two particular midwives and not everyone that cared for me) because they ‘needed’ me to have performed a certain number of actions on a tick-box sheet so that they could get me out of hospital and clear my bed asap. I was discharged 36 hours after my c-section with no painkillers other than a box of ibuprofen. They were prioritising the processes over my son and I as individual patients with individual needs. Admittedly these staff see birth every single day but I was surprised how little sympathy I got from them after such a long labour and emergency surgery. To put it into context, when my mother gave birth to me in 1980 (in the same hospital), she was kept in for 8 days whilst they made sure she knew how to do all the basics, was properly rested and that breastfeeding was properly established. There was not this tremendous rush to get her cleared for discharge like there was for me.

            In addition, it doesn’t really matter whether you have an ‘easy’ or a very difficult birth. Giving birth is a hugely emotional event and it’s important that women are treated carefully afterwards. Even if everything goes well, it can leave you feeling shocked and very vulnerable. Nothing really prepares you for that so it’s important that post-natal care is individualised and that staff can muster at least a modicum of patience with you as you adjust to the fact that you’re now in charge of a tiny human. Treating women who are having a hard time like they’re hysterical lunatics for not doing exactly what you think they should be doing, regardless of whether you think you have time to explain why you’re doing it is really not ok but it’s clearly happening. Even though you would have thought that now most of the staff you come into contact with during and after birth are female that this patriarchal attitude would have softened, it (certainly in my experience) has not and even if 80% of the staff you deal with don’t behave like that, the 20% who do can have a very big impact on your emotional wellbeing.

            I don’t know how we change this but it certainly starts with women being able to share their experiences and not being shut down by people who have not experienced the same thing. That’s not going to help anybody.

          • guest

            I have given birth and had a colonoscopy. These were both highly vulnerable times for me. I was in awe of how respectful everyone at the facility was when I had my colonoscopy. They went out of their way to make sure I was at ease. It was not like that when I gave birth. Not sure if the difference is that one is a choice (colonoscopy) and the other is not (birth). When I had surgery for a deviated septum I was also struck with how much everyone went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable. I mentioned a little anxiety and was quickly given something to relax me. During birth I was crying from the pain of the failed epidural and kept asking over and over for them to fix it and the nurse did nothing until the baby started having issues. I will also say during the deviated septum surgery and colonoscopy, I felt capable of advocating for myself. I did not when I was in excruciating pain during birth and worried about my child’s safety.

          • Charybdis

            Because they CAN, and people have been indoctrinated with the “Breast is BEST”, “Golden Hour” and “Skin-to-Skin IMMEDIATELY if not sooner” tripe since they first got two pink lines on an EPT pee stick.
            And some are so mightily convinced of their “rightness” that they will steamroll over an exhausted mother just so they can check off items on their mental checklist: Mother pulls baby up herself and does immediate skin to skin after delivery? Check. Baby does breast crawl or otherwise gets latched to mom’s breast mere minutes after delivery? Check. Mom “reminded” to not supplement or use a pacifier? Check. Mom thinks baby is not getting enough to eat and is wavering on the EBF? Shut that garbage right down with propaganda (belly balls, colostrum is rich enough to sustain baby, babies NEED to lose weight in the beginning, baby isn’t really hungry, baby is “cluster feeding”, etc) and fearmongering (you’ll damage your bond with your baby if you supplement, you’ll inhibit your milk production if you supplement, if you give in now, you will guarantee your baby will be fat, lazy, unintelligent and will develop diabetes and cancer before they reach kindergarten age). Then top it all off with dangerous “information” (High levels of jaundice is perfectly normal, dehydration and brick dust in the diaper is perfectly normal, 10+% weight loss in a newborn is perfectly normal, the pediatrician doesn’t know anything about proper infant feeding, so don’t listen to their recommendation to supplement with formula, feed only meager amounts of formula, 5-10 milliliters, in as difficult a way as possible (cup, syringe, SNS) if you feel you absolutely MUST, but don’t make it a habit, etc), and you have a perfect storm of misinformation combined with a hormonal, often exhausted new mother.

    • Mel

      I love C-sections since one saved my life and the life of my son – but they are rough!

      For most women, you’ve either been 1) in labor 2) undergoing a failed induction and/or 3) very ill for at least 24 hours before major surgery.

      Next, you get to undergo open abdominal surgery with an epidural. I found the process pretty cool once the epidural got placed – but that’s not universal. I could feel the surgical team moving my organs around and it was the coolest thing ever and not freaky. My biggest problem was vomiting during the CS which didn’t bother me once I realized that I could clear my airway just fine – but again, not everyone is cool with that. Also, about halfway through the CS, I felt like my arms were moving in front of me like I was conducting an orchestra. (Obviously, this was not happening.)

      This was followed by people doing various important things that simply got in the way of my urge to sleep like finishing the surgery, helping me pump in recovery, checking my incision and amount of bleeding and monitoring my BP. Those were genuinely important things – but every inch of me was screaming for sleep and people kept getting in the way.

      Then the itching started.

      I needed oxygen and my entire body itched – including the inside of my nose where the cannulas touched the nares. My reaction to this – and a general reaction to having to have followed exactly what doctors told me to do precisely for at least 30 hours – was to scratch every itchy spot I could find. My nurse kindly started to recommend not scratching my skin – but stopped when I gave her a look like I would kill her rather than stopping my God-given right to remove all my skin from my body with my nails. (My husband said I looked like I was planning to murder her right then and there….) Notice it was just a look; about all I could have done in reality is flop around like a fish.

      I’m a pretty assertive person – but if that nurse had decided to restrain my hands (as an example) I would have been hard pressed to figure out what to say, what tone to use and how to raise my voice in a coherent manner.

      • Mark

        I had no idea.

        Makes it doubly worse that a lactation consultant would harass the mother after that.

        Is it possible to say before the C section, I don’t want to see the lactation consultant until I am ready?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I suggest that should apply to anyone who has given birth.

        • Roadstergal

          That’s the issue. Why should it fall to a woman to have to put protections around herself to not have herself touched without consent for a purpose that isn’t medically necessary? This is a systemic issue, a big one.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          A lot of first timers wouldn’t know and have had their heads filled with the glories of breastfeeding and the angels who teach you how. (Note the sarcasm there. Some of course are perfectly lovely people, but my son’s male ped was more helpful to me there than any of the LCs.)

        • Mel

          Probably – but in my case I was so preoccupied with “Is my son going to survive?” and “Am I going to be awake while the surgery team frantically tries to keep me from bleeding to death?” that avoiding LC’s wasn’t on my radar.

      • Guest

        Was there a big deal with IV benedryl? Surely something could have been done.

        • Mel

          Got me. My best guess is that they had to use a bunch of unexpected medications to get my nausea to stop – I remember the anesthesiologist rattling off a list of at least 8 medications as they reported out which meds they used – and didn’t want to add too much more to the mix.

    • Linda Brewer

      I don’t actually even consider a LC a medical person/professional. Do they have any actual knowledge of how much a newborn should/needs to eat(from actual medical studies or pediatricians NOT some mumbo jumbo from the LLL) DO they have any knowledge of what dehydration looks like in a newborn or what permanent damage lack of proper nutrition can do to a newborn?? Do they even know anything about the actual mechanics of how breasts work?

      • Bombshellrisa

        The ones at the hospital are RNs

      • Mark

        Good question.

        I am going to guess they have some superficial training.

        I was most upset at the woman who had ppd and killed herself. The lc apparently either missed to ppd or thought that breastfeeding can help with ppd (which it has some effect) but definitely not a cure.

    • SN

      It’s actually called battery and could also be classified as malpractice and sexual assault.

  • shobbie

    Grabbing her breasts isn’t just unethical. It’s also sexual assault.

  • Allie

    “How mammals feed their babies…”
    None of the women in my family were able to breastfeed. What does that make us?
    Mayim, don’t leave us hanging on this! We must know: are we birds, repitles or amphibia?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Mayim, don’t leave us hanging on this! We must know: are we birds, repitles or amphibia?

      Liars, obviously.

      You all were able to breastfeed, you just didn’t have the right support. Because that’s what mammals in the wild do when they have problems, of course, call the LC.

      ETA: Oooooo, that’s a good one. Why is Mayim all so supportive of LCs? Mammals in the wild don’t use LCs. So if you need a LC, you aren’t feeding your babies like mammals in the wild do it …

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        Dammit, why don’t bison need their udders manhandled?!?

      • BeatriceC

        I’m replying to you since Allie’s comment is now awaiting moderation and there’s no longer an option to reply.

        If I have a choice, I really want to be a bird. Actually, I want to be a hyacinth macaw. Could that be arranged?

    • kilda

      if they give you a choice, be birds. that’s totally the coolest option, they can fly AND they’re descended from dinosaurs.

      • Roadstergal

        I like my very high metabolism rate!

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXD7YOoHpAs

        Standing in between extinction in the cold
        And explosive radiating growth
        So the warm blood flows
        Through the large four-chambered heart
        Maintaining the very high metabolism rate they have

        Mammal, mammal
        Their names are called
        They raise a paw
        The bat, the cat
        Dolphin and dog
        Koala bear and hog

        One of us might lose his hair
        But you’re reminded that it once was there
        From the embryonic whale to the monkey with no tail
        So the warm blood flows
        With the red blood cells lacking nuclei
        Through the large four-chambered heart
        Maintaining the very high metabolism rate they have

        Mammal, mammal
        Their names are called
        They raise a paw
        The bat, the cat
        Dolphin and dog
        Koala bear and hog

        Placental the sister of her brother Marsupial
        Their cousin called Monotreme
        Dead uncle Allotheria

        Mammal, mammal
        Their names are called
        They raise a paw
        The bat, the cat
        Dolphin and dog
        Koala bear and hog
        The fox, the ox
        Giraffe and shrew
        Echidna, caribou

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Make a little birdhouse in your soul…

        • Gæst

          I like you even more than before for citing TMBG.

  • StephanieJR

    ‘the way mammals feed their babies’

    Yeah, and when mammals can’t/won’t feed their babies, the young die, or a human steps in and hand feeds them. Most mother mammals wouldn’t appreciate you grabbing their tits and forcing them to feed their young, including humans. I’d like to see this LC and others like them try it on a tiger.

  • maidmarian555

    I had a very similar experience with the midwives in hospital and it was traumatic and humiliating. It’s really not the main point of Eschel’s article though, which is very positive about breastfeeding and talks about how it should be normal to see women nurse in public. I have no idea what Bialik read but it doesn’t appear to have been the same article I did.

    • BeatriceC

      I finally got around to reading Eschel’s article a few hours after I read this one. I still haven’t read Bialik’s full response. Anyway, I had exactly the same response you did. Eschel’s article was extremely pro-breastfeeding. The only negative was how she, specifically was treated by one specific LC.

  • MaineJen

    Shock value? Well, consider me shocked. Shocked that someone who puts so much stock in bodily autonomy (don’t you, Mayim?) suddenly doesn’t have time to hear about not just one, but many, many women’s bad experiences. She’s like a walking confirmation bias.

  • Heidi

    This mammals breastfeed bullshit so human women must irks me. Other species of mammals watch their offspring starve if lactation fails. Maybe there’s some exceptions to this, but most mammal babies are born mobile and the mother doesn’t have to hold a baby at her breast. It looks so much easier to me than my breastfeeding experience of contending with a helpless baby and breasts that had to be positioned just so. I don’t hold other mammals to the same standards as humans either. My childhood hamster ate the heads off every single baby she had – so if she did nurse, it was brief. It was gruesome but I still kept her and enjoyed her as a pet. If a human brutally murders their child, I am not okay with letting that slide.

    • Valerie

      Yeah, there are so many violent mammalian behaviors that would be completely unacceptable for humans. The “Mammals do x, therefore you should, too” reasoning could be used to justify some terrible things (rape, murder, cannibalism, infanticide, etc). It’s just not a good proxy for ethical behavior.

      • sdsures

        Otters rape baby seals. Orcas play football with seals and punt them back and forth.

        • StephanieJR

          Not good going being a seal, is it?

          • sdsures

            Not unless you’re a leopard seal. They’re vicious.

    • Steph858

      Let us not forget that whales are mammals. If her argument is “Mammals breastfeed without any problems, so you can too!” Then I’d like to enter her into a competition. The mammal who lives in the ocean the longest (using artificial diving equipment is cheating, just like using formula) wins a year’s supply of fish.

      • sdsures

        Oh god, don’t get Mayim started on water birth!

    • Mel

      Calves are amazingly clueless about the details of nursing when they are born and equally clueless about walking so the first few hours can be a hoot to watch. Calves have an instinct to stick their head between two vertical objects, lift their head upward and start sucking. Since cows have four legs and a rear udder, this shortcut works reasonably well on three sides and fails miserably if the calf finds itself between the front two legs. Most calves will let their dam move them into the right area, but we seem to breed some exceptionally stubborn ones that are like “God damn it. THIS IS THE UDDER! I know it!” and attach themselves to the cow’s dewlap.

      Also, calves are born with sharp lower teeth so having them latch wrong can be very painful and the dam will kick at them – ideally, in a gentle manner….

      In terms of “let’s not let humans do that”, we had an infanticidal cow. She attacked and killed her first calf right after birth and unlike humans she would attack and kill any calf she saw after that.

      A leading cause of death of triplet and higher order calf births is the dam losing track of where the calves are at, laying down, and crushing one of the calves. It’s such a common problem that my husband and the herdsmen have gotten in the habit of laying twin calves right next to each other so the dam hopefully won’t crush them.

      We also had a barn cat who figured out that since she had six nipples, she should have six kittens per litter. She produced a litter of three and a litter of four which she raised just fine. When each litter was 3-4 weeks old – old enough that we had found and counted the kittens – her litter suddenly expanded by 2-3 kittens that were visibly younger and clearly not hers.

      • swbarnes2

        Now, if the litter had expanded by 2-3 calves, that would be a story.

        • Mel

          Well….

          We’ve kind of had that happen. Calves are rather mobile in strange ways and dairy cows are much looser about whose calf they will mother than beef cows.

          This means that occasionally a pen will have 3 calves in it with no cows who have given birth. Usually, the calves have flailed their way under the gates that separate the pen or fallen into the feed bunk, gone for a walk and fallen back over the same feed bunk wall into a different pen.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        *sighs happily*
        I am so glad that Spawn is doing well enough that Cow Storytime With Mel has returned!

    • Cynthia

      Yeah, I really don’t give a shit what other mammals do. I cared about what was best for me and my babies, and nothing else really mattered. Good health care professionals should make the wellbeing of that particular mother and baby their priority, period.

  • Michael G. Lerner

    Typo: it’s Kveller, not Keller.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    How on earth can someone with a phd in biology be so damned brainless?
    No, my lactation consultants, even that really arrogant, pushy witch didn’t just grab me but that doesn’t matter. Even assuming Eschel’s experience was an outlier, she should be believed and not shamed further. Even once is too damned often and Bialik’s rant is ludicrous.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Because she is so agenda driven, common decency fails her. A simple “I’m sorry that happened to you; we need to do what we can to prevent it from happening to others”

      It’s not really that hard

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        True, but then my question was rhetorical

    • Sarah

      Your first sentence sums her up very well. Hugely intelligent and thick as mince, both at the same time. This is just the latest example.

      • kilda

        When Carson was running for president, someone said he was singlehandedly destroying the stereotype that neurosurgeons are smart people. Bialik is doing the same for PhDs.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Maybe that’s why I don’t like her so much….

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Gah. At the risk of sounding hipster, I knew about Carson loooong before his presidential run–I read his autobiography and he became something of a hero to me. During the run, this opinion evolved into “there’s no one I’d rather have operating on my kid’s brain, but NO PRESIDENCY FOR YOU!”

    • BeatriceC

      I can answer that. MrC has a Ph.D. in biophysics, and while I love him dearly, there are some topics that he just doesn’t get. It’s like trying to teach quantum physics to a 2 year old. And those topics usually have to do with interpersonal relationships or human behavior that exists on a continuum, not just black and white.

      • sdsures

        You are not alone.

    • AnnaPDE

      Haha, my pet question about this is, “are neurobiologists/surgeons the retired engineers of the medical world?”
      When I worked as a research mathematician, my boss was the Dean of the science faculty, so his name was on all the web pages about maths/physics/chem/bio research at out uni. Consequently, he was first port of call for all the crackpots having “discovered” how to square a circle, trisect an angle, that 7 is a sacred number, that there exist no irrational numbers, or disprove relativity theory, and his team got to write the answers to these letters. EVERY single one of these exchanges was with a retired engineer.
      Now, when I see massively crackpot medical or psychology/parenting stuff endorsed by someone with a life sciences degree, it seems to be someone having studied “neuro-something”, celebrity examples being Bialik and Ben Carson. Is this just my confirmation bias, or have any of you here noticed this, too? (I’d ask sociologist to investigate, but I don’t have the funds, plus no one of the people in question would trust their statistics… ;-))

      • sdsures

        My neurosurgeon always referred to himself as a plumber. My neurologist was the electrician.

      • Valerie

        Also Kelly Brogan, of recent posts.

      • Bugsy

        Just posted this above, it totally relates to what you have noticed.

        The girl I know who became a staunch anti-vaxxer / Mercola supporter/ anti-GMO advocate was someone with a bachelor’s in biochemistry. Pretty fascinating, because she never ceased to refer to her degree when touting her anti-science beliefs.

    • Bugsy

      I have no idea, but the girl I know who became a staunch anti-vaxxer / Mercola supporter/ anti-GMO advocate was someone with a bachelor’s in biochemistry. Pretty fascinating, because she never ceased to refer to her degree when touting her anti-science beliefs.

  • SporkParade

    What’s truly ironic is that the purpose of the article was to support the right of women to breastfeed in public. The author only told the story to explain why she personally has no experience with breastfeeding in public since she was so traumatized that she didn’t want to try breastfeeding with her next child.

  • swbarnes2

    So the evidence presented here is that not all lactation consultants are the same…there are at least two different groups. The gropers, and the ones who will minimize the gropers’ wrongdoing while advocating censorship of any criticism of groping.

    One ought to thank Ms. Bialik for clarifying that, I suppose. Though I suppose any LCs in the third group (the ones who find groping abhorrent, and want abusive practitioners identified and canned) might be less than grateful for her illuminating example, as the self-assuredness of her presentation leads one to the conclusion that she believes her group to be rather a large proportion of LCs.

  • Sarah

    I’m glad you flipped it round a bit, because Bialik’s bleatings reminded me very much of ‘not all men’ types.

    • MaineJen

      You’re right…we hear exactly the same kind of “I don’t want to hear about your bad experience, because it’s not something I’ve ever personally come across and I don’t want to believe it” from MRAs and the like when they want to minimize women’s trauma around harassment etc.

      • Sarah

        See also, not all white people.

    • J.B.

      Yepppp

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      It’s a Bofa’s Law situation?

      “When someone’s defense of a group consists of “not all of them are bad,” that is a sign that group has a serious problem.”

  • BeatriceC

    Late last Monday night/early Tuesday morning I presented to the ER with a severe sudden onset headache. Because I was unable to communicate effectively, they did not know that I have right side weakness normally and called a stroke code on me. Even in the midst of a potentially life threatening event, a nurse was at my head explaining everything that was happening, who was touching me where, and why it needed to be done. Later on, MrC explained to me that it appeared that nurse’s sole role in the code was to communicate with me and him what was going on as long as it was feasibly possible. Turns out I had a certain rare type of migraine, but they didn’t know that at the time and did what they had to do to make sure I wasn’t actually dying.

    If an ER team can run a code on a potentially dying patient and still behave ethically, a lactation consultant has no excuse.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      My ob was pissed when neither I nor my 2 support people had any idea who the young woman was who delivered my 1st. And that was just the introduction. They were careful to explain everything else. (He had office hours when I had BoyBard, and another doc in his practise oversaw the residents. His resident was carefully introduced but the other one was not. Not even sure who she was affiliated with or 100% that she wasn’t a CNM

      • Mishimoo

        As he would have been! The introduction and consent are important!!
        When I had student CNMs practice identifying foetal position and fundal height, without fail: they would forget to introduce themselves and ask permission to examine me. The supervising CNM would stop them abruptly, send them back to the door to knock, and start over (properly, this time!)

        • Azuran

          When I had my baby a few weeks back, the staff came over and introduced themselves at each and every staff change. They didn’t even wait until they had to do treatments, they just came over, introduced themselves and their position and explained what kind of care they would be providing for the duration of their shift. Even when it wasn’t the first time they took care of me, they still came over anyway.
          And everyone always took a very long time in explaining everything they were going to do, even when they did things that didn’t even need them touching me, like changing the IV bag or the fluid rate for my induction.

        • Roadstergal

          I’m glad the CNM was making it clear that this was as important a part of the practice as the actual exam!

      • BeatriceC

        See, I really like the way the hospital ran that code on me, even though proper introductions weren’t really possible. I don’t recall everything. Heck, I don’t recall most of it. I do recall my main nurse saying that a lot of people were going to be in the room and a lot of stuff was going to happen, and I recall somebody else telling me that somebody was putting in another IV, and that somebody was attaching more monitors, and that a person was doing this and that and the other thing. I also recall MrC asking questions and her answering them, though I don’t recall the details. Basically, that nurse was acting as a narrator, which really is the best that can be done in that type of situation. In any other situation, yeah, they really do need to introduce themselves and ask permission to touch you.

  • missnina

    I had something similar happen to me after giving birth to my son, after an excruciatingly long labour and three nights of not sleeping. The nurse brought my son over, pulled my gown down and started painfully and forcefully squeezing and trying to milk my breast while shoving my son’s face into my nipple. I was so shocked that she felt she had the right to do this to my body without asking for consent and felt less than human in that moment but I didn’t say anything to her in the daze I was in. I’m planning on exclusively formula feeding from birth with my next one and not letting any hospital staff near my breasts anymore!

  • Madtowngirl

    I really liked her for a while. But after reading some of the stuff she posts, I couldn’t believe how insensitive she was to people who had trouble breastfeeding. I had to stop following her. :/

  • Nick Sanders

    I already knew Bialik is an anti-vaxxer; I didn’t realize she was a horrible person in general.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      I would call her more a loud mouth vaccine hesitant parent since she does vaccinate her kids.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Except she has said, “We don’t vaccinate.”

        She’s snti-vax. Just disingenuous about it, like those “I’m not anti-vaccine just pro-safe vaccine” liars

  • snazzygina

    Bialik is a self important BOOB!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      But she has a PhD where she studied (IIRC) an obesity disease that originates in the hypothalamus. Therefore, she is an expert in breastfeeding.

      • Dr Kitty

        IIRC it was about appetite in Prader-Willi Syndrome, where chromosome 15 deletion causes changes in the hypothalamus leading to dysregukation of appetite suppression and overeating, in ways that are currently not very well understood.

        https://www.pwsa.co.uk/assets/files/About-PWS-pdf-article-About-PWS(1).pdf

        So, you know, not exactly applicable to everyday parenting.

        I worry more about her inability to consider that there is a bell curve for childhood developmental milestones for a reason, and when your kids begin to fall outside what is considered normal development, you should maybe get that looked at by a professional.

        Because as well as “everyone does things at their own rate”, things like spinal muscle atrophy, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and movement disorders exist. It’s not just about labelling a child as “delayed” and writing them off- which seemed to be her biggest concern about getting assessments- that someone might label her children as defective.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          It’s not just about labelling a child as “delayed” and writing them off- which seemed to be her biggest concern about getting assessments- that someone might label her children as defective.

          Oh no, it’s not about labeling her children as defective, it is about labeling HER parenting as defective. She can’t have anyone question her extreme attachment parenting (XAP). I mean, if that happened, someone might question her book, too.

          But I don’t think it is just about the money. The XAP is so much part of her identity that questioning it means they are questioning her as a person.

        • J.B.

          Having recently gotten my child labeled (for other things) I really want to smack people who say “don’t label your kid” because they really mean “it’s all in your head”. No, it’s not in my head. We needed more information. Now we have that information and are using it.

          • Beth

            yes – getting your kid labeled (aka accurately diagnosed) is very helpful. It means they can get appropriate treatments for whatever issue they have, as well as legal protections to ensure that schools meet their needs and don’t discriminate against them.

            People who don’t want to label their kid are usually in denial and don’t want to admit the kid has an issue.

            But like you said, information is helpful. Information is power. Sometimes we don’t want to accept reality – but there is just never a good alternative to facing reality.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            Exactly. my niece’s son was found to be autistic when he was two. She noticed that he was non-verbal and other issues when he was 1 but did not get a definitive diagnosis for a while. That got him into an early intervention program including occupational and speech therapy which has helped him enormously

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Aye; it’s not the label but how you use it. DH was a blind child. His parents did a pretty good job making sure the label remained the useful tool and not a millstone around his neck. No amount of positive thinking and don’t label my baby-ing would have taught him the work-arounds he needs to get through life.
            But for the love of little green apples, he doesn’t need help to cross the street or diaper his kids’ butts, no matter what the ignorant think.

  • Sheven

    Does Bialik realize that her response demonizes lactation advocates more than Escel’s essay did, or has the irony not sunk in yet?

    The essay was *about* how she wished more American women felt comfortable breastfeeding their children. How does it even . . . ? Hell with it.

  • Guest

    Jesus Christ, one of the most basic life lessons, one that people usually learn by age 5 or so, is that it is NOT okay to touch someone else without their permission. What a huge boundary violation.