Lactivist Prof. Amy Brown tries to euphemize lactivist bullying

Stop Bullying

In a brilliant deduction, lactivist Prof. Amy Brown has come to the amazing conclusion that women who are bullied by lactivists are harmed by the bullying.

There’s a simple solution to the problem: lactivists could stop using lies about breastfeeding — specifically the claim that insufficient breastmilk is rare and the massively exaggerated claims of benefits — to bully new mothers.

It is the breastfeeding industry that is bullying women and the breastfeeding industry that must stop.

Nah. That might require someone like Brown to take responsibility for her own bullying and she enjoys it too much to much to stop. Instead she has euphemized bullying, turning it into “breastfeeding trauma.” And I’ll give you three guesses what she thinks is the cure.

Good for you, you got it on one: that’s right, more breastfeeding support from breastfeeding professionals.

Brown is now traveling the world with a new lecture series. The title betrays her bias at the outset: “Breastfeeding Trauma? How can we recognize and support women who were unable to meet their goals?”

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The real question is: how can we stop lactivists from bullying new mothers? But that would require taking responsibility for bullying tactics. Brown would prefer to dump responsibility on new mothers for feeling bad about inability to meet “their breastfeeding goals,” when it is the breastfeeding industry that has created and relentlessly promoted those goals.

Brown displays her dogmatism at the outset:

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The goal is not the preservation of infant health, nor the preservation of women’s mental health. The goal is always and only to promote breastfeeding.

Brown’s research is spot on when it comes to identifying the feelings of women who could not meet relentless lactivist pressure to breastfeed:

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Who’s to blame for these feelings of guilt, failure and shame? Everybody in the universe except the lactivists that applied the outsize pressure in the first place, grossly exaggerating the benefits, and lying about the the nearly 15% incidence of insufficient breastmilk among first time mothers.

It’s the patriarchy!

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It’s capitalism!

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It’s society!

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It’s the formula industry!

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But those can’t be the causes because breastfeeding “trauma” is new and the patriarchy, capitalism, society and the formula industry have been around for hundreds of years.

What has changed? The emergence of a profession that monetizes breastfeeding and applies tremendous pressure to breastfeed while simultaneously lying about the failure rate and exaggerating the benefits. It is the breastfeeding industry that is bullying women and the breastfeeding industry that must stop.

In my view, this is the most important slide in Brown’s deck:

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It is meant to illustrate the failure of British women to meet breastfeeding goals, but it inadvertently shows something else: that lactivists exaggerate the benefits of breastfeeding to bully women.

Ghana is the country with the best breastfeeding record. In 2015 the infant mortality rate of those breastfed babies was 43.1/1000. The UK is the country with the worst breastfeeding rate. The infant mortality rate of those formula fed babies was 3.6/1000. The country with the best breastfeeding rate had an infant mortality rate 1000% HIGHER than the country with the worst breastfeeding rate. In other words, breastfeeding has virtually nothing to do with infant health.

If Amy Brown really wanted to reduce breastfeeding trauma, she would share that information with new mothers, but that will never happen. The truth is that in industrialized countries it doesn’t really matter to your baby whether or not you breastfeed; it only matters to the breastfeeding industry.

  • jane

    Oh FFS!! Trauma is stillbirth. Trauma is infertility. Trauma is having to return to work 2 weeks post partum. Inability to meet breastfeeding “goals” WHEN THERE IS PERFECTLY GOOD FORMULA! is not trauma and it’s an insult to women who have actually experienced childrearing traumas. A trauma-like reaction to inability to breastfeed in the US or UK signals a mental health issue CAUSED by lactivists. FFSSSS!!!!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I read something yesterday by someone who said, “Would trust someone who cuts you just so they can sell you a band-aid?”

      That’s lactivists.

  • Amy

    How does anything that makes biology LESS of a burden for women uphold the patriarchy?

    The far right is all about women breastfeeding, because that necessarily keeps them tied to their babies. It’s fine if, as I did, women want to breastfeed and seek out help to overcome any challenges they face along the way. It’s profoundly anti-woman to tie a woman’s worth to her ability to breastfed.

  • yentavegan

    We hold these truths to be self evident: Women who are otherwise healthy, who give birth to otherwise healthy infants are without exception able to produce ample amounts of breastmilk.Furthermore, their newborns, all things being equal, are born with the instinct to latch and suckle. The only thing necessary to stimulate these biological pre-wired behaviors is support and opportunity. Furthermore , only a maladjusted woman rejects the behavior to breastfeed. Mothers are divided into 3 camps. Healthy women who breastfeed unencumbered. Unhealthy women who can not breastfeed but who really and truly tried as hard as they could. And maladjusted women. This is the core belief of IBCLC’s, LC’s, lactavists . When a mother doesn’t try hard enough, even if she presents as healthy in every other facet of her life, we clandestinely or overtly categorize her as maladjusted and hold her in suspicion for all her parenting choices going forward. We simply can not accept that a normal woman, of her own free will, decides not to breastfeed.

    • ukay

      This.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    OK, from a scientific perspective, what are the implications of the data and how do they relate to her points?

    For example, “Smash the Patriarchy”
    How does that follow? Is she suggesting that the UK is more of a patriarchy than is Ghana? I though the UK was where most of the maternal care etc was carried out by midwives?

    Destroy capitalism? Is Ghana socialist? I was not aware. Meanwhile, the UK is more socialist than the US, especially in medicine, so how does that follow?

    Her talking points have nothing to do with the data she presents.

    • Tigger_the_Wing

      Silly. Her point is, as Dr Tuteur says, to distract from the fact that any trauma is being caused by her and her lackeys. She is doing the equivalent of pointing away and yelling “Look!” to divert everyone’s attention. If she’d done anything remotely resembling scientific research, she’d have put her hand up, said “Mea culpa”, declared lactivism dead and told her minions to find gainful employment.

  • CSN0116

    Every time I see these graphs, the UK sticks out to me and I fall in love with UK women.

    I don’t mean to simplify their lives, but the graphs basically always show that despite crazed institutional lactivism embedded within their hospitals/care centers, a lot of midwife and crunchy-led care, greater economic equality (than the US), restrictions on formula, generous maternity leave, baby visitors, and a host of breastfeeding supports — they’re basically like, “Fuck, it. I’m out.” And go on, unabashed, to do what they want.

    It’s adorable. I love it. If anyone here is from the UK, I’d love to understand, culturally, what is influencing this “naughty” behavior.

    If the UK can’t force women to use their bodies in “X” way for”X” amount of time, why is anyone else even trying? LOL

    • Tigger_the_Wing

      We have a tongue-in-cheek attitude to tradition, and a healthy disrespect for authority and for being told what to do. It starts in childhood and probably has something to do with school uniform – instead of competing with one another to dress in the appropriate fashions, we instead band together to see how we can best undermine the rules; like claiming our white socks are all in the wash, and turning up with coloured ones. Or rolling the waistband of our skirts to shorten them.

      I gather that a new St. Trinian’s film has been made; I recommend the old ones as a look at schoolgirl culture.

      • maidmarian555

        We used to all trash our school ties and pick threads out of them to make different patterns. I used to literally endure endless detentions because I refused to wear my long hair in a ponytail and would regularly ‘forget’ to bring any hair bands in with me. Looking back I’m not sure why I was so hell bent on not wearing my hair up, I think if the rule had been to always wear it down I’d have done the opposite! There would always be a group of us in detention for breaking the hair rules. Seems bonkers now!

        • lsn

          Not in the UK but school uniform is similar here. My husband spent most of his penultimate year at school avoiding his year level coordinator because he had the full metal hair thing going and was tying it back and hiding it down his collar at school. Just as well he did the hair then, he was shaving his head by 23 due to early onset male pattern baldness.

    • Daleth

      British culture has a long history of encouraging or allowing people to say, “Fuck it. I’m doing what I like.” That’s why the UK is known for its charming eccentrics–being eccentric, doing your own thing, is paradoxically enough a recognized and encouraged part of mainstream British culture.

      I remember a French friend of mine having his mind blown when, in London, we saw an employee of the London Underground, on duty in full uniform, wearing a hat that had obviously been specially made to accommodate his enormous dreads. It was a London Underground uniform hat (like a police officer’s hat in the US, a cloth hat with a little visor in front), but the cloth part was like 20 times the normal size–a sort of gigantic cloth balloon into which he could tuck his voluminous dreadlocks while on duty.

      French friend was marveling at that–in France, he said, that would never be allowed; if you wanted to work for an organization with such a uniform, you would just have to cut off your dreads. In France, people change to accommodate the organization. In the UK, it’s often the other way around.

      That being said, since I mentioned France, I want to point out that it’s also extremely normal to request a c-section or to not breastfeed there. A French friend of mine had no trouble getting a maternal-request c-section for her first (and so far only) child. Another French woman who’s a dear friend of mine is the only person who asked me, after I had my twins, “Are you breastfeeding?” All my American friends just assumed that I was. She alone did not assume, and asked the question in a completely non-judgmental way. And BTW she is a nurse in France.

      • CSN0116

        So when do they give up on these lactivist efforts? It’s getting them nowhere….

        • Juana

          So it’s obvious how Britain could increase its breastfeeding numbers: official policy must be to frown upon breastfeeding and disencourage it. The forbidden fruit…

      • Sarah

        It’s interesting to hear the hat anecdote. It seems strange to me that there wouldn’t just be a bigger hat for someone’s bigger hair. Doesn’t make sense.

        The French are well ahead of us on MRCS though.

      • Dr Kitty

        The French see the solution to religious symbols in public life is banning them, the British solution is basicallly to pretend you can’t see them.

    • Sarah

      Thanks!

      Although I’m not sure we have greater economic inequality than the US do we? It’s around the worst in Europe but I didn’t think it was as bad as the US.

      In terms of influences, I don’t know really. I can only speak for myself, and what happened there was that I didn’t want to breastfeed so I didn’t. I think maybe women do tend to do what they want to do. The women I know who did breastfeed, did it because they wanted to do it more so than because they thought it was a duty or whatever. It’s hard to say really.

      • Roadstergal

        My UK friend definitely thought it was obligatory, and thinks that formula is bad for your child, formula companies are evil, and formula moms are ‘lesser.’ She’d never say so in so many words, but it’s very clear what she thinks.
        I don’t know if it’s the region she’s in (I’ve heard it’s particularly woo-ish when it comes to birth and breastfeeding?), or her own little bubble, but it’s definitely The Only Thing in her circle of mums.

        • Sarah

          There are definitely women who think like that. Not a lot, but some. But I just mean even they tend to think of it as something they want to do.

        • I’ve told this story before, but when I was in the UK in the mid-70s, the Ward Sister would visit every new mum, mostly lower social class, and ask, in her plummiest voice, “Are you intending to feed your baby YOURSELF, or feed ARTIFICIALLY?” Very few women said they’d bottle feed after that not-so-subtle hint. But what I discovered, when on the district, was that the majority went straight to the botlle once they were no longer under Sister’s intimidating gaze.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        Is there the same pressure from other mothers as there is here in North America? I can’t imagine responding to any other mother who asked why I didn’t breastfeed “I didn’t want to”. That would NOT be acceptable. At the very least they’d get a baffled look. I’d feel the need to come up with an “excuse” had I not breastfed.

        • Sarah

          I live in a community with spectacularly low rates even for the UK, so I’m not one to ask! I do have a couple of friends in more affluent areas who’ve talked about pressure though.

        • Tigger_the_Wing

          There’s certainly a culture of ‘Mind your own business’ in the UK which seems to be missing in the US. Another example is religion – no-one would dream of asking another’s religious affiliation, even after years of friendship. We usually only find out by accident – perhaps when suggesting a date and time for a coffee, and the other replies that they can’t do that particular day because they’re at church/synagogue/temple/whatever.

          • FallsAngel

            It depends on the US state WRT religion. Out here in libertarian Colorado, people don’t usually ask. OTOH, people are not reluctant to say “my church”.

          • joe

            The worst thing to discuss is Religion. I tried on a few forums and was attacked by other posters in such a way that I will NEVER go to those forums again. You are right, do not talk about Religion.

          • FallsAngel

            I don’t like to talk on these religion threads.

    • Dr Kitty

      The new local BF promotion things is called “Not Sorry Mums”.
      It’s about not apologising for nursing in public.

      Presumably”Not Sorry” is because Nike has already got “Just Do It” and “IDGAF” wasn’t a good fit with the underlying message.

      I really don’t think the UK’s lack of BF it’s as much about women being anxious/afraid/worried about BF in public.
      I think most British women just don’t think the purported benefits are worth the effort it costs them.

      • Sarah

        Mmm, same. I have certainly heard of incidents of people being asked to move, tutted at etc but the impression I get from speaking to and having been out with breastfeeding friends is that they’re not very common.

        Certainly my reasons for not breastfeeding had absolutely nothing to do with what anyone else might think of me doing it in public.

    • evidencebasedbreastfeeding

      hmmmmmm……. (I’m from the UK)!

      I get what you are saying, but but but. Yes, the lactivism here is pretty full on and hard line. But I reckon this has the result that a whole chunk of women ignore it and get on merrily with what works best for them. but a whole other chunk are affected, quite badly – they don’t supplement, and supplementation was needed, and you get readmissions/jaundice/FTT etc. or the mum does supplement, and feels horrendously guilty for so doing.

      And all sorts of other weird problems, like the full on BF promotion that is here really has prevented clear communication on stuff like vitamin D supplementation, and giving iron rich foods (because HCPs are terrified of insinuating BM is not perfect). Rickets and anemia are under studied, because (I think) academics can’t get funding to study these things, because it might make breastfeeding not look good – so it’s politically unacceptable to investigate this or talk about it at conferences etc.

      And I think the hardline bf promotion in itself is responsible for low BF rates. because when mothers DO introduce that first bottle they then aren’t welcome at BF support groups, get dropped like a hot potato by their midwives, or get the impression they are “doing it wrong” and there is no point to BF now or they are ‘breaking the rules”. So of course that wipes out a huge cohort of women who could otherwise merrily go on to BF and FF (or BF even going back to EBF without the FF).

      So the bF promotion people even MORE look at the low stats, and then think the answer is to go even MORE hard line!

  • CSN0116

    So, I’m supposed to emulate the lifestyle of women in …Ghana. That’s a big no-go.

    Are we supposed to overlook the fact that the countries with the highest breastfeeding rates (on top of being terribly resource poor) are also places where women have very little choice – economic, professional, personal – and are often marginalized as second-class citizens?

    • borkborkbork

      Wait…I just read an article about how the WHO and several other organizations were fighting to promote exclusive breastfeeding in Ghana, where infant malnutrition is common and mothers almost always supplement with non-nutritive liquids such as tea or herbal broths.
      I do not know why formula is not used in Ghana, if it is high cost, lack of availability, lack of resources to prepare it, or just a cultural bias. A quick google search will turn up hundreds of articles about breastfeeding in Ghana and how all women there start out by breastfeeding, but quickly turn to supplementing with other liquids, especially since most women in Ghana must return to work shortly after giving birth. So does that even count? Lack of formula use does not equal exclusive breastfeeding.

      • namaste

        Totally o/t, but is your handle borkborkbork a reference to the swedish chef from the muppets? If so, you are my new favorite person.

        • borkborkbork

          Yes, it is. 😀

      • CSN0116

        That’s supplementation and “anything other than breast milk” for the first 6 months, so it should bump them out. Their line on that graph should not appear straight. It should dive-bomb down like all the others.

    • Roadstergal

      It’s like what we always say – breastfeeding is free only if women’s time is worthless. And if we’re second-class citizens, it is.

  • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

    I’m so sorry this happened to you and that the hospital doesn’t seem to want to actually advocate for it’s patients (you and your baby) This reminds me of an old saying we sometimes use at work “The beatings will continue until moral improves”

  • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

    oh goody another Huffpo writer doesn’t understand that breastmilk has now”special nutrition” jeez what a moron, aren’t writers supposed to do some research (also doesn’t seem to kow what organic actually means – hint it’s no more safe or healthy than not organic(such a stupid word):

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/malnutrition-children-1000-days_us_5a7138bce4b0be822ba16d1e?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

    “And then there’s the breastfeeding gap. Only 22 percent of U.S. infants are exclusively breastfed for the first six months, the standard that the World Health Organization recommends to ensure they get breastmilk’s special nutrition and built-in antibodies.
    The AAP and other medical bodies all point to breastfeeding as key to healthy, growing babies. Yet a lack of family leave, ingrained cultural preferences and insufficient support still put this goal out of reach for many American women.”

    There are good points in the article about lack of information and training about food labels and what foods are nutritious as opposed to what you just THINK is nutritious and also good info bout food deserts but it’s mixed up with some real BS. For instance:

    “Instead, at least 40 percent of parents introduce solid foods and sugary drinks to their children much too early.”
    Ok juice is not necessary for infants and toddlers. The only liquids my kid got were formula and water (she got plenty of fruit once she started solids) however the No Solids Before 6 Months is ridiculous (if by solids one means infant cereal and the purees meant for infants)

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      sorry that should read No special nutrition…

    • Casual Verbosity

      Sigh.

    • Tigger_the_Wing

      And more recent advice is to introduce solids – as tasters, not for calorie replacement – as early as they were when I was an infant, in order to prevent allergies.

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/05/babies-peanut-allergies-health-guidelines

      • Caylynn

        Canada still recommends 6 months +/- a couple of weeks for introduction of solids. Apparently 6 months is still early enough to help prevent allergies. See Nutrition For Healthy Term Infants by a large group of health professionals, including Dietitians of Canada, the Canadian Pediatric Society, and many others.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          considering the fact that i had to refill bottles for a second serving in one meal by 6 months whenever i didn’t offer solids, i’m pretty sure my daughter didn’t read the guidelines

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            Does any baby ever follow the guidelines? 😀

            Not one of mine would have been satisfied by milk alone by six months of age. They were far too curious about what we were eating. Besides, once they can swallow innocuous foods like baby rice, there’s no harm in giving them small tasters of other puréed foods. Mine were happy to eat normal adult foods with the rest of the family by the time they were a year old, astonishing a family friend who’d never expected to see a baby eat her hot chili con carne with such enthusiasm. It was also amusing to see the reactions of people in cafés when I had three under-fours happily munching on salads. Even today, as adults aged from 25 to 36, they are all food enthusiasts. Fortunately, none has a tendency to obesity; quite the reverse. My youngest son, at 5’7″, wouldn’t weigh 100lbs fully clothed and soaking wet.

          • It always amazes me that babies are supposed to like unseasoned food. With #3 (the one I should have had first), instead of cooking special “nutritious” meals, I pureed suitable foods I’d cooked for the whole family. It always was an unappetizing brown mess, but it was a tasty brown mess, and #3 thrived on it.

          • Allie

            My daughter likes hot, hot spicy food. Her grandma got her hooked on it as soon as she was interested in eating. Her cousins didn’t take to it, so when they don’t want to eat something they claim “it’s spicy.” That won’t work for her, so she’s gone with “it’s sticky” : )

          • I think that when the body craves spicy food, after an illness, it’s because the ingredients give something that’s lacking. More than once, after gastro problems have been resolved, I want nothing less than a nice curry, which would seem to be the last thing sensible to eat. It’s like the curative powers of chicken soup, which provides sodium, etc. which one can lose from vomiting or diarrhea.

          • lsn

            When I was doing a long charity walk I found myself craving bananas at every rest stop. I’m guessing I was losing sodium and potassium quite rapidly because every time I saw a banana it was an instant “must have NOW” reaction.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            boybard simply says he doesn’t like it.

          • BeatriceC

            MK used to suck on cooked, whole jalapeño peppers from about age 12 months or so. That kid still likes “burn your eyeballs out” level spicy.

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            I thought this as well, so I asked the NP at our last peds check up if I was allowed to season the baby food and she said not until he’s at least a year old! It’s one of the few times that I smiled and nodded during the appointment and then went home and completely ignored the advice. We don’t go crazy with spices or anything, but my little guy LOVES my homemade refried beans with a little pureed chicken stirred in.

          • CSN0116

            Mine were all on three solids feeds per day plus ~30 oz of formula by 4 months. We all good. Once they started eating 32+ oz of formula a day and weren’t satisfied by it, I introduced solids.

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            Exactly. Like yours, mine were getting solid meals by the time they could sit up by themselves. I was triggered to introduce solids when they started waking up again for a night feed, usually around three months or so. A bowl of baby rice at bedtime, made up with whichever milk the particular baby was on at the time, and peaceful nights again.

            I cannot think how anyone waits until six months before even giving them even a taste of anything else – how does a breastfeeding mother get enough sleep to be able to produce enough milk? In order to have milk with enough calories to satisfy them, I would have had to be producing cheese.

      • BeatriceC

        My kids were all introduced to solids at whatever age they seemed ready to handle them. The oldest was around 5 months or so, the second was about 6 months, but only 4 months adjusted, and the youngest was much later, I want to say around 8 or 9 months, but that would be 4-5 months adjusted for prematurity. And I think that’s exactly how parents should make the decision. Is the kid showing that they’re actually ready to eat them? Can he sit up and control his head (perhaps with a little back support)? Is he reaching for real food when people around him eat? Is he mimicking eating motions with his mouth? Has the tongue thrust reflex gone away? If so, then feed the kid food! If not, then wait and watch for all or most of those signs to appear.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          My eldest had scary-good head control, and was 3 days from 4 months old when he grabbed my apple and tried to gum it to death. Apple fiend

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        Yeah I was thinking the “EBF for the first 6 months” mentioned in the article was outdated…

        • lsn

          Because we had a premmie we got completely different advice for solids than my friends with term babies. Basically it was a midway point between birth date and 4 months, because the gut had been exposed to some variety of food for longer and the babies apparently want solids a bit earlier. My son was tube fed, so no idea if he wanted solids or not at that point though – he was still working on the whole breathing thing mostly.

  • Medstudentwithkids

    OT: does anyone know what evidence there is regarding BF and weight loss? Out of all the claims, I have no idea where that one comes from and every time a resident/attending says it to a mom I want to roll my eyes. My sister, who is already thin loses weight like that after delivery (she does BF) but me, my wife, and multiple friends hold onto every lb possible until we stop bf. In fact, I was somewhat forced to quit over the last couple of weeks (on a busy service, couldn’t pump much, and my milk dried up) and I was a little sad (I personally really like bf) until I realized I dropped 5 lb in the last two weeks on the same diet I have been on for a couple months now.

    • maidmarian555

      I’ve had exactly the same problem. Whilst I was BF, I couldn’t lose any weight at all. As soon as I stopped with both of my children, I lost over half a stone within a couple of weeks and my weight is now (FINALLY) heading back to where it was before I was pregnant. I’ve had a good number of friends experience the same. I found all the ‘if you BF you will definitely lose weight super-fast’ stuff coming (unsolicited I might add) from midwives and the HV really unhelpful. I have a history of disordered eating and had to fight my own brain very hard when the weight didn’t magically disappear. It made me feel really shitty and I wish they hadn’t said it to me as it was really hard to deal with mentally.

    • CSN0116

      Honestly, I think it comes from the fact that breastfeeding burns calories ..which it does. But it also REQUIRES a woman to consume more calories, which everyone fails to mention. It’s a wash, which is why there is no clear pattern of weight loss between BF moms and FF moms. Like every other BF claim, it’s a fucking crapshoot and dependent on 100 OTHER things.

      • There is also a hormonal aspect. Some nursing mothers retain a lot of water.

        • J.B.

          I sure did! Sweated out 10 pounds in the 2 weeks after weaning!

        • mdstudentwithkids

          Interesting. Maybe that accounts for the quick recent drop. I also wonder if women with tenuous supply have a harder time cutting calories and maintaining a supply. After thinking about it, I think that is a large reason I don’t lose weight. Increased appetite + sensitive supply. Once I stop it is much easier to eat less and I can do it without worrying about supply.

          • I am convinced that three of the causes of low milk supply are [1] maternal exhaustion, and [2] stress and worry about providing an adequate supply, and [3] anticipation of nursing being painful.

            That, of course, is if there is no organic reason [like insufficient mammary tissue] for not producing enough milk.

            Another is a very hungry baby. I’m sure my son wouldn’t have objected if I’d fed him steak sandwiches [pureed; no teeth ] at 6 weeks of age.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            I actually did puree a bit of steak for my kids at about those ages. No objection whatsoever. lol

    • Valerie

      According to this 2003 review, which has a section on lactation:
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14534032
      Results are mixed and full of confounding variables (like all breastfeeding research), and in the studies that do see an effect, the effect is small (~2 lbs more weight lost at 6 months postpartum). The effect may be more pronounced for women who practice “very intensive and lengthy” lactation.

      And this 2014 review:
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23892523
      Although they come across as very pro-breastfeeding, they conclude “The findings undoubtedly challenge the common belief portrayed across scientific literature that BF promotes weight loss. Overall, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that BF promotes greater postpartum weight loss compared with other methods of feeding.”

      So… not very strong evidence there. It makes logical sense that producing milk requires calories, but in practice, it’s not very helpful for reducing excess weight.

      • mdstudentwithkids

        Thank you very much!

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      I lost the exact same amount of weight with my ff’d kid as my bf’d kid. And was ravenously hungry all the time until I regained the weight. Good thing I didn’t actually gain that much when I was expecting.

    • Kelly

      I did lose weight by breastfeeding but I was always pumping more for the freezer. I always gained five pounds back after I quit. I did have to eat enormous amounts to keep up with it. It is the only time I could eat as much as I wanted and never gain weight. It was hard to break the habit after I stopped though and I have gained more and more weight after each baby.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      I lost weight rapidly, however I was not starving hungry as I’ve heard many women are when breastfeeding. I was able to eat a normal diet while breastfeeding so it made sense to me that weight dropped off. I sure got that starving hungry feeling in pregnancy though so I know it, and know how it absolutely can’t be ignored. I suspect these “hungry ladies” might be the ones who are unable to lose weight while BF?

    • lsn

      I lost weight, but I was (a) expressing and (b) under a huge amount of stress because my premmie baby was critically ill. So I’m not sure how much was milk production and how much was stress but it is the only time in my life I’ve been able to eat Tim Tams and lose weight!

  • Tigger_the_Wing

    I’m one of those fortunate women whose breasts started production in the third month of my first pregnancy (January 1981), and didn’t dry up until five years after menopause (surgical; 1995). I lactated non-stop for almost twenty years – and yet two of my babies were switched, after some weeks, to being formula fed. One at the same time as I was breastfeeding another. Huh. It’s almost as if mothers can take a case-by-case attitude towards feeding their infants, depending on their babies’ actual needs.

    We don’t need a cabal of busy-bodies telling us how we should be feeding our babies; they are completely unnecessary to the entire process, and should go and find something productive to do with their time. Well, at least until the ‘B’ Ark is ready.

  • Sarah

    Naturally she doesn’t stop to interrogate whether British women might have aspired to particular breastfeeding goals on account of the inaccurate and biased information we’re given in pregnancy…

  • Casual Verbosity

    I’m still trying to figure out how the formula industry is stopping women from breastfeeding. Infant formula isn’t even allowed to be advertised in this country (hence the development of toddler formula to facilitate brand awareness), “Baby Friendly” hospitals are everywhere, and even the formula cans are mandated to proclaim that “breast is best”. So how the hell is the formula industry meant to be preventing women from breastfeeding? I am genuinely curious. I would really love it if a lactivist could answer this for me.

    • ukay

      So is the totalitarian mindset. Inaccessible to reason, fighting an imagined enemy.

    • Merrie

      I think it’s because the formula industry is the only one addressing women’s concerns in a constructive way. If you feel like your baby isn’t getting enough, the formula industry will suggest supplementing, and lactivists will blow them off by saying they probably are getting enough because undersupply is rare. Lactivists will dispute this by saying that in suggesting supplementing, the formula industry is undermining breastfeeding. *shrug*

      I feel like there is this kind of alarming all or nothing attitude. I also note that after starting to give my kid some formula, and realizing that hey, this wasn’t so bad after all, I’m now up for beginning to give him even more formula. Which makes me pretty much a lactivist’s worst nightmare. To which I say I’d like to see them try to pump in my work environment without going nuts.

  • KeeperOfTheBooks

    1) Thank you all who have donated formula to food banks!
    2) If your local food bank has a policy against formula (mine does, not sure if it’s a breastfeeding thing or a liability thing, either way, GRRRR), consider seeing if there’s a formula/diaper bank nearby. There’s one near here that’s geared specifically to help low-income parents. A gap that often doesn’t get covered, for example, is when a mom buys Formula A, only to find that Formula A doesn’t work well for her baby, but she can’t afford to buy more formula ’til next month. This is bad enough when it’s a question of Enfamil (or the generic equivalent) vs Similac (ditto), but much worse when it turns out that the kid needs some special formula (soy? Non-dairy? *cringes* Alimentum?) because the regular stuff triggers vomiting/diarrhea/epic constipation/whatsit. So, this formula bank tries to bridge that gap, and seems to do a pretty good job of it with the resources they have.

    • Casual Verbosity

      Is that actually a thing? Food banks with a policy against donating formula? What the hell do they think formula is? Fertiliser?

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        To be fair, I don’t know the rationale behind that policy: it could be rabid lactivism, or could be a liability thing. Me, I think it’s a stupid policy because hell, from a liability perspective giving out any kind of food could be risky, and formula is so regulated it’s safer than most foods distributed there. They didn’t ask me, though. Sigh.

    • Allie

      Our local food bank (in Canada) not only accepts formula, they beg for it. It’s always on their top 10 list. It’s heartbreaking to think about.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Upvoted for the comment, not the content. No one should worry about how to feed their baby.

  • StephanieA

    This reminds me, we had an employee from WIC who wanted to pass out some supplies to new mothers at our hospital. The bags contained baby hygiene items and some formula samples. Well, our LC basically told her that wouldn’t be okay because we don’t want to ‘tempt’ the EBF mothers by giving them formula. Like holy shit, women are perfectly capable of making decisions and I always think it’s not a bad idea for new parents to have a small container of formula just in case! I can’t believe the women I work with have such a condescending attitude towards mothers (actually I can, I live in a county that overwhelmingly voted for Bush and Trump and I work at a BFHI).

    • Zornorph

      I got a package of goodies which included pads that I gathered were to ease sore nipples – how dare they give me something that I wasn’t going to use! I might have been tempted to put them on my nipples, anyway. Of I might have done what I actually did which was to give them to somebody who could use them.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Oh, like a normal human being? :p
        Seriously. The last time I had a baby, a friend had had a baby a few months prior. She’d had a bad time breastfeeding the last kid, so she’d laid in a stock of formula, but then found that New Baby was a very good nurser and that worked out well for them. So…she left a MONTH’s stock of formula on my porch.
        Funny. She’d had that stuff in her pantry for six months and somehow managed to resist its Evil Lure, while I, despite getting a Medela (breast pump brand) gift bag at the hospital, managed likewise to decide that nope to the nope to the NOPE, formula feeding it would be. Almost like adults are capable of making their own decisions, or something…? Weird.

        • Zornorph

          The nurse actually laughed when telling me the contents of the bag, given how ridiculous it was to be handing such things to a man. But I guess the bag was a set and they weren’t supposed to take anything out of it.

          • What? You didn’t breastfeed? Being a man is no reason to avoid your responsibility! At the least, why didn’t you hire a wetnurse???

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I would have laughed, too!

  • Russell Jones

    What the actual hell. The whole “let’s help these pitiful creatures who are unable to do what’s best for their children” thing is nauseatingly reminiscent of Bruno Bettelheim and all that “refrigerator mothers” horseshit.

  • KQ Not Signed IN

    OT: You guys have COMPLETELY ruined the song “LOVE SHACK.”

    RUINED.

    • Roadstergal

      *takes a bow*

  • Mel

    I enjoy the assumption that new mothers are as susceptible to the heady blandishments of formula advertisements* as I was at ages 3-7 years of age.

    Excuse me. I need to go buy my husband a Lexus for Christmas; there was an ad for that on a DVR show.

    *Where are these ads? I’m serious. I don’t remember seeing a formula ad during my pregnancy with Spawn. I did receive some samples of formula in the mail from Similac and Enfamil once my address reached some pregnant woman list somewhere. I stashed them in the cupboard and promptly forgot about them for several months and eventually donated them to a local food bank.

    • crazy mama, PhD

      I think I saw a formula ad once? back when we still had cable. Or maybe I’m thinking of the various diaper ads.

      I too received a few Enfamil samples and was happy to tuck them in my cupboard as an emergency / what if I go to the hospital / what if I get food poisoning again* stash. Shockingly, the presence of formula in my house has not caused me to stop breastfeeding.

      *I had a bad, needs-IV-hydration episode of food poisoning when my first kid was 12 months. Not surprisingly, it (temporarily) tanked my milk supply. He was eating plenty of solids by that point, though.

    • Merrie

      My sister, who is divorced and childfree, got some Similac samples in the mail. Go figure. I got some too, but I had actually signed up for them.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        snort. I kept getting AARP stuff in my late 20s.

      • Mishimoo

        One of my (childfree, American) friends received two full cans in the mail! After a bit of a giggle, she donated them to her local food bank.

      • A friend of mine, also childfree and quite dedicated to it, was not only sent a package with samples of formula and such, but they were sent to her parents house under her maiden name over 20 years after she moved out, and two marriages ago.

    • Casual Verbosity

      Many countries actually have laws forbidding the advertisement of infant formula. So the formula companies created toddler milks (which they are allowed to advertise) in order to facilitate brand awareness. That being said, even the toddler milk ads are on so infrequently you’d be forgiven for thinking they didn’t exist.

      • At Hadassah hospitals in Israel, formula is available — in unlabelled bottles so the mothers won’t know what company is supplying it.

        • Casual Verbosity

          In Australia we have a product that gets the plain packaging treatment – tobacco. Hadassah literally treats formula as if it’s tobacco. How messed up is that?

          ETA: Changed ‘we’ to ‘Hadassa’.
          I should also clarify that in Australia we don’t have plain packaging for formula, but there are plenty of people who think we should, which is beyond ridiculous.

          • I can see the point; the hospital does not want to appear to be endorsing a particular brand. What is important is that it is available.

            When my youngest daughter gave birth at Ein Karem last year, the maternity ward had been divided into two sections — those who essentially wanted a BFHI unit, or, as my daughter said, “those who’ve had children before” [and wanted at least a baby nursery for the occasional hour’s sleep, if not a supplemental bottle, or were formula feeding.]

            My daughter had to give EBM via bottle since she has completely inverted nipples, and several times lactation consultants asked her if they could help, but nicely. My daughter always replied that this was what her mother, a lactation consultant, recommended. [She didn’t bother to tell them that I gave instruction and support with breastfeeding before there ever were “LCs”.]

          • Casual Verbosity

            I agree that the main thing is that formula is available. That’s the first step. But putting it in plain packaging so that women won’t know who is supplying it still seems so condescending to me, as if women are so feeble minded to be convinced by pretty packaging or a cute name. And on a more practical note, how does one then pick a brand of formula when you leave the hospital without knowing what they were drinking in the hospital? I bring up that second point without ever having seen this plain packaging, so I don’t know whether there is sufficient information on the bottles for you to be able to figure out what type of formula it is if not what brand.

          • BeatriceC

            Wasn’t there a suggestion in England to give formula the plain packaging treatment? I thought I recalled reading that at some point.

          • maidmarian555

            Yep. The bill that Alison Thewliss tried to get through got bumped as the day it was due to be reviewed something major took up the time it was meant to be discussed (I forget what exactly). She’s still working on it though and it’ll probably come back again. It’s worrying as it’s the sort of thing that might make it through the house as everyone ‘knows’ breast is best ☹️

          • Casual Verbosity

            I fear that plain packaging would legitimise the formula = bad belief because in Australia the only thing that has to be in plain packaging is tobacco. Seriously, imagine the rejoicing cries of lactivists everywhere. Oh and whatever the UK does, Australia likes to copy…

          • maidmarian555

            Yeah it’s the same here. The problem is that the people driving it have clearly never experienced the confusion of standing in the formula aisle at the supermarket, trying to work out what it is that you need. Plain packaging absolutely won’t help with that (I have personally helped several confused women in said aisle since I’ve had my kids) and will only serve to stigmatise the use of formula and potentially drive people towards very unsafe alternatives. You can’t berate parents who choose to attempt home-made versions if you’re insisting that formula is treated and marketed in the same way that cigarettes are. People are going to make the connection (which I’m guessing is actually the point regardless of the fact they insist publically that that isn’t their intention). Formula marketing is already heavily regulated and if they want more women to breastfeed for longer, they need to actually listen to why they don’t. Every single survey I’ve ever seen that asks that question always comes back with ‘pain’ listed at the top and yet this is repeatedly ignored by lactivists. They don’t even make the attempt to differentiate between the different types of pain that puts women off, they just assume it must be something to do with being massive wimps and not being able to deal with the two weeks of sore nipples that everyone has to get through at the start. The ‘research’ that led the Bill that Thewliss attempted to push through contained a lot of comments by midwives, lactation consultants and breastfeeding mums supporting her position. The only negative voice was the formula companies themselves. It was horribly biased but I doubt anyone will give enough of a crap to push back against it if it turns up again. It’s the sort of thing that will unite both the right (hooray let’s keep women at home) and the left (hooray for nature and all things natural) with nobody actually thinking properly about the horrible consequences if it becomes law. And there will be consequences, but it’ll be the parents that get blamed, not the people demonising formula use.

          • maidmarian555

            In addition, there was a call for public consultation and they were asking for comments from interested parties/members of the public. I commented and asked to be contacted as part of the consultation and never heard back from them. Funnily enough. I don’t think they want to hear from mums like me who’ve found formula extremely useful. They just want people who agree with them to talk about why formula is dreadful and should be locked up with the cigarettes.

          • Who?

            Agreed-why plain package something that’s a nett good? Pretty much everyone agrees that the fewer people who smoke, the better, and plain packaging apparently helps with that, though I don’t know why or how.

            But if people want to feed their child a particular way? Honestly plain packaging on Maccas, KFC and soft drink would probably be the better move, healthwise.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            totally ot: NEVER name your kid Katherine Francis Collins. Katie will hate you.

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            Poor Katie, I sympathise.

            When I was a teen, it was called Kentucky Fried Chicken. Since my then surname sounded similar to tucky, I got nicknamed Ken.

          • lsn

            Hee. My sister’s initials were also KFC. I was not surprised when she changed her surname on marriage.

          • Casual Verbosity

            I think the logic with plain packaging for tobacco is that for years, tobacco was an image-related product. You smoked a particular brand because it said something about you as a person. If no one can tell what brand you’re smoking when you take a cigarette out of the packet, it discourages people from taking it up because the identity aspect is removed. They also added really grotesque pictures to the front on the packets depicting the consequences of smoking. So that may have been a turn off for new smokers, although established smokers said that they either become desensitised to the pictures or they put their cigarettes into a nice tin.

            Apart from the fact that we shouldn’t be discouraging formula feeding in the first place, formula doesn’t work on the same principle as smoking. It’s not an image driven product. In fact, there’s a lot of shame about formula feeding so as it is many formula feeders don’t want to make it known that they’re not exclusively breastfeeding. What it would do is legitimise the stigma – formula is so shameful that we can’t even allow it to be branded in case it tempts some poor impressionable young thing into eschewing the right path.

          • Casual Verbosity

            There was definitely a suggestion of plain packaging somewhere. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

          • BeatriceC

            Wasn’t there a suggestion in England to give formula the plain packaging treatment? I thought I recalled reading that at some point.

          • AnnaPDE

            I could see the plain packaging of hospital formula an effort not to seem biased towards a specific brand. I thought formula manufacturers were donating it in turns.
            Here in Australia it’s pretty unnecessary with the RTF: only Aptamil makes it and only for hospitals. The bottle I got had the name printed on it, but no fancy packaging.

          • maidmarian555

            I guess the problem might be that if baby gets on with a specific brand, you don’t necessarily want to switch? The midwives told me that switching brands was ‘bad’ but I have no idea whether there’s truth in that or whether they tell you that to make formula use as difficult as possible. Here in the U.K. there’s 4 or 5 brands they may give you in hospital so you would want to know so you didn’t switch and cause any tummy issues (if that’s true and switching suddenly can do that).

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            As with so many things, my impression from both my and other peoples’ kids is “it depends on the kid.”
            DD did well on Similac, so I never tried her on Enfamil. DS got very constipated on Similac, but was fine on Enfamil. In DS’s case, switching from Similac to Enfamil was a good thing, but switching the other way wouldn’t have been. My personal guess is that if you find one that works well, you’re unlikely to switch just because hey, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

      • AnnaPDE

        I’m not a fan of those toddler formula ads though. The ones a few years ago basically suggested that toddlers need it or their brains won’t have enough of the special nutrients they need to grow, and also that regular milk is harsh on toddlers’ digestion. Now that they had to tone down the health claims, they’re just blandly boring. Like, a bit snotty looking toddlers (whom their parents certainly think beautiful) doing boring regular stuff (that their parents certainly think achievements) set to cheesy music. I’m pretty sure those ads only work for the parents of the featured kids…

        • maidmarian555

          I think it’s one of those situations where ‘fixing’ a problem causes additional problems. I’m not a fan of them either but if they were to ban those, the formula companies would just focus on their other products (most of them also sell baby food etc etc) and you’d have ads where they’d make wild claims about the benefits of baby porridge and fruit purée.

      • mabelcruet

        In the UK we have ads for follow on milk only, not formula. And those ads spend 3/4 of their air time talking about how miraculous breast milk is. It wouldn’t surprise me if the supermarket baby formula aisle is policed by lactivist agents or if there’s warning signs up. Never had occasion to go down that aisle, I think I’ll have a look next time I’m grocery shopping.

        • Sarah

          I don’t think there are signs up. Or if there are I never noticed them, which suggests they’re not very effective!

        • Casual Verbosity

          Sadly I have heard too many stories of mothers being harassed in the formula aisle, so yes they are often patrolled by lactivist agents.

  • Zeldacat

    My mother’s goal was to feed her babies. With me, she breastfed for about six weeks or so, and then at her mother’s urging switched over to formula. This was the late ’70s. I’m fine. She breastfed my brother until he was about four months old and we had to fly somewhere. He took to formula right then and there since she wasn’t comfortable breastfeeding him on a plane (mid-80s) and had brought a couple of bottles. He wouldn’t go back to the breast so she was all like, “Well, fine then kid.”. This also meant that I was able to help out by feeding him which was a blast for 8 year old me, especially letting her get some extra sleep on weekend mornings. Our dad was stationed overseas for a year, so it was just e three of us.

    No kids here due to multiple reasons, but hey, people, feed your babies in whatever way works! Simple.

  • New Mom

    Rhetorical questions for which the lactivists would give no real response, only moving the goal posts…
    If breastfeeding is easy and perfect, why are lactation consultants even a thing?
    If breastfeeding is easy and perfect, why is the mere existence of formula such a threat?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Breastfeeding is natural, easy and free, and women who choose not to breastfeed just aren’t strong enough to stick to it, and therefore take the easy way out.

      See also: Vaginal birth vs c-section

      • Casual Verbosity

        Haha yep! Two of my favourite contradictions.
        “Breastfeeding is easy. Women who formula feed are lazy and taking the easy way out.”
        “Vaginal birth is easy. Women who have C-sections are lazy and taking the easy way out.”
        Funny how breastfeeding and vaginal birth are easy when they need it to be easy and hard when they need it to be hard.

    • The Kids Aren’t AltRight

      Didn’t you read those slides? It would be perfect and easy and free but for capitalism and the patriarchy.

  • fiftyfifty1

    This post reminds me of a previous post of yours using the weight loss industry as a stand in:

    Body image trauma?
    How can we recognize and support women unable to meet their goal of size zero?
    Describe the strength and range of emotions women feel when they cannot maintain a size zero.
    Utilise strategies for promoting size zero in a way that supports women who have had negative experiences with dieting.

  • BeatriceC

    That graph shows something else that they’ll never tell you. The lactivists blame capitalism and those evil formula companies for the breastfeeding rates, but the UK has some of the strongest anti-formula laws in the western world. Formula advertisement and promotion isn’t allowed even to the point where the money spent on it can’t even be used for grocery store loyalty points, let alone actual advertisements or coupons or free samples. Yet the UK still has the lowest breastfeeding rates. It’s almost like there’s something else going on here, but no, it has to be those evil formula companies.

    • ukay

      I am still waiting for those evil doctors who are BIG Formula shills and try to keep me from breastfeeding. My home coutry even has a national breastfeeding committee and a 91% initiation rate. How much more do they need?

      Also shouldn‘t the top 1 be Abu Dhabi, the country that made it mandatory to breastfeed for 2 yrs? Or does that not fit into the empowering narrative?

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    Goals? My only infant feeding goals was an assumption I’d breastfeed with kid 1, that kid2 would be formula fed, and that either way, they’d be weaned before toilet training. Nailed it.

    • Tigger_the_Wing

      Just wait. I’m sure there is a bored group of women somewhere, possibly guided by a childless man, planning to step in with toilet-training ‘Initiatives’ too.

      • ukay

        There is a movement of mothers shunning diapers. Just like the tribes of the Kalahari or so, they are instead holding their children over shrubs, toilets etc. when the facial expression says ‚poop‘. Maybe they can help, or better, „educate“?

        • Tigger_the_Wing

          Good grief. I dread to think what their homes are like, and I certainly wouldn’t want any of them to visit. Just imagine! Or, rather, don’t.

          • ukay

            Cannot wait for this movement to spawn a whole variety of baby poop consultants and „advocats“.

          • N

            Cloth diaper consultants already exist…. The other thing you describe, in french it is called hygiène naturelle I think, well… people who do it really like to talk to it to everyone interested. But you need a lot of time and constant vigilance to do it. So, not working outside the house, no toddlers or older children around, etc.

          • maidmarian555

            It’s called ‘elimination communication’ and there are, indeed, already consultants, books and videos that eager parents can purchase. It basically involves a lot of staring at your baby so that you can learn when they need to go. Quite how you can do it whilst taking effective care of anything other than your newborn is somewhat beyond me. Also, yuck.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            Yeah this sounds a lot like my friends who claimed their 1 or 1 1/2 year olds were potty trained…yeah No. You (generic you) have trained yourself to notice the kid has to go and swoop them up and put them on the potty. Funny story, we were trying to figure out why our almost 3 year old refused to be potty trained. Then I realized that her daycare was organized into age separated groups and she would be moved to the next classroom and away from her favorite teachers EXCEPT she had to be potty trained before they would advance her. She did not want to be moved… so she refused to be trained. And yes she is still this stubborn.

          • maidmarian555

            I’m quite glad they don’t do that at the boy’s nursery, they just move up the 2yr olds to the next group (which is probably a good thing as he keeps pushing the little kids over and trying to sit on the babies) so he’ll be in with other children who’ll be using the potty. They move them up by age so he’ll continue to move regardless of his development and I think that the social pressure helps (he’s been SO much better with eating unfamiliar food since we started sending him there as he sees the other kids eating things he would normally just chuck on the floor). I’m not too bothered about it, although I do see a bit of really weird competition between mums on the local forum (mine was fully trained by 2, mine by 18mnths, mine by a year!) but, as you say, I’m not convinced those babies are *actually* potty trained. I’d rather wait until he’s ready, have a couple of horrible poop-filled weeks and then be done with it.

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            I’m pretty sure that it is the parents who are being potty trained in those situations – it is a rare child indeed who actually has any bladder control before around two years of age. I started potty training all of mine in the summer following their second birthdays, during two-week camping holidays (where accidents were all on grass), and all were reliable during the day by the end of the fortnight.

          • maidmarian555

            My son will be 2 in April and we have a vague plan of making a concerted effort at some point when the weather is better and he can spend more time without a nappy in the garden. We have a potty in the house and have started taking him for a wee when we go so he can get to grips with what the point of the bathroom is but I’m pretty chilled about the whole thing. Obviously I want him to get there but I’ve seen friends really struggle and end up with months of sometimes-going-on-the-potty-sometimes-not mess because they pushed hard too early with it before their kids were ready. I also have a smaller baby who needs attention so I can’t spend hours staring at him waiting for specific facial expressions…

          • Kelly

            My friend’s mom had five kids and she said that all of her kids potty trained three months before or three months after turning three. After fighting with my first for over a year, I took that advice to heart and was able to potty train my second a few months before she turned three and I intend on waiting to do the same for my third one. I hope she actually will do it though because my third one is quit stubborn and will only do it if she wants.

          • maidmarian555

            We brought the potty into the house only because he’s started indicating he might possibly be heading towards being ready for it. He will demand that his nappy is changed immediately after he’s soiled it and he hides behind the sofa to poo. I don’t think he’s got anywhere enough control of his bladder yet for us to feel like we might want to properly go for it, but I wanted to have the option and the idea ready for when he decides that he is. I watched my friend really struggle with her (now) 3yr old as the MIL kept trying to potty train him (from something ridiculous like 15 months) whenever she was looking after him so he had this really disrupted introduction to it and it took him forever to get to grips with it. Even now he only sort-of half uses it properly and I don’t really want to put myself through that sort of struggle! Dealing with nappies is pretty gross but then so is fishing hidden turds out from toy boxes! Blurgh.

          • Box of Salt

            maidmarian, “I don’t think he’s got anywhere enough control of his bladder yet” – no reason not to poop train! Been there done, that. My first kid started using the potty and eventually the toilet for solid waste long before we could go diaper free. It was a good thing, and only took a small amount of encouragement in our case.

          • Kelly

            I started training my first at 18 months and it was a nightmare. I put my kids haphazardly on the toilet whenever they seem interested and tell them that if they pee or poop on it they get candy. It is a no pressure introduction to the potty and I know that when they are older, we will push it a bit more. My second took two weeks to potty train compared to the more than a year for my first one by using this method. I am not saying it is the right one for everyone but waiting later is also an option. I am pregnant again so changing the poopy ones sucks and we will start with my two year old when it gets warmer. I am hoping she will not fight me much and will want to be like her older sisters more.

          • maidmarian555

            Yeah I still think he’s a bit small. His language is improving every day but he’s not quite capable of having a proper negotiation yet (bribery doesn’t work at all). He quite likes coming for a wee with us and will flush the loo for me and wash his hands but when I’ve asked him if he wants to have a go on the potty or the toilet I get an emphatic ‘NO’. But also loud shouting about ‘POO’ every single time he even has a small wee in his nappy. Especially when we are out. And there are lots of people around. He’ll be ready eventually, I’m sure. I’m not too worried about it (although it would be nice to have one of them out of nappies).

          • Who?

            It’s horses for courses. I planned to wait until 3, but both mine did it themselves about 6 weeks after their second birthday ie demanding to use the toilet. The first one regressed a bit when second one was born, and we had the occasional accident when they were out or super busy doing whatever it was they were doing, but on the whole I didn’t toilet train anyone.

            That said my son-a notoriously sound sleeper-wasn’t dry at night until he was 5. At that age the urge to wake for the wee about 4.30am overtook the capacity to sleep through it. Was a 4.30 start an improvement? Not to my mind, but it did eventually get pushed back to a more reasonable hour. We would lift the daughter for a wee before we went to bed (between 10-11) but that didn’t work for him.

            My mother said we were all toilet trained by a year, but that seemed to have been either her watching like a hawk for cyphers and signs, or us being outside a big chunk of the day and things falling on the ground outside not counting as accidents. Mind you with cloth nappies and no automatic washing machines it might have been no harder to do it that way.

          • Kelly

            I wish mine trained themselves. I tried to start training my first at 18 months and it was awful. She did not have the capacity to hold it until she was almost three so that is why the second and third time I am just waiting. My friend had her kid in pull ups till he was almost four and he decided to finally not pee his pants. Honestly whatever works for the family should be what happens. It is the only time I really wish my kids were in day care so that they could train them the majority of the time.

          • Who?

            Ultimately, they will go to the toilet when they want to, not when we want them to. I vaguely remember someone’s child being really late, and there turned out to be a physiological problem which was then sorted out and hey, presto!

            Being around older kids might encourage some younger ones too. My son didn’t walk until 13 months, when we had a couple of weeks with a family who had a child the same age. I think it had never crossed his mind to try walking, but when he saw someone his size doing it, he gave it a go. Went straight to running, which again didn’t necessarily feel like a win. My daughter walked-then ran-really early, following him around.

            Agreed, pretty much without exception, what’s good for the family is good enough.

          • Kelly

            This is the child we had to take to physical therapy to learn to walk. The PT ended up saying she was quite lazy and stubborn. So, we shall see. I hate doing it when I have a timeline as I want her to be completely potty trained by the time we have the next one without a huge regression. We shall see I am worried but seeing as she is my third, if we have two in diapers again, oh well.

          • Who?

            You have a lot on your plate.

            Seems like you’ve had some good support in managing her, maybe tapping into that again if you can would be helpful.

            Big picture, it is best to not start battles you can’t win, and if she’s stubborn maybe her knowing how much you want it is enough to put a spanner in the works.

            Be kind to yourself, and her. These times will pass.

          • BeatriceC

            I didn’t do anything really all that special. With OK, what started out as a joke turned into full potty training. It was about a week or so after MK came home, and I ran out of the larger sized diapers for OK, who was about 26 months at the time. I made a smart alec joke about “OH NO! The diaper fairy forgot to bring diapers in your size!” and then said something about wearing underwear until I could get to the store and buy more, figuring I’d have a lot of laundry to do at the end of the day. He loved it so much that he stayed dry until that evening, and didn’t want to put on a diaper even after I bought more, and kept it up the next day, and the day after, and never did wear diapers again in the daytime. It took about another month before he was reliable at night. I forget how old MK was, but I want to say it was a few months before his second birthday. He wanted to do everything his big brother did and separate himself from his little brother as “not a baby”. Diapers were for babies and using the potty was for big boys. He basically potty trained himself and I went along with it. YK, well, I thought he’d be going to kindergarten in diapers at one point. I he was a little over 3 before he had even the slightest interest and much, much longer before he was night time reliable.

            So, that’s a really long way of saying that in general, I think you’re right about kids before age two, but every once in a while there’s an exception.

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            Oh, yes, there are exceptions – some kids do get precocious control compared to others. Not one of mine walked unaided until close to their first birthday, and a couple didn’t walk unaided until they were nearly two; but my neighbours’ lad took his first unaided steps at seven months, straight into the delighted arms of his terminally ill grandfather (who died a week later). I used to mind the boy along with my newborn baby, and he was a real handful!

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            Sounds like my youngest sister’s stubbornness. When she was old enough to ask why her older siblings were going to school, my mother unthinkingly replied that school was where we went to learn to read and write (never mind that we’d all been able to do so for years before we started). My sister stubbornly refused to read or write from that day forward, in case anyone should stop her from going to school. Of course, that didn’t stop us sharing books with her all the time.

            She started school in due course, and ‘learned to read’ in phenomenally short order. Given that no-one goes from illiterate to fluent in their first week, it was obvious to all of us that she’d been pretending she couldn’t read!

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Not sure why boybard isn’t trained, except that perhaps he doesn’t want to be bothered. It’s annoying. 🙁

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            My advice, for what it’s worth, is don’t be bothered either, then. Put everything away, and try again when he’s forgotten all about it. It isn’t a competition, and one day he’ll get the ability to control his bladder and the urge to be rid of his nappies. I understand it’s disappointing when you still have to deal with nappies long after you would have hoped to be parted with them; one of mine didn’t get dry at night until eight years of age. It happens. Nothing to be done about it – neural connections don’t respond to disappointment, unfortunately.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Sigh. Its just that he’s 4 now. I know that he’s not able to hold it over night and that he can’t help that, but the day time stuff? sigh

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            You have my sympathy, truly. It’s tough enough when they aren’t able to hold it at night. All the dragging-to-doctors, all the books on potty-training, all the carefully-timed-bedroom routines, all come to nought. So there’s all the bedding to be washed (I’ve not met a nappy that can hold big kid pee), all the middle-of-the-night showers, all the desperate reassurances to the kid whilst hanging on to a calm demeanour when your brain is about to crack…

            It’s funny how toilet training works perfectly for some, and not for others. There’s no ‘blame’ to apportion, no quick fixes. Just patience and hope, and those can wear very thin. Blame evolution for klutzy biology. Blame our fishy ancestors for not caring when and where they peed; couldn’t they have spared a thought for their intelligent descendants, living in houses?

          • kilda

            but I do hear sphincters respond to encouragement. 😉

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            It very much depends on the child. Heaven forbid you have a congenital smartarse.

            One of mine was reliable during the day shortly after he turned two, but I kept him in night-time nappies anyway, just in case of accidents. About a week went by with dry nappies at night when I suddenly got faced with pooey ones. After a few days, I told him “I don’t like cleaning up poo.” His reply? “Well, you’ll just have to stop putting me in nappies, then.”

            Hyperlexic smartarse 1: Mother nil.

            But I’m getting my own back. He is father to three little girls, all smartarses. 😉

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Congenital smartarse, check. He calls me Daddy half the time for reasons known only to himself.

          • joe

            Karma is a bitch.

          • Zeldacat

            To be fair I’m told it was very very obvious when I was a baby when poo was happening. But I don’t think either of my parents would have dreamed of doing anything like that.

        • Lilly de Lure

          I’ve read about them online – considering they also advocate co-sleeping alongside the no-nappy thing I’m still half-convinced the whole idea is some internet troll’s idea of a joke that has subsequently got out of hand.

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            Good grief. I do hope no child loses their life because of a joke.

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            I think I say ‘good grief’ too much. I blame Peanuts.

          • The Vitaphone Queen

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cd715b96f3a1a33ceb6126d8d646984606a2df111b50bc86c5f66a7c61b2ca96.gif
            Sorry the bottom is cut off.
            And yes, off topic, I just wanted to cheer Tigger up.

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            Thank you! And I clicked on the link to your comment, not knowing the context, whilst eating a handful of the very legume. I nearly dropped them – I think that the cat would have been very pleased if I had (he likes to lick the salt off them).

  • momofone

    “How can we recognise and support women who were unable to meet their goals?”

    Perhaps by asking first of all whose goals they really were.

    • Charybdis

      According to lactivists, all mothers have a breastfeeding goal, they just don’t know it until someone tells them and “educates” them ad nauseam about breastfeeding.

    • Merrie

      I think that people totally have feeding goals, but they may not look like what the lactivists think they should.

      I EBFed my first two kids and pumped at work until they were one… and hated pumping at work so very much. My feeding goal with this kid was “breastfeed for a while and then see what happens when I go back to work” and when I did go back to work and discovered that he’s a bottomless pit and I can’t keep up without doing a lot more pumping than I want, that quickly got revised to “give him some formula if there isn’t enough pumped milk available when I’m at work and continue to maintain supply so I can nurse when we’re together” and now has been revised further to “maintain enough supply so I can nurse at least some, but quit pumping at work because pumping at work totally blows”. With a side of “find a formula he will take that doesn’t make him spit up a ton”.

      If I manage to wean from pumping at work and this leads to destroying my supply to the point where he doesn’t want to nurse at all and we end up going 100% EFF, I’m prepared to deal with it, but it’s not what I’d prefer.

      I think really the necessary conversation needs to involve how to help new parents roll with the punches with a baby. Things are not always going to go as planned or hoped and that’s okay.