Milk Meg and the normalization of infant starvation and maternal exhaustion

word dystopia printed on paper macro

I have an advantage over most of you, including most lactation professionals. I’m old enough to remember when neither infant starvation nor maternal exhaustion were touted as “normal.”

I did my medical training — and I breastfed my four children — before promoting breastfeeding was deformed by lactation professionals into dystopian efforts to force women to breastfeed regardless of their wishes and regardless of the consequences.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]As the harms of aggressive breastfeeding promotion have become more common, lactation professionals have devoted themselves to normalizing those harms.[/pullquote]

What do I mean by “dystopian”? A dystopian society is one in which oppressive social control is required to support the illusion of perfection. Sadly, contemporary lactivists imagine that oppressive social controls are required to support the illusion that breastfeeding is perfect for every mother and every baby.

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (a truly dystopian name for an initiative that often harms both babies and mothers) is the paradigmatic example of contemporary lactivism. It involves mandatory education efforts, muzzling of providers, locking up infant formula and forcing women to sign consent forms detailing its “dangers.” Even worse, because lactivists cannot admit that breastfeeding is anything but perfect, it has led to a rise in serious iatrogenic complications including infant dehydration, starvation, brain injury and even death.

The BFHI is an institutional effort but the regime, like any dystopian regime, has many enforcers in the form of lactation professionals who make their money by promoting breastfeeding. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with the concept of lactation professionals. It is perfectly reasonable for some women to make money offering education and support that many women want.

The problem occurs when lactation professionals forget they exist to support women and babies and imagine they exist to support a regime of universal breastfeeding. Sadly, as the harms of aggressive breastfeeding promotion have become more common, lactation professionals have devoted themselves to normalizing those harms.

How do lactivists normalize infant starvation? They:

  • Lie about stomach size
  • Assert cluster feeding is normal
  • Insist poor weight gain is acceptable
  • Claim “one bottle” can destroy supply
  • Tell women to ignore pediatricians who are concerned

A hungry baby is one who cannot settle and wakes up repeatedly through the night to feed. Thus lactation professionals have been forced to normalize maternal exhaustion.

Meg Nagle has become a world leader in normalizing both infant starvation and maternal exhaustion. That effort is encapsulated in her motto, “Just Keep Boobin’.” It is meant to encourage women to keep breastfeeding no matter what happens, to never question whether a baby might be starving, and to always ignore her own needs in favor of breastfeeding.

Meg has a nearly endless supply of memes and I encourage you to look them over. Nearly all reflect her desperate effort to normalize infant starvation, maternal exhaustion or both.

Normalizing infant starvation

The frequency in which your baby feeds is not an indication of how much milk they are getting.

And:

A baby who is unsettled after a breastfeed or feeding constantly will not autonomatically need formula…

And:

Yes I’m eating but … You do know that I’ll still want to boob every five minutes right??

And:

A schedule of breastfeeds every three hours is often not looked at fondly by your baby. Why? Because babies breastfeeding for so many reasons than just hunger…

And:

The amount you pump is not an indication of how much you make or how much your baby receives.

And:

Don’t worry about your baby’s … feeding cues. The second they make a peep … just breastfeed them.

Normalizing maternal exhaustion

Feeding your baby back to sleep. Not a mistake, the biological norm! Most babies will need a mid-nap breastfeed and frequent feeds during the night. For months or years.

And:

I finally discovered the three easy steps to breastfeeding: Cancel everything else in your life. Lay down topless on the couch with your child. Stay there for 2 years.

And:

Babies do not need to learn how to fall asleep on their own. They need to fall asleep with … some boobie.

And:

Your baby is not “using you” as a pacifier. A pacifier takes the place of what normally happens at the breast.

And:

Mothering THROUGH breastfeeding at night is the biological norm.

And:

Instead of asking her, “Is your baby sleeping through the night?” try, “is your baby breastfeeding well through the night.

And:

Is it normal for my toddler to breastfeed all the time day and night? Yes. The end.

It goes on and on and on and on. And just in case you were unclear that Meg is trying to normalize infant starvation and maternal exhaustion, she helpfully includes the word “normal” and even the hashtag #normalizenightwaking.

In the dystopian novel 1984, George Orwell introduced the idea that vocabulary has the power to control thought. In 1984, the government, in an effort to control citizens and force them into submission, perverts the meaning of common words and phrases to promote approved views and stamp out unapproved views. The classic example of this effort is the following quote:

War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.

In the current lactivist dystopia:

Frequent, frantic efforts to take in enough nutrients is “bonding.”
Sleep constantly broken by hunger is “soothing.”

Orwell also said:

Orthodoxy means not thinking – not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

Meg and other lactation professionals don’t need to think; they’ve been told what to think in order to maintain the oppressive social controls required to support the illusion that breastfeeding is perfect for every mother and every baby. Lactation professionals reflexively and unconsciously normalize the abnormal … and that includes normalizing infant starvation and maternal exhaustion

  • Anion

    Older post, but that infantilizing , condescending use of “boob” instead of “feed” or “nurse” is infuriating. “I just want to boob, Mommy!” What garbage. Babies do not “boob.” Adults do not “boob.” “Boob” is a noun. Mothers of infants are not themselves infants, ffs.

    I’m so annoyed by that I’m having a hard time even expressing myself.

    ETA: And no, actually, I don’t think it’s normal for a human toddler to be breastfeeding “all the time day and night;” I wouldn’t think it was normal for a human toddler to be doing nothing but drinking breast milk or formula from a bottle day and night, for that matter. A toddler should be getting nutrition from other sources, not just milk. Is Meg encouraging people to exclusively breastfeed long past the time where that provides enough nutrition? Wouldn’t surprise me.

    • rational thinker

      Then they are surprised when their kid gets rickets.

  • kilda

    Milk Meg is so weird, with her obsession with breastfeeding. It’s kind of creepy and pathetic. I mean, my kidneys filter my blood all day long, and if you know the ins and outs of how that works it’s really amazing, but you don’t see me bragging about it all over the internet, or making the entire purpose of my existence focusing on this rather cool thing my body can do.
    Yes Meg, the human body is pretty cool. Now can we move onto talking about literally anything else besides this one bodily function?

    • Cristina

      Kidney Kilda has a nice ring to it…

    • momofone

      And if your kidneys don’t do their cool thing, you die. You can live a long and happy life never breastfeeding.

  • Ayr

    My son was bottle fed from day one, he started sleeping through the night at six weeks because he got what he needed during the day. The first lactation consultant I had at the hospital was very pushy and couldn’t understand why even pumping produced nothing and my son was unable to feed. She said I wasn’t trying hard enough or often enough, she even suggested he was tongue tied and that was why he couldn’t feed. The second one was more down to earth and realized I am one of those women that just does not produce enough milk ,if any, and said it was a good thing I didn’t listen to the first one and gave my son formula despite what the first lady said.
    I am continually amazed at the number of women and doctors that think to breast feed is the end all be all of motherhood and that our entire lives should shaped around breast feeding. I am so sick of seeing posts about how much someone pumped at work or how they totally breast fed their two year old in public. I also am amazed at the number of people who think it is totally OK to whip one out in public sans cover to feed their child. Please, please cover yourself, I don’t care that you are feeding your child, but I don’t want to see your body parts.

    • demodocus

      Meh, the last part doesn’t bother me much beyond my own uncomfortable memories of bf’ing. Quite a few babies freak out over being covered, like a friend of mine’s elder son.

      It’s the -flaunting- some of these folks do that’s a problem to me. And the weird congratulations I got sometimes. My son slept through the night really early, too, and he definitely got enough.

      • Ayr

        Maybe it bothers me because I am very self conscious, and I hate the flaunting too. The I dare you to say something looks.

        • AirPlant

          99 percent of breastfeeding women are just trying to get the job done with as little fuss as possible. Most of my breastfeeding friends nursed pretty much continually when we were together and once the baby stopped being newborn floppy I didn’t even notice when a feeding started.

          And then there is that one girl. After the birth of her first child she became boob crazy. Multiple daily facebook posts about her boobs and the power thereof. Eternal martyrdom about people or business who wronged her for breastfeeding in their proximity. Constant masturbatory posts about how her boob milk was making her baby into a perfect physical, psychological and emotional specimen. Incidentally she had low supply and her kid was in and out of the hospital for weeks with complications and she ultimately dried up entirely at three months. I feel guilty for taking joy in that but if it hadn’t happened I can only imagine the smug bullshit I would have had to listen to. Instead I got weekly self- flagellation about how by feeding formula she was functionally poisoning her baby and how no real mother would ever choose what she was forced into.

          So I am perfectly comfortable with breastfeeding, covered or not. I am uncomfortable with someone making breastfeeding their identity because that shit gets real weird.

          • Ayr

            Most of the women I know who can BF are like that one girl, the constant martyrdom and the post about pumping and how much milk they produce. They are also the kind who will be visiting you at your house and when their child is hungry, they undo everything leaving one hanging out then walk over to the child, pick it up, and sit back down, then take five minutes or so getting the child into the proper position. Then take selfies while the baby is feeding. And never ask once if you would prefer them to cover up or if there is a room where they can go feed their child. I don’t mind women being uncovered while breastfeeding is actually taking place, it gets hot under covers and who in their right mind would want to do that to a baby, I just don’t want to see another woman’s boobs. I think women should cover themselves up while the child is not feeding until they get everything back in place.

          • rational thinker

            I understand how you feel. Our society is breeding more of the attention seeking types, everything has to be posted on face book or twitter. The word selfie is even derived from the word selfish. I personally don’t even allow my teenage son to take selfies or have a face book account. Other than that im not at all strict and my son has no problem with that rule. The ones that do have everything exposed in public are seeking that attention and they love having a law to back them up so its easy to win the argument. Its another part of the selfish culture. Many women breastfeed in public and you don’t even realize they are doing it, its called being discreet and self respect and many of them do it without a cover. If we are talking about a 2 year old toddler breastfeeding in public then that child can wait until they get home. Also I have heard women complain cause a store has a comfortable private nursing rooms for customers that is NOT a bathroom and they are offended by this cause they want to be seen exposed in public and start trouble.

          • Ayr

            Thank you! You put it so much more eloquently than I could. The attention seekers are the ones I have issues with. They complain about not having anyplace but a bathroom to breastfeed in and complain when the room is not a bathroom, I wish they would make up their minds. Kudos to you for not allowing FB, kids do not belong on social media.

          • rational thinker

            I was reading articles and comment threads one time about nursing in public and they were talking about how they will not be forced into bathroom to nurse. Then I read a post about how she was in either a toys r us or babies r us and she sat down in the aisle and started breastfeeding. Then an employee approached and asked her if she would like to use the more comfortable nursing room for mothers. She said no and stayed in the aisle and I think she said she also had two other kids roaming around the store too (unsupervised) also I think she said she reported the employee. Then in the comments they all start with how dare they and we can nurse where we want and saying how they were trying to put the nursing mom in a closet to hide her and I think they either did or were trying to organize a nurse in. So it seems the attention seeking ones will complain even if it is not a bathroom because the whole point was to be seen in public.

          • mayonnaisejane

            Meanwhile the employee is thinking “Geeze lady… I just thought you might like to go where you can have a CHAIR.”

          • rational thinker

            Yeah I think that was all that was meant by it. Its obviously uncomfortable to sit on a hard floor and breast feed. If I was in there bottle feeding my baby on the floor I would like to be offered to go somewhere more comfortable.

          • Ayr

            It’s a symptom of our narcissistic society. We have become selfish, self-centered, and needing of constant approval, social media just feeds that need to one-up each other.

          • rational thinker

            Exactly

          • guest

            I strictly formula fed and used the nursing room at Toys r us more than once. Much more preferable than sitting on the floor. I took advantage of any store that had a separate feeding area for babies.

          • NoLongerCrunching

            I support any woman’s right to bottlefeed with formula and use pacifiers in public. I would like the same respect for a mom quietly breastfeeding her two-year-old in public. It’s not the two-year-old’s fault that our society has sexualized breasts; making him wait until you get home, when you would not make a child wait to use a pacifier until they get home, sends a message that there is something shameful about it.

            I am not for flaunting it or acting like a martyr, but I don’t appreciate being expected to not comfort my child in public the way he is used to just because some people are uncomfortable seeing it.

          • rational thinker

            I only meant that if a 2 year old is hungry they are also eating solid foods at that age so a small snack could hold them over until they are home.

          • NoLongerCrunching

            I understand. But at that age it’s more about comfort than food; for example if they get hurt, it’s a good way to make them feel better quickly. One could argue that they need to develop other ways of soothing, but that happens over time and not all two year olds have developed that skill yet.

        • AnotherOor

          You know what, my babies won’t feed under a cover. I’m not comfortable exposing myself but babies gotta eat. And yeah, I dare you to say something, because I’m already feeling vulnerable and exposed and dirty looks or rude comments are the last thing I need.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Yeah, some women like to be theatrical about it but I bet a lot of the “I dare you to say something” looks are actually “Oh God, are you about to say something? Please don’t, I feel a little weird about this too” looks.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Ew, I don’t have any kids yet and so have not breastfed but I think I would feel weird about being congratulated about it! Like…um, why are you talking to me, this is between me and my baby. Butt out, I’m just trying to do my thing here and am not asking for an audience or your opinion. It’s not “normalizing” it if you’re drawing attention to it. There are many things that I think are fine to do in public and do do in public and still have no desire to discuss with strangers.

        • demodocus

          And to a near stranger, at that! The last time someone asked if I was still breastfeeding, I told her “No, I gave up the habit 35 years ago.

      • Yeah, one time I was pumping (in a BATHROOM, oh horrors), and a lady came and congratulated me on doing such a great thing for my baby; she meant well, and I said thanks, but I mostly just wanted to sink through the ground with embarrassment.

    • Sarah

      They probably think that because it actually is totally ok to whip a breast out in public without a cover to feed a child. Lactivists and I have very little common ground, I ff mine through choice, but on that point they’re correct. You have the right to whatever feelings you like about that behaviour, they have the right to engage in it.

      • Ayr

        I’m not saying they don’t have the right, maybe if they cover themselves until the baby is actually latched on and then remove said cover once the baby is actually feeding…I don’t know maybe I’m just a prude. I wouldn’t feel comfortable whipping one out in public without a cover even if I could BF.

        • Sarah

          That’s fine, you don’t have to feel comfortable with the idea of doing it yourself. And certainly no breastfeeding woman has an obligation to feed uncovered any more than they do covered. They can breastfeed in a tutu and cardinal’s hat for all I give a shit. But it’s absolutely ok for a woman to show her breast whilst feeding her child in public, including whilst they latch, so that’s probably why lots of people do it and think it is.

    • AnotherOor

      Neither of my babies would feed under a cover, so maybe just don’t look?

    • MaineJen

      Sometimes ‘just use a cover’ doesn’t work. Babies wiggle. Maybe you could cover your eyes?

      I certainly don’t think BFing is the end-all, be-all, but I’ve just as certainly breastfed my kids ‘in public’ (e.g. in waiting rooms or coat rooms), and I didn’t do so for the pleasure of exposing myself. I did so because they were hungry, and no one likes a crying baby.

      • Sarah

        In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if your baby or toddler is crying in my earshot and you can shut it up by breastfeeding it, I actively want you to do so.

      • Ayr

        I didn’t say just use a cover, I said ‘Please, please cover yourself‘. Meaning keep yourself under cover until the baby is latched and feeding, after that, I don’t care if you have a cover on. Then replace the cover once the baby is done until you have yourself back in place.

        • MaineJen

          Part of me is tempted to ask why the fleeting sight of a nipple is so disturbing to you.

          Reading below, I recognize your exasperation with the militant ‘I dare you to say anything’ breastfeeding-in-the-aisle form of breastfeeding in public. I share your exasperation!

          Recognize: MOST of us who do it, try to do it as discreetly as possible. Sometimes babies wiggle, and we fail at the ‘discreet’ part. And those covers are sometimes more trouble than they’re worth. Personally, I always kept my shirt covering the top of the boob, and the baby covered the bottom part, so all you’d see would be the back of the baby’s head.

          But really, it shouldn’t matter. If it bothers you that much, just…look away.

          • Ayr

            I don’t have an issue with those who are discreet, just like you said the militant ones. I know a few women who you would never know they were breast feeding in public, but I also know quite a few of the militant sit in the aisle types too. I do look away, but my two year old is incapable of doing so and points going ‘what’s that?’ very loudly. I think the militant ones sometimes forget that there are children around who do not understand the concept of breastfeeding, or others who are incapable of looking away for one reason or another. And as much as they want people to respect their choices and be sensitive to their needs and the needs of their child, they are not showing respect or sensitivity towards others with their actions. It all goes back to our narcissistic society, and the drive to constantly be the center of attention.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Why not just explain it to the child? If a woman is breastfeeding in public, I’m guessing she’s not going to care about hearing a child’s question or a parent’s answer about it (or at least it would be awfully silly if she did). Very young children are certainly capable of understanding breastfeeding–a great many of them see their mothers do it with their younger siblings.

          • MaineJen

            I have done this with my own daughter. We encountered a BFing mother/baby in the waiting room at her doctor’s office when she was about 4, and she loudly asked “Mom what are they doing??” No problem! I explained to her that the baby was eating, and that she used to eat that way when she was a baby, too.

            The mom herself didn’t mind at all, either. Really, it doesn’t have to be a big deal!

          • StephanieJR

            I’ll be totally honest and say that I would be uncomfortable watching someone breastfeed, in public or not. But this is because I’m uncomfortable with a lot of things in public; I’m not a fan of PDA either, or watching people eating, or other stuff. I’m also aware that none of this is my business, and that while I may feel squirmy about it, I have no right to say or do anything to make them feel the same way. I might get embarrassed, but I wouldn’t shame anyone that was breastfeeding (now, if they were being ‘liquid gold, boob milk is superior, I’m better than you’ assholes, I might shame them for that, whether they’ve got a baby latched or not). It’s my issue, not yours.

            And a screaming baby makes me far more uncomfortable than a breastfeeding one, so you do you.

          • namaste

            Yeah, I feel the same way. Not a fan. However, I am an adult; I can avert my eyes and look elsewhere. As for shaming, I might add the “Just squirt breastmilk in their eyes” nutters when their babies develop the eye infection that the eye goo they give in the hospital is supposed to prevent.

        • Petticoat Philosopher

          I get being annoye at women who act like they’re freakin’ Rosa Parks for breastfeeding in public and seem to cultivate the drama of people’s objections. (I also don’t like it when people act like there’s something wrong with a woman for desiring to be more modest when breastfeeding because THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH IT! No, there isn’t, but how much of your body you are comfortable showing is a very personal thing and nobody else’s business.) But I don’t see why a woman should have to scramble to make sure that nobody catches the briefest of glimpses of a nipple. It’s just a nipple. We’ll all survive. I often see women breastfeeding in public, usually without making any particular effort to either flaunt what they are doing or cover up a lot. I don’t care and it’s my observation that most other people don’t either. But I would definitely not think it’s okay if somebody were to bother them about it (I realize you are not advocating this).

  • I finally discovered the three easy steps to breastfeeding: Cancel
    everything else in your life. Lay down topless on the couch with your
    child. Stay there for 2 years.

    And the US is practically the only developed country without maternity leave for mothers.

    I also find the use of “boob”, like “birth”, as a transitive verb offensive to my grammatical sensibilities.

  • sdsures

    Milk Meg really hates women.

    • NoLongerCrunching

      Especially poor women.

  • AnnaD2013

    The memes are objectifying women and it makes feel uncomfortable

  • demodocus

    Ugh, I had oversupply, too, but it’s easy enough for me to figure out that if I have too much, then conversely someone else has too little.

    Kiddo cluster-fed from 6-8 morning and night. BUT, once that cluster was over, he was satiated. He had quite impressive spit-up to prove he’d gotten plenty. (I think he just got too much fore milk in the first couple of doses).

  • rational thinker

    Dr. Amy, have you considered doing a post about
    Leigh Felton. She was using breastfeeding to sell porn she is in prison now.

    • Anion

      Oh yeah, Nerd City’s YouTube video about Tasha Malie (“The Worst Mother on YouTube”) was something to see; I had no idea the woman existed, but her whole gimmick is truly nasty, and Nerd City’s commentary is excellent. She claims to be there to “educate,” and the sum total of her “education” seems to be “Look this subject up.” (And then she sells another video of herself breastfeeding to some pervert.)

      • rational thinker

        At least they caught one of these assholes, Felton was reported by a woman that found out her husband had purchased a private video of hers. The husband also traveled to Florida to have sex with Felton. According to the police in the video was the breastfeeding and both her and child were naked and she was rubbing oil on herself and child and there was genital to genital contact while giving a massage with the oil. I cant imagine being the detective and having to watch that video of abusing that poor child. This bitch was also a piano teacher to young children, that is horrifying. I think she is still in prison. In my opinion tasha malie is just as bad as this one she just hasn’t been caught with good enough evidence yet.

        • rational thinker

          I just watched her dolphin/unassisted breech birth video. I was horrified, you can see when just the body near shoulders was out, I think he was having dystocia and you can see his skin tone change from healthy pink to bluish as the seconds go by. Luckily he got his shoulder out but then his head was stuck for a while too. She was lucky this time. Then I looked at comments and they were all saying how great and strong she is. It made me feel sick. It is shit like this that makes expectant moms think homebirth, unassisted birth, breech and any other kind of dangerous birth is okay. Nobody in the comments seemed to realize that baby was in serious danger for a good two min..

        • Anion

          I had no idea Felton’s videos were that bad. That is horrifying. Thank goodness she’s in prison and hopefully her child is with good people now.

          And I’ve read that they rotate that sort of police work, because six months is about all anyone can take of it. I don’t know how true that is across the board, but I remember reading that in one story about such an investigation. Let’s hope the detectives also had counseling available to them.

          • rational thinker

            They probably do rotate a lot that has to be the hardest thing to investigate and look at evidence. I think I remember reading that they stripped her of all parental rights and he got a new family. The only good thing about this is that he was probably too young to really remember anything about the molestation.

  • namaste

    Cancel everything else in your life and lie on the couch topless with your child formtwo years? What world does she live in, the Republic of fucking Gilead? Is her sole purpose in life to reproduce? She belongs in a red dress with a white bonnet.

  • StephanieJR

    The obsession with breasts is very concerning. Does she ever talk about anything else? How boring conversation must be with her.

    • rational thinker

      I noticed this too. it is kind of creepy.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    I finally discovered the three easy steps to breastfeeding: Cancel everything else in your life. Lay down topless on the couch with your child. Stay there for 2 years.

    Wait a minute. I thought she was trying to promote breastfeeding?

    She could hardly make breastfeeding sound LESS desirable than this.

    Seriously? Cancel everything else in your life and lay on the couch for 2 years (topless or not)? How is that supposed to sound like a good thing?

    • rational thinker

      I thought us formula feeders were supposed to be the lazy ones.

    • Sarah

      The sitting on the couch for 2 years part does actually sound like fun, tbh. It’s the kid on my breast thing I’m not up for.

    • Cat

      Pretty much every conversation I’ve ever read about breastfeeding on the Internet (this site aside) has gone something like this:

      Exhausted mother: I’m so tired I want to curl up and die. My two year old is still waking six times a night and has to be breastfed back to sleep.

      Lactivists: That’s the biological norm for a breastfed child. Your baby needs this for her development so keep it up, mama! You just need to co-sleep. They’re only little for such a short time and you can sleep when she goes to college.

      Pregnant woman: I’ve decided not to breastfeed because I don’t want a child who doesn’t sleep until she’s at school.

      Lactivists: It’s shocking that people are so ill-informed about breastfeeding. Science shows that EBF babies sleep BETTER! We can’t respect your choice because you just don’t understand breastfeeding.

      • rational thinker

        That’s very accurate.

  • ArmyChick

    “Keep boobin”. I don’t know why but the use of the word “boobin” annoys the crap out of me.

    • Madtowngirl

      Right? The constant use of “boobies” is childish.

  • BeatriceC

    Breastfeeding came relatively easily for me. My oldest had some issues learning how to latch. I have enormous breasts. They were literally bigger than he was once my milk came in. He was so ravenously hungry that he couldn’t calm down long enough to learn to latch. Add to that my oversupply and firehose like letdown and it was just a frustrating process. My mother insisted that I use a half an ounce or so of formula to calm him down enough so that he would be able to learn. And she was right. Taking the edge off his hunger calmed him down and he was more patient with the learning process. Over time he figured out how to manage the letdown and my supply regulated. He was in the NICU for a couple weeks and tube fed at first, but after about a week of taking the edge off his hunger with formula or pumped milk from a bottle, then latching, he got the hang of it and we EBF’d until he self weaned at around 13 months. My middle child was a month old before the NICU allowed him to try to feed directly from the breast. He took to it right away. By then my supply had regulated somewhat though it was still an oversupply. At six months I was pregnant again and my supply vanished. He did just fine on formula and solids. My youngest never did learn how to latch. I exclusively pumped with him. It was easy because with an oversupply, which actually got worse with every baby, I was measuring output in gallons per day and never had to worry about not having enough.

    And still, I can listen to other people talking about their struggles and simply believe them. My experience is clearly not universal. If I can have an oversupply it stands to reason that others could have an undersupply, or no supply at all. From every biological perspective, this sort of variation in a biological process is perfectly normal. I cannot wrap my brain around the idea that some people cannot understand that idea.

    • MainlyMom

      Dude i feel you on oversupply! I’d leave a stack of t-shirts next to the bed at night because I’d go through several. I remember pulling one shirt off with a dinner plate sized milk spot on it when my second wss one and a half! It finally called down when she hit about 2.

  • Heidi

    Well, that sounds like hell. I remember living that hell even though we formula fed. Sometimes, something will remind me of the first year of not sleeping and I just get sick feeling and remember that maybe I’m one and done.

    • The Kids Aren’t AltRight

      I have a 5 month old rn, and I can’t believe people voluntarily do this a second time.

      • MainlyMom

        They have babies like my first. Happy, reasonable, calm. I was finished after my first psycho baby (#2). Holy he’ll, what torture!!

        • The Kids Aren’t AltRight

          Did your 2nd out grow it? My baby isn’t psycho per se, she just needs a lot of attention but not a lot of sleep.

          • guest

            My second was like that and she eventually learned to sleep on her own, some time before she was a year old. She is almost 5 and still needs a lot of attention, but I’ve learned to embrace it because my oldest has no time for me anymore. 🙂

          • MainlyMom

            No! She’s 10 and she still sleeps in bed with me most nights, either starting there or wandering in during the night. I mean, she’s a wonderful child. I love her dearly. She’s very smart. But man oh man, she’s tough.

          • MainlyMom

            She’s funny as heck though. I turned 40 last year, and my sweet older daughter (13) said at the end of the day, “well how was it mom? How was turning 40?” and I was like, “you know what Nina, it was great!” and Maggie says, “Of course it was great, it’s your birthday. But tomorrow, you’re just 40, and it’s not your birthday.”

            Mean!! I was so sad!

          • Cristina

            Hahaha, sounds like my littlest! Not sure whether to laugh or groan…

      • Azuran

        Somehow, I ended up wanting another baby and getting pregnant again after having a psycho baby and hating being pregnant. Every day I wonder what the hell I was thinking XD
        I guess we are foolishly hoping that the 2nd baby can’t manage to be worse.

  • AirPlant

    If I were ever to be in a conversation with Meg Nagle I think the only thing I could think to say to her is that she makes parenting and breastfeeding sound like such a painful joyless slog that her work was instrumental in my decision to never ever ever let a child anywhere near my nipples.

    This woman’s life story appears to be that she attempted to attain formal education, got accidentally knocked up, married the guy and decided that her only ongoing achievement was going to be naval gazing on her ability to lactate. It is my theory that there must have been so little creativity, intelligence or passion inside of her to begin with that the discovery that she was in fact capable of achieving a biological function overwhelmed all sense of accomplishment that she might have had until that moment and her entire sense of self was replaced with the identity of breastfeeder. That has to be the explanation for her bizarre fixation on other women’s choices, it is the only way that the smallness of her life becomes something meaningful and worthy of validation.

    • andrea

      I thought this, too. I hoped I was wrong, but probably not.

      • rational thinker

        Her only skill is probably lactation and that is just sad.

    • swbarnes2

      Does she have more kids? One wonders what she thinks she has to offer a child who isn’t breastfeeding.

      • rational thinker

        Cause they are “lactation goddesses” and some are “birth goddesses” but not if they had a c section.

      • Anna

        Theyre actually not, they couldnt be if theyre online bullying other women all day. They make a living normalising impossible standards for OTHERS. Most people only hire the services of an LC in the early weeks of breastfeeding so building other revenue streams – books, appearances, merchandise is important. Meg is well known enough that people will pay for skype sessions with her.

      • rational thinker

        She is probably going to end up being a baby factory so she can keep breastfeeding then she can talk about feeding a small child and an infant at the same time.

    • Cristina

      Hearing the horror stories cemented my thoughts of never letting babies near my nipples too! “It only hurts the first 6 weeks” was my personal favourite. Um, 6 weeks is a long time…

      • space_upstairs

        That pain is why I switched to mostly pumping with the breast as a treat after the 3 days in the hospital getting breastfeeding started. (The hospital did have a night nursery we were encouraged to use and supplementation with a gentle sugar solution suitable for babies who can’t stomach formula, but strongly promoted breastfeeding during the day.) I have a great supply with the help of pumping and can afford a great pump, which hurts a lot less than the baby chewing on me all the time, and I can share the work. It’s the best of both worlds for me. But everyone’s mileage may vary.

  • FormerPhysicist

    One of the many reasons I regret breastfeeding as much and as long as I need is that all three of mine developed horrible cavities from night feeding (baby bottle mouth isn’t just for bottle-fed babies!) and needed so much dentistry.

    Yes, you are supposed to wipe your baby’s teeth after breast-feeding, but who actually does that while 90% asleep. And I don’t think it would have helped much, they were on the boob so much. Breast milk is very high in sugar.

    • Lisa

      Wait…BREAST milk is full of sugar? [sarcasm] I thought that was partly why formula was evil!! If formula was that evil how did baby boomers live? And, seriously? You are supposed to wipe the kids teeth? If they have teeth, shouldn’t they eat real food? [I’m not picking on you–only the Breast-best-boob-crowd]

      • space_upstairs

        Remember, sugar can’t get you fat or rot your teeth, nor can toxins and germs cause you serious harm, as long as they are from approved Natural sources.

    • Anna

      No no no! Only formula causes caries. Breastmilk cannot, its magic! All the breastfeed babies with rotten teeth are just meanie dentists being mean! Dont trust them! Kellymom and Milkmeg know way more about dentistry than silly old dentists!

    • MainlyMom

      Same. $2500 worth of dentistry by the time my second was 6. Tell me again how much $$ nursing saves?

  • MaineJen

    “Cancel everything else in your life.” Doesn’t that just say it all? How “empowering.”

    • AirPlant

      Real mothers don’t have jobs, responsibilities or other children.