What’s the difference between a child dying because “God” & a baby starving because “breastfeeding”?


Even as his 11 year old daughter lay dying, he refused to seek medical care:

Prosecutors contended he should have rushed the girl to a hospital because she couldn’t walk, talk, eat or drink. Instead, Madeline died on the floor of the family’s rural home as people surrounded her and prayed.

It wasn’t until Dale Neumann’s daughter stopped breathing that they called an ambulance.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Every day a hundred babies are admitted to the hospital for dehydration and starvation because of a near religious faith in breastfeeding.[/pullquote]

Neumann was convicted for murder in the easily preventable death of the girl from diabetes. Neumann freely admitted that he put faith in God before medical care.

Neumann, who once studied to be a Pentecostal minister, testified on Thursday that he believed God would heal his daughter and he never expected her to die. God promises in the Bible to heal, he said.

“If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God,” Neumann testified. “I am not believing what he said he would do.”

Most of us read stories like these convinced that we would never sacrifice a child on the altar of religious faith. Yet every day a hundred babies are admitted to the hospital for dehydration and starvation because of a near religious faith in breastfeeding.

Yesterday a popular Facebook page, Breastfeeding Mama Talk, posted this horror playing out in real time, implying there was more than one reasonable choice.

I need advice please mommas. I just had my last baby. He will be one month on the 19th. He is my fifth…
-My little man was born weighing 7.1 pounds…
-But at his 2 week check up he lost weight and weighed 6.10. The dr told me I had to switch to formula. I said not yet…
-They had us back a week later (today) to weigh him. He’s only gained one ounce, 6.11.
The Dr is really pushing formula now. He is saying my baby is malnourished and not getting enough calories for sufficient brain development.

I know he’s watching [? nursing] fine and I’m making plenty of milk. I don’t understand why he isn’t gaining the weight. I’ve been crying all day. I feel like it’s still so early to just say, “Switch to formula!”, but I don’t want to be starving my baby. I don’t know what to do…

The doctor sent the mother home with this note:


Baby is malnourished — he should be at birthweight by 2 weeks of age. He is not getting enough calories to promote brain growth. Please supplement with formula every 3-4 hours.

Let’s leave aside for the moment the fact that the doctor is not asking her to switch to formula but to supplement with formula. The doctor is literally begging the mother to feed the baby before he suffers brain damage or dies… The mother claims she doesn’t know what to do.

Why is she hesitating? Because breastfeeding has become her religion. As I wrote recently, natural mothering advocates surrender personal agency in the same way they do in religious fundamentalism.

Rather than “Let go. Let God.”, lactivists encourage each other to “Let go. Let Breastfeeding.” The attributes of God are ascribed to Nature. It is perfect, all powerful and infinitely adaptable. It literally cannot fail.

The faith healing father viewed his daughter’s diabetes as a crisis of his faith in God. He believed that if he maintained his faith, God would cure his daughter’s diabetes. This mother appears to view her son’s starvation as a crisis of her faith in breastfeeding. She still believes that if she maintains her faith, breastfeeding will cure her son’s malnutrition.

Make no mistake, her son is literally starving, possibly to death. Beyond the first few days, an infant should NEVER lose weight. Weight loss means a baby is cannibalizing his own body in order to keep vital organs supplied with glucose so the cells of those organs can survive.

Babies’ brains grow fastest in their first year; who would risk even the slightest chance that his or her brain is being deprived of the fuel it needs to grow? Those who have a near religious faith in breastfeeding.

By posting to a breastfeeding Facebook page, she is consulting her community of faith; only those who define themselves by their complete and utter trust in breastfeeding can possibly understand the anguish she faces in potentially betraying her deepest beliefs.

How did we get to this terrible place where mothers are compromising their babies’ brains and lives for no better reason than to be able to claim they breastfed “exclusively”? How did we get to the point where a hundred babies are being admitted to the hospital each day for dehydration and starvation even though the treatment — formula — is close at hand? Why is exclusive breastfeeding the LEADING cause for newborn hospital readmission?

We got here because lactation professionals, the priestesses of breastfeeding, have lied and continue to lie about the limited benefits. They have lied and continue to lie about the risks of breastfeeding. They have used public funds and manipulated hospitals and doctors to promote a near religious faith in breastfeeding.

Lactation professionals believe in the perfection of breastfeeding every bit as much as Mr. Neumann believed prayer would cure his daughter’s diabetes. And they are every bit as wrong — DEAD wrong.

We prosecuted Mr. Neumann for letting his daughter die. He has the right to believe whatever he wants, but no right to sacrifice his child’s life for his belief. Similarly, lactation professionals have the right to believe whatever they want to believe, but no right to sacrifice our children’s lives and brain function to demonstrate fealty to their beliefs.

Enough is enough! How many babies have to starve before we relinquish our medically inappropriate, near religious faith in breastfeeding? In truth even one baby harmed is one too many!