Lactation professional Maureen Minchin sets a new standard for immaturity

(Im)maturity - New chalkboard with 3D outlined text

Maureen Minchin agreed to debate me and now she’s trying to get out of it. Of course, I expected that she would back out; I just didn’t expect that she would lie to her followers about it.

Who is Minchin?

Minchin tries to dodge our debate while concealing that fact from her followers

She’s a lactation professional (with no training in science or medicine) who has a self-published book on — I’m not kidding — breastfeeding and immunology.

Several months ago, in response to a complaint about her lack of sympathy and concern for women who cannot breastfeed, Minchin produced this contemptuous screed:

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… I am sorry that you had such a hard time with your first, and understand your rage, and your decision to go with formula for your second, and I am glad that worked out so well for you. It doesn’t for some other people, and that’s the point: we can’t know ahead of time which children will be badly affected, but some will, in every country, some will die in every country, and all will develop differently from what they would have done if breastfed. That’s just biological fact…

At the time, I challenged Minchin to debate the issue of whether breastfeeding has real, not merely theoretical benefits and she agreed.

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Happy to do so 1. when you have read my book in full and 2. when it is convenient. It is absolutely not a priority for me, as your writing to date persuades me that it will be a pointless exercise, but who knows, after reading Milk Matters you may have a little more respect for those who think differently, have more clinical experience of breastfeeding, have spent more time researching the topic, and whose work is admired by many experts around the world.

I never expected her to do it and promptly forgot about it until reminded by my readers. Maureen claimed that the end of May was no longer convenient but she was setting aside June 19-21 for a moderated debate.

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On June 11, Maureen sent me a private message informing me that she had drafted “rules” for the debate, and promptly blocked me before I could respond to it.

She also posted to her Facebook page:

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I’ll let you read the “rules” for yourself. As you can see, they’re mostly concerned with Maureen protecting herself from criticism.

Since Maureen blocked me from sending private messages and blocked me from posting on her Facebook page, I responded within hours on my page:

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Maureen Minchin, I’ve read your proposed rules for debate. You are appropriately concerned with impartiality and I share that concern. It can’t possibly be an impartial debate if you make the rules. We must use existing, impartial debate rules.

The type of debate we have been considering is basically an Oxford style debate with the motion being: The benefits of breastfeeding are real and clinically relevant. You are arguing in favor and I am arguing in opposition.

The rules for Oxford style debate already exist in a variety of forms. Those are the rules we should use. We can negotiate the details like time for response, etc.

If you won’t participate in a debate using impartial rules, please let me know.

Ignoring my response on June 11, Maureen declared to her followers:

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And here’s the best part: it appears that Maureen closed the comments so that NO ONE could publicly share my reply! It’s been four days and Maureen is still insisting she hasn’t heard from me.

Of course I never expected that Maureen would actually debate; she fears she’d be humiliated.

But I didn’t expect her to set a new standard for immaturity in the process. I should learn to be more cynical.

  • nikkilee

    Interesting. Nothing will come of this “debate” except each claiming the other is . . . .. . (fill in the blank with a judgement label of choice), because you are both so bull-headed. And have you seen this new report from the USDA? “Higher levels of a customary gut bacteria enhanced by breastfeeding in early infancy were found to be coupled with an improved response to vaccines in infants through two years of age, according to a first-of-its-kind study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their colleagues.” https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAARS/bulletins/24c035e?utm_source=Evivo+Healthcare+Community&utm_campaign=6817865847-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_11_14_09_22_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b239641842-6817865847-101462361&mc_cid=6817865847&mc_eid=ad7ca0ac43

    • Heidi

      Bullheaded? Look who’s back! The horrible person that tells women they’ll get cancer and also will injure their children if they don’t or can’t breastfeed. I dislike you BTW.

    • Heidi

      “In Nikki Lee’s case, she is anti-vaccine. (If she is not, she has fooled me.) She believes RFK Jr. that vaccines with thimerosal cause autism. She believes that Dr. Paul Offit is still getting money from his rotavirus vaccine. (He isn’t. He’s donated the patent.) She posts on her Facebook page, website, and on Twitter all sorts of anti-vaccine articles, and other articles promoting “alternative medicine” (which isn’t medicine at all), and she does so with the authority of someone who should know better.” https://thepoxesblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/breastfeeding-and-alt-med-are-a-bad-combination-or-the-ballad-of-nikki-lee/

    • momofone

      “(B)ecause you are both so bull-headed.”

      Good morning, irony.

  • Nicole Beauchamp

    Re: her book Food For Thought: A Parent’s Guide to Food Intolerance (her only book that was published by a publisher)
    It was reviewed by Timothy David of the University of Manchester, in 1986
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1777894/?page=1

    • MaineJen

      Oof.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Wow!

    • PeggySue

      Ah, but the author may be deluded enough to think having her book reviewed by someone of Dr. David’s stature is a compliment.

  • Russell Jones

    lol

    Ain’t much to be done with someone who “communicates” via social media echo chamber and apparently considers the functional equivalent “nana nana boo boo” a legitimate response to Dr. T’s inquiries regarding debate rules.

  • Mel

    I’m trying to figure out how my son would have been better off with 6 ounces of mom-produced milk per day for his first year of life at home instead of 8-36 ounces of formula that gave him the calories, vitamins and minerals he needed for growth and a functional immune system.

    I mean, sans formula, his lungs would not have healed.

    That probably would have lead to pulmonary hypertension or right-side heart failure at some point.

    That would lead to a whole slew of problems – which would lead to more doctors’ appointments – which leads to more incidental contact with germs that could damage his heart and lungs more…..it’s a vicious cycle for a lot of kiddos.

    He might have made up the difference once he started solid foods – but we fed him (and still feed him) a lot of high calorie density foods to keep him on his growth curve. Like…I don’t know how many more calories we could have dumped into him without a feeding tube. And once you’ve decided that breast milk only is worth having your kid undergo surgery to get a g-tube, I can’t even deal with you anymore – but that’s where we’d have been.

    Plus, by two years when he needed an operation to fix overly tight eye muscles, putting him under general anesthesia would have been really dicey since his cardiovascular and and pulmonary systems would be shot to hell.

    So I think I’ll keep my healthy, growing, energetic Spawn with whatever imaginary immunological quirks he has over the one I starved into an PICU repeat customer.

    • KQ Not Signed In

      But boob magic.

      (/sarcasm)
      (i mean obviously)

    • demodocus

      He is Spawn; no silly lactation consultant is going to stop him!

    • PeggySue

      Go, SPAWN!!!!!

      Yeah, and pulmonary hypertension and/or right heart failure could lead to the problem called D-E-A-T-H which is a totally unacceptable, unthinkable option.

      Your kiddo has tons of fans here!

  • Who?

    Never argue with an idiot, Dr T.

    They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

  • MaineJen

    That’s a lot of dithering for someone who claims to be open to debate. “Of course I’ll debate you. But not now. And not in a few weeks either. And I need to be able to set up the rules. And I won’t write out answers, because that will take too long. And I won’t let you or anyone else reply to messages. And I’ll block you so I can’t see your reply to my message. Come on!! Why won’t you debate me???”

  • rational thinker

    Ms. Minchin,
    You don’t have to worry about the Skeptical OB humiliating you. You do it to yourself every time you speak.
    Also you self published your book because no publishing company would do it. Please stop lying.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD
    • Cartman36

      LOL, it seems she is as confused about how a debate works as she is about how publishing a book works.

      • MaineJen

        She is pushing that book HARD, tho

        • Mel

          Well, youi know, there’s not much money in promoting breastfeeding gratis, it turns out.

          Oh, shit. Gratis mean free! Oh, God. Shit, I need to sell a ton of these now.

          Buy my book, peons! Your children will be less screwed – albeit more screwed than if you breastfeed them properly – if you buy my book. What do you mean you breastfeed your kids? You did it wrong. Read my book to find out more!

    • rational thinker

      Yeah I just read it and she is delusional and a liar. As far as the debate goes she is obviously trying to back out now cause she knows she will be humiliated.

    • mabelcruet

      I gave up about 50 lines in. I don’t think I’ve ever read anyone who is as verbose as her-most of it is repetitive dribbling, gibbering nonsense. With a decent editor she could probably have got her three books edited down to something manageable, but does anyone seriously have the patience and attention span to wade through such tortuously mangled mountains of text?

      • rational thinker

        Its like trying to read a word salad shes all over the place with her ramblings.

  • Ruthless M

    Maureen is ridiculous, personally and professionally

  • Cartman36

    LOL! Maureen ”
    fears she’d be humiliated.” Apparently she doesn’t realize that ship has sailed.

    • Russell Jones

      lol

      That’s kinda like Trump fearing becoming stupid.