Milk Matters UK, did Baby H ever have a tongue-tie?


The principle is called Occam’s Razor.

It is sometimes paraphrased by a statement like “the simplest solution is most likely the right one” …

The Wikipedia article notes that possible explanations can become needlessly complex.

It might be coherent, for instance, to add the involvement of leprechauns to any explanation …

Those complex explanations are — revealingly — saving hypotheses.

These are special purpose hypotheses that are typically used to save a theory from being falsified by an observation.

For example, when you find your preschooler next to a vase that has fallen off a table, you will likely conclude that the preschooler knocked the vase over. The preschooler, however, may insist that bad men broke into the house, threw down the vase, and left; he was just trying to save the vase from the bad men. The principle of Occam’s Razor means that the simpler explanation (the preschooler knocked over the vase) is far more likely than the elaborate yarn he has spun.

The simplest explanation — insufficient breastmilk — explains everything every step of the way.

Similarly, the principle of Occam’s Razor suggests that the elaborate yarn Milk Matters UK has spun about starving Baby H is unlikely compared to the simple explanation that the baby starved because of insufficient breastmilk.

I wrote about Baby H last week. According to Milk Matters UK, the organization run by lactation consultant Charlotte Young (the Analytical Armadillo):

Meet H, a nearly 9 week old baby we met this weekend. H is just back at slightly above the weight at which they were born; we’ve plotted their birthweight and last weight into a growth chart, to give you a visual representation …

How did this horror happen?

[O]ne midwife noted some concerns and suggested a feeding group, where they were told to stop expressing and supplementing, relax and just “feed feed feed”. Seen weekly at jaundice clinic, reluctant to weigh but did after mum pressure, no concerns noted.

Baby H starved for 9 weeks because no one dared admit that he was getting insufficient breastmilk and therefore no dared give him the infant formula he desperately needed. Apparently the mother intermittently ignored the professionals and fed the baby formula from a bottle.

MMUK prefers a much more elaborate explanation, one that markets their lucrative service (at $280/hour) of tongue-tie surgery. They diagnosed Baby H with tongue-tie and treated it.

What does Occam’s Razor tell us?

The simplest explanation is that Baby H was suffering because his mother had insufficient breastmilk and no healthcare professional was willing to admit it. The more complex explanation, favored by MMUK, is that the baby had a tongue-tie that made it impossible for him to take in adequate nutrition by breast or bottle. That multiple medical professionals examined the baby and no one noticed this tongue-tie. That the mother failed to notice that the baby was not able to drink from a bottle.

According to MMUK, their treatment was “successful”!

They posted these “before and after” photos:


But these photos don’t show that the baby had a tongue-tie or that the “treatment” fixed anything.

Why are there no pictures of the tongue-tie itself?

The simplest reason is that there was never any tongue-tie and pictures of the baby’s mouth before and after would make that clear. MMUK has offered no explanation as to why they failed to show the “tongue-tie” that multiple other medical professionals ostensibly missed.

Instead MMUK posted a looping 2 second gif of the baby breastfeeding.


The baby is wearing an SNS (supplemental nursing system) designed to provide milk when the mother has insufficient breastmilk.

But why would a baby who supposedly had successful tongue-tie surgery need formula supplementation?

The simplest answer is that the problem all along was insufficient breastmilk.

That’s what I noted in a post on my Facebook page:

No evidence has ever been presented that this baby had a tongue-tie, needed expensive surgery, or benefited from it.

Indeed, it appears that the problem was — and still is — insufficient milk supply.

MMUK responded:

The milk is mum’s expressed milk, she can express oodles as this isn’t her first rodeo and actually has oversupply.

Really? If the mother has an oversupply of breastmilk, why is the baby being supplemented WHILE breastfeeding?

An MMUK partisan offered this bizarre explanation:

A baby who has been unable to feed because of severe restriction will not have the energy to nurse for as long as required in order to gain weight, hence why continued supplementation is recommended until back to full health.

If the baby does not have energy to nurse effectively (though the video shows the baby nursing vigorously), the answer is to supplement the baby through a bottle. It shouldn’t take long (hours not days) for the baby to be able to nurse effectively.

What does Occam’s Razor tell us about the cause of Baby H’s starvation?

The simplest explanation is insufficient breastmilk. It explains everything at every step of the way.

But that won’t sell MMUK’s services.

The preferred MMUK explanation is a tongue-tie that multiple medical professionals failed to diagnose and for which there is no documentation. The baby was “cured” but still has problems nursing despite the “cure.” The baby is being supplemented at the breast even though the mother has oversupply.

Which sounds more likely?