Archive by Author

Why do lactivists think a woman’s right to bodily autonomy is expelled with the placenta?

Formula is Feminist! That’s the title of my latest piece for Slate. As I’ve written repeatedly over the years: her baby, her body, her breasts, her choice! Therefore, the decision of the British Medical Journal to ban formula advertising is deeply anti-feminist: Formula is a legitimate solution to what is often a serious health problem […]

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Why do anti-vaxxers harass the families of children who died of pertussis or flu? Narcissistic rage.

It is so vicious as to seem inexplicable. According to CNN: Not long ago, a 4-year-old boy died of the flu. His mother, under doctor’s orders, watched his two little brothers like a hawk, terrified they might get sick and die, too. Grieving and frightened, just days after her son’s death she checked her Facebook […]

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Is exclusive, extended breastfeeding natural?

One of the most disturbing things about the natural childbirth and lactivists movements is the way they treat our distant foremothers; they treat them the same way we tend to treat all people who are non-white and non-industrialized, as one mass of undifferentiated, never changing animals. It seems to have never occurred to them that […]

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Birth, breastfeeding and biopower

Women’s biology has always been used against them and to control them. For example, although pregnancy requires two people — one male, one female — only women get pregnant, carry babies and give birth. Therefore, women can be coerced and manipulated through government and economic policies around access to birth control and pregnancy termination. For […]

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A common form of obstetric violence in industrialized countries is denying a woman an epidural

Apparently, the term birthrape didn’t work out so well for the natural childbirth industry. It was in vogue for several years, but generated not the outrage at obstetricians that midwives and doulas were hoping for, but rather revulsion at their appropriation of the suffering of rape victims to publicize their cause. The new term is […]

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Privileged women exclude the childbirth and breastfeeding experiences of the less privileged

Lactation professional Prof. Amy Brown was apprised that one of her slides at a recent conference on “holistic” infant sleep could be construed as racist. Brown predictably responded as she does to any criticism: with fury. But she’d been called out on a tendency that it is all too common in birth and breastfeeding communities: […]

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Performative Mothering: College Admissions Edition

The recently revealed college admissions bribery scandal is, of course, a story of money and privilege. But there’s an aspect that’s receiving less attention even though it may be more important. The scheme is the inevitable result of contemporary mothering philosophy — performative mothering — that treats children as maternal props from birth. According to […]

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Lactation consultant insists — in a scientific journal — that high quality scientific evidence can be ignored!

I knew this day was coming, but I’m pleased that it has arrived sooner than I expected. Lactation professionals are backpedaling as fast as they can. I’ve been writing for years that lactation professionals in general, and Baby Friendly USA in particular, have been ignoring scientific evidence in favor of personal biases. Babies and mothers […]

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Whose “fault” is it when a woman doesn’t breastfeed?

Lactation professionals don’t think much of women and their ability to make decisions; they are sure that women who choose to formula feed are ignorant dupes. In Reproductive Health and Maternal Sacrifice, sociologist Pam Lowe offers an excellent description of lactivism in general and the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in particular. And: The underlying assumption […]

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Petition: End shaming, ableist language about infant formula!

There has never been any confusion about the meaning of “infant formula,” but lactation professionals are engaged in a campaign to rebrand it in shaming, ableist language. It started in 1996 with the publication of lactation consultant Diane Weissinger’s “Watch Your Language”: “Artificial feeding, which is neither the same nor superior, is therefore deficient, incomplete, […]

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