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Disciplining the uncompliant breastfeeder

Breastfeeding professionals have discovered a problem. After nearly a generation of aggressive breastfeeding promotion undertaken at their instigation a lot of women and babies have been harmed. Sadly, that’s not the problem. The problem for breastfeeding professionals is that the women are fighting back. These women are uncompliant breastfeeders. Formula was not their initial choice. […]

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Protect your baby from toxins … unless the toxins are in breastmilk, then don’t worry about them

Natural mothering advocates have a problem. They live in terrible fear that their babies and children will be exposed to “toxins” and go to great lengths to prevent exposure. But toxins — real, not imaginary — can be transmitted through breastmilk the purported elixir of life. What to do? Ignore the toxins, of course! Meg […]

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My hope for 2019: we recognize the harm we are doing to mothers and babies by promoting the “natural”

Why do good mothers feel so bad? Because in the guise of doing what’s “best” for them, we are harming women and their babies with the dominant parenting ideology of natural mothering. How do I know? Because for decades, I have served as a witness. First as a practicing obstetrician and then as blogger, I […]

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You can’t understand anti-vaccine advocacy unless you understand performative motherhood

A tremendous amount of ink has been spilled by doctors, scientists and public health officials pondering the bizarre beliefs of anti-vaccine parents. How can they promote such obvious nonsense? Why don’t they respond to efforts to improve their knowledge base? Why can’t we get them to understand the risks they pose to society in general […]

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Myrna, Mira and the rise of performative mothering

Yesterday I wrote about the way that mothering has changed between fictional grandmother Myrna and her fictional granddaughter Mira. Myrna assumed that her child would turn out fine without any special effort. Mira assumes her child will be a fat, unhappy, failure unless she interposes herself between him and the myriad risks she imagines he […]

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The relentlessness of modern mothering reflects the differences between Myrna and Mira

The piece in yesterday’s New York Times, The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting, has generated 1000 comments and counting. Parenthood in the United States has become much more demanding than it used to be. Over just a couple of generations, parents have greatly increased the amount of time, attention and money they put into raising children. […]

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Amber teething necklaces: a deadly form of maternal micro-branding

Every war requires uniforms so that you can tell ally from enemy. The mommy wars are no exception. Amber teething necklaces for infants are part of the crunchy mommy “look” that allows self-described natural mothers to signal their allied status to other crunchy moms and to set them apart from the mainstream. Too bad that […]

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Unethical behavior of breastfeeding researcher sets back cause of protecting babies from starvation and smothering CORRECTED

I received an email from Harry Orf, PhD, Senior Vice President for Research, and Research Integrity Officer Massachusetts General Hospital informing me that I disseminated incorrect information. Much to my regret I repeated false claims and mischaracterized the situation. For that I am deeply sorry and want to correct the record as soon as I […]

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Lotus birth leaves a newborn critically ill with a heart infection

A new paper in Clinical Pediatrics, Umbilical Cord Nonseverance and Adverse Neonatal Outcomes, reports on babies harmed by the bizarre practice of lotus birth. Lotus birth is the latest fad in the world of birth performance art. It used to be that women got pregnant with the intention of having a baby. In 2018, among […]

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Is tongue-tie surgery the new episiotomy?

They created the surgical procedure with the best of intentions. They wanted to prevent serious problems and it seemed to them the best way to do it. Unfortunately they were wrong and a lot of unnecessary suffering was the result. I’m talking about episiotomy, but I could be talking about painful newborn tongue-tie surgery. How […]

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