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Be afraid, Baby Friendly USA, be very, very afraid!

The single most important thing every prospective mother needs to know about breastfeeding is this: it has serious risks as well as benefits. Baby Friendly USA is petrified that women will find out. Sadly for the babies who have been injured and died and their grieving families, we found out the risks of breastfeeding hard […]

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Remove restrictions on formula advertising! They infantilize women.

Yesterday I wrote about the ways in which midwives and lactation consultants treat childbearing women like children. Society at large is also guilty of infantilizing women. The paradigmatic example is formula advertising. Formula advertising restrictions go back to 1981 and the Nestle debacle in Africa. Nestle and other formula companies engaged in the brutally unethical […]

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Midwives and lactation consultants treat women like children

We treat children differently than we treat adults. We presume we know better than they what they need. We believe we have an obligation to guide them on the right path. We know we understand risks better than they do. To the extent they disagree, we ascribe it to immaturity and lack of knowledge. We […]

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The challenge of reforming breastfeeding research

Most breastfeeding scientists and much of the public often consider epidemiologic associations of breastfeeding to represent causal effects that can inform public health policy and guidelines. However, the emerging picture of breastfeeding research is difficult to reconcile with good scientific principles. The field needs radical reform. If that paragraph seems familiar to readers of scientific […]

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Philosopher: Invoking “harms” of formula feeding is not morally justified

One of the things I like best in writing about contemporary mothering issues is the cross-fertilization betweeen academic theory found in journals and lived reality represented by media articles and blog posts by and about mothers. The average natural childbirth advocate or lactivist has little idea how her preferred rhetoric, which she believes was promulgated […]

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Admonishing women to pursue the natural has always been a hallmark of misogyny

In 1558, John Knox penned The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women. Knox, a Protestant, was lamenting the fact that the Protestant Reformation was being stymied in both England and Scotland by Catholic monarchs. Yet it wasn’t their Catholicism that he blamed; it was the fact that they were women. […]

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The outsize sense of entitlement behind the quest for a “healing” birth

When my children were small, there was rarely a day that passed without someone whining, ”It’s not fair!” I would inevitably respond with some variation of, “Who said life was fair?” Sometimes I would expand on that admonition by explaining that anyone who expected that everything would always be fair was destined to be sorely […]

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To the “healthy baby isn’t enough” hypocrites

Whose birth experience counts? Many midwives would answer everyone’s because a “healthy baby isn’t enough.” They would agree with this mother mourning her lost birth experience: I don’t have to feign gratitude, because I lost something that was important to me… I don’t have to be thankful just because things didn’t end tragically. I’m allowed […]

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Childbirth educators could save women’s lives

US maternal mortality has rightly captured the nation’s attention. Perhaps the most shocking fact about it is that so many of the women who die during and in the aftermath of pregnancy die from preventable causes. Why? Everyone involved in the care of pregnant women seems to have forgotten the single most important thing about […]

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Frenemommy

“You’d look so beautiful if you just lost the extra weight!” “I admire your confidence for being willing to wear that!” “Is that your wedding picture? The frame is amazing!” Those are the kind of passive-aggressive “compliments” that you get from frenemies, the women who insist they are your friends but never miss a chance […]

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