Why do lactivists ignore what women tell them?


Imagine going to the doctor because you hadn’t been feeling well for several days.

Dr. Knowitall: What seems to be the problem?

You: Well, Doctor, I have a pain in my lower right side and it’s been getting worse. I’m afraid I might have appendicitis.

Dr. Knowitall: No, you don’t.

You: Pardon me. I don’t have appendicitis?

Dr. Knowitall: No, you don’t have pain in your lower right side.

You: No, really I do have pain and my pain is getting worse.

Dr. Knowitall: You just think you have pain because you’ve been culturally conditioned by surgeons to expect that you will develop appendicitis.

You: But, Doctor, my pain is so bad that I can’t lie flat on your exam table.

Dr. Knowitall: Sigh. Obviously the pain is your fault. You must be walking wrong.

You: Look, you can see me walk. I’m not walking wrong; I’m walking just like everyone else, but I have pain in my lower right side, and I’m constantly nauseated.

Dr. Knowitall: If you just trusted your body, you wouldn’t be nauseated. Appendicitis is extremely rare, so you don’t have pain or nausea.

You: But I’m vomiting, too.

Dr. Knowitall: Please, it’s obvious that you are selfishly looking for an excuse to have surgery. If you were educated like I am, you would understand that it is absolutely critical for you to avoid surgery under any but the most extreme circumstances. Do you have any idea of the risks of surgery? You could end up brain damaged, with allergies and autism.


Sounds ridiculous, right? Who would continue to consult a doctor who refused to believe you when you described your symptoms, or, worse yet, blamed you for your own pain? Most people would be outraged.

Yet lactivists feel no compunction about behaving like know-it-alls and doing the exact same thing. Tell them you have pain when nursing and they “know” that you don’t. Insist that you have pain and they’ll insist that you are breastfeeding your baby all wrong.

Tell them that your baby is screaming with hunger and they’ll tell you that it’s normal. They “know” you’ve been culturally conditioned to believe that you aren’t making enough milk.

Tell them that your baby has gained no weight in the 4 weeks since birth and they “know” that you are lazy and looking for an excuse to stop breastfeeding. Just pump in between feedings to increase your milk supply.

Tell them that you can’t pump enough to nourish your baby while you work and they’ll tell you that you are depriving your baby of multiple IQ points and sentencing him to a lifetime of allergies, obesity, diabetes and cancer.

No one would tolerate a doctor who refused to accept the patient’s description of her own symptoms. Why do lactivists think they are entitled to dismiss the symptoms of women having difficulty breastfeeding?

Would anyone think a doctor could diagnose and treat ANYTHING if she refused to listen or completely dismissed what patients were telling her? Why do lactivists think they can improve breastfeeding rates if they refuse to listen and completely dismiss what women are telling them?

Why? Because they don’t care about improving breastfeeding rates nearly as much as they care about hectoring mothers who don’t model their own choices back to them.

If lactivists really cared about increasing breastfeeding rates, they’d stop talking and start listening, but instead they just keep yammering away.