Breastfeeding prevents climate change? Really, Dr. Newman?


I wrote yesterday about the increasing desperation of lactivists in the wake of revelations that they have grossly exaggerated the benefits of breastfeeding in industrialized countries in order to support the breastfeeding industry. Dr. Melissa Bartick stooped to character assassination. Now, another major professional lactivist, Dr. Jack Newman, offers undoubtedly the most creative, albeit the most inane, exaggerations of the benefits of breastfeeding that I’ve yet seen.

Here’s what Dr. Newman had to say yesterday on his Facebook page:

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#3ABF4C”]How green is plastic used in breast pumps?[/pullquote]

One thing that is not often mentioned at all, never mind considered seriously, is the negative effect that formula feeding has on global warming. Breastfeeding can make a difference. Therefore, efforts to combat climate change should also focus on providing mothers real, effective, skillful help with breastfeeding.

Really, Dr. Newman? Really?

How does breastfeeding prevent climate change?

Let us look at how formula feeding affects climate change starting with the manufacture of infant formula. Making cow milk formula requires cows, cows that are huge emitters of methane, a gas that is made in the intestinal tract of ruminants. And methane is a carbon emission that increases global warming. But the problem does not stop there. Cows need to be fed, this means farming in order to grow food for them, including the production of fertilizers as well as transporting the feed. Milk produced in farms is taken to factories by vehicles that use gasoline…

So let’s see if I get this straight. The problem with formula is that cows need to be fed in order to produce it? But women don’t need to be fed to produce breastmilk? Wait a second, women need to be fed, too. And arguably, they need to be fed better quality food, including … you guessed it … meat from cows!

How green is the extra food (including meat) needed to create breastmilk? The calories have to come from somewhere. Is there any evidence that the production of breastmilk takes less farming, fertilizers and transportation of food than the production of cow’s milk?

But food isn’t the only thing used by women who are breastfeeding:

How green is the plastic used in breast pumps?
How green is the electricity used to run the pump?
How green are breast pads, nursing bras and lactation consultants (fuel needed to get to and from patients)?

Oops! I guess breastfeeding isn’t going to prevent climate change after all!

But for sheer inanity, it’s hard to beat Dr. Newman’s second, nonsensical claim:

…[B]reastfeeding actually is one of the most important methods of spacing out pregnancies, at least outside the developed world.

Really, Dr. Newman? Really??!!

I guess that’s why there’s no overpopulation, starvation, infanticide, unwanted pregnancies, or botched abortions in poor countries!

Oh, wait, those countries suffer from high overpopulation, starvation, infanticide, unwanted pregnancies, and maternal deaths from abortion. Breastfeeding is actually a remarkably poor way to space pregnancies.

But the truth doesn’t seem to matter to those desperately trying to manipulate women into using their breasts to feed their children.

Why does Dr. Newman have so little respect for the intelligence of American and Canadian women? Why does he have so little respect for women’s rights to control their own bodies?

The truth, as he ought to know, is that the benefits of breastfeeding in first world countries are trivial. Women have the right to decide for themselves if they want to use their breasts to feed their babies and they don’t need efforts to manipulate them with desperate, faulty and inane arguments like those advanced by Jack Newman.

126 Responses to “Breastfeeding prevents climate change? Really, Dr. Newman?”

  1. summer
    January 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

    Really, breastfeeding spaces out pregnancies? I know seven sets of Irish twins that negate your BS, “Dr” Newman. All EBF, only one ever pumped the rest only fed from the breast, and they were pregnant again in less than 3 months. Breastfeeding is NOT contraception.

  2. Roadstergal
    December 30, 2015 at 11:55 am #


  3. Bystander
    December 30, 2015 at 9:39 am #

    From a climate change perspective, nothing is more damaging than having a baby. It’s human pressure that drives climate change — on a per capita basis, we use far less energy to get through life than we did before, but we all need a certain amount of high quality food, water and resources. And every baby embodies a lifetime of consumption + the lifetime of its direct descendants.
    So, given that you already *have* the baby, you’ve already done the damage. Just feed it.

    • Sarah
      December 31, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

      Yeah but breastfeeding eats carbon tho

      • Bystander
        January 3, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

        Nope! If anything, on a gram for gram basis, human milk is a lot more carbon intensive than animal milk. Cows and other ruminants convert very low quality food (grass) into high quality milk, while we have to start with high quality food (whether plant or animal based) to make our milk. Compared to our fellow great apes, we have small teeth, weak jaws and a short gut: we eat foods that are expensive and rare in nature. Even a vegan diet is heavy in the precious seeds and tubers of plants and in tender, low-alkaloid, low-silicate leaves, all things that plants really don’t want to lose.

        And from a climate change perspective, the year (ish) that a baby spends drinking human milk, animal milk-based formula or plant based formula is seriously insignificant in the context of the next 80 years of eating, travelling, having stuff bought on its behalf, buying stuff on its own behalf, reproducing that it’s going to do. If climate change is a problem for you, seriously consider not having that baby.

        If you already have that baby, feed it whatever you will. The climate won’t care.

        • Sarah
          January 3, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

          I think you might have slightly misunderstood the post you were replying to.

  4. guest
    December 30, 2015 at 3:30 am #

    HA HA HA HA HA breastfeeding spaces out pregnancies. While exclusively breastfeeding twins my period returned after three months. Thankfully, I had taken other measures to make sure I didn’t get pregnant again. “Nature” would have fucked me over royally if I had let it run its course. No way in hell was I ready for another pregnancy with three month old twins.

    • Inmara
      December 30, 2015 at 6:04 am #

      Apparently, for breastfeeding to work in lieu of birth control you have to co-sleep with babies and kick out your partner to the couch. He can wait with his sex needs while children will wean themselves, amirite?

      • Who?
        December 30, 2015 at 6:19 am #

        So it isn’t the breastfeeding, but the abstinence,that does the trick…

        • Elisabetta Aurora
          December 30, 2015 at 10:24 am #

          Yes, I’d say that’s it. Also breastfeeding lowers a woman’s libido and her ability to… um, get wet down there.

          So all in all, lowered libido + dry humping + co-sleeping + kicking partner to the couch = a somewhat reliable birth control. And it’s an excellent birth control for people who feel that sex should only be for procreation.

          • Toni35
            December 30, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

            Is lube not a thing anymore?

            Fwiw, while I don’t rely on bfing as my sole means of bc, it does keep my periods away for a good 10-12 months (we’ll see how long with my current baby). And I do cosleep, but my husband isn’t on the couch (wtf?). And, okay with four young children in the house we don’t get as much, ahem, action, as we used to, but we still do have a sex life (otherwise we wouldn’t have four children, lol). I mean, I get it -scoffing at the notion of bfing as a reliable bc method, but jeeze, bfing and cosleeping don’t necessarily equal a sexless marriage. Y’all are sounding as bad as the broad who was claiming that vax = “drugging” your kids so you can get some sleep.

      • demodocus
        December 30, 2015 at 8:11 am #

        Every 2 hours nursing, someone told me. Hey, I’m not complaining ’cause my boy actually slept between 1-5am, even as a newborn.

        • Inmara
          December 30, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

          Life is not fair; we switched to combo feeding and 6 or less feedings/pumpings a day quite early and I still managed to get 4,5 months of amenorrhea. Those glorious days are over, my period returned with pain and cramping as previously :/

          • demodocus
            December 30, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

            I blow raspberries in your general direction!

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            January 4, 2016 at 4:40 am #

            TMI: I’m having perimenopausal periods now. Ouch, ouch, ouch! Why did I ever wean the kid?

    • MaineJen
      December 30, 2015 at 9:33 am #

      No one in their right mind would rely on breastfeeding alone for birth control. No one who wasn’t okay with *maybe* getting pregnant again right away, at least…

  5. Amy
    December 29, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

    The amount of mental and mathematical gymnastics required to conclude that breastfeeding prevents climate change should earn that guy an Olympic medal. As a math person, I’m capable of doing it myself, but it’s a colossal waste of time. You’d have to assume that everyone who breastfeeds does so on demand, never uses a pump or bottle, doesn’t work outside the home, is successful using breastfeeding to prevent pregnancy, AND follows a vegan diet.

    While such a person MAY exist (and probably posts on MDC!), she’s not remotely representative of breastfeeding women worldwide.

    • yentavegan
      December 29, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

      Yup,that is me alright.

      • yentavegan
        January 3, 2016 at 9:12 pm #

        I did not get my period until my children weaned, then boom like clock work I conceived again. Breastfeeding is “family planning” not birth control.

    • Elisabetta Aurora
      December 30, 2015 at 10:26 am #

      If all the women who had babies stopped working outside the home for the 1-3 years it would take to ween it would cause a huge economic depression.

      • Sarah
        December 31, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

        Yes but all jobs can be done with a nursling or two in tow. If your employer won’t let you tandem feed while you perform open heart surgery, you’re being oppressed.

  6. Deborah
    December 29, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

    I have a beautiful cow who lives in my back garden. Her name is Bessie and she hardly ever passes wind. I feed her organic oats from the health food shop and we all drink straight from her teats, sweet, unadulterated milk in it’s purest form. We suffer violent illness occasionally but at least I have a clean conscience when it comes to global warming.

  7. Allie
    December 29, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

    So… Dr Newman is sending us FF moms on a guilt trip over all those greenhouse gases our formula-producing dairy cows emit.
    I can’t help but wonder what he had for breakfast today. Probably wasn’t a latte and some buttermilk pancakes! Also, lunch was certainly not a cheese sandwich. And surely he didn’t go home to his steak dinner after that!
    No, I’m confident that Dr Jack himself is living a strictly vegan lifestyle!
    There’s a word in the English language that perfectly describes the good doctor: hypocrite.

    • Sarah
      December 31, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

      I was going to go with twat, but we can use your word.

  8. Megan
    December 29, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

    So if we don’t breastfeed, the world literally will end! The power to save the world is in my breasts! (Or not…). /snark

  9. Sue
    December 29, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    Wait – now I see it! Maybe formula feeding increases population by preventing some babies from starving. Is that it?

  10. Elizabeth Neely
    December 29, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    stupid people are running wild.

  11. Brooke
    December 29, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    Another fantastic blog! My (soy) milk almost went up my nose reading this one! I know this is really really hard for you but you could’ve at least watched Cowspiracy on Netflix before writing this if not found ACTUAL STUDIES that look at the environmental impacts of animal agricultural. I know I know, you’re too busy insulting everyone else’s intelligence and writing your book.

    • Daleth
      December 29, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

      You’re missing the point, which is that “animal agriculture” has to be done to produce breastmilk too–choosing to breastfeed doesn’t mean all those cows cease to exist or cease to be needed. Where do you think the yogurt, milk, cheese and meat that most breastfeeding mamas eat comes from?

    • Taysha
      December 29, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

      You’re implying breastfeeding women don’t eat meat and drink milk?

      Breastfeeding women are breatharians?

      • Liz Leyden
        January 4, 2016 at 1:29 am #

        No, they’re all vegans.

    • Zoey
      December 29, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

      Hold up everyone! We’ve got a real expert on animal agriculture and climate science here. I mean, they watched an ENTIRE documentary on Netflix. Wow. I feel so lucky to get to hear the opinions of such a knowledgeable person.

      • Megan
        December 29, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

        And a real experct on the ideal CS rate and an expert on breastfeeding benefits including her surely forthcoming brilliant analysis of the PROBIT study.

      • demodocus
        December 29, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

        I prefer Nova on PBS. Usually, you can watch that on Netflix, too.

        • BeatriceC
          December 29, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

          I get all my farming information from Facebook. Actually, I do. I “like” several pages run by actual farmers who have gotten into public education. I really enjoy reading their posts, particularly one of them who’s got a great writing and explanatory style and who’s always willing to answer questions people ask. I’ve learned a lot on those pages.

          • demodocus
            December 29, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

            Cool. Mostly i’m on facebook because its the only way I have any idea what my family is up to. One of my favorite authors is pretty active, too. She’s always showing tiny snippets to tantalize us.

          • BeatriceC
            December 29, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

            If you’re interested, look up “Farm Babe” (who started out as a spoof/reaction against the other babe who’s evil), and “Nurse Loves Farmer”. There’s a few other pages they link to from time to time that I also read, but can’t recall the names offhand.

          • demodocus
            December 29, 2015 at 7:40 pm #

            I’ve wandered into both pages, usually from Skeptical Beard.

      • Bombshellrisa
        December 29, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

        I get my cow info from Mel who posts here. I also watched a lot of Doc Zone on CBC and NOVA. If someone bases their stance on vaccines, birth and breastfeeding on something they have watched on Netflix, I know we probably aren’t going to be sharing a cup of tea soon.

      • yentavegan
        December 29, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

        well put.

      • momofone
        December 29, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

        She’s an expert on “animal agricultural,” (sic) even!

        Brooke has made me realize I’ve been remiss with my oncologist, but I’m going to rectify my oversight–I’ve asked him about research, but it never occurred to me to make sure he watches Netflix!

    • Gatita
      December 29, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

      And still no response to Montserrat Blanco! Truly amazing.

      • PeggySue
        December 29, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

        Or predictable in a wearying, annoying way. Brooke’s mother has got a super special snowflake there, for sure.

    • moto_librarian
      December 29, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

      Better get back to work on those analogies and vocabulary words, Brooke.

    • Valerie
      December 29, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

      The nutrition has to come from somewhere- the mother doesn’t make it out of thin air. She has to consume more foods to make milk. It is incorrect to say what the environmental impacts would be without knowing the mother’s diet because the energy costs or savings depend on what the mother is eating. Most women are not vegan, so it’s unknown whether formula or breastfeeding is more environmentally responsible.

      If you want to argue that everybody should be vegan, or everybody should eat less animal products, fine, but there is no reason to put the burden solely on lactating mothers or their infants.

      • Sue
        December 29, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

        I don’t think this Brooke person wants to argue anything logical. She just likes to throw stones and run away, just like in the school yard.

      • Elisabetta Aurora
        December 30, 2015 at 10:31 am #

        I tend to eat a lot better when I’m not exhausted and sleep deprived.

    • MaineJen
      December 29, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

      “The expansion of soybean plantations into forests is also contributing to climate change. Deforestation is responsible for about 15% of all the global greenhouse gas emissions caused by people.”

      Just putting that out there.

      • Eater of Worlds
        December 31, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

        Yep. And every milk substitute out there would have a problem. Pretend they made almond formula, almonds suck up so much water, so much more than other orchards it’s a crazy amount.

      • canaduck
        February 19, 2016 at 11:16 am #

        To be fair, the great majority of soy and corn is fed to farm animals, not people.

    • momofone
      December 29, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

      I know, right? What a bunch of losers, reading peer-reviewed research instead of watching Netflix like the REAL experts! I don’t blame you for not responding to their challenges!

    • demodocus
      December 29, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

      Everybody knows that water is the best, most natural drink for your adult body and the environment!

    • Who?
      December 29, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

      Post these actual studies, Brooke, post them. I’m sure you have them and fully understand them all.

    • OttawaAlison
      December 29, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

      Have you checked all the sources in that documentary plus all the criticism or are you now an expert in the dairy /beef industry because you watched a documentary.

      That said, we’re animals too. I’m all for reducing meat consumption, but a baby has to eat and some have formula and grow and thrive on it. Soy farming hasn’t been perfect either or has quinoa agricultural practices. Basically all of this stuff is pretty complex with many social/cultural/economic/environmental issues…
      But whatevs Dr. Newman is God and the fact that formula in the big picture is a drop in the bucket compared to other greenhouse gas emitters, let’s shame women for ruining the environment because they’re not using their boobs to feed babies..

    • Amy
      December 29, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

      Soy monoculture is pretty bad for the environment. Even “organic” soy. You know you can be a vegan without soy, right?

    • Elisabetta Aurora
      December 30, 2015 at 10:34 am #

      Why are we blaming mothers and babies for the sorry state of animal farming? Why not just argue for better farming practices instead of insisting that all women breastfeed?

    • Roadstergal
      December 30, 2015 at 11:57 am #

      So all babies should drink soy formula instead of milk (of any species)?

      • Charybdis
        December 31, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

        Hey, soy has a shit ton of phytoestrogens in it…..

    • rosewater7
      December 30, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

      Insulting everyone’s intelligence? Pot meet kettle. Oh, and since you seem quite positive that there are actual studies that support this…I’d be interested to read them. Yes, of course, I could find them on my own. But I’m relying on you, Brooke, to use your vast knowledge to help me. I’m waiting.

  12. Inmara
    December 29, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    If we’re being honest, raising a child in a developed country leaves HUGE carbon footprint so the best way to cope with climate change would be avoid procreating (world population growth will be maintained by developing countries anyway).

    • Sue
      December 29, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

      Right, Inmara. So, a question for Brooke.

      What are the relative CO2 emissions for a single child who is forumla fed vs six children who are breast-fed for three years each? You have ten seconds to answer.

  13. Zoey
    December 29, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    I’m rolling my eyes so hard right now I’m worried that they may be stuck up in my head forever. Talk about grasping at straws.

    Also, the comments to the women who responded to his post saying that they were physically unable to breastfeed made me furious. Where does he get off telling women that he’s never met and/or examined that they could have been successful with the right support? What a jerk.

    Dr. Jack Newman is so focused on promoting breastfeeding at all costs and shaming women for their individual feeding choices that he lost whatever semblance of medical and/or scientific respectability he may have once had a very long time ago.

  14. yentavegan
    December 29, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    Breastfeeding mothers are Goddesses….kneel in awe and adoration of their selflessness and their life sustaining power. They are as gentle and good to the earth as the Garden of Eden. All hail the Breastfeeding Mother sing her praises and hold her aloft…high up on a pedestal so high above that any man can freely look up her dress to catch an eye full of her loins….

  15. Medwife
    December 29, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

    Ha. Well, my grandmother had 3 babies a year apart, then she started breastfeeding and spaced her other babies to a whole 2 years apart. That’s probably why she had 9 kids rather than 15. I would encourage everyone, developing country citizens or not, to choose an IUD, depo, or sterilization over lac rational amenorrhea.

    • Laura
      December 29, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

      Don’t forget nexplanon implants. I <3 mine.

    • MaineJen
      December 30, 2015 at 9:42 am #

      IUDs for the win!!

  16. Amazed
    December 29, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    We’re talking about the man who claimed it was not his joob to protect other people’s (sick with leucemia) kids by injecting toxins into his own precious snowflakes, right?

    I rest my case.

    Why this asshole is still practicing, that’s the question.

    • Houston Mom
      December 29, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

      That was the cardiologist, Jack Wolfson, if I remember correctly.

  17. Valerie
    December 29, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    Yeah, somebody would have to gather the data and calculate the relative efficiencies of the two- raising cows and processing their milk, or feeding the mother extra food to produce milk (and all the accoutrements/shipping/etc). As in, per mL of formula or breastmilk, figure how much energy and water was used and how much greenhouse gas or other pollutants were created. I’m guessing it only tips in favor of breastfeeding environmentally if the mother is vegan herself- if her diet is truly highly efficient. If you don’t actually do the calculation, it’s just making stuff up. It’s possible that for the average American family, formula is more environmentally efficient than breastfeeding, or the difference is negligible compared to other small changes (meatless monday? better insulation?) that would have much less impact on a mother’s time.

  18. December 29, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    The argument that greenhouse gas levels are directly related to breastfeeding choices made me laugh hard.

    I’ve been studying sustainable agriculture in my current graduate program. Oddly enough, breastfeeding vs. formula feeding has never, ever, been discussed. Ideas that actually matter have to do with minimizing fossil fuel use through use of renewable energy, decreased transportation, decreased processing, reduced meat consumption and decreased waste at the consumer level.

    • Medwife
      December 29, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

      Not to mention smaller family size!

    • Sarah
      December 31, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

      Yes but the reason they’ve not been mentioned is because Nestle.

  19. demodocus
    December 29, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    Spacing. Yeah. I was exclusively breastfeeding and co sleeping (because i kept falling asleep anyway, so it was the least dangerous of the options) and I still got my period at 8 weeks post partum.
    Unless he is a vegan bicycle commuter, he needs to shut up about the dairy industry.
    ETA: Even if he *is* a vegan bicycle commuter, he needs to shut up.

    • OttawaAlison
      December 29, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

      It’s something else to blame on women.

  20. OttawaAlison
    December 29, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    And in Canada this man is regarded like a God in lactation circles, no matter how inflammatory he can be.

    • fiftyfifty1
      December 29, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

      natural parenting ideology + inflammatory + MD + male = God

      The formula works every time.

  21. Megan
    December 29, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    This is just asinine. Obviously grasping at straws here. I really wish Dr. Newman had breasts so I could tell him what to do with them.

    • Sue
      December 29, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

      He does. But he can’t.

      • Megan
        December 29, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

        Sorry. I guess I should have specified breasts able to lactate. Though I suspect the whole landscape regarding breastfeeding would be different if men did it.

        • Sue
          December 29, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

          I’m beginning to suspect he has lactation envy, his breasts being non-functional and all.

          • Sarah
            December 31, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

            Help is at hand. Dr Newman is suffering from NEWMANITIS, and a number of us have ascertained that the only known cure, other than shutting the fuck up, is to hook sufferers up to a pump 24/7 and force feed them illegally imported domperidone (which has zero carbon footprint, naturally) until they lactate. Since he doesn’t allow women the right to assess whether they could’ve produced enough milk to nourish an infant, he doesn’t get that right either and certainly not before a few weeks of trying.

      • Mishimoo
        December 30, 2015 at 12:40 am #

        Well perhaps he should just try harder and really commit to doing the best he can for the environment.

        • Roadstergal
          December 30, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

          “Do your breast for the environment.”

  22. Commander30
    December 29, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    Oh wow. His comments read like an Onion article.

  23. Amy M
    December 29, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    Really Dr. Newman has a problem with the dairy industry, if he’s going with that lame argument and that’s nothing to do with infant feeding, really. Formula is only a tiny percentage of what happens to milk from cows. If he thinks formula is playing a role, due to its source, then he should be boycotting butter, cheese, ice cream and milk itself.

    • demodocus
      December 29, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

      mmm, ice cream… must remind spouse to fetch ice cream for my birthday next week…

      • Medwife
        December 29, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

        Oh man. I read this and got the worst worst craving for ice cream cake.

  24. namaste863
    December 29, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    Oh, I see. When all else fails, play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Got it.

  25. Angharad
    December 29, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    If anything, I would imagine powdered formula costs much less to ship than most other foods because the heaviest ingredient (water) has been removed. Of course, there is processing involved, but a lot of mothers eat processed food too. Total energy consumed for any given process is extremely complex to model and anyone claiming definitively that one process involving many steps is greener than another is likely oversimplifying.

  26. Madtowngirl
    December 29, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Ugh, I saw this post yesterday. This is just more bullshit made up to try and guilt women into breastfeeding.

    Furthermore, a lot of things that people claim are “green” options really aren’t as great as they think. Case in point – cloth diapers. In terms of physical waste,they are “greener” because you don’t throw them away. But the amount of laundry you now have to do is not so green. Laundry machines and dryers are some of the biggest sources of energy consumption in the average American home, and now you have to use then with even more frequency. Full disclosure : we cloth diaper, because I hate the generated waste and smell of disposable diapers. But I harbor no false beliefs that I’m “greener” than others families that use disposable diapers. Our laundry machine is running all the time.

    • FormerPhysicist
      December 29, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

      It really depends on your local environment which is “greener”. Which is the bigger problem, water or landfill space? I guess elimination communication and a composting toilet wins. UGH.

      • BeatriceC
        December 29, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

        I live in a perpetual drought area. I’ve occasionally wondered how the crunchy people who cloth diaper justify using so much water even during a time when some areas are actually putting a cap on the amount of water that can be used every month before massive fines kick in.

        • Gatita
          December 29, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

          Not just cloth diaper but being so self-righteous and smug about it. Bonus asshole points for using a diaper service (fuel, emissions)

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
            December 29, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

            Some of them are pretty thoughtlessly priveleged. When my daughter was born my choices were the usually in use or broken laundry room in another building in my apartment complex or doing laundry once a week at the Laundromat when my husband and the car were home(not dragging baby and laundry on the bus…) disposable diapers for the win!

          • MaineJen
            December 30, 2015 at 9:43 am #

            You mean not everyone has a high efficiency power washer with extra rinse cycle?? /snark

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
            December 30, 2015 at 10:24 am #

            Well i finally do now..but the baby is 21 so…
            Of course it has a circuit board that is wonky and its out of warranty
            So it stops once a cycle and gets F1 in the led window. Then I have to stop and restart it. Yes my washer needs a soft reboot on a cycle. F ing computers..

          • Amy M
            December 30, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

            Heck, we have a good washer/dryer, but both husband and I worked, and I figured, even if the daycare lady was willing to deal with cloth diapers, I didn’t want a bag o’shitty diapers to take home every day with the babies. And then spend god knows how much time actually cleaning them—by the time we got the boys in bed, there were 2 hours left before I went to bed to get EVERYTHING done. The convenience and time factors were well worth every penny spent on disposable diapers. I’m sorry about the landfills, but I also saved water and energy, so I guess it evens out.

  27. Taysha
    December 29, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    There is a reason for the term “Irish Twins”.

    • Summit County Mom
      December 29, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

      Yes my mother was fertile just five weeks after I was born despite exclusively breastfeeding. My mom was the natural type and with NFP was able to avoid surprise pregnancy without the pill but it would have been impossible if she just trusted nature. I was a very “easy” baby and slept through the night at three weeks despite my poor engorged mothers attempts to wake me for feeding.

    • Daleth
      December 29, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

      In college I had an Irish (as in from Ireland) roommate who was seven months older than her sister. The sister, obviously, was premature.

      • PeggySue
        December 29, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

        Wonder how the Mom was doing…

    • BeatriceC
      December 29, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

      My youngest two are 11 months apart, however the youngest was born at 24 weeks, so they should have been a bit farther apart. They’d have still been close, but not crazy close.

  28. attitude devant
    December 29, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    The type of appeal Dr. Newman is making is insulting to the intelligence of all mothers, and all women in general.

  29. December 29, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    “So let’s see if I get this straight. The problem with formula is that cows need to be fed in order to produce it? But women don’t need to be fed to produce breastmilk? Wait a second, women need to be fed, too. And arguably, they need to be fed better quality food, including … you guessed it … meat from cows!

    How green is the extra food (including meat) needed to create breastmilk? The calories have to come from somewhere. Is there any evidence that the production of breastmilk takes less farming, fertilizers and transportation of food than the production of cow’s milk?”

    This is another place where lactivism intersects with other harmful sexist narratives. Newman can safely ignore the extra calories women need to produce breast milk because “good” women don’t have appetites or wants or needs. A good mother suppresses her own needs (privacy, adult conversation, paid employment, food) in total service to her children, miraculously producing “liquid gold” out of nothing at all.

    • attitude devant
      December 29, 2015 at 12:08 pm #


    • Madtowngirl
      December 29, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

      You hit the nail on the head. I’m getting quite fed up with the message that I have to be a martyr to be a good mother.

      • Megan
        December 29, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

        And don’t forget that you have to look fabulous while doing it!

    • SporkParade
      December 29, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

      I thought I was supposed to breastfeed in order to lose pregnancy weight. Because good women don’t stop worrying about their appearance, even after life-altering medical events.

    • demodocus
      December 29, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

      Beans and tofu. With a side of vitamins. Who needs meat!?
      (me but that’s because the only dinner I want these days is hamburgers and fries or lasagna made with ground beef.)

      • Daleth
        December 29, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

        I’ve never eaten so much meat in my life as when I was pregnant with twins. My body CRAVED it. I once ate six burgers in a single day (burgers only, no buns). And it worked: despite being a bit premature (born in week 36) my twins were both 21″ long and weighed, respectively, 5’7″ and 6’3″. (Those are pounds and ounces, obviously.)

        • Amy M
          December 29, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

          I felt the same—I would crave hamburgers. From McDonald’s. And then if I ate them, regret it immensely with raging heartburn. Your children had good weights! Mine were also 36 weeks, 4’9 and 5’2. However, my husband and I are both quite small, so no one was concerned.

          • BeatriceC
            December 29, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

            My 36 weeker was 8’8 and my 32 weeker was 5’4; no diabetes involved. I and half my family are just giant. I was 10’12 myself (and my poor mother was a mere 90 pounds prior to getting pregnant with me), and most of the babies in my father’s family were over 10 pounds. They’re just really big people. My one baby that wasn’t large for gestational age was my 24 weeker, at 504g.

        • Roadstergal
          December 30, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

          A vegetarian friend of mine became un-vegetarian for each of her pregnancies. Massive cravings for red almost-raw meat.

          • Megan
            December 30, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

            Yeah, I’m that “bad” vegan who has eaten dairy and eggs her entire pregnancy because that and cereal are all I’ve craved. It’s been perpetual breakfast with ice cream dessert around here.

          • Daleth
            December 31, 2015 at 10:02 am #

            Yup. “Pregnant vegetarian” is almost an oxymoron.

          • An Actual Attorney
            December 31, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

            It was a gag on Friends when Phoebe was pregnant. She really wanted meat, so Joey became a vegetarian to make up for her meat consumption.

            There’s a brain cell that won’t be but to any useful purpose.

      • Bombshellrisa
        December 29, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

        Only if you are eating organic, local and sustainable beans and tofu!
        (Since your lasagne suggestion, I have pinned a bunch of lasagne soup recipes on Pinterest and will be trying all of them)

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