Dr. Melissa Bartick owes Courtney Jung an apology


Well that didn’t take long.

Lactivists have faced the first real public challenge to their misrepresentation of the scientific evidence about breastfeeding, and they’ve already sunk to character assassination. I suppose that was only to be expected since they have no scientific evidence to dispute the central arguments in Courtney Jung’s book, Lactivism.

Not surprisingly, internist Melissa Bartick, MD is leading the charge. She committed the most egregious exaggeration of benefits and she’s been caught out. In her 2010 paper The Burden of Suboptimal Breastfeeding in the United States: A Pediatric Cost Analysis, using highly fanciful methods, Bartick “estimated” that the US could save 900 infant lives and $13 billion if 90% of US women breastfed. These numbers are grossly misleading since the purported savings are primarily the “lost wages” of the 900 dead infants (not a single one of which Bartick could identify then or now).

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#FD1221″]My baby, my body, my breasts, my choice![/pullquote]

Bartick became desperate relatively quickly; I guess that reflects the fact that there is absolutely no evidence to support her 2010 claims. She has promptly resorted to character assassination on the WBUR website:

If Donald Trump suddenly jumped into the breastfeeding fray, he might sound a bit like Courtney Jung.

I would have thought that such a gratuitous insult would be unworthy of both Bartick and WBUR, but I guess when you’re desperate the rules of civil behavior go right out the window.

At least Bartick is honest that her attempts to shoot the messenger are a response to having her work criticized:

I offer myself as Exhibit A in Jung’s book. She spends pages tearing apart a 2007 essay I wrote on combating formula proponents’ use of the word “choice.” Taking my essay out of context, she implies to readers that breastfeeding advocates do not think mothers should be given a choice in how they feed their infants. Here she describes me as an “ardent lactivist,” although in that very essay, I caution against “lactivism.” Jung couldn’t have gotten me more wrong: I have never engaged in any of the judgmental pressuring tactics to women I meet typical of the lactivists Jung describes.

Dr. Bartick, please don’t compound your harassment of new mothers by lying about it. Your words in Making the Case: Effective Language for Breastfeeding Advocacy make it clear that Jung described your views accurately.

You DON’T believe that mothers should be given a choice. Indeed you are so opposed to choice that you want the word eliminated from the discussion.

Choice” is the language of breastfeeding opponents. When they talk “choice,” it’s best to respond using entirely different language, like “marketing” or “profits.” Avoid the word “choice” altogether.

You DO believe in shaming women who don’t breastfeed, approvingly quoting Diane Weissinger’s ugly manifesto on shaming.

Instead of talking about the “benefits of breastfeeding,” talk about the risks of not breastfeeding.

You believe in IGNORING what women are saying about the breastfeeding experiences, as if your belief about their OWN experiences is more important than theirs:

Reframe “guilt” as anger or grief.

But the key issue remains exaggerating the benefits of breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding is a public health issue, just like smoking, safe sex, and seatbelts.

But it isn’t! Unlike the benefits of not smoking, safe sex, and seat belts, which can be measured in tens of thousands of lives saved every year, the benefits of breastfeeding in first world countries are trivial and even Bartick herself can’t identify any term babies in the US who died because of properly prepared formula, let alone the hundreds she claimed are dying each and every year.

When Bartick was asked in the comments why she didn’t retract her study since it is obviously untrue, she replied:

There is nothing to retract. The study was accurate at the time. And we are doing an update that includes maternal health and pediatric health. It is massive. This kind of research is painstaking and building the computer model and testing and retesting it has taken out[sic] team of 9 all this time. It is costly. And of course we say outright that the results assume the relationships are causal which might or might not be the case. However, given that mammals have evolved to feed their young their own milk over thousands of years, it would not seem that man can improve on this in a couple generations. Critics who do not engage in research such as Amy Tuteur, do not realize what needs to go into a well done study and what needs to happen to get it published. You can’t just make stuff up.

Whining that research is hard?

Invoking evolution?

It’s almost as bad as smearing Courtney Jung by associating her with Donald Trump.

Dr. Bartick owes Courtney Jung an apology, though I doubt that one will be forthcoming.

She also owes American women an apology for massively exaggerating the benefits of breastfeeding in an effort to force new mothers to breastfeed. In keeping with her own advice to other lactivists, Dr. Bartick insisted that formula feeding is a public health crisis, even though there is no scientific evidence to support that claim.

I can’t wait to see how Dr. Bartick attempts to smear me when my book, Push Back, is published in 14 weeks. I go beyond Jung’s argument that the benefits of breastfeeding have been exaggerated to promote the breastfeeding industry, and address the ways in which lactivism is profoundly sexist and deeply retrograde. Ultimately, the “breastfeeding wars” are about whether or not we believe women should be judged by the function of their reproductive organs.

That reflects a fundamental difference between Dr. Bartick and myself. She is so sure that women should have no choice but to breastfeed that she actually counsels other lactivists to refuse to discuss “choice” altogether. In contrast, I believe:

My baby, my body, my breasts, MY CHOICE!

89 Responses to “Dr. Melissa Bartick owes Courtney Jung an apology”

  1. CSN0116
    January 28, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

    I am using Jung’s book as a supplemental piece in a current health policy course I’m teaching this semester. We had our first lecture and discussion on her Chapter 1 today. My graduate level epidemiology and public health students are like -MIND BLOWN lol. This book is fabulous and forces these up-and-coming professionals to seriously contemplate public health initiatives, their effects, and the dollars potentially wasted in a society with scarce resources of the sort to go around. I can’t wait to get my hands on Dr. T’s book as well 😉 Early copy for a review? Just sayin’…

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      January 28, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

      Just email me (DrAmy5 at aol dot com) and I’ll see if I can arrange it. Review copies should be available the week after next.

  2. OttawaAlison
    December 29, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

    Another rant on maybe why I am bitter on this issue even years after I stopped infant feeding (though I haven’t ruled out having another child, I’m 38). I felt absolutely abandoned by the breastfeeding community. I was made to feel that my issues were in my head (they weren’t). I was told by telling *my* experience that I was spreading misinformation (no, it was spreading a reality that not all women produce enough). I was told time after time that I could produce enough even though my daughter didn’t get that memo. I was told I was anti-breastfeeding (I’m not). I was talked to rather than listened to. Heck I was a breastfed baby back in the day when most kids weren’t.
    Not to mention the fact that all of those horrible things haven’t happened to my daughter (knocking on all the wood). The one who prefers produce to processed food (one ant-formula pamphlet said I was setting my child up to eat like crap by introducing her to processed food aka formula in early infancy), the one who will have a 12 hour bug when other are knocked out for days though she rarely gets sick. I’m really sick of women telling new moms on how they are setting their child up for all these bad scenarios based on how they were fed in early infancy.

    • Angharad
      December 29, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

      I think it’s probably more luck of the draw than anything. My daughter was combo-fed for six months, then formula fed. She’s honestly pretty sickly (catches every bug and is knocked out for weeks, just like me) and has allergies and eczema. If I had to guess the cause I would say genetics rather than what she ate for a year. And even if it was the formula, I still would rather have a fed baby who later develops allergies, eczema, etc. than a starved baby.

      • OttawaAlison
        December 30, 2015 at 8:08 am #

        My brother was breastfed for the best part of a year and he has struggled with allergies and skin issues his whole life. I get eczema like my mom. My daughter gets the occasional migraine poor thing (I started getting them at her age too).

  3. OttawaAlison
    December 29, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    Related to this – If you look for the 180 podcast on CBC there is an interview with Jung from early November (my mom heard a re-run of it yesterday and told me to look it up, you can find it on iTunes). Interestingly enough, while she had a little bit of skepticism on the evangelism of breastfeeding, she was very pro-breastfeeding when she started to do her research thinking all the research she’d find would support the policies that would be made toward breastfeeding. She quickly learned that it didn’t. But alas she’s a political scientist and evidently Donald Trump, and Ms. Bartick knows all.

  4. AirPlant
    December 29, 2015 at 6:39 am #

    So I grew up watching people drive cars. I am old enough that I sat in the front seat from early childhood, I mimicked my mothers driving motions, and I always knew that I would drive one day. I still had a hell of a time learning. I didn’t get my license until college and I was thirty before I really felt comfortable behind the wheel.

    Based on that anecdote I suspect the social support argument is kind of bullshit. Watching someone breastfeeding doesn’t teach you how to breastfeed. There is a learning curve and wide reports say that learning curve sucks balls.

    i am about done with people who feel the need to bleat on about how breastfeeding is always perfect and superior and never ever painful or complicated or inefficient. Breastfeeding is just like any part of life. There are pros and cons and it works different for different people. It is just a biological process, not shorthand for your worth as a mother.

    • Guest
      December 29, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

      That is so true. My mom breastfed, I had friends who breastfed, but I still needed a lot of help figuring out how to do it with my first.

      Also, they leave the baby out of the equation so often. I have 3 kids. Only 1 took to breastfeeding right off the bat (#2). #1 and #3 really struggled. By #3 I was an old pro and yet we had a very difficult time because of his physiology, temperament, and particular set of instincts/innate skills. I very rarely hear anyone in the breastfeeding world discussing the fact that it is a dyad requiring cooperation, skill, and basic ability from both parties. I have friends whose ability to breastfeed was fine, but their baby’s weren’t up to the task – and somehow that was their (the mom’s) failure. Bizarre.

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

        My son has apraxia but the LC we hired failed to diagnose his abnormal latch and suck, His suck was so weak that even after we switched to formula we had to use the fast flow bottles. We didn’t figure out what was going on until he was almost 2 and I was told by an occupational therapist that “You were never going to be able to breastfeed him.” I’m still very angry about that (the shiteous LC, not his inability to suck).

  5. Sue
    December 28, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

    Turning herself inside out about peanut allergy:

    Bartick is an internal medicine physician. I haven’t been able to find any publications in the area of internal medicine – she only seems to publish (some research, many opinion pieces) in the area of lactation.

    • Inmara
      December 29, 2015 at 2:49 am #

      If anyone is interested, here is a good overview of current evidence regarding peanut allergies in infants and optimal age for introduction of peanut protein http://scienceofmom.com/2015/02/25/what-to-do-about-babies-and-peanuts-new-study-finds-early-exposure-can-prevent-allergy And it is exactly the opposite of what Bartick writes (“If a mother or her pediatrician is concerned about the development of peanut allergy in her child because of a history of allergies in the family, the best current advice would be to avoid peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and to delay introducing peanuts into the child’s diet”)

      • Green Fish
        December 29, 2015 at 4:18 am #

        My husband has a couple of (mild but annoying) food allergies and so we were also wondering what to do concerning our first child.
        Luckily our pediatrician knew about the current recommendations (“introduce all those foods before the first birthday”).
        We did (which resulted in some amazingly creative types of home-made baby mush!), and so far it looks like son hasn’t developed any of the problems his father has.

        • Gatita
          December 29, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

          I wish I’d known that before my son developed a seafood allergy. While it’s easy to avoid, we have to carry an epipen after he had an anaphylactic reaction. It’s scary and also a PITA.

          • Green Fish
            December 31, 2015 at 6:43 am #

            I can’t guarantee you that he would have given the same advise if my husband had life-threatening allergies though.

      • araikwao
        December 29, 2015 at 6:54 am #

        Yeah, Bartick’s advice is really outdated, and as you say, totally the opposite of current practice.

      • Megan
        December 29, 2015 at 9:56 am #

        Thanks for that blog post. We purposefully started giving Bamba puffs when DD was old enough for finger foods. She loves them (hubby and I also think they’re delicious, incidentally), they’re more nutritious than cheese puffs and I was hopeful that we would decrease her risk of peanut allergy. Bartick is way behind the times.

  6. Sue
    December 28, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

    “it would not seem that man can improve on this in a couple generations.”


    It would seem that “man” (ie humans) evolved to walk, speak directly to each other and grow their own food. And yet, within a couple of generations, we have airflight, smart phones and mass agriculture, and yet health and longevity (in societies that benefit from these advances) are better than ever.

    It would seem that evolution only requires preservation of the species, not optimum function.

  7. Anne Catherine
    December 28, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    Wow, I hadn’t seen the “effective language” piece –that is something else!!

    It never ceases to amaze me how tunnel-visioned these women can be—

    It’s like they think it’s perfectly fine and admirable to basically mislead people. I just don’t get it. Dr Bartick is an MD, and teaches at Harvard—–

    • attitude devant
      December 29, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

      Well, I went to med school with Mehmet Oz, and Aviva Romm went to Yale. The Ivy League does not turn out a uniformly good product.

      • AgentOrange5
        January 2, 2016 at 4:23 am #

        In general, ivy leagues do turn out high quality, educated individuals. But there are always exceptions, because humans are individual and can’t be quality controlled the way widgets are (and even widgets sometimes have bad batches.)

  8. Madtowngirl
    December 28, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    I’ve stated before that donor milk was the only option offered to me in the hospital when I was failing to lactate. The hospital apparently pasteurized the milk, but I have no idea what method they used, as there are more than one. One of my biggest fears is what I may have unknowingly exposed my baby to. I’m relatively confident that it was as safe as possible, since they had to have the donor program approved by the FDA, but it still bugs me.

    Never again. I’ll take my “chances” with formula.

    • Sean Jungian
      December 29, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

      This was/is a thing? The hospital you were in wouldn’t/didn’t offer formula? That’s so bizarre.

      I’m really glad I had my son back in the early 2000s. Even though we lived in crunchy Seattle – and I had a vegan friend who breastfed her daughter until the daughter was 3 years old – even with all that, I can only remember maybe one or two people asking me if I was going to breastfeed. (Full disclosure, I did breastfeed, until he basically lost interest at 8 months, preferring regular solid food).

      I produced a LOT of milk so supply wasn’t an issue, but even so he would have formula occasionally.

      I would have been a little “squicked” out at the suggestion I feed my son donor milk. I think I would have far preferred giving him formula.

      • Madtowngirl
        December 29, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

        Unfortunately, with the “baby friendly” movement, many hospitals are restricting the offer of formula, and requiring that the patient ask for it before giving it out. My baby was preterm, losing too much weight, and my milk wasn’t coming in. The nurse told me I needed to make a decision, that they could provide donor milk. I imagine I would have been given formula if I asked. However, I didn’t know that, and I was an emotional new mom who had somewhat bought into the woo, so I didn’t question it because any breast milk was better than formula, right?

        Looking back on it with a clearer head, I am pretty “squicked” out about the whole thing. If there is another baby in our future, I will definitely use formula if breastfeeding doesn’t work.

        • Sean Jungian
          December 29, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

          @Madtowngirl: in reading your response I realize that I might have sounded a LOT judgier than I intended. I did not in any way mean to imply that you did something wrong by not asking for formula, and my own common sense tells me that there would be absolutely nothing dangerous or wrong about feeding my baby donor breastmilk (screened and provided by the hospital no less, I mean how much safer could it possibly be?) regardless of my not-entirely-rational “squick” factor. So if I made you feel you had to defend your choice at the time, I wholeheartedly apologize, as that was not at all my intention.

          I really only wanted to offer you some sympathy, because it does sound like you were overwhelmed and didn’t receive much (if any) helpful direction due in part to the hospital’s commitment to encouraging EBF (what they call “baby friendly”). I also wanted to express some relief that I didn’t have to weather the kind of pressures you newer moms have to face.

          Even that phrase, “Baby Friendly” fills me with a kind of rage, TBH. It’s like the language of anti-abortion activists, who position themselves as “pro-life” which by default labels the opposing viewpoint as “pro-death”. “Baby Friendly” is all well and good, but as far as lactivism goes, it positions parents who choose formula feeding as “baby unfriendly” or even “baby harmful”. Disgusting.

          And hey, I bought the breastfeeding woo, at least partly. I knew I was going to at least try to breastfeed, exclusively if possible (although my standard of possible is and was “as long as it is primarily convenient for me). And I was pretty lucky, breastfeeding never posed much of a problem for me, I didn’t even ever see a Lactation Consultant, I had the resources to afford a good breast pump and a private office when I returned to work that allowed me to continue to breastfeed. I can’t say I ever felt transcendentally joyful while breastfeeding, as some of these crunchier types claim, and I absolutely drew the line at co-sleeping. For me the sensation of being nursed on while asleep/half asleep was unsettling.

          I was fortunate any way you slice it really, because I didn’t have to deal with the entire world weighing in on how I chose to feed my baby, and because the way the world “preferred” for me to feed my baby turned out to be easy for me.

          • Madtowngirl
            December 29, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

            I didn’t think you sounded judgmental at all! 🙂 Text can be so misleading sometimes.

  9. Brooke
    December 28, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    It’s like you don’t know how statistics work.

    • momofone
      December 28, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

      Please do enlighten us then.

    • moto_librarian
      December 28, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

      If you aren’t willing to actually engage with us, just go away. You aren’t willing to back up anything that you say with real evidence. When someone kindly provides you with links to the peer-reviewed literature, you go radio silent or go off on some idiotic tangent. If you’re just going to mindlessly troll, do it somewhere else.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        December 28, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

        Hey, she’s reviewing statistics for the SATs, so she thinks she knows it.

        I jnow, this is the second time I’ve referred to her SAT review, bUT I have to say, it would explain a lot. Including why she thinks you only need high school biology to read the literature. It’s simple – she’s still in high school.

        • Bombshellrisa
          December 28, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

          I think you are onto something here.

        • Amazed
          December 29, 2015 at 6:58 am #

          Where is this SAT thing? I clearly missed it.

          • Gatita
            December 29, 2015 at 10:54 am #

            SATs are standardized tests that American students take as part of their college applications.

          • Amazed
            December 29, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

            I know what SATs are, I just missed the connection with Brooke. My, she’s so impressive, eh?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            December 29, 2015 at 11:48 am #

            Another thread where she mentioned hypocrisy. I attributed it to her having come across the word in her SAT review, so she thought she’d impress us all by using it – albeit incorrectly.

          • Amazed
            December 29, 2015 at 1:48 pm #


    • Montserrat Blanco
      December 28, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

      But you do! So, please, and I really really would love to have this conversation, can you explain us:
      – why the design and statistics of the PROBIT study makes it much worse than the papers you linked so that the conclusions of the PROBIT study are useless.
      – how did you got the number of the 5% recommended CS rate?

      Thank you and have a lovely day.

      • Gatita
        December 28, 2015 at 6:30 pm #

        Every time you ask Brooke to explain why the study isn’t valid, I get a warm glow of snark and joy.

        • Montserrat Blanco
          December 29, 2015 at 1:55 am #

          And every single time I wait and wait and wait and she does not answer.

          Believe me, I LOVE statistics arguments. I really love them. But she never gets into that so I can not have the argument! I am getting really dissapointed.

          • Megan
            December 29, 2015 at 8:42 am #

            Crickets is all we ever get after her opening volley. It’s getting boring.

        • Amazed
          December 29, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

          My popcorn is getting stale!

    • Megan
      December 28, 2015 at 5:44 pm #


    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      December 28, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

      It’s like you don’t know about the Dunning Kruger effect and “confident idiots.”

    • momofone
      December 28, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

      I’m fairly sure I’m not the only person waiting eagerly for your response. When are you going to share your expertise?

  10. Gatita
    December 28, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    I posted this over on the WBUR site but wanted to share here too: There’s a book, A Social History of Wet Nursing in America, that details how and why formula came into use. You can read an excerpt online at Google Books and it’s fascinating.

    • Gene
      December 28, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

      Boo! My library doesn’t have it!

      • Gatita
        December 28, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

        Maybe you can get it through interlibrary loan?

      • Bombshellrisa
        December 28, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

        Same here, I was hoping it was somewhere in the two counties and two major city systems I have access to.

      • theadequatemother
        December 29, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

        Mine does! Happy dance!

        • Megan
          December 30, 2015 at 10:18 am #

          I managed to find it in the local university library but it’s checked out! Maybe a SOB reader lives in my area?

    • fiftyfifty1
      December 28, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

      One of the things I found fascinating was just how many women in colonial times experienced lactational failure as detailed in their diaries and other documents. Lactivists claim that modern women have problems nursing only because “they have never seen someone breastfeed” or “nursing wisdom has been lost” or because “formula undermines them”. But this book clearly shows that women, even when surrounded and supported by other breastfeeding mothers, even when no formula was available, even when they were experienced breastfeeders themselves, often ran into problems. Problems like insufficient supply, mastitis, breast abscesses, infants with feeding problems, failure to thrive and death. Lactivists invoke a magical past when breastfeeding was harmony and bliss. They lie.

      • December 29, 2015 at 4:37 am #

        It’s the same magical past when every birth was an uncomplicated homebirth in which the mother and baby had a warm and wonderful experience. No wonder Australian aborigines refer to the past as the “Dream Time”.

      • Megan
        December 29, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

        I also found it interesting when reading the excerpt that they mention the number of women who hired wet nurses because their employment and income were vital to the family economy. So clearly this issue of breastfeeding vs. working is not new, though to hear lactivists tell it, women all stayed home with their children until the past couple of generations.

        • Gatita
          December 29, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

          Yes! I thought that was fascinating. Also the men who insisted their wives use a wet nurse so they could have sex again (since it was prohibited for nursing women) yet the ministers were critical of the mothers instead of their husbands. Typical!

          • Megan
            December 29, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

            Yes, and of course, women were being told by anyone and everyone how they should feed their babies at that time too, and no matter what they chose someone was judging them. The more things change, the more they stay the same I suppose. Lactivists can never claim to be feminists.

          • demodocus
            December 29, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

            They try to though.

          • Megan
            December 29, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

            And I really have to add that while reading this, I am reminded just how very thankful I am for a safe alternative way to feed my child.

    • Megan
      December 28, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

      Wish the paperback wasn’t $60 on Amazon! Sounds like a really interesting read…

      • fiftyfifty1
        December 28, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

        I’ve read only the excerpt so far. Multiple pages and very worth the read.

        • Megan
          December 28, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

          I plan to take a look on my computer later. For some reason it won’t load on my phone.

  11. J.B.
    December 28, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    Other economic arguments I have seen are based on fewer missed days of work for mom. Really curious if anyone has really analyzed moms who work and pump vs moms who work and formula feed and see if they’ve also quantified professional consequences of taking that time. Cause the child of a stay at home mom is likely to have a lot fewer bugs than any baby in the cesspool of viruses, I mean daycare, regardless of feeling status.

    • Ash
      December 28, 2015 at 1:19 pm #


    • demodocus
      December 28, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

      I take my kid to the library, not daycare, at the moment. There seems to be a strong correlation between his colds and his trips to the library in the fall. And then there’s public transit.

      • Bombshellrisa
        December 28, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

        Story time is pretty much like that here. A room packed full of children ages 0-5, everyone takes their kids to story time here because it’s the one free thing to do when it’s raining (it’s always raining).

      • Box of Salt
        December 29, 2015 at 1:14 am #

        demodocus “correlation between his colds and his trips to the library”

        Eh. Unless there are other medical issues, what’s the big deal? He gets them now, or he gets them later. All kids get colds when exposed, and pass them on to other kids. It’s just a matter of timing.

        When my older kid started preschool, both kids got tons of colds, with the younger (non-attending) usually suffering worse than the older one whose symptoms often didn’t even warrant a sick day (if a slightly runny nose kept one out, no one would attend at all).

        Then younger sibling started preschool. He didn’t end up with many sick days either – it seemed that 2 years later the same viruses were circulating, and the younger kid had had them already.

        Along the same vein: this fall, the older one’s entry into middle school and exposure to a wider variety of viruses did lead to the third sick day ever for this kid. And yeah, younger one got it, too, so check that one off the list.

        • demodocus
          December 29, 2015 at 8:37 am #

          Oh, he’s okay, but dealing with a kid who’s getting back to back colds for 3 months and developing croup towards the end was tiring.

        • demodocus
          December 29, 2015 at 8:39 am #

          mostly I was just pointing out that cesspools are found elsewhere, too.

      • Kelly
        December 29, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

        Agh. My kids go to nusery and primary at church and I swear they always show their first signs of sickness on Tuesday. Now that I have three kids, it takes two weeks before we can go out because someone is always contagious. I still think my kids get less bugs because it is easier for me to keep them away from sick kids or stay home when they are sick.

  12. Gatita
    December 28, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    However, given that mammals have evolved to feed their young their own milk over thousands of years, it would not seem that man can improve on this in a couple generations.

    What the flipping hell? She’s not even pretending to take an objective approach to the research. She’s already decided on the outcome! In fact, now that I think of it, who wants to bet that the reason she hasn’t published a follow up to her paper is because more recent, better designed studies don’t support her agenda and she’s frantically trying to figure out how to twist the studies to fit her biases.

    • LaMont
      December 28, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

      Humans also evolved with an immune system, but in the past few hundred
      years vaccines and antibiotics managed to give nature a spot of a leg up
      there. We do have *brains* that are capable of massively moving the
      dial on the “natural” parts of our physical experience…good lord with this nature fallacy. At least she didn’t say “designed”?

      • PrimaryCareDoc
        December 28, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

        Exactly. We also evolved with legs, but we’ve improved vastly on our ability to move from one place to another with cars, planes, etc.

        • demodocus
          December 28, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

          taming horses…

        • Amazed
          December 28, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

          You only think that’s an improvement because you focus on the end result – arriving where you’re headed to. Dr Bartick and her ilk value the journey more than their destination. That’s why they praise the journey.

          • MaineJen
            December 28, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

            Yeah, you learn so much more about yourself when you are able to arrive at your destination sunburned, dehydrated and exhausted. Having spent all day fighting the elements for what would have been a one hour car journey. You know, like nature intended.

        • Gatita
          December 28, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

          You know that someone’s going to jump in with a comment about how we don’t walk enough and walking is green and cars pollute, etc. Imperfect analogy is imperfect.

          • Nick Sanders
            December 28, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

            Bicycles then, not only are they green, they use our bodies but replace our sort of efficient pendulum leg movements with far more efficient piston movements that get converted into wheel rotations.

          • Gatita
            December 28, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

            Unless you do it like this! http://media1.giphy.com/media/oOAuubU8LEI0w/giphy.gif

          • Gatita
            December 28, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

            (I’m bored at work, can you tell?)

      • Gatita
        December 28, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

        My God, yes. The polio vaccine reduced the number of annual cases from 35,000 in 1953 to 161 in 1961. What’s this bullshit about man not being able to improve on biology in a couple of generations.

      • PeggySue
        December 28, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

        I’m at home strengthening my immune system naturally, which is to say that I have a cold. Want to come over or send your kids? No? I thought not…

    • Amazed
      December 28, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

      However, given that mammals have evolved to walk on their own two or four legs over thousands of years, it would not seem that man can improve on this in a couple generations.

      I am waiting to see the rainbow that would bring us Dr Bartick’s next pearls of wisdom from her little house in the prairie without commodities like cars, washing machines p- how has the person who discovered THIS not received a Nobel, I want to know? – cookers and s on. Good luck with her new, wise lifestyle!

    • Roadstergal
      December 28, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

      Mammals evolved over thousands of years? Is this Palin history?

  13. moto_librarian
    December 28, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    I’ve read your essay, Dr. Bartick. The only reason that you tell proponents of breast feeding not to identify as lactivists is because you know that this term reveals your true agenda. You continue to be dishonest about the minute benefits of breastfeeding term infants in a developed country. You are also dishonest about the maternal benefits of breastfeeding, particularly in regards to lowering a woman’s risk of breast cancer by failing to note the relationship between maternal age at the time of breast feeding with risk reduction. You exhibit the worst form of paternalism towards women by implying that we are so stupid that we are incapable of seeing through formula marketing and thus need to be protected from it. You don’t seem to care at all about those of us who suffer from physical and mental health problems that make breastfeeding difficult or impossible. People like you played a large role in ruining the first few weeks of parenthood for me and my oldest son. Fortunately for you, breastfeeding is not a requirement for developing a strong bond with children, and once we switched to formula, we began to enjoy each other. As an educated professional, I still resent the misinformation provided to me about the supposed long-term benefits of breast feeding which I now know lack solid evidence. You deserve every bit of backlash that you are receiving for promoting pseudoscience. If you actually had anything to back up your findings, you would present your evidence rather than result to ad hominem attacks.

    • ArmyChick
      December 28, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

      I was never swayed by formula marketing when I had my daughter. As a matter of fact, I had never even see anything formula related anywhere because I was already so sure of what I was going to do… And that choice didn’t involve breastfeeding.

      Does the doc think we are stupid and so easily influenced by formula ads everywhere?

      I would hate to be her patient.

      • Gene
        December 28, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

        So one of the “perks” of my job is that I have access to totally free formula for my kids. Yet I still ended up exclusively breastfeeding all three of them for over a year each. No formula. I’m a cow. So anytime a lactivist starts bitching about how mothers are weak and influenced by the mere proximity of formula, I have to laugh. I wasn’t swayed and I could have gotten formula absolutely free.

        She’s an idiot.

        • Angharad
          December 28, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

          I don’t drink. Somehow I continue not drinking even when I go to work events with free alcohol, when I pass alcohol in the grocery store, and when people I’m with order a glass of wine or beer to go with their meals. I don’t see why formula would be the one product with a siren call so strong adults can’t resist its marketing. Formula isn’t even like children’s cereal where the baby will see the ads and want similac.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        December 28, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

        We got both similac and enfimil samples from the hospital. Because we were doing combo feeding, we tried them both. Our guy liked similac better.

        See, advertising works!

    • Megan
      December 28, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

      Nothing to add. Just wanted to say I am in total agreement and this was very much my experience with breastfeeding as well. Shame on Bartick and her ilk.

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