Just how crazy is the lactivist lobby? No breasts is no longer an excuse not to breastfeed.

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Last week I received a Facebook message from a reader who had reached out to her local La Leche League in Glendale, CA to find the safest local source for donor breastmilk.

I had breast cancer last year and am now pregnant. I have no breasts to breastfeed with, and am wondering if your organization provides donor milk.

The LLL leader explained that LLL does not provide donor milk and offered suggestions for accessing it elsewhere.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#EDC9C8″ class=”” size=””]It’s wrong for lactation consultants to treat every woman as a walking pair of breasts who must be browbeaten into breastfeeding.[/pullquote]

Then the leader, a certified lactation educator, offered this bit of unsolicited “advice”:

I’ve worked with a few mothers who still secrete milk… I would suggest seeking the services of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) to assist you. I have a list of referrals if you wish. It is sometimes suggested that you consult early so you are prepared … it never hurts.

Really? Really??!!

What’s next, selling shoes to bilateral leg amputees?

Had she bothered to ask, the LLL leader would have learned that my reader has NO NIPPLES. Has the LLL leader confused the prospective mother with a duck billed platypus? The platypus also has no nipples and secretes milk through its skin.

But that’s just the beginning of the LLL leader’s ignorance. A mastectomy involves the removal of ALL the breast tissue, every last bit, because the whole point of a mastectomy is that any remaining breast tissue is vulnerable to a recurrence of the cancer. A properly performed mastectomy will leave a woman without ANY breast tissue, and an improperly done mastectomy is not a reason to breastfeed, but a life threatening mistake. But who cares about the health of the mother? When it comes to the lactation industry, breastmilk is the only thing that counts.

I wish I could tell you that this is the first time I have heard such a story of mind boggling ignorance and cruelty at the hands of lactation educators, but it’s not. Journalist Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, also a breast cancer survivor post bilateral mastectomy, wrote in the Washington Post about her experience of feeding her newborn:

“Just try,” they advised. “Let’s hope you get some milk.”

“It may come out anyway, or through your armpits,” another advised later …

Such extraordinary ignorance and clueless cruelty has its origin in the mindless glorification of breastfeeding promoted by the lactation industry. The benefits of breastfeeding to term babies in first world countries are trivial, a few less colds and episodes of diarrhea across an entire population. The benefits of breastfeeding to lactation consultants are enormous. It represents literally 100% of their income. Unwittingly, they have become just like the formula manufacturers they vilify. Companies like Nestle promoted formula to women who didn’t have access to clean water with which to prepare it, simply to increase market share. Lactation consultants and the breastfeeding lobby promote breastmilk to women who don’t have access to BREASTS, simply to increase market share. It’s not coincidental that the “solution” to every infant feeding question is hiring a lactation consultant.

Just as ironic as their imitation of everything they hate about the formula industry is their imitation of the worst of patriarchal medical practice: stripping women of their humanity by reducing them to their organ systems. When I was in training I became inured to referring to people as “the gallbladder in 505” or “the hysterectomy in 767.” That was wrong. And it’s just as wrong when lactation consultants treat every woman as a walking pair of breasts who must be browbeaten into breastfeeding.

When no breasts is no longer an excuse not to breastfeed, the lactivist lobby has become everything it claimed to despise. The recommendation to breastfeed in the absence of breasts is ignorant; it’s unspeakably cruel; and it’s got to stop.

  • Amazed

    OK boys and girls… anyone left who thinks that people providing NON-medical services like achieving normal feeding and normal birth should not get any medical education ’cause they’re into normal? Normal and medical overlap ever so often, I say, LLL leaders not knowing that milk production in certain women is a sign of DANGER, midwives thinking that high blood pressure can be fixed with diet…

    Everyone who works with people’s fucking bodies should have at least some brush with medical education, from sports trainers to LLL leaders.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    OT:

    Putting the “P” back in CPM at last year’s MidwiferyToday Conference!

    • Who?

      Well isn’t that…cosy.

      Not something I’d recommend for professional team building.

      • namaste863

        Further confirmation that CPMs have gone ’round the bend. As though any were needed.

      • InfiniteSovereign

        Sometimes trust falls aren’t enough; you have to step it up.

    • namaste863

      Not that I’m a paradigm of propriety, but I was under the impression that professionals in pretty much every field have a dress code to follow, one that generally frowns on their practitioners being starkers while on the job. Silly me.

      • Who?

        naked and touching

        in a confined space

        with water

        ugghh

        • namaste863

          Not very sanitary, is it?

        • AirPlant

          I got a UTI just looking at that picture.

        • Roadstergal

          It would make the shot if that were post-birth water. Maybe with a few turds floating in it.

    • BeatriceC

      Oh, dear FSM.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Why did this seem like a good idea? Now I’m picturing, say, an ACOG meeting doing the same thing and it’s not a pretty image. There, now it’s in your mind too.

    • Amazed

      Well, the Hungarian OB/midwife did get in bed with her labouring patient… These midwives here have much to learn.

      Disgusting!

    • Amazed

      Please someone send this to all the agencies loons demand to acknowledge their “degrees”!

    • Roadstergal

      “I love you beautiful crazy women!” That is totally what I look for in a HCP – beautiful and crazy.

      • InfiniteSovereign

        Hahaha!! I literally lol’d at this comment.

    • Charybdis

      How about the pool in the background with the green phallus sticking out of it? And a random umbrella in the background…..*shakes head*

  • CSN0116

    OT: Can somebody school me on what “pace feeding” is in Lactivist Land? I read about it – here and there – and I can’t quite get my head around the concept. It appears to be a tactic used by moms who pump and leave milk with caregivers. It works to intentionally minimize the amount of milk an infant eats via bottle while mom is away, even if the infant wants more, so that when mom can’t produce more than she already is, the baby still eats exclusively breast milk and does not need to “result to” formula supplementation. Is this a correct analysis? And is this common practice?

    • AirPlant

      Honestly it looks to me like a recipe for making bottle feeding as difficult and annoying as possible to both the baby and the caregiver. I don’t know any baby that would tolerate having the bottle taken out of their mouth every ten sucks and the idea of supporting the baby upright while trying to hold a bottle so that the nipple contains liquid makes my shoulders twinge in sympathy. I am not an expert by any means though and it is entirely possible that I am missing something crucial.

      • Inmara

        I did something akin of this in the beginning, because we combo fed. When baby was under 2 months old it worked (he was a slow eater anyway – 30-40 min nursing and then 15-20 min bottle feeding, so I spent most of his waking hours tied to the couch) but then he wanted to eat more and eat faster so I complied and didn’t try to make feedings longer. I don’t know whether it contributed to his refusal to nurse (from 2 to 3 months it was just fussiness, from 3 months onward he flat out refused my breast during the day, continuing to nurse only for night feedings). In any case, we slowly went from combo feeding to EFF and now he gulps down 7 oz bottle in 6 minutes if hungry. Suffice to say, when he doesn’t want to eat that much he just stops and thrusts out the nipple from his mouth so I don’t know why lactivists think that it’s possible to “force-feed” formula to baby (I have tried to coax him into eating more if he eats significantly less than usual… ha, it ends up in spectacular spit-up!)

        • Kelly

          Exactly. If a baby eats too much the body has this amazing way of getting it out of the body.

    • Joy

      it is also for formula feeders so it is “more like breastfeeding” with letdown and it means your ff baby won’t be an obese moron. Or something. I agree with AirPlant. It is to make it as difficult as possible.

      • Jess

        Isn’t fat vital to a baby’s brain development? An underfed baby is more likely to be a “moron”.

    • guest

      I always heard of it as a technique to prevent formula fed babies from becoming fat. And I never went in for it, myself. I had an oversupply while breastfeeding, but no one told me to “pace” the babies for that. If that didn’t make them obese, how would formula in a bottle be any different? They weren’t fat when they breastfed, and when I switched to formula, they ate the exact same amounts. There wasn’t anything confusing about it for them.

      • CSN0116

        All my babies were fat. Then they get mobile and get thin. Then their genetics fully take over and they end up extremely petite – to the farrrrr left.

        • guest

          Chubby babies are the cutest.

    • MLE

      I read that as “peace feeding” and had a wild fantasy of lactivists trying to breast feed people in war zones to end the conflict. Because breast milk cures international strife of course.

      • CSN0116

        BA HAHAHAHA!

      • Who?

        Lactivists thrive on conflict, so not v likely…

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      It’s recommended by lactivists on the grounds that babies are apparently incapable of unlatching from a bottle when they’ve had enough. Me, I’ve never met a kid who *couldn’t* shove the nipple (breast or bottle) away when they were full, but according to a local LLL leader, that’s physically impossible for bottle-fed babies: they’ll keep eating, a la a goose destined to become pate, until you remove the bottle or it’s emptied. (Yes, she told me that I hadn’t actually seen DD do this on many occasions because DD “couldn’t” have done so.)
      *rolls eyes*

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        When my wife was working after our first was born, I gave a bottle with half breast milk and half formula. It was usually about 8 oz I’d make up. He NEVER ate it all, and typically left 1 – 2 oz at the end that I’d dump out.

        I could tell when he was done because he would stop drinking it, even if the nipple was still in his mouth.

        • Kelly

          Then why do they have rules to dump the leftovers after they have finished eating if they just drink it all. People are so stupid. All of my children stop when they are done. The baby just smiles at me with the nipple in her mouth when she is done. Imagine that.

      • Dr Kitty

        My breast fed baby has an amazing ability to still nurse while asleep, the only time he’ll voluntarily stop nursing is if he has wind. Otherwise he has to be prised off the boob ! I have excellent supply, so it isn’t as if he’s starving and trying to eke out a few drops…he just likes to nurse.
        However, he just pushes a teat around his mouth if he isn’t hungry, alternatively he wolfs down 4oz of EBM in about 2 minutes if he is hungry, and spits out the teat when he is done.

        I’m not entirely sure I buy the “BF babies are better at portion control than bottle fed babies” line.

        • Ceridwen

          Mine does exactly this! Drives me insane in the middle of the night when I’m ready for him to be done. With the bottle he has no issue stopping when he’s full.

        • Busbus

          My first child was the same – she drank and drank and drank. I had a lot of milk and she jumped to the 90-something percentile within a few weeks and was a very chubby baby until it evened out in the toddler years. My second preferred the bottle and especially liked it when we switched to the fast flow nipples, but he never had a problem with letting us know when he was done (in no uncertain terms, actually). Go figure.

      • CSN0116

        My babies are all born eating 2 oz (from the time they’re hours old). By a week old they’re up to 4 oz (roughly every 4 hours all day). By 4-6 weeks they are at 6 oz and I have never fed more than that. They top out at 6 oz four times per day (so 24 oz in 24 hours). Period. They sure *seem* to know what they’re doing…

    • AirPlant

      Further investigation (thanks youtube!) seemed to indicate that proponents of pace feeding believe it to be protective of breastfeeding more than anything else. Apparently when nursing (some? all?) women have short spaces between one let down and another where the baby doesn’t get milk and this can annoy the baby. If they figure out that there is a way around that then they may prefer the bottle over the breast. This is obviously unacceptable to many women for a variety of reasons, so as a preventative measure you can make bottle feeding kinda suck so that breastfeeding is the obvious winner.
      For my purposes a baby refusing a bottle would be a bigger problem than a baby not breastfeeding, but I am probably not their target market. I can understand for a SAHM who wants their baby to feed primarily from the tap but also want to sometimes get a sitter it would for sure be in her best interests to make sure baby’s first choice aligns with hers.
      All the histrionics about the poor bottle fed babies frantically gulping to avoid drowning while their heartless caregivers shove more and more milk into their straining stomachs just seems to be bad fanfiction from people who have never seen a baby take a bottle.

      • Charybdis

        What about the moms who have overactive letdown and hit their babies with a firehose strength letdown? Don’t they have to gulp frantically to avoid drowning as well?

        • Ceridwen

          They do. To the point that my children refused the bottle until we realized that (contrary to every bit of information about offering a bottle to a breastfed baby that I could find) we needed to put a faster flow nipple on.

        • AirPlant

          I have absolutely no clue, but I assume that the party line is that nothing coming from a boob could ever be bad and the same baby that would be painfully unable to reject a bottle could easily and gently cope or unlatch.

        • guest

          I was one of those women. Babies do one of two things when they’re getting too much, too fast (in my experience): 1. They turn their head away and cry (and milk sprays across the room, because that’s what happens with overactive letdown. 2. They gum down on the nipple, hard.

          Both things stop the nursing temporarily.

      • CSN0116

        OMG this is incredibly disturbing. So you make a bottle feeding as annoying and difficult as possible for a baby so that it won’t grow to prefer it? 🙁 Like you said, for the kid only needing it once a week – whatevs. But for a kid in daycare, where this is his daily routine – that’s messed up. Thank you for the info though. I’m amazed by the concept.

        • AirPlant

          It makes total sense. Bottle feeding has some definite advantages. You can feed quickly, it is easy, it doesn’t hurt, and there exist a population of babies who prefer it over the boob. In lactivist land this is unacceptable, breast has to be the unquestioned best in every way in their world, so you make the new normal in such a way that the advantages of formula are eliminated and your way remains superior. Then you tell anyone who breaks rank that they are bad mothers who are torturing their defenseless babies. It really feels like SOP at this point…

    • Ceridwen

      At the opposite end, I dropped my son off at daycare today with instructions for them to give him as much milk as they could convince him to take because the little bugger has been trying to reverse cycle and eat all night and I’m trying to nip that. I’d far rather figure out a way to pump more during the day and/or supplement with formula and have a kid that sleeps all night than deal with needing less milk pumped during the day and a baby who is up all night. My daughter reverse cycled and it was awful. And my attempts to find ways to get her back on a normal schedule were met with statements about how I should be happy because it meant I needed to pump less.

      I need to function during the day. Period. I find a lot of this advice (paced feeding, reverse cycling, etc) puts breastfeeding above all else, including job performance of mom.

      And ancedotally, paced feeding is pretty widely recommended in every mom group I’ve been in, so yeah, I think it’s pretty widespread. I don’t know if I would call it “common practice” though.

      • CSN0116

        Thanks for the info. It seems to be pretty widespread, as I read about it in a lot of places, which is why I wanted to solve the mystery haha.

        I know of reverse cycling but I’ve never experienced it. So your baby has basically lowered his intake all day and is now trying to make up for it at night? How old is he, if you don’t mind my asking? Once mine STTN they never wake me up again, except for illness. They’ve always been highly consistent with feeds, naps and overnight sleeps.

        • Ceridwen

          He’s 4 months today. Prior to the last couple of weeks he was sleeping a 7-8 hour stretch, then eating, then sleeping 3-4 now hours and had been doing so for more than 2 months. A combination of factors led to our current situation. We traveled to the east coast and when we returned to the Pacific time zone his method of adjusting was to keep going to sleep earlier and earlier (opposite of what was needed!), plus I’ve been busy dealing with his toddler sister during the day and willing to let him sleep at times I shouldn’t have and probably cutting feeding sessions a bit short. He’s also at a time known for sleep regressions, though I’ve never noticed that meaning much with his sister. I’d hoped perhaps it was because we’d stopped swaddling, but returning to it didn’t change anything. Then I thought perhaps he just wanted to be helped back to sleep but want really hungry. Wrong again. If I cut the session at all short he fusses a lot in his sleep until the next feed. Plus his daytime intake has been down. So altogether I’m pottery sure he’s trying to reverse cycle due to my distractedness during the days I’m home with them both (not due to his daycare days! He loves the bottle as much as he does the boob).

          If I figure out how to head it off I’ll be thrilled. With his sister it took a combination of cry it out and dream feeds to get her back on a normal schedule. Plus getting older. Since he’s been able to do a long haul overnight for so long already I’m more hopefully we can get him back on a normal schedule more easily. My husband and I are both in the home stretch for our PhDs and I could really use the sleep right now.

          • CSN0116

            My baby was 4 months on the 14th 🙂 Yay September babies. And my PhD journey: started program with 6-month-old twins, pregnant with #3 all second year, defended dissertation 7 weeks pregnant with #4. Got hired and then got pregnant with #5 (the September 2015 baby). Haha I’m unhinged.

            Anyway, I feel for you! God speed, friend 🙂

            My bub is on solids already, well oatmeal 1-2 x per day. Maybe yours is ready? We also do strict scheduling, which isn’t for everyone, I know. But it’s the only way to function with all these kids. I make several of their naps overlap and the baby has scheduled feeds and naps, so everything is highly predictable; she just goes along, if that makes sense. She does 7 pm to 8 am uninterrupted overnights! I’m blessed! I wish you the best of luck with your little one. Push through your work, it’s so worth it 🙂

          • Ceridwen

            It seems to be working. He’s caught a bug and is coughing which is throwing things off a bit, but he’s returned to sleeping 4-6 hour stretches and being hungry during the day. Hopefully it sticks. No solids for him yet. He doesn’t quite have the head control for it and has only started to show a bit of interest in food this past week. I’m expecting to add them in the next 2-3 weeks. We haven’t gone to scheduling as he’s been so laid back and easy so far. We eventually did it some with my daughter and likely will with him as he gets older. Right now bedtime is scheduled but not much else. Just offering him the breast a lot when I’m home, doing longer feeds in a quieter area when possible, and making sure he’s being offered bottles often without having to wait when I’m at work has been bringing him back to a more daytime focused eating routine though.

            5 is pretty nuts! We’re struggling this week with both kids having been sick and us not being able to get nearly enough work done, I can’t imagine having 2-3 more to take care of right now. I know quite a few men with wives who have had babies while their husband was in grad school, but very few women who have had a child (let alone more than one) while in grad school. I’m quite the anomaly here. Though my advisors have thankfully been very supportive.

    • jenny

      Paced feeding is a useful strategy with preemies and other babies who have trouble coordinating their suck swallow breathe or who have structural issues that cause them to need more help managing feeding or learning to eat. Babies who have a mature suck will pace themselves.

      • Hilary

        Yep, thanks for pointing that out. There seems to be a trend of taking things that are recommended for specific reasons for *premature* babies (eg. kangaroo care/skin-to-skin, early breast milk, paced feeding) and generalizing them to *all* babies for reasons that are rather vague.

    • toofargone

      Late to the party here but to echo what everyone else said…. I remember pumping and having others feed the milk to my son when I was away from him. They always though I was starving him because of the way he devoured it and seemed to want more. Its frustrating to pump and it just doesn’t seem to match up with how much he gets during BFing. You feel like you put all this time into pumping and spend some time away and its gone when you get back. You think “at this rate I won’t be able to keep up, oh no,” So then when you ask the BFing community they say that BF babies suck different than babies that only drink out of a bottle so you need to paceout their feeding. They say that BF babies are actually drinking too much at the bottle because they don’t know how to control the flow and so they just keep sucking in order not to gag. And I believed this. While I do believe there are differences in the way they suck, what I actually think is happening is they are more efficient at draining the breast than a pump is so really sometimes you just can’t pump enough. I would think babies are smart enough to figure out how to adjust their mouths so they can drink from two different food sources.

  • Lucysmom

    So, aside from the absurdity of the situation, this reminds me of a personal experience. To start with, my baby is currently approaching 8 months and is very healthy. However, we were off to a rough start with breastfeeding and I was definitely displaying symptoms of PPD. He was constantly crying from hunger and lost 15% of his birth weight and wasn’t gaining. We were approaching FTT territory (or other medical complications that I seriously don’t want to think about) and I was taking him for constant weigh-ins and visits with the lactation consultants at the well-respected hospital in the major city in which I live. It’s horrifying to look back on that time. I was inadvertently starving my baby. I was in such a brain fog and physically having a difficult time recovering due to some complications from delivery. It took an intervention from my mom when he was three weeks old – she is a retired OB nurse, and she went and bought some formula and told me to give it to him. Thank God. We proceeded with combo feeding, and as stated earlier, he is doing awesome, meeting all of his developmental milestones, and is the love of my life 🙂 (and is now exclusively formula fed)

    Anyway, while I was going through the insanity of the first three weeks of his life, I was so desperate to keep breastfeeding him, because that’s what loving mothers do, right (eyeroll)? I was reaching out to every resource I could find to try to get to the bottom of why I wasn’t able to produce more milk. I tried everything. Including calling LLL’s national hotline. Get this, the woman on the phone told me that what I needed to do was sleep with my baby in the crook of my arm. She went on to describe how she had slept with her baby and although she was scared at first, it was the most natural thing. Apparently this would help with my baby’s inability to get enough to eat. Sleeping with my delicate newborn baby in the crook of my arm seemed like the most unsafe thing I could possibly do. I explained that he was already sleeping in a bassinet right next to me, but apparently this wasn’t enough. I hung up the phone and sobbed (for what was probably the umpteenth time that day).

    This is *not* the support that new mothers and mothers-to-be need. Thank God for my mother.

    • yentavegan

      I am going to invite my fellow LLL leaders to read your post because we need to stop accrediting LLL leaders who do not know the scope of our expertise. Infants who fall below 10% of their birth weight and/or whho have not regained their birthweight by day 14 are in danger and breastfeeding is not working. Attention Must be Paid! Infant requires appropriate supplemental feedings!!

  • Brooke

    Obviously running out things to write about. Again the benefits of breastfeeding are not “trivial” or a breast cancer survivor wouldn’t be looking for donor milk to feed her baby. Nor are women the “worst of the patriarchal medical practice” which you support by the way, because a few members want everyone to breastfeed or because certain mythology exists.

    • momofone

      And yet you continue to read. How about you–with all the time you obviously have, how about you write about those statistics? 🙂

    • guest

      Here’s today’s vocabulary word: “Tautology.” It’s in the dictionary.

    • Amazed

      Here’s something for you to read , Brookie thingie. Midwives blaming the mother and completely ignoring the massive fuckup of the many midwives involved. Methinks you’ll love it! Start from “When Home Birth Goes Wrong”.

      https://www.facebook.com/Navelgazing-Midwife-144849428870879/?fref=nf

      When you’re done, perhaps you’ll finally care to quote stats on your 5% C-section rate? Oh, and don’t forget to add your comments on the PROBIT study.

      For all the normal people out here: bitch midwives gang on the mother to defend the rest of them bitch midwives. With the requisite UK midwives holding themselves as the shining example of what midwifery should be and defending the good practices of safe homebirth.

      • Gatita

        That thread just about gave me a stroke I was so enraged. Unbelievable.

        • Amazed

          You’re a better person than me, Gatita. That’s what I expected. That’s what they do. That’s who they are.

        • Amazed

          Midwife defenders still insisting that “study after study” has proved that homebirth was “safER” for low-risk mothers and it was just a bad midwife. No acknowledgment for real studies. No peep about the Facebook fiasco with many bad midwives taking part.

          You here, prospective homebirth parents? Do you SEE? That’s the treatment you’ll get if fate chooses for you to walk in Danielle Yeager’s shoes. You’ll be blamed for choosing a bad midwife – and that’s the benign scenario. Else, you’ll be blamed for heaping blame on the poor innocent midwife. Is THAT the community you truly want? Just because they play on your ego, flatter you and make you think they’re your friends? BTW, how often do you pay your friends to be your friends? Because when I go to help my SIL with her little one, I’ll be LOSING money. I’m self-employed. No leave for me. Just work that will get postponed. THAT’S what people do for their loved ones. Not friendship bought and paid… with interest, alas, in too many cases.

          • Gatita

            So many things pissed me off about the comments but some of the worst were the people who said we needed to hear the midwife’s side of the story. Her side of the story was on the Midwifery Today page, you fucking idiots.

          • Amazed

            Oh yes, this.

            ETA: Oh Erica Delmore has a liking on the page. Let’s wait and see if she’d comment on Danielle’s case… an Erica Delmore, a doula and childbirth educator was a Facebook advisor on the case… They’re brazen enough to try it. One of them did a few months ago.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Cayke and the Frogman, as they followed their conductor, could scarce forbear laughing at his stiff, awkward manner of walking, and although he moved his stuffy legs fast, his steps were so short that they had to go slowly in order not to run into him. But after a time they reached a large, circular space in the center of the forest, which was clear of any stumps or underbrush. The ground was covered by a soft, gray moss, pleasant to tread upon. All the trees surrounding this space seemed to be hollow and had round holes in their trunks, set a little way above the ground, but otherwise there was nothing unusual about the place and nothing, in the opinion of the prisoners, to indicate a settlement. But the little Brown Bear said in a proud and impressive voice (although it still squeaked), “This is the wonderful city known to fame as Bear Center!”

    • CSN0116

      Yes. They are trivial. And the proven handful of reductions in common colds does not support clinical significance. Get your head around that fact that you are making a lifestyle choice – not a health choice that will make your child any better (or worse) off.

      But you know damn well why that woman was still wiling to obtain breast milk for her baby. She was willing to fight and pay to overcome serious limitations because – through the tireless fucked up efforts of people like yourself – she knows there is serious moral-maternal value in her ability to provide breast milk to her baby. It doesn’t matter that it makes no sense whatsoever. It’s a powerful mind-fuck of ideology that has been built and she has very logically fallen victim to it.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        And the proven handful of reductions in common colds does not support clinical significance.

        I wonder…how much would the mandatory maternal leave need to be increased in the US to get the same benefit in terms of reduced colds? Keep the kids out of daycare for a month and you could probably match the benefits of EBF for 6 mos.

        If this was really about things like preventing colds and diarrhea, keeping kids out of daycare would be a lot more effective. Of course, that means you’d actually have to make a difference and not just shame mothers (you could shame businesses instead!)

        Actually, imagine that? What if we actually shamed businesses who only allowed 6 weeks of maternity leave like we do mothers who don’t breastfeed?

        • CSN0116

          I think that would be lovely and have very real effects.

          But then can you keep my four other snot-nosed children away from my baby as well? Damn kids bringing these germs home…

    • Charybdis

      I think you are confused, here. The breast cancer survivor was looking for a source of donor milk to feed the upcoming baby. No doubt because all she has heard is that OMG, Breastmilk is the magical elixir that will make your baby healthy, wealthy, wise, popular, thin, able to read at 2 months old and will be a GENIUS! A GENIUS, I TELL YOU! And the constant, neverending browbeating that “Breast is Best”. If the LLL leader had stopped with the information on where to start looking for donor milk and maybe, just maybe had mentioned that in a first world country, formula is a perfectly fine way to feed a baby, then people wouldn’t be so up in arms. You know, presenting the facts. Just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts.
      But she had to go veering off into Crazytown, suggesting that the mother-to-be might be able to still lactate, as she (the LLL leader) had worked with a few moms who were still able to secrete milk. And then offered a list of IBCLC referrals, doubtless to help the mom-to-be create breastmilk out of nowhere.
      This mindset is out there, and women are being *advised* (bullied/ pressured/wheedled/browbeaten) to “Just try.” And that the milk, created out of thin air, “may come out anyway” or exit “through your armpit”. How barking mad is that? (Very, extremely is the correct answer).
      Why, oh why, are people so unwilling to provide unbiased facts and let people make their own decisions?

      • demodocus

        Damn glad my sister had Mom as her primary go to person for babyfeeding rather than the crazy levels of LCs. Mom nursed 3 of us (and another baby going through withdrawal at the hospital with me) but still did some variation of “Let me run out and get some formula for the baby.” when sister’s cancer diagnosis came in 2 weeks postpartum.

    • Azuran

      And how exactly, does the fact that 1 women with double mastectomy wants to give donor milk, is proof that breastmilk is better? Normal mother to be don’t look up real scientific literature. They go to mommy blog, where they are lied to by people like you.

    • Sarah

      I feel like maybe the desires of one breast cancer survivor probably aren’t what we should be basing our scientific assessments on. Just a thought!

      Also, become more interesting or defend your 5% section rate claim.

    • pandapanda

      What the hell lack of logic do you have? She is going for donor milk because people like YOU tell her she’s a horrible mother if she gives her baby formula. She feels helpless because she is 100% unable to give her baby breast milk and is desperate to try and be a “good” mother by the standards of judgmental people like yourself.

    • Who?

      You’re doing an awesome job getting comments for Dr T. Keep at it!

  • yentavegan

    My initial reaction is to find some way to side with my fellow LLL Leaders. But after re-reading this story all I can muster is anger. How can a LLL leader be so stupid/cruel/uninformed? If a mother is making milk after a mastectomy she needs to be seen immediately by her doctor!! This is a flaming red flag indicating a serious threat to the mother’s health!

    • guest

      Well, surely some LLL leaders are more sensitive and informed than this one.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Hey, not all LLL leaders are awful!

        • guest

          I personally could never get over their founding position that children are better off with a stay-at-home mom.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            When my first was born, she joined a “mom’s group” run by a local LC. This was all about sitting around in a circle and breastfeeding.

            A couple of the moms in that group also tried out the local LLL. Sounds reasonable, I thought. These are moms all dedicated to breastfeeding, and LLL should be right up their alley.

            But they didn’t stick with it. LLL was just too extreme even for them. As I said, these were absolutely moms who were committed to breastfeeding, and were in a group run by an LC. That’s when I got my first inkling that LLL might be a bunch of whackos.

          • guest

            I am thankful that I somehow knew to steer clear of them. Once or twice women would stop me on the street when I was out with the infants to “make sure I knew” about the local LLL meetings. I did use a lactation consultant, but thankfully I got a good one who knew what she was doing and who’s stated motto was “feed the baby.” And that meant, however you do it, what matters is that you feed the baby. So much better than LLL.

          • BeatriceC

            When I was little my mother was heavily involved in LLL. 13 years later, when she was preparing to adopt child number 4 (teen mother, arranged adoption), she realized how far off the deep end they had gone when a leader tried to convince her to attempt to relactate before the baby was born. My mother had an emergency radical hysterectomy after the birth of sibling number 3, 12 years earlier. Possibly some chapters are more extreme than others, but I’ve had friends recount multiple instances in several different states where the the LLL advise has been extremist. I’m far less likely to recommend them at this point.

            Yentavegan, I really do wish I heard more stories that align to the the types of views you talk about here. I would like to see LLL go back to the organization my mother remembers from the 70’s.

    • indigosky

      The local LLL leader where my best friend lives told her she was a bad mother for returning to work. She had inquired about pumping assistance. Her job was the one where they had the excellent healthcare through, her husband’s job paid better but the healthcare was non-existent (pre-ObamaCare). After explaining this to the women there, they still said she should quit and go on Medicare! Yes, because breastfeeding is so important that one should not bother being insured in case of emergencies!

      Sadly I have many, many other stories I can tell you. It seems like the *good* LLL is the mythical unicorn among all the horrible ones.

      • BeatriceC

        I’ve sometimes wondered if the woman who accosted me in Walmart when my youngest was recently released from NICU (so about 6.5-7 months old, though he looked more like a 2-3mo), was an LLL leader or just some crazy loon. I’ve told the story before, but to recap, the crazy, well, I’d call her a bitch but that would be an insult to all the wonderful female canines out there, came up to me, and in front of all three children told me I was a horrible mother and it was obvious that I didn’t love them because the baby was eating from a bottle.

        • Amazed

          Why did you let her go?! Look, I know you aren’t fond of conflicts. God knows that I don’t like them at all either, so I call the spade a spade as tactfully as I know how (granted, too often it isn’t this much) but there are some things that make me lose it pretty quickly. One of the publishers I work with, for one. Please tell me you at least tore her hair off?

          • BeatriceC

            I had three kids three and under with me at the time. I was pretty much shocked speechless. My only response was an icy glare and complete silence. I’ve been told that when provoked, that glare is pretty deadly. My friends call it the scariest “teacher glare” they’ve ever seen.

          • Amazed

            So far, so good. My mom has it mastered as well. Hope it gave her quite the nightmares.
            I can at least hope that someone else left her bald.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    A woman young enough to become pregnant who had a bilateral mastectomy for breast cancer almost certainly has some sort of germ line mutation which increases her risk of cancer significantly. If she is producing milk, indicating that she has some residual breast tissue somewhere, she needs to get it taken out right now!

  • Sue

    OK, men. Your last excuse has gone. Get lactating!

    • Azuran

      Seeing at milk production in a man is a thing, I’m surprised more crazy Lactivist are not pushing for it. Come on, if men breastfeed, clearly they would bond more closely to their children. It would solve the entire ‘family crisis’ and reduce divorce rates!. And more breastmilk the better.
      Even better, apparently newborn can also produce breastmilk (the weird things you learn surfing the internet at 5 am) Get those newborn lactating as well. After all, all liquid gold is precious and what could possibly be more tailored to a baby’s need than it’s own breastmilk?

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        what could possibly be more tailored to a baby’s need than it’s own breastmilk?

        The laws of thermodynamics would like to have a chat with you about this…

      • Inmara

        Thanks for reminding, I was wondering a while ago why male mammals have nipples and now I googled the answer (BTW, in Google search it was the first suggestion when typing “why males have…” so I’m not alone). Turns out, Mother Nature is just too lazy to get rid of them and because they don’t have any significant disadvantages in evolution they’re just carried along http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-men-have-nipples/

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Isn’t “Why Do Men Have Nipples” the book by Dr. Billy Goldberg?

          Yep….http://www.amazon.com/Nipples-Hundreds-Questions-Doctor-Martini/dp/1400082315

          I once asked Billy about what causes belly buttons to be innies vs outies

          • MaineJen

            I have a theory about this one…when my daughter was born, her umbilical cord was very “thick”/wide (my husband said it took two snips with the scissors to cut through it), and the stump took forever to finally fall off…she is the only one in the family with an “outie” belly button. Thick cord = outie?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Both my guys have outies. No idea about the uc thickness.

            My older guy did have a very impressive umbilical hernia when he was 1 mo old, though. Like, silver dollar size. That was actually when I asked Billy if there was a relationship.

          • Megan

            My kid had a HUGE cord (thickness, I mean-lots of whartons jelly, and they had to practically saw throug it to cut it. She has an innie, though when she gets bloated after a big meal it approaches flat. Never an outie though.

          • AirPlant

            Its weird to call your mom and enquire after your umbilical cord, right?

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Not in my family. Take that was you will.

          • Gatita

            If you ask my mom, she’ll tell you it’s because the mother didn’t tape a penny over the belly button to force it back in. #notkidding #puertoricanmoms #vicksisawonderdrug

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Taping the coin over the belly button was the approach for dealing with a hernia. We didn’t do it with our guy, but as I said, we would have needed a silver dollar to do it, it was that big.

          • CSN0116

            In my case, I have five kids and 4/5 are innies. My outie kid – I cringe to admit – I accidentally ripped her cord off prematurely :-O

            I was dressing her and reached for the lotion bottle. My hand hit the “semi-loose” cord as I was reaching and off it popped. It was bleeding and she fussed for a minute or two. I was abhorred.

            Oddly, she is an identical twin and her sister is an inny, so I’m convinced I screwed her up. My early removal of her UC caused it. My two cents 🙁

          • MaineJen

            It was probably just about ready to come off anyway, if just touching it with your hand did that…my outtie kid had a cord that took about a month to fall off on its own. That thing would not let go.

          • BeatriceC

            Two of my three have innies. Those are the two that had umbilical catheters in the NICU.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Also Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex which is also quite entertaining.

      • Roadstergal

        “Seeing at milk production in a man is a thing, I’m surprised more crazy Lactivist are not pushing for it.”

        In Lactivist Land, women stay at home and focus on raising the kids. Dads contribute sperm and paychecks and don’t touch the kids. Don’t screw with the system.

        • momofone

          This is one reason I love my husband. When he (jokingly) mentioned the possibility of our having another baby to someone he knew who was a militant lactivist (after my mastectomies), the first response was, “But how could you have a baby? She can’t breastfeed!” He said, “Well, you know, I wear the nipples in our family now. I guess I’ll have to do it.” He couldn’t figure out whether they were ecstatic or horrified.

      • Sarah

        The problem with that is men are allowed bodily autonomy. It’s only ok to tell women what to do with their nipples.

        • LibrarianSarah

          And reproductive organs…and body hair…and face…and skin…and body weight…and…

  • Amy

    Taken out of the context of this post, the phrase “The recommendation to breastfeed in the absence of breasts” sounds like something out of a mid-century French absurdist play. Like something one would expect of, I don’t know, a bald soprano or something.

    • BeatriceC

      Or a Monty Python sketch.

      • Roadstergal

        A follow-up to Four Yorkshiremen. “I had to breastfeed in the absence of breasts…”

    • demodocus

      I wonder if male pattern baldness happened in castrati the same way as their male relatives.

  • attitude devant

    This is the corollary to the one I see all the time: the mother who has chronic medical problems requiring the daily use of medications not compatible with breastfeeding, who nevertheless gets pushed by some well-meaning idiot to consider stopping her meds or asking for different meds. Do they not realize that before birth we HAD that discussion, and made decisions in the best interest of the mother around those issues, and that what is good for the mother is also good for the baby?

    • CSN0116

      I watched TLC’s “I’m Pregnant And …” once, and the episode was a mom with a severe eating disorder. She stopped meds during pregnancy and was in intensive therapy to help her cope with inevitable pregnancy weight gain.

      After giving birth she wanted to get right back on meds, but felt she “had” to nurse her baby. She struggled incredibly to consume even 1000 calories per day, let alone what a nursing mom needs. She was crying at the dinner table while forcing herself to eat pasta. She was so timid (abuse history) and just so sad.

      Baby was having troubles nursing (shocker) so a LC came to her house. This evil bitch – no other way to put it – encouraged her to keep breastfeeding and forego meds, because it was best for her baby to keep breastfeeding. Even though the mother had tears in her eyes.

      I have never been more angry watching TV (and I was deeply obsessed with the Casey Anthony trial :/)

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Yuck. A friend with bipolar disorder went off meds to get pregnant. She (barely) made it through the pregnancy with no major incidents, but went back on meds (which were also contraindicated in breastfeeding) rather than risk her child being left motherless because she got depressed and suicidal or manic and killed herself in an accident. It seemed to me a good trade off.

    • Madtowngirl

      I have a long history of clinical depression , and I went off the meds a few years ago when we started trying to get pregnant. I was okay throughout the pregnancy, but those first few weeks of my daughter’s life, when I was trying to breastfeed, I said some really scary things to my husband. Life circumstances have gotten in the way, so I haven’t gone back on them yet, but I will be in a few months. If another baby is in my future, I’ll have a prescription ready to go asap after birth. The postpartum hormonal roller-coaster is no joke.

      Bottom line, baby needs mom more than he or she needs breastmilk. Period.

      • An Actual Attorney

        Talk to your docs. A lot of meds are safe or safe enough on balance during pregnancy. You may have already done that, but so many people I know (including many who should know better) think that a woman MUST stop all anti depressants during pregnancy.

        I too have a long history of depression. My psychiatrist helpfully pointed out that while there are some tiny theoretical risks with my meds, it’s really bad for a fetus when mom bleeds out on the kitchen floor from slicing her veins. My psychiatrist isn’t for everyone, but I like her style.

        Even my RE was not sure and asked for research from my psychiatrist, so I get its complicated.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          FWIW, I like your psychiatrist.

  • fearlessformulafeeder

    Ugg. That is where I live – Glendale, CA. I am now feeling the urge to find this LLL leader and give her a piece of my mind!

    • Gatita

      I didn’t think people in Glendale went for this crap. Too bad.

      • namaste863

        I live down the road in Pasadena. Believe me, they do.

        • Gatita

          Pasadena I totally believe. Since Glendale is majority immigrants I thought they were more sensible.

      • pandapanda

        Oh trust me they do. There are more white middle class than you think in Glendale. Luckily I live in the ghetto down in San Pedro, right by the road that gets you in Terminal Island, so I don’t hear BF nutters here, and I now speak Spanish so I know they are not insulting me. Just when I have to go into Rancho Palos Verdes for something do I have issues.

        • namaste863

          Heh, how funny, I was raised in San Pedro! My great grandparents came from Sweden on one side and Italy on the other, and all four of my grandparents, my parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins (I’m an only child) all were raised there, and all but my mother and I still live there (She now lives in Sonoma County, and I split my time between the USC campus where I’m a grad student, Pedro, and Sonoma). Well, all those who don’t reside at Green Hills Cemetery, anyway. Another Pedro native, who’d have thought?

          • pandapanda

            Not a native, my husband is in the Coast Guard stationed on the Island. I’m actually from San Diego originally and after 6 years away from the sun and beach, It’s nice to be back to the land of no seasons 🙂

  • yentavegan

    Well, now that you have urinated in my sand box I feel justified in responding. I have been contacted by mothers who have had mastectomies. I have been asked if it is possible to breastfeed. I hear mothers who are asking permission/validation to suckle an infant even though the mother can not make milk. So I answer her fears… A mother’s desire to “nurse” her infant is not dependent on breastmilk production. And breastfeeding without milk production is not weird/perverted/ obscene. I am proud of my training and cognizant of my limitations and scope of practice. I do not know the particulars of the women in question that Dr. Amy wrote about .I would invite the LLL Leader to defend /explain herself. I hope she reads this post and adds her explanation.

    • Amazed

      How can she defend/explain anything? She isn’t talking about breastfeeding without milk production. She’s talking about producing milk after a mastectomy. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that a far greater problem than feeding the baby? I mean, there shouldn’t be any tissue left to produce milk. Instead of working with such mothers to help them produce milk, she should have sent them straight to the hospital because there was something wrong with the surgery.

      My God, this woman might have killed more than a few mothers by not telling them that they didn’t need increased production but a doctor who specializes in cancer.

      ETA: I read Dr Amy’s explanation. She confirms my suspicion… this woman is endangering new mothers by not recognizing that milk production after a mastectomy isn’t “normal” (the Holy Grail of Natcherel) and instead of sending them to a doctor is praising them for this dangerous anomaly.

      • yentavegan

        LLL has changed its pre-requisites for leadership accreditation and now we are reaping what we have sown…terribly agenda driven under-educated Leaders..

        • Amazed

          That isn’t quite right. The LLL Leader is clearly proud of achieving milk production… she isn’t terrified by the part she played in neglecting those women’s health. So she isn’t reaping anything. The women might be reaping it. She just doesn’t know and LLL still retains its prestige… it isn’t reaping anything.

    • nata

      LLL could have different approaches to communication – after all it is an international organization, based on many volunteers. However, during my training as a leader I have been taught to ask open questions and to use active listening skills to understand what support the woman seeks before jumping in with advice and recommendations.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      The woman has not had a complete reconstruction. She has no nipples. How is it possible for her to suckle an infant?

      • namaste863

        OT, but I’m curious about something. As I understand it, they reconstruct breasts by taking a flap of skin and muscle from the abdomen. Why do they choose to do that over using implants? Not snark or sarcasm. I genuinely am curious, and would love to hear your input, Dr. T

        • RaeRae

          They use the flap of skin as a source of fat so that the breast will change with a body that either puts on or loses weight, they often take muscle too, either from the stomach or back an implant goes behind the muscle. The fat and muscle help to hold the implant in place because the skin that is left after a mastectomy is not enough to hold the implant

          • namaste863

            Thanks! That’s very interesting.

          • FormerPhysicist

            The implant behind the muscle just plain feels off. At least to me. And I’m having severe muscle spasms, because the muscle is stressed and deformed. Then again, flaps aren’t always a picnic.

          • Gatita

            Have you looked into neurontin or other meds to treat that? It sounds miserable.

          • momofone

            I opted for no reconstruction because lat flap was my only option, and I didn’t want surgery of that magnitude (I also was not sure my result would be worth it).

            I hope you get some relief. That does sound miserable.

          • RaeRae

            I am so sorry to hear that you are having severe muscle spasms. I hope that they settle down for you soon. My sister has recently been through breast cancer and is just about finished her reconstruction, she is just deciding if to get a nipple tatooed on, a tattoo across the scar or to do neither. Such strength and determination is used to get through it all. Wishing you all the best

        • Elizabeth A

          As a BC patient who has had a bunch of different attempts at reconstruction –

          Some reconstructions do use implants, however, the process is very different from breast augmentation, both more intensive and more invasive. When there is no breast tissue, an implant will not look all that much like a natural breast. Implants do not last forever, so depending on the age of the patient, implant reconstruction can be a commitment to surgery every 5-10 years.

          There are a number of flap reconstruction options, which use tissue from a variety of donor sites (abdomen, buttock and latissimus dorsi are the most common). The results from this can be visually better, more natural looking and feeling, and more like a real breast.

          • namaste863

            I see. Thanks for the info! It’s much appreciated.

      • yentavegan

        I am not the LLL Leader who was contacted by the mother in question. However, when I am asked about where to obtain donor breastmilk I answer the mother honestly. La Leche League is not a human milk bank, we have no association with any human milk banks. The proper resource for information on donor human milk is the hospital where the mother will be delivering and or the pediatrician.

    • Lisa

      ” A mother’s desire to “nurse” her infant is not dependent on breastmilk production.”

      Sadly, that desire is often based on not wanting to be bullied by friends and strangers alike. It’s also based on fear of being a bad mother, and fear of their baby not loving them. Mean girls have found a way to keep hurting other women long after high school.

    • Amy

      But that’s not what happened here at all. I don’t know if you’re deliberately ignoring the details that don’t fit in with your narrative, or if you’re just taking this too personally as a La Leche League leader yourself. The mother who contacted the leader did NOT express any desire to nurse, nor did she ask if it was possible to breastfeed.

      She asked for advice on procuring donor milk. The leader did answer the question but couldn’t just leave it at that. That’s wrong. Dr. Amy saying it’s wrong isn’t peeing in your sandbox.

      • Sarah

        Sure, if she’d asked about whether it might be possible to perform some approximation of nursing for comfort, bonding etc it would’ve been absolutely appropriate to advise on that. As she didn’t, that argument doesn’t fly.

      • Roadstergal

        Even if the LLL leader had only responded to the donor milk question – isn’t the right answer “donor milk in hospitals is reserved for preemies, the stuff you buy online is potentially dangerous, what’s wrong with formula”?

  • Gatita

    It is terrifying that the people who give infant feeding advice are so utterly ignorant about basic biology. The LLL at least has the excuse that its a volunteer organization but the hospital LCs should be ashamed of themselves as should the credentialing organizations.

    • Sue

      This is the problem with well-meaning lay people. They can be totally blinded by the ideology of their own narrow area, and not be able to think outside it.

  • Karen in SC

    Polar bear mother doesn’t have milk and one of her twin cubs died in first day after birth. Surviving cub cared for by zoo staff. Even bears have nursing issues. http://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/2016/01/toronto-zoos-polar-bear-has-her-eyes-wide-open.html

    • CSN0116

      Mammals also routinely suffocate their young who latch on to mom while she’s sleeping. Yet lactivists preach to no end about how awesome and convenient it is to just, “pop baby on the boob and go back to sleep.” That shit really pisses me off. I’ve autopsied babies who died via breast suffocation – repeatedly. We’re not intelligent enough to make that safe. No mammal is. Sorry, pet peeve. And my condolences to that mama bear 🙁

      • Azuran

        One of the main cause of piglet death in pig farming is them being crushed by the sow.

        • no longer drinking the koolaid

          Saw it multiple times when my dad still had pigs.

        • Gatita
          • BeatriceC

            But not as cute as baby Highland Cattle.

            I can’t attach a picture, but google it. They’re adorable.

            OT: Highland cattle are pretty fluffy. Middle son’s girlfriend has a thing for fluffy cows. Highland cattle also appear pretty rectangular because of the extra fluff. One day randomly at dinner I observed maybe that’s why Wendy’s burgers are square; they’re made from fluffy cows! The girlfriend hasn’t forgiven me yet.

          • Gatita
          • BeatriceC

            That’s pretty much the color of my hair. My middle kid’s is a little more orange. My oldest and youngest have brown hair.

          • Amazed

            That was the colour of my hair this summer… in the sunlight. Or at least, the colour of my dyed hair. It was quite attractive which is why I chose the hue, of course.

          • Who?

            That is the preferred colour for japanese dogs this season. Three dogs in a crate for sale, the one this colour is half as much again as the others.

          • Roadstergal

            Heeland coos!

          • Roadstergal

            Is this going to be a cute baby thread?

            (Yes, there are two puppies there.)

          • Charybdis

            Lexi. Before she became Frankenpuppy.

          • BeatriceC

            Roadstergal, I’m not seeing any pictures in your post.

            Also, here’s some baby penguins.

      • AirPlant

        That sounds like such a nightmare. To think that you are safe and doing the best for your baby and then you wake up and your baby is dead and you were the one that killed them? I don’t know if I could ever recover from that.

        • Anion

          I co-slept with my youngest (she nursed for 17 months), and this is so upsetting. I honestly, 100% believed that not only was co-sleeping safe, but that it helped protect against SIDS–that was one of the big reasons why I did it. I read that information everywhere. Every book, every website I found said that co-sleeping was safe and that the risks of SIDS decreased if you co-slept (something about your breathing encouraging Baby to breathe, I don’t recall the exact details now). And it was especially great to read all of that, because my little one cried whenever she wasn’t being held–we couldn’t even wait until she was asleep and gently transfer her to a bassinet or anything, she would wake up and cry within minutes.

          I absolutely loved doing it; it was so convenient, and so cozy and nice. I cried when the time came to put my little one into her own bed, and when she was fully weaned. But I’m horrified and angry in retrospect to realize the risk I was taking, and that I was encouraged to take that risk by liars whose agenda was more important to them than my baby’s life.

          • CSN0116

            Well co-sleeping is not bed sharing. One would have to practice bed sharing WHILE nursing while unconscious to risk what I describe above. The AAP does not encourage bed sharing. No reputable source does, to my knowledge. They recommend sharing a room with the baby (i.e. co-sleeping). But baby must be “alone, in a crib, on a flat surface, on its back.” No other condition, or modification of this condition, is acceptable to these people which makes the “rules” highly restrictive and unattainable for most parents. The babies just don’t go for it. So, parents modify (many different ways) and just shut up about it. However, when anonymously surveyed, an overwhelming percentage admit to breaking the rules, regularly. Yet the SIDS rate is still down by 50%. Hmmm.

          • Anion

            Okay, well, not being aware of the distinction, I guess I said “co-sleeping” when I meant “bed-sharing.” My baby was in bed with me, in my arms, nursing while I slept, and that happened because I was assured that having the baby in my arms, in our bed, nursing on demand while I slept was the safest way.

          • CSN0116

            Oh, yikes. OK gotchya. Wow – so LCs, or other people you were in contact with, told you it was good, safe practice? I’m assuming your pediatrician didn’t? Like I said, I know the AAP doesn’t say that. I’m not trying to be invasive, I’m just so shocked at what LCs and the like will say to moms. And not judging! Most of us break the rules in one way or another. *I* break the rules 🙂

          • guest

            Yes, I have heard a lot of encouragement for bed sharing, and that what the danger I was referring to. I, too, wasn’t entirely strict about the separate crib, flat surface, no blankets or anything in the crib recommendation. For starters, I had my twins sharing one crib.

          • Inmara

            I wonder how many babies are able to fall asleep “alone, in a crib, on a flat surface, on its back”. From the beginning, we used lambskin instead of bedsheet and rolled light blanket from sides and under legs to position baby and make him more comfortable in crib (the belief among baby-handling experts is that for first 3 months baby needs “the feel of the womb” and thus should not be placed in empty crib on a flat surface). For those 3 months he was not moving around very much so I felt that it doesn’t compromise safety (and we use crib attached to our bed). Now (at 5 months) we’re compromising more because baby sleeps on his side and still has rolled light blanket so he can hold something while falling asleep, though he’s squirming around and shouldn’t have anything like that in crib. Is it breach of safety guidelines? Yes, but I prefer baby who falls asleep on his own and does it during the night (he wakes up, squirms a bit, pulls one end of blanket to his face and falls asleep again; without that little help he wakes up completely). I’m assuring myself that he’s actually capable to pull blanket off his face and we’re checking on him and sleeping besides so it’s safe enough in given circumstances.

          • CSN0116

            My guess would be not many at all can do that. And I’ve heard rumors that swaddling is on the chopping block next because it allows babies to get “too comfortable” and sleep “too soundly”. Ugh.

            Like you, I weighed the effects of hours upon hours of lost sleep (from forced back sleeping) on my babies’ cognitive and physical development and made my decisions accordingly.

          • Inmara

            Oh, swaddling! That worked for about 2 months, then baby was pulling his legs straight in the air whenever placed on back and swaddled, so we stopped. Swaddling is not a good idea when they can roll over, too, so it’s a temporary solution in any case.

          • CSN0116

            Yes, it’s quite temporary. But could you imagine a 3-day-old baby, for instance, being forced to be un-swaddled? They startle so easy as it is.

          • demodocus

            My once 3 day old made it fairly obvious that he prefered only partial swaddle. Because his arms must be free!!! He refused all swaddling pretty quickly. Ironically, he minds it less now, probably because it’s a game now and he knows how to get out of a toddler burrito.

          • An Actual Attorney

            I really don’t see what’s hard about putting a well dressed baby on its back in a crib. What else do they need?

          • CSN0116

            I think reflux turns the easy into complicated quite often.

            I’ve never had a reflux baby, however mine wanted to scrunch up, which you can’t do on your back, and clutch something, similar to what Inmara noted. I have never been able to achieve flat surface back sleeping in any of my five. I have needed to modify something each time (elevation, side, belly, small blanket to cuddle). I don’t think it’s just me? :/

          • An Actual Attorney

            Fair enough. I never faced that. I do know people that propped up one end of the crib, but from the floor, not by propping the baby. But I haven’t done a survey.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            I would imagine that for some parents who can’t find any other way to get the baby to sleep, it’s safer for them to bed share in as responsible a manner as possible than to accidentally fall asleep during night feeds. But falling asleep whilst the baby is latched on doesn’t seem like it’s in any way safe.

            I’m personally not at all comfortable with bed sharing – when I’m sleep deprived I have a habit of falling asleep on my arms to the point of waking up with bilateral (temporary) ulnar nerve palsies. If I can do that to my own body parts, I figure I could do it to a baby. That being said, we did bed share a couple of times when travelling recently as mini monkey had his sleep cycles messed up and we were desperate. Funnily enough, despite all the vaginal birth and breast feeding bonding that I’ve don’t, mini monkey still preferred to cuddle up to his dad over me (which meant that I slept and my poor husband didn’t really).

          • guest

            I unintentionally fell asleep while doing a side-lie feed one time, and woke up half an hour later to a bed that was completely soaked with leaked milk. I guess I am particularly leaky or something, because I can’t imagine that anyone would intentionally do that, night after night. I never did again.

          • Inmara

            AFAIK bed-sharing (and breastfeeding while being in one bed) may indeed reduce risk of SIDS because it ensures that baby is not falling into the overly deep sleep phase that is possibly associated with SIDS. But it increases number of other deaths which have clear cause – suffocation or strangulation. As @CSN116 noted, often mentions of co-sleeping actually means room-sharing not bed-sharing (thus any reliable sources should use precise terms or explain what they mean by co-sleeping). But I agree with you that dismissal of sleeping safety is mind-blowing along lactivists and AP crowd (open any forum board related to baby-rearing and you’ll see that for any struggles with night sleep or feeding the ultimate answer is “take baby in your bed”, without any tips for safety).

          • CSN0116

            Good distinction. The deceased babies I have seen from such practice did NOT die from SIDS, no. So their cases did not contribute to any statistics there. They were suffocated. Well, in some cases it was a suffocation/drowning from the milk.

          • Roadstergal

            My lactivist friend, during one of her anti-hospital rants, took them to task for not recommending bed-sharing co-sleeping for every mother. Every. Mother.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Yikes! Hospital beds seem like they’re completely unsafe for bed sharing by design – don’t even get me started on the dangers of bed rails for adult patients, let alone babies. Add in sleep deprivation and opiates and it’s just a lethal combination.

          • momofone

            When I went for the hospital tour when I was pregnant, I had a mother-bear moment when the nursery nurse told me that under no circumstances would my son be allowed to sleep in the bed with me (it wasn’t my plan for him to, but the hormones were flowing), and I said that if I wanted him to, he’d sleep in my armpit. Little did I know that just a few short years later, that would be my only option for infant feeding!

      • guest

        Cosleeping is so hard, because it *feels* right. And of course, it *was* right in some distant past where the baby was safer that close. Not anymore, and I listened to all the advice, but since the feeling remains (for some of us, at least), all it takes a a little convincing misinformation and BOOM, you’ve got people arguing that the proven safe sleeping guidelines are wrong.

        • CSN0116

          I take issue with some of the safe sleep guidelines and do not follow them all myself. The “Back to Sleep” campaign was initiated at the same time that maternal smoking rates plummeted and the ability to categorize SIDS on a death certificate became much more difficult. I do not believe it is responsible for the “50% reduction” it boasts. Not by a long shot.

          I know nothing about the actual risks of co sleeping/bed sharing (which is what I think you’re actually talking about). And I have never practiced it either.

          • guest

            Yeah, I use bed sharing and co-sleeping interchangeably. I just can’t get my brain to accept that sleeping in a crib across the room is “co-sleeping.”

            But until someone can prove that back sleeping ISN’T safer, I’m taking that 50% reduction as good evidence to continue the practice.

  • CSN0116

    This is sort of along their line of “relactating.” They speak about it as if it’s done every day without worry. Women relactating, relactating everywhere! Relactation excuses are not permissible either. If you pump long enough, nurse frequently enough, and click your heels together, that shit is going to happen.

    • prudentplanner

      I produced a drop of milk, whenever I checked, until I was 12 weeks pregnant with #2. So for 12 months after weaning, my body was still ready to jump on the lactation train! I feel like relactation is an evolutionary advantage (if primordial me suddenly needed to care for a niece or nephew, I think my body would have complied). It’s certainly not common, but for women with high production, it is possible

      • BeatriceC

        My youngest will be 14 in a few months. To this day a wailing newborn can still trigger a let down reflex and MrC complains that he gets the occasional sweet surprise whilst using my breasts as fun bags. At this stage of the game, this is more than likely a problem, but I keep forgetting to bring it up to my doctor.

      • AirPlant

        My aunt went into a coma after her first baby was born and my grandmother took care of my cousin until my aunt was well again. My grandmother was well into her 50s but within days she had started lactating and even got her periods back. She tells us that she made no attempt to nurse however because she wasn’t willing to give up her vodka soda at that stage in the game.

      • Are you nuts

        I’m glad this happened to someone else! I stopped nursing in October and still can express milk. (I only check once a week or less and never more than a drop so it’s not like I’m stimulating production.) I can’t imagine it could ever turn into real supply though!!

        • Inmara

          Wow, seriously? Nobody warned me of that! I stopped nursing 2 weeks ago and can’t figure out if milk has already “dried up” or not (I don’t recall how my breasts looked/felt like before pregnancy, it was sooo long ago!) Apparently, it’ll take more time than I thought to stop producing completely.

          • demodocus

            I leaked until I got pregnant again, too.

          • An Actual Attorney

            I had a coworker who would have a letdown whenever she heard a baby cry, for over a decade. She was made to be a wet nurse. Too bad her brain decided to be a kick ass lawyer at the top of her field.

      • CSN0116

        I gave birth, most recently haha, four months ago. I never breast fed but I’m still leaking. If I express I leak a lot :/ It takes me 9-12 months after each birth for my milk to fully go away. Crazy.

        • Kelly

          I am about four months out too and never breastfed but I still have milk. It is super weird because I did not have this problem after I stopped pumping the other two times. My chest has also not gone down and they are still at pregnancy side. I am hoping it is from the extra weight that I have.

    • Charybdis

      My puppy’s breeder had Chinese Crested mom who had several puppies. A couple of weeks after they were born, Mom left the puppies to make a quick trip outside. One of her Italian Greyhounds hopped into the whelping box with the puppies and took over. She moved right in, started cleaning and caring for the puppies and within 3 days had enough milk to nurse all 4 puppies until they weaned. Biological mom relinquished the puppies to the foster mom (different breed) with no argument and no fuss. So the relactation phenomenon happens, just not with the regularity those folks think.

      • CSN0116

        That Chinese Crested knows what’s up. I like her style 😉

  • BeatriceC

    You know what study I’d like to see? I’d like to see a study done on the harms of breastfeeding extremism. We’ve talked about various negative effects: maternal depression, lack of bonding (god I hate that term) when things go poorly, FTT in infants, etc. I’d like see more long term studies. How do infants who’s stressed out mothers nearly starved them to death fare when they hit elementary school compared to mothers who were able to let go of the idealism and feed their babies formula, ,etc.

    On another topic, I hate what “bonding” has come to mean. While I normally can’t stand my mother and do pretty much the opposite of everything she says/thinks, there is one topic where I wholeheartedly agree with her, and that’s infant feeding. She definitely thinks breastfeeding is a great thing, but I’ve heard her tell FF mothers that it’s not about the breastmilk, it’s about how you interact with your baby. The “bonding” happens by taking care of the baby, so don’t stick the baby in a car seat and prop a bottle in his mouth, hold him, snuggle with him, talk to him, just like you would if you were breastfeeding him. In her opinion that’s where the “bonding” happens, not from some magical boob juice.

    • Roadstergal

      ” We’ve talked about various negative effects: maternal depression, lack of bonding (god I hate that term) when things go poorly, FTT in infants, etc. I’d like see more long term studies. How do infants who’s stressed out mothers nearly starved them to death fare when they hit elementary school compared to mothers who were able to let go of the idealism and feed their babies formula, ,etc”

      I bet we already have some of that data. I wonder how much of the ‘evil’ outcomes of formula are due to women who starved their kids to the point of losing weight in the interest of EBF before ‘giving in’ and adding formula.

      • CSN0116

        I have long thought about longitudinally following three cohorts: (1) the children of women who never wanted to breastfeed and just started formula from the start, (2) the children of women who wanted to breastfeed and could not/”failed”, (3) the children of women who wanted to breastfeed and were successful (TRULY successful, not went through hell and back but hung on because it’s soooo worth it “successful”). I think what you’d find in Group 2 would blow your freaking mind, if the variables were controlled for and measured properly.

        And you’re totally right with the chicken-egg quandry. What came first, a sickly child who was starved and then formula fed, or a sickly child who was formula fed from the get-go? Is the starvation on behalf of a severely depressed and anxious mother who cannot properly bond with said infant to blame for such “evils,” or is it that pesky high fructose corn syrup?

        • Roadstergal

          Those are exactly the ones to follow – although, of course, controlling for confounders is such an incredible bitch, always.

          Given the massive overlap between lactivists and anti-vaccinationists, I wouldn’t be surprised if we can start to see correlations between extended exclusive breastfeeding and VPDs soon…

          • CSN0116

            I think you would find more evidence on the maternal effect side (mostly mother’s mental health) than the children’s. Children are so resilient, even children’s health. That’s just my opinion and best guess. But yes, the confounding variables would be overwhelming. The study design would require a lot of people and a lot of forethought.

          • BeatriceC

            Oh, I fully admit that designing such a study would be horrifically complicated, but still, I’d be interested.

          • CSN0116

            Well hit me up 😉 Though who would fund such a thing? NIH? Could this become my first R01? Muh haha. I’m a fresh PhD (29 years old, 2 years out) already working tirelessly with a fellow researcher to “position” ourselves for an eventual R01 (totally unrelated and non-breast topic). The amount of co-authorships and proven expertise in said area that they require is exhausting. It’s like a five-year plan. (Side rant over.)

            But are you a researcher? What area? I focus on social epidemiology.

          • Roadstergal

            I left academe for industry. R01s are so dizam hard to get these days…

          • BeatriceC

            MrC is the research scientist around here, and his area of research is pharmaceutical formulation. I’m just the lowly statistician.

            ETA: Most of my career was as a middle school math teacher, with some moonlighting as an adjunct community college professor. Then I went into analytics in the banking industry. These days I’m a stay at home mom.

          • Taysha

            So….yeah, the statistics of the trial are the real hard ones. You’re going to be very VERY useful =)

            CSN0116 – potentially look for an R21 or a Fellowship Research award. Much easier if you’re planning on a clinical trial.
            Or hit up the formula companies to sponsor it.

      • cookiebaker

        I spent 6 years breastfeeding my first 4 kids and thought I’d seen it all. Imagine my surprise when I struggled with very low milk supply and baby’s inability to transfer milk despite a perfect latch and no tongue/lip tie with my 5th baby. Ultimately he was my first formula fed baby. When I went back to my OB for my 6 week postpartum visit, she asked how breastfeeding was going and I outlined the struggles I was having. She said she’d seen that happen before, but she actually THANKED me for formula feeding. She’d told me about a 6 month old baby in her practice that only weighed 9lbs because the parents refused to feed formula because breastfeeding was best. She told them they need to supplement or their baby is going to end up getting hospitalized. (I should explain, my OB is an OB, but works in a family practice, so she sees more than OB patients. It’s nice because I see her when I’m not pregnant, too.) I was horrified that a parent would rather watch their baby starve than feed formula. For me, there was no hesitation. I always wondered what ultimately happened to that baby.

    • pandapanda

      I know four women who became suicidal, two of them tried and both failed. One has a child with severe developmental delays that the doctors are sure is from her son not getting proper nutrition for the first three months because even her ped told her not to use formula. I can name eight women who only have one child and will not have another due to the extremism they encountered where they lived due to anything from giving a bottle of breastmilk and being yelled at not to feed formula, to being lectured for using a stroller.

      • BeatriceC

        This is exactly the type of anecdote that makes me want to see a real study done.

        • pandapanda

          Me too. My doctor has had so many patients end up with PPD from the “Mommy Wars” about how they are shitty mothers that he recommends counseling to all his patients while they are pregnant now, for at least some coping skills on how to trust yourself as a mom. That was the most telling thing for me.

          • Who?

            Well done Doc but I’m so sad that is necessary.

            The women we’re all talking about are among the best educated, most capable, financially secure and independent, best nourished and physically healthy people in the history of the world.

            What has happened that we’re at the point where some stranger on the internet, in the supermarket or at some random baby group can make them feel so fragile?

            Maybe it was always the same, but there was less talk about it beyond the immediate circle?

          • BeatriceC

            “What has happened that we’re at the point where some stranger on the internet, in the supermarket or at some random baby group can make them feel so fragile?”

            I’m far from a sociologist or a anthropologist, but I do have a theory on that. Anybody more educated than I on the topic, feel free to correct me on anything I might have gotten wrong.

            Anyway, I think new mothers today are so much more susceptible to these things because on the whole they don’t have a lot of experience with babies while growing up. In eras past, women grew up helping their mothers with the household chores, which included infant and child care. By the time a woman had her first baby, she’d done everything except push the baby out and breastfeed. I think that lack of experience affects a mother’s confidence and makes her more likely to question her own abilities and fail to question advise that’s iffy.

          • Mishimoo

            I also think that the easy access to opinions has contributed, especially since it is now easier to garner attention and a significant following (which lends a certain amount of weight to the opinion regardless of facts) due to social media.

          • SporkParade

            As someone for whom the Mommy Wars were definitely a contributing factor, I don’t think it’s about feeling fragile so much as it is about feeling isolated. When other women feel free to waltz into your life at random to tell you what a terrible mother you are, even when you are confident in your decisions, you start looking at other people as potential threats rather than potential sources of support.

          • Who?

            That’s just miserable.

            I’m really starting to feel that kindness and minding one’s own business are dying arts.

          • guest

            This.

          • pandapanda

            Because it’s constant. My mom would get the occasional “she’s cold” from little old ladies back when I was a baby. In one week I can expect at least a dozen people telling me what I am doing wrong. Even me, who has cultivated quite a IDGAF attitude, can feel shaken sometimes.

            It has become acceptable in today’s society to be able to lecture women on how to live their lives. Unmarried women need to get married, childfree women need to have babies, pregnant women need to do x, y an z and mothers have to do even more to be deemed “proper” mothers and “proper” women.

          • Who?

            It sounds miserable-like your mum I got the occasional remark from passers by. On one memorable (to me) occasion I asked the woman involved whether she was offering to help or just being a busybody. She probably meant well-in fact I’m sure she did-but it was not a good day to be nitpicking.

            Women have always been told what to do, and the best gatekeepers have always been other women, themselves ultimately under control of some man who by definition knows better, but who could be quietly patronised and ignored in small matters, just to show the gatekeepers had some spine.

            Sometimes I wonder how far we’ve really come.

      • guest

        If anyone ever lectured me for using a stroller I would throw a shit fit. Single parent, no car, twins. I’m not a f@#$ing pack animal.

    • guest

      Bonding is when your baby is literally stuck to you with a combination of dried sweat and breast milk.

      • Medwife

        Oh. I guess I’ve officially bonded with my youngest then. I wondered how I would know when the bonding was complete.

  • 2boyz

    BRCA runs in my husband’s family and 2 relatives have made the decision to do a prophylactic mastectomy. One has since had a couple of kids and didn’t have any issues with anyone trying to convince her to try or anything, thankfully. Then again, this was before the baby friendly hospitals became a thing. If she has more kids, or if the other one has kids, I dearly hope they don’t run into any idiots about this.

  • FormerPhysicist

    I had a nipple-sparing double mastectomy. It still wouldn’t be possible for me to breast-feed. They took all of the breast tissue out (well, as much as possible).
    Luckily, I had already finished child-bearing and feeding. Even more luckily, I didn’t have cancer – mine was prophylactic.
    Idjits.

    • Sarah

      Of course it would be possible, just eat more fennel. Having neither breasts nor infants is NOT AN EXCUSE.

  • Heidi Fritz

    Armpit breastfeeding? Is the baby supposed to lick the milk off the armpit, as if breast milk would be excreted that way? I don’t know, but ever since I had my baby and began nursing, my armpits are stinkier than they used to be, especially while pumping or nursing. I can’t imagine subjecting a baby to that!

    • Sarah

      I’m pretty sure the wet stuff coming out of my armpits ain’t milk…

      • Amy M

        Not to mention, most of us use deodorant…while I don’t believe that urban legend about “toxins” in deodorant causing breast cancer, I still wouldn’t want my baby ingesting it.

        • Sarah

          Breastmilk will stop you from sweating.

        • BeatriceC

          Yeah, I was snuggling with MrC not to long ago and got my nose a little bit too close to his armpit. The smell/taste of his deodorant was less than pleasant. I can’t imagine a baby would like it any more than I did.

  • LaMont

    I love how the high-school assembly lesson of “breast tissue also exists up into the armpit so when you do self-exams be sure to check there as well for lumps, seventeen-year-olds whose health we want to protect” becomes the “hey, breast tissue also exists up into the armpit! Maybe your surgeon MISSED IT when they meant to take it out and that would be GREAT!”

    • LaMont

      And yeah I’ll give them that 2% of the doubt that they don’t mean the milk is to be *excreted* through the armpit but that milk generated in the leftover tissue would be excreted normally (and be totally enough for a baby). I think I can make it that far. Of course, it’s still mind-blowing that their idea of a Best Case Scenario is that a surgery failed to reach ideal effectiveness. Ugh.

  • Zoey

    I swear, even if the LLL cultists knew that she had no nipples, they would try to convince her to use an SNS. Back when I used to go to LLL meetings, that was always their last ditch solution for the women that didn’t produce enough / any milk.

    For them it’s important to simulate breastfeeding even if you aren’t actually doing it. Wouldn’t want the baby feeding in a way that was more comfortable for you, obviously. Also, SNS is like 100X more difficult than bottle feeding, so if you can’t breastfeed, you deserve to suffer.

    • AirPlant

      I saw this lady on the internet once who bought into that but good. At the time of the story she was extended breastfeeding her three year old exclusively using a SNS and donor milk. At the time I just remember thinking that that seemed like the most convoluted round about way of feeding a child ever invented. She literally had to bring properly stored donor milk, medical tape and sterile tubing with her everywhere. I can’t even imagine being that committed to the appearance of breastfeeding.

      • Amy M

        I tried SNS in the hospital, but it was meant to be used only for the first few days, until my milk came in. It was a giant pain in the ass, and as soon as I got home, I said “eff it, let’s use bottles. I’ll try to to pump.”

        • AirPlant

          I don’t think I would even get that far. Tape on my nipples doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time.

          • Amy M

            I didn’t have tape on my nipples…a nipple shield, with a little tube running up to a syringe. I think maybe the tube was taped, near my shoulder.

          • AirPlant

            That sounds a lot better than what I was imagining! I have only seen it done with baby on bare boob with a tube in the corner of their mouth.

          • Amy M

            Yeah, the really big pain was that I was trying to tandem feed twins. I had a nurse on either side operating the syringes, so there was a constant flow of formula to the babies. When we got home and I realized there were no nurses at my house, I decided it wasn’t worth it. 🙂

          • BeatriceC

            I’m a redhead. Tape anywhere on my body is a bad thing. Even bandaids cause blisters.

          • nomofear

            Thank you, my redheaded grandfather, my brother, and me, ditto! Mines not as bad as theirs, but still

          • I developed an adhesive allergy some time back. When I was in the hospital 2 days in June, that clear dressing on my IV site was making me really itch. I was so happy to get the IV out when I was discharged! I took an alcohol wipe and cleaned like crazy. Ugh.

        • Megan

          I despised the SNS. What a huge PITA!

      • CSN0116

        In my experiences, the babies damn near burn more calories trying to feed from a SNS than they’re even taking in. Weight gain stalls or stops. They get hungry and agitated. So, mother’s failure to produce results in the dual punishment of her and the infant :/

      • Gatita

        There must be some kind of mental illness involved there.

        • CSN0116

          Seems to be a resounding theme in lactivism.

        • AirPlant

          I really need to start bookmarking these crazy stories because I can’t for the life of me find it again.

          If I remember right the story was that the mom was a crunchy type with IGT and where her supply never picked up she wanted to recreate breastfeeding as closely as possible. She wrote the article as kind of a “This is how I feed my baby, stop kicking me out of restaurants saying that I am not breastfeeding”

      • Sarah

        See, I do like the idea of pissing off people who don’t agree with breastfeeding in public. I formula feed, but reckon it might be fun to sit there with a boob out and a bottle taped on. With cow and gate in it though, obviously. Thus angering both sides of the same revolting coin!

      • Zoey

        I knew someone in real life that did this for more than 2 years with their first child and then again for their second. I admire their dedication, but I never understood why. They produced no milk on their own, so it really was just about the appearance of breastfeeding. They would come to LLL meetings and talk about how wonderful and worthwhile the whole process was and how anyone could do it. Although as far as I know, no one else ever did…

        • AirPlant

          One of my irrational “An Internet Person said it” fears is the claim that eating from a bottle causes dental misalignment compared to breastfeeding which shapes and strengthens the palate etc.
          I know it is probably nonsense with my brain but I can imagine that scared feeling causing me to do something like feed the baby through a boob straw for two years just in case.

      • Roadstergal

        A three year old with donor milk. Either that milk was legit, in which case it could have gone to preemies instead, or it was adulterated and/or contaminated with drugs/viruses/what have you, putting her toddler at risk. For zero benefit.

      • Sue

        Many people consume donor milk for many years. It’s donated by cows.

        • demodocus

          A) Cows do not donate their milk. It is taken from them, ‘though most don’t seem to mind.
          B) Human milk is a hell of a lot rarer, especially the kind that have been checked out by someone to make sure it’s not adulterated.

  • momofone

    Wow. I am totally on board with Deborah–I have had bilateral mastectomies, and if I had any breast tissue swell up, I would be back in the surgeon’s office post-haste. Not that feeding my baby from my armpit doesn’t sound wonderful and all.

  • Madtowngirl

    I am so confused as to how one would breastfeed by lactating from her armpit. I mean, where would the baby latch? How the hell could you even produce enough? Surely there aren’t tons of mammary glands in your armpit? There ARE lots of sweat glands, though. Mmmm, sweaty breastmilk.

    • Blue Chocobo

      I agree, but have a (possibly interesting) side note. Mammary glands are really modified sweat glands that occur along the “milk lines” of all mammals. While mammals may have different numbers of actual breasts/teats/udders/whatever, they (normally- every now and then an extra pops up, biology is funky like that) always occur in pairs and along the “milk lines”. In humans, the sweat glands that occur in clusters along the milk lines are usually apocrine sweat glands, the kind linked to emotional, hormonal, baseline, or stress sweating, not the regular sweat glands that cover the rest of the body.

      Lactivists are still jerks, though.

      • Madtowngirl

        That is interesting!

        But now I’m wondering, if I “tried hard enough,” if I could sweat from my nipples! 🙂

        • guest

          If you drink the right herbal tea, surely you can.

  • namaste863

    “What’s next, selling shoes to bilateral leg amputees?”

    That would actually make more sense. As I understand it, shoes are necessary for prosthetic legs to prevent wear on the foot and misalignments in the ankle joint system.

  • CSN0116

    Oh, Dr. T. You pass that reader along to me. I’ll show her how, with a combination of buying generic (identical), in bulk, using manufacturers coupons, the Cart Wheel app, plus sales regularly run in-store – she can formula feed that baby for around $500 for the year 😉 All with the same glorious outcome of $3 per ounce “liquid gold” 😛 I’ll take care of her 😉

    • Kelly

      I did the same thing for my second but I found that Sam’s Club has it even cheaper. I am paying $44 a month for formula. Of course, this baby drinks less than her sister and that helps but it can be so cheap if your baby drinks regular formula.

      • CSN0116

        It’s sinful how affordable it is! Too bad WIC is in cahoots with the big companies (Enfamil and Similac), because it’s nothing short of sinister to charge that much money for a product capable of sustaining human life. Our federal government could save millions (billions?) if they started offering generic infant formula. All five of mine took/take it. Love it!

        And my argument has always been: after your pump (not all are covered under ACA); lactation consultations; breast pads; nursing bras; nipple shields; nursing tanks; nipple creams; special “breast friendly” bottles; storage bags; classes and books to learn how to breastfeed; nurusing covers; nursing supplements (Fenugreek, Mother’s Milk teas); co-pays for thrush, mastitis, and weigh-in visits for slow growth; NOT TO MENTION THE LOST PRODUCTIVITY – my $500 is a freaking steal!

        • Kelly

          I agree. Even with the coupons, Enfamil and Similac costs more. I use the coupons to get the already made formulas for a back up for the car and the diaper bag though.

        • Toni35

          It’s amazing the difference between when bfing actually goes well vs when it’s not. Yeah, if you’re urge paying more than maybe $200 per child to bf, it’s probably not going that well. My costs:

          Pump – covered by ACA this time, but the one I got with my first child was $40 and lasted for three children, so a total of $10 per kid

          LC – never needed $0 per kid

          Breast pads – SIL gave me a box she had leftover; turns out I’m not a “leaker” and only really needed them the first week or two. I didn’t bother getting them at all with my subsequent kids – the small amount I’d leak wasn’t a problem and I wasn’t leaving the house a while lot in the first week or two anyway. So $0 per kid

          Nursing bras – I did spend about $200 figuring out what nursing bras I liked after my oldest was born; turns out I like the ones I can get at target for $16 each. I needed to replace a couple of those with each child so I spent about $296 all told, $74 per kid. But my normal bras cost about $30 each and I would have had to replace those more frequently, so nursing bras represented a cost savings (once I found the ones I like) for me of about $15 per bra. I had four of them with my first child, replaced two with each child, so purchased 10 bras total. I spent $296 on nursing bras, while I would have spent $300 on regular bras. I’ll call that one a wash – $0 per kid

          Nipple shields – never used, $0 per kid

          Nursing tanks – did fall for the notion that I needed special clothes for nursing with my first child (not sure why, I am a sahm and mostly wear t shirts anyway). I spent about $150 for special nursing shirts (with the hidden openings). They did last thru the second child, but I didn’t bother replacing them so, $37.50 per kid

          Nipple cream – the sample of lanolin given by the hospital was more than enough each time $0 per kid

          Special breast friendly bottles – never used them. Bought the cheapest bottles I could find in a four pack; lasted thru three kids, then replaced with current child (they never used bottles much). Not sure how much I spent, but it certainly wasn’t more than $15-20 each time, so let’s say $10 per kid

          Storage bags – sahm, so didn’t pump a whole lot. Spent about $50 in bags for first three kids, then they were included with the ACA pump for fourth kid (more than I could ever possibly need or use… I’ll have to donate them or something) so $12.50 per kid

          Classes and books – only class I took was free at the hospital where I delivered my first child. The books I got my info from were pregnancy books that I purchased before I ever decided to breastfeed so that’s a sunk cost. Oh and a bfing book I got for free in my formula gift bag. So $0 cost per kid

          Nursing covers – didn’t use so $0 per kid

          Supplements – didn’t use, $0 per kid

          Co-pays for bfing related issues – didn’t have any so $0 per kid

          Total (not including lost productivity) = $70 per kid or $280 total to feed all four of my kids.

          As for lost productivity… I don’t think that really applies since, as a sahm, my time is literally worth nothing (to society, anyway). If it was worth anything I wouldn’t have just spent so much time figuring how much I spent to feed my babies ;). But it is pretty awesome to see how cheap it was!

          • CSN0116

            Haha, you’re worth something to me 🙂 And thanks for the careful analysis! I think if you’re dropping money on these things, as you said, it’s either not going well, or you’re a trendy elitist who has the money to burn and has Googled too much thus buying into all the gimmicks. Or you’re a mom working outside the home and may need more gadgets and such.

      • Inmara

        Lucky you, in my country we don’t have such thing as generic formula at all. The cow milk based brand formulas are reasonably priced, though, but I’m stuck with goat milk based formula and it’s damn expensive. I’ll for sure laugh if it turns out that baby doesn’t have any cow milk allergies/intolerances (going to test in upcoming months while introducing solids).

        • Kelly

          That sucks. I do realize how lucky though. A lot of friends have had kids who were allergic and had to spend a ton of money on formula.

    • pandapanda

      That’s what has saved me with formula. I buy Target brand and between coupons, sales and Cartwheel I have saved a ton. And then I buy the gift cards from my local grocery store which gives me 4x fuel points so $100 card equals 40 cents off a gallon of gas at my next fill up. I am spending less than my breastfeeding friends between their nursing bras, nipple cream and the LCs a few had to hire for awhile.

    • guest

      I wish I had known you, then! I switched to formula at six months and was not signed up for any clubs or samples or anything. I bought the cheapest generic I could find (luckily no issues to accommodate with the kids) but I never saw any sales or coupons to reduce the cost any more than that.

  • Deborah

    In fact, if a little area swelled up postpartum, it would be a lovely way to find out if any residual breast tissue was left and GO GET IT REMOVED STAT!!!

    • Madtowngirl

      But surely it’s more important for your baby to get that breastmilk than for you to not die of cancer!

      • Felicitasz

        Or for said baby, for that matter. Surely the little thing prefers breastmilk for a few weeks compared to a living mother for decades. It is such a pity s/he cannot yet say so in an official statement, and others need to make all the decisions.

        • Amy M

          Well, that other woman who went to Bali got her information straight from the fetus’s mouth, so surely an already born baby can make her preferences known.

          • Megan

            Like I said before, my fetus has requested Dad feed her at least one bottle of formula a day. 🙂

          • pandapanda

            Mine doesn’t care who feeds or or how she is fed, as long as Sophie the Giraffe is with her. If the giraffe is not glued to her side while she is awake, there is hell to pay. This has been made very clear to us.

          • Felicitasz

            Whoa – I think I will just have to hang my head and acknowledge defeat here.