Dr. Michael Kramer talks about lactivism and what he says might surprise you

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Prof. Michael Kramer, widely known within the breastfeeding world for the PROBIT study (Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention) from Belarus recently gave a fascinating interview to Montreal’s Radio Noon.

He was invited specifically to comment on Courtney Jung’s book Lactivism, which argues that the benefits of breastfeeding are oversold.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Women who breastfeed DO NOT love their babies more than those who don’t.[/pullquote]

It would be fair to say that Dr. Kramer is a lactivist. The PROBIT study showed definitively that breastfeeding leads to fewer colds and episodes of diarrheal illness across a population of babies under one year of age. It failed to demonstrate any of the other myriad benefits often claimed by lactivists. Dr. Kramer believes that he also demonstrated that breastfeeding increases cognitive development, although that finding was contradicted by a more recent US study by Colen et al. that showed that any increase in IQ from breastfeeding disappears when the data is corrected for confounding variables like maternal education and socio-economic class.

The interview is remarkably nuanced. There’s no transcript, but I’ve linked to the audio file. It’s a short interview and I encourage everyone to listen to it.

Here’s what I took away from Dr. Kramer’s remarks:

Kramer bluntly acknowledges that “the pendulum has swung too far” in claiming benefits for breastfeeding that simply don’t exist. He agrees with Jung that aggressive promotion of breastfeeding is making women feel guilty unnecessarily.

In Dr. Kramer’s view, the benefit of breastfeeding in preventing infections is real, but not of great importance in industrialized countries. He feels strongly that breastfeeding promotes cognitive development though he acknowledges that a large US review of the literature does not confirm that claim. He also believes that breastfeeding reduced the risk of SIDS.

Dr. Kramer is emphatic that breastfeeding does NOT prevent obesity, does NOT prevent allergies, and does NOT prevent asthma. When asked why lactivist organizations continueto insist on benefits that have been shown not to exist, he explains that these organizations rely upon preliminary data and simply refuse to accept anything that contradicts it. He is quite blunt that about the fact that lactivist organizations won’t accept scientific evidence that doesn’t comport with what they believe and he worries that their insistence of exaggerating benefits will undermine women’s trust in healthcare providers.

Kramer is refreshingly honest in acknowledging that public health officials underestimate the difficulties of breastfeeding. When asked whether the public health community can present the actual scientific evidence instead of the selected evidence that it prefers to present, he ruefully explains that “no one likes shades of gray,” preferring black and white pronouncements instead.

Dr. Kramer is still a very enthusiastic lactivist, going to far as to claim that Canadian babies are much healthier in 2016 than they were 30 years before and that the improvement is the result of increased breastfeeding rates. I’m not aware of any data that shows that Canadian babies are much healthier than they were 30 years ago (let alone data that shows that breastfeeding is the cause) and Dr. Kramer doesn’t allude to any such data.

All and all, Dr. Kramer’s remarks were an eloquent plea for moderation: by exaggerating the benefits of breastfeeding and minimizing the difficulties, lactivists risk making mothers feel unnecessarily guilty and harming the relationship between women and their healthcare providers. He finds much to agree with in Courtney Jung’s book, though he fears that her highlighting of the actual facts about breastfeeding will decrease women’s efforts to breastfeed.

I agree with Dr. Kramer that the exaggeration of benefits of breastfeeding have got to stop. I would go further and state that it is long past time to end the clumsy efforts to humiliate women who can’t or don’t breastfeed. The T-shirt in the image above is a particularly ugly example. Breastmilk is NOT love turned into food. Women who breastfeed DO NOT love their babies more than those who don’t! Breastmilk is food turned into manipulation. Lactivists and their organizations, especially the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, have made the harassment, inconveniencing and embarrassment of women a cornerstone of their efforts to promote breastfeeding. Their claims are empirically false, their efforts are repugnant and their plan is beginning to backfire.

Dr. Kramer recognizes this. I wonder how long it will take for the rest of the lactivist community to recognize it, too.

214 Responses to “Dr. Michael Kramer talks about lactivism and what he says might surprise you”

  1. N
    February 20, 2016 at 2:52 am #

    This obsession with breast feeding being this magic cure all, make your baby a genius must stop!
    My two year old niece has a life threatening allergy to dairy and peanuts. So many people feel the need to assume that my sister (her mother)didn’t breastfeed (not that it’s any of their business). Little do they know that my niece was exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life and is still breastfeeding in addition to food at age 28 months! Not a drop of formula entered her body.
    Let’s all leave the choice of how to feed one’s baby up to the MOTHER, not BFHI or some lactation consultant who thinks they know what’s “best.”

    • Ardea
      February 22, 2016 at 1:17 am #

      My sister-in-law, whose second two children were born at home and who at times has been vegan or raw food or paleo or whatever it is at the moment, nursed both children, and her youngest child is allergic to wheat, dairy and eggs. Those allergens came through even in her breastmilk, and he had failure to thrive. She switched to formula, and he began growing, and is doing fine now.

  2. Marie
    February 20, 2016 at 2:20 am #

    OT: I got a strange ad on my FB for some attorney offering to help you sue your doctor for causing brain damage during childbirth. It looks like it has some unfortunate stories about babies being deprived of oxygen, etc. during birth. One of the first comments is “easy fix, have a home birth.”
    I can’t even…

  3. DaisyGrrl
    February 19, 2016 at 7:58 am #

    OT: A bone-chilling read about one Catholic hospital’s handling of miscarriages that threaten a mother’s life. The article describes a report discussing 5 cases in 17 months at one hospital where the mother’s life was threatened by the hospital’s refusal to complete the miscarriage. A quote that appears to be from an OB consulted for the article: “Itโ€™s not too strong to say that any one of these women could have suffered fatal consequences.” One of the women was showing signs of sepsis before the fetal heart stopped beating and active maternal treatment began. http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/18/michigan-catholic-hospital-women-miscarriage-abortion-mercy-health-partners?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link

    The article invokes the case of Savita Halappanavar, and, reading the article, I think this raises the question not of if a similar case could happen in the US, it’s whether it’s happened yet. Considering the number of Catholic hospitals providing obstetric services, I think it is unconscionable that the women in their care are denied a choice in the management of their miscarriages and their health. This hospital didn’t even inform the women that standard of care wasn’t being followed and that they could transfer to another hospital that would provide the necessary care.

    And as a bonus, the report writer (a county public health official) was reassigned within a month of submitting her report to federal authorities.

  4. Deborah
    February 18, 2016 at 9:50 pm #

    My mother bottle fed me for about a year but she didn’t love me. She got up regularly through the night to prepare my food and feed me, but there was no love in it. As I grew she tended to my needs and even my wants but love was lacking. When I became a teen she worried incessantly about my welfare and spent many nights waiting for me to return home safely – all without any love whatsoever. Now, as a grandmother to my children and great-grandmother to theirs, she never misses a birthday or special event.
    With such an obvious lack of love I can’t help wondering why she adopted me in the first place.

    • BeatriceC
      February 18, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

      You made me cry. That was a beautiful tribute to your mother.

  5. CharlotteB
    February 18, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    OT: I have hand, foot, and mouth disease and I’m miserable. (Son brought it home from daycare). I’m waiting for a call back from the nurse, but do any of you have suggestions for my itchy, burning hands and face?

    • Charybdis
      February 18, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

      Baking soda bath or oatmeal bath, maybe?

    • Gatita
      February 18, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

      Benadryl?

    • Who?
      February 19, 2016 at 1:02 am #

      That’s rotten-icepacks helped a bit around here.

  6. Deborah
    February 18, 2016 at 8:35 pm #

    Fantastic interview! It really shows the difference between someone who uses science and scientific data to glean information and knowledge for the betterment of others, compared to someone who uses it to promote their own agenda. I wonder how dyed in the wool lactivists will respond.

  7. Inmara
    February 18, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    OT – a report and a question at the end.
    Time is flying, baby boy is already 6 months old! Pediatrician was delighted to see us (as always) and praised him for being so well-developed and well-behaved. He’s a textbook baby – weight and height gain along the WHO growth curves, first 2 teeth between 5 and 6 months, and now he attempts for crawling and sitting (I’m eager to see which will be first because so far he has half-assed both). Unfortunately he has the textbook sleep regression too (at the onset of crawling) – my wonderful napper is now sleeping less than 1 hour in each of two naps and waking up frustrated and crying. Hope that this phase will pass, at least he sleeps better at night. In general, it’s fascinating to see how he develops and tries and does new things every day (like, grabbing for a cat’s tail and laughing when cat runs away or pushing a cardboard box across the floor).

    Introducing solids goes well, he eats almost anything that I offer – but I’m at a loss how much I can increase amount of solids (cue a question). Now he’s getting solids in 3 feedings (out of 5) – cereal in the morning and vegetable or fruit purees in the next two. I give solids before bottle and usually it’s 30-70 grams (1 to 2.5 oz), followed by 180 ml (6 oz bottle). It seems that he would eat more but I’m worried that while his GI system adapts to solids he won’t get necessary calories and nutrients from them and consequently won’t get enough formula too. Is this a real concern of I’m overthinking it? How would you manage feedings until baby gets to eat finger foods (and self-regulate food intake)?

    • Megan
      February 18, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

      I worried about this too, but truthfully, looking back my daughter really did self-regulate her calories. Days she ate more solids she drank less formula and days she drank more she ate less. My doctor made a big point to tell me that before 1 year, most of her nutrition should come from her formula. We always offered solids in between bottles and just let her have what she wanted. It really varied from day to day. Not trying to give you a non-answer but I never really could come up with a “plan,” she just kind of ate/drank what she wanted, when she wanted.

      • CSN0116
        February 18, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

        I re-read your question a couple times and I’m not quite sure I understand. But I do agree with Megan. It all sorts itself out.

        One thing: I always offer the bottle first (until an ounce is left) and then the solids — then we “wash it down” with the remaining ounce of milk. I typically see formula intake decrease when solids are introduced, despite giving the milk first. But by decrease, I mean 2-3 oz in the whole day. No biggie.

        My current 5-month-old does three solid feeds a day, too – out of four feedings. Much like you – oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, fruit and veggie at lunch, oatmeal and veggie at dinner, and plain smaller bottle (no solids) before bed.

        I’ve followed the same regimen for all five babes and it hasn’t failed me yet ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Inmara
          February 18, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

          Hmm, maybe I should re-evaluate the feeding order, because I was advised (don’t remember by whom) to start feeding with solids and then top up with formula. Probably it’s because such order lets to increase amount of solids sooner and replace Evil Formula (if that’s the goal) as baby is more eager to eat whatever offered in the beginning of meal.

          The crux of my question about calorie intake was – it’s kind of a common sense that solids are not as calorie-and-nutrient dense as breastmilk/formula, and in the beginning most of them go through to the other end almost intact (yeah, I can recall what colorful puree baby ate yesterday by checking diaper). So if I let baby eat solids as much as he wants that will fill his belly with watery vegetables and not leave much space for nutritious formula. Currently his formula intake has decreased by some 2-3 oz compared to before solids, so it probably won’t be a problem even if decrease will be some 2-3 oz more, but I’m confused anyway.

          • CSN0116
            February 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

            OK I get your concern now. I’d lead with the bottle and follow with solids ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Megan
            February 18, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

            Agreed.

      • Inmara
        February 18, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

        Self-regulating is my intent but while he’s not sitting upright so well to handle finger foods and self-feeding it’s up to me how much food I offer and when. I have never thought of solids between bottles (maybe because at least 3 hour stretches between feeds were recommended in first months).

        • Dr Kitty
          February 18, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

          My guy will be six months next week.
          I’ve just given him a rusk and a tablespoon of baby rice mixed to a lovely paste with 80g of prune purรฉe and 3oz of EBM for his dinner. He had a bowl of baby rice mixed with mashed banana and yogurt for breakfast.

          His last breast feed was 3hrs ago, he’ll get another one in about an hour to settle him to sleep. I honestly don’t know how much breast milk he gets or how often. I don’t count, but I’d say about six feeds in 24 hrs.

          Since he was nomming his dinner like it was the best thing he has ever eaten, and screaming at me to feed him faster, I think the decision to start solids shortly after he turned four months was the right one, even though self feeding is still some way off.

          I think what you’re doing sounds fine.

          • Inmara
            February 18, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

            Thanks! I’ll look towards increasing amount of solids a bit; actually at the end of feeding baby looks like he would drink more formula so there is definitely space for some more food.

          • Sue
            February 18, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

            Six months already, Kitty? That was quick!

          • Dr Kitty
            February 18, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

            I know! Back to work week after next.

          • AA
            February 18, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

            As an American, I had to google “rusk” to figure out what that meant. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Dr Kitty
            February 19, 2016 at 5:33 am #

            Like a plain hard cookie for babies?
            When they self feed it’s a filling, portable snack and helps teething, when they are little you can crumble them up with milk, yogurt or purรฉe to make a sort of gruel.

            I buy the reduced salt and sugar ones, and they are all fortified with vitamins and iron.

            I mean, it’s not organic kale, but it is a perfectly fine weaning food if they’re OK with gluten, and my kids love them.

          • Amy M
            February 19, 2016 at 7:45 am #

            Yeah, I heard the term and knew roughly what it was, but I still have no idea what it looks or tastes like. It makes me think of a corn cob, probably because it sounds like “husk.”

      • Monkey Professor for a Head
        February 18, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

        My problem at the moment is that mini monkey is breastfeeding so often that it’s hard to find an in between time to offer solids. Sometimes he’s interested, but yesterday for example he refused nearly all solids (he’s teething and it’s crazy hot here, so that might be why he wanted to drink instead). I’m pretty sure there’s no supply issue (he rarely empties me out and always seems satisfied post feeds), he’s just a bottomless pit who wants to eat every 90 minutes. Its no wonder that he’s gone from the 50th centile to the 97th (weight and height) in the past eight months.

        • BeatriceC
          February 18, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

          Middle kid ate like that. He was Not Happy when I had to switch him to formula when I got pregnant with the youngest. When I was able to see the actual volumes he was packing down, I was shocked. Now he’s 14 and a few hairs away from 6 feet tall. He’s been at the doctor’s office about once a month for the last couple months and he’s grown a half inch at each visit. And he still eats pretty much non-stop.

        • demodocus
          February 18, 2016 at 7:33 pm #

          when i hurt and its crazy hot, i don’t want to eat anything but popsicles, soo

    • fiftyfifty1
      February 18, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

      As long as the baby gets at least 16 oz of formula per day, the rest can be solids. So feel free to increase the solids as he seems more and more interested in them. He will self regulate calories.

  8. CanDoc
    February 18, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    I worked with Kramer briefly during my training a long time ago. Stand-up guy, this is exactly the kind of science I’d expect from him – thorough, reasoned, and carefully considered.
    As for holding onto pet theories… this is a blog, not a peer-reviewed journal, and I’d contend that a lot of that goes on around here, also.

    • moto_librarian
      February 18, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

      Fair enough.

    • fiftyfifty1
      February 18, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

      “As for holding onto pet theories… this is a blog, not a peer-reviewed journal, and I’d contend that a lot of that goes on around here, also.”

      Such as…?

  9. SarahSD
    February 18, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    It would be nice if the pendulum would “stop halfway, where it should be” as he says at the end of this interview. It’s great to hear a self-identified breastfeeding researcher and advocate put his finger on the gap between (what he believes to be) the actual findings and their exaggerated, black-and-white ideological uptake. Unfortunately I think it will take more than scientific literacy to make such a reasonable approach widespread. The rabid lactivists have too much self-worth wrapped up in breastfeeding to let it go.

  10. DiomedesV
    February 18, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    Wasn’t the Kramer study on cognitive development confounded by the fact that pediatricians were not blind to breastfeeding status? Weren’t the findings of cognitive development derived from assessments from school teachers (who were blind) indicative of much smaller differences between BF and FF kids? That kind of bias is very telling.

    The Colen study doesn’t just control for maternal education and socioeconomic status. It controls for inter-family variance (ie., sibling comparisons) When inter-family variance is controlled for, none of the differences remains significant.

    I find Kramer to generally be a fair and careful scientist, but I think his holding out over cognitive benefits is strange.

    • moto_librarian
      February 18, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

      Kramer’s guilty of not being able to let go of his pet theories too. He needs to take a look in the mirror.

    • swbarnes2
      February 18, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

      From the NCBI entry for that study, see the three “Comment in” links. And yes, one of them does mention that language differences and non-blinding are issues here.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18458209

      Compare to this study:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12042541

      “Twenty-seven (68%) concluded that breastfeeding promotes intelligence. Many studies, however, had methodological flaws. Only 2 papers studied full-term infants and met all 4 standards of high-quality feeding data, controlled for 2 critical confounders, reported blinding, used an appropriate test, and allowed the reader to interpret the clinical significance of the findings with an effect size. Of these 2, 1 study concluded that the effect of breastfeeding on intellect was significant, and the other did not.”

      “Although the majority of studies concluded that breastfeeding promotes intelligence, the evidence from higher quality studies is less persuasive.”

  11. CSN0116
    February 18, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    The SIDS thing gets me. I don’t buy that breastfeeding in any way *causes* a decrease in SIDS. And SIDS is far scarier to new moms than obesity, asthma, diarrhea, or allergies.

    If we don’t even know what causes SIDS – there are theories from brain development to inner ear issues – then how can one say that some component in breast milk is positively manipulating the cause for something of which we do not even know the cause?! If the evidence of breast milk decreasing SIDS rates is soooo impressive, then why aren’t researchers picking apart the milk – protein by protein – to see what part of this magical elixir might be capable of aligning with the current theories for SIDS causes?

    Because, IMO, it’s yet another correlation. Term babies are more likely to be able to breastfeed and less likely to die of SIDS. Non-smoking mothers who received adequate pre-natal care are more likely to breastfeed and their babies are less likely to die of SIDS. More affluent and educated women are more likely to breastfeed and their babies are less likely to die of SIDS. I could go on.

    SIDS wasn’t random in 1980 and it’s not random today either. It disproportionately afflicts certain populations. And, ironically, these unfortunate populations are also the populations that are less likely to breastfeed.

    I don’t like that the “Breastfeeding-Cures-SIDS” card is still on the table to contribute guilt to new moms >:-o

    • Megan
      February 18, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

      I’m not saying I disagree with you, but then how does the decreased risk of SIDS with pacifier use fit in?

      • CSN0116
        February 18, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

        LOL I have no idea. Clearly there is no magical elixir coming out of the pacifier.

        My theory? It’s a confounding factor from what I call binky addiction. If a child needs a binky to fall asleep and stay asleep (I’ve seen parents run in 20 times to replace it to keep the kid “sleeping”) – every time the damn thing falls out, or the child realizes it’s out – it startles awake and cries. If the child is never achieving a deep, relaxing sleep pattern where it is more likely to “forget to breathe” (or so the story goes) – or the child is simply spending less time unconscious – the risk of SIDS decreases.

        HOWEVER, I do not think that every baby is born with this equal inability to remember to breathe. Thus the pacifier use will not effect the population at large.

        And in the end, how strong is the pacifier correlation anyway? When all other variables are removed? What is its direct protective ability? I have never looked. Because my kids would never sleep while consistently sucking a pacifier. It would inevitably fall out within minutes and I would never replace it. I imagine that’s true for many parents…

        • Megan
          February 18, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

          This is a nice review:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24674245

          • CSN0116
            February 18, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

            That’s confusing and the evidence seems all over the place, even contradicting itself :/ Though there does seem to be some support for my claim that pacifier use leaves the baby more easily aroused ๐Ÿ˜€

            At the heart of it though – all of those studies used to provide evidence both for and against the pacifier use – can only assess whether the baby was put to bed with the pacifier or not. What happens after the parents leave the room, or drift off to sleep themselves, is unaccounted for. Did the baby spit it out right away? Or was the baby still sucking it when breathing ceased? Just being put to sleep with a pacifier (or not) doesn’t seem to say much.

            I think they’re on to something when they say that a break in ritual, or a baby who always gets a pacifier when going to sleep suddenly isn’t offered one, seems to influence SIDS. That’s interesting.

            The biggest take-away? That even when up to a 90% reduction is shown (in one small study), lactivists are still anti-pacifier ๐Ÿ˜›

          • Megan
            February 18, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

            Agree the evidence is conflicting. It certainly is a problem with the pacifier theory that it is unlikely to stay in baby’s mouth for very long unless constantly replaced. I at least liked that this particular review acknowledged the weaknesses of the evidence.

        • mishabear
          February 18, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

          I agree with you! My pet theory is that almost ALL the SIDS recommendations just make sure babies’ sleep quality is a crap as possible (the rest seem to be about preventing accidental suffocation/strangulation). Hard mattress, fan, no fuzzy blanket, sleeping on back — I know I wouldn’t be a happy camper in that situation. My babies were tummy sleepers (for digestive issues), and even the one with acid reflux(!) was a champion sleeper once she was adequately medicated.

          • CSN0116
            February 18, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

            I’ve heard swaddling is on the chopping block next ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

          • mishabear
            February 18, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

            I think it already is. The nurses in the intermediate nursery said I should only swaddle loosely with one arm out….

          • CSN0116
            February 18, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

            Oh, FFS.

          • Bugsy
            February 18, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

            Yep, ours told us swaddling was a no-no as well – this was back in November.

          • Joy
            February 18, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

            We had a swaddle bag that used the arms up position. Supposedly, they do that in NICUS or something.

          • AirPlant
            February 18, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

            You know, sometimes I could swear that pretty much all parenting advice can be boiled down to “Hey, you know that thing that makes parenting easier? Turns out that it will make you kid die. So stop doing that. And never sleep again.”

          • Bugsy
            February 18, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

            Bingo. We just laughed hearing that swaddling is now wrong. (Okay, and were a bit relieved…we’d never mastered it with #1 by any stretch of the imagination!)

          • AirPlant
            February 18, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

            My friends used to just lay out a blanket and roll their baby…
            Seemed pretty practical to me?

          • Dr Kitty
            February 18, 2016 at 7:04 pm #

            I couldn’t persuade either of mine to take pacifiers, and neither tolerated being swaddled.

            #1 would hold her ear when drowsy or sleeping (eventually replaced by cuddling and sucking her favourite soft toy) and #2 likes to rub his head.

            I figured happily sleeping babies with self soothing strategies was preferable to trying to impose something they didn’t like.

            The swaddle blankets have found another use. They get laid in the baby cage/play pen at the gym to provide a semi clean/warm surface to lay #2 on while I shower or dry his sister’s hair.

          • Bugsy
            February 18, 2016 at 10:05 pm #

            Self-soothing is definitely awesome. #1 was pretty good at self-soothing, took a pacifier for a few months but then gave it up on his own. #2…well, let’s just say he likes notifying the world whenever he is awake and fights sleep with his entire body until he conks out furiously. It makes our days painful but nights actually pretty quiet.

          • Inmara
            February 19, 2016 at 2:59 am #

            I use swaddle blankets by rolling them and then putting between baby’s legs when he sleeps on his side – so there is something for him to hold on and it prevents rolling to his tummy a bit (though if he’s really awake and wants to roll then nothing can stop him). Not the perfect solution safety-wise but it definitely lets him fall asleep better, especially during the night when he arouses.

          • Dinolindor
            February 19, 2016 at 8:44 am #

            We use them for pretend play now – picnic blankets, making our patients in our hospital/vet clinic more comfortable, playing peekaboo games with my younger, etc. At this moment they’re being used for a living room fort/rocket ship, although they’re a bit small to be used on their own for that.

          • MaineJen
            February 18, 2016 at 9:34 pm #

            Kind of like eggs…they cycle back and forth, from being good for you, then bad for you, then good for you again.

          • Bugsy
            February 18, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

            Avocadoes and margarine/butter, too.

          • demodocus
            February 19, 2016 at 9:10 am #

            ..sounds like an omelette..

          • Who?
            February 18, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

            Carefui, someone will put that on a tshirt…

          • BeatriceC
            February 18, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

            I think it goes back to what somebody else said about making sure the baby sleeps as badly as possibly so they can’t get into that deep sleep. Keeping the arms out means that if they jerk around (which babies are prone to doing), the sudden movement will wake them up. A swaddled baby doesn’t have the opportunity for his arms to jerk like that.

            I begin to wonder what neurological damage might be caused by not allowing a baby to get into a deep sleep.

          • demodocus
            February 18, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

            I think that’s pretty variable too. My boy hated to be swaddled, but was sleeping 4 hours a night from the first. …we really hope his sister is as good a sleeper but i’m not getting my hopes up too much

          • Old Lady
            February 18, 2016 at 8:31 pm #

            Yeah, my twins were like this too. I couldn’t swaddle them after a few weeks and they were surprisingly good sleepers. We did use the sleep sacks. Not entirely sure why, but I did notice…. I don’t remember when exactly that my presence would wake them up so I started leaving them alone in the room and soon after moved them into their own room and they slept for longer periods of time after that. I think that contributed to their sleeping through the night by like 6 months or so with only one maybe two wakings. I don’t think is necessarily applicible to all babies though. They were on their backs until they could roll themselves over.

          • CSN0116
            February 18, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

            There’s some mighty interesting preliminary work on infant sleep loss and a whole host of cognitive and physical delays/disorders. We have a like 400% increase in plagiocephaly from forced back sleeping. And you’ll never convince me that’s just a cosmetic issue. Humans aren’t meant to have heads that look like flat boards. I wonder about the pressure on the developing brain. And developmental milestones, like crawling and sitting up, have also been pushed back by months. I’ve seen solid evidence linking lost infant sleep to ADD and ADHD. And research is now looking into even more, including autism.

            When we started forcing babies to sleep so uncomfortably that they barely sleep at all, we also started seeing what seems like a simultaneous rise in a shit ton of childhood diagnoses. No exaggeration- 1 in 3 kids I know has a diagnosis of some sort, mostly cognitive, and is receiving treatment.

          • BeatriceC
            February 18, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

            I’d be really, really interested in seeing that research.

          • CSN0116
            February 18, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

            A girlfriend of mine, her father is in pediatrics and really involved in this “lack of infant sleep” stuff. She has shared his stuff with me in the past. I’m going to try and dig it up!

          • BeatriceC
            February 18, 2016 at 9:12 pm #

            I would really love to see it. I’ve had a pet theory for a while, but I’m not a research scientist so I don’t have access to anything other than what journals MrC get, and those are all biophysics, biochem and pharma.

          • Inmara
            February 19, 2016 at 2:38 am #

            Here is a study that found no difference in one developmental milestone http://www.earlyhumandevelopment.com/article/S0378-3782(12)00267-8/abstract
            But I agree that infants not getting enough quality sleep is a concern and could be linked to various health problems.

          • CSN0116
            February 19, 2016 at 8:10 am #

            No this was something about crawling and sitting up, or sitting up and walking? But despite the back sleepers being delayed, it sorted itself out by 12-14 months (or something). It was referencing that the actual guidelines for “normal milestones” had been pushed out and peds now use these extended timelines. Shit, I have to dig it up or ask for it again!

          • StephanieA
            February 19, 2016 at 9:14 am #

            This is very interesting. I’m not advocating co sleeping, but it was the only way my older son was able to sleep for his first months of life. I wonder if the risk of SIDS due to co sleeping (I mean bed sharing in this instance) outweighs the benefits of deep sleep?

          • CSN0116
            February 19, 2016 at 9:26 am #

            I’ve never co-slept but I 100% understand why people do it out of desperation. “Rock and Plays” seem to be the other go-to device to mitigate the sleep deprived desperation as well (as well as car seats, swings, bouncy chairs …a lot of people can’t get their babies to flat back sleep and they mitigate). I get it.

            To be honest, I never understood how co-sleeping could increase SIDS (or decrease it as the crunchies state). I think it poses a very real danger for all sorts of *suffocation* – pillow, blanket, entrapment between the wall or head board, parents rolling, mom’s breast if she falls asleep nursing — but all of that is suffocation :/ So I don’t get it.

          • Inmara
            February 19, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

            I guess that in some reports deaths from suffocation etc. are often mixed together with SIDS (i.e. death without visible cause) and that distorts data. Also, there are studies that show minimal risks from bedsharing if main risk factors – alcohol, drugs, smoking, loose bedding – are not in the picture.

          • StephanieA
            February 19, 2016 at 9:10 am #

            My first son could’ve won world’s worst sleeper. Up every 45 minutes, restless, etc. The only way he slept for a two hours was if he was swaddled and in our arms/on our chest. As hard as CIO is to do, I knew it was the best thing for all of us; he wasn’t getting into deep sleep at all, and we were of course insanely sleep deprived. I felt that as a parent, I needed to help him learn how to sleep. At age 2 he falls asleep easily at night and sleeps 12 hours. Both of my boys love sleeping with me in bed, but the safety issues makes that not an option.

          • Megan
            February 18, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

            Does this mean I can’t use the woombie I just bought?

          • demodocus
            February 19, 2016 at 9:08 am #

            A friend told us when our boy was newborn that it took them a while to figure out how to parent with their first, and by the time they got it down, they had #2, who informed them they WERE DOING IT ALL WRONG! (yes the caps were definitely in the conversation)

          • BeatriceC
            February 18, 2016 at 3:48 pm #

            Seconding mishabear. Swaddling is already on the chopping block.

          • rh1985
            February 19, 2016 at 2:41 am #

            I stopped swaddling my daughter after about a week because she despised being swaddled. She wasn’t happy unless at least one arm was free. I even tried the velcro swaddle blankets since I sucked at it. She’d fight it and fight it until she got an arm free then she’d put her arm to the side of her head and happily fall asleep. She slept in sleep sacks from that point on, and still does (she will be two this week, sniffle). The sleep sack is now a part of her sleep routine and she can’t sleep without it.

          • demodocus
            February 19, 2016 at 9:02 am #

            Hopefully it won’t be too tough transitioning her to blankets when she’s outgrown sleep sacks, ‘though maybe you could use sleeping bags. Or make some.
            It was too hot here for sleep sacks this summer and the boyo’s spica cast made them awkward anyway. He’s been using small blanets since October. (just before he turned 2)
            This reminds me, i need a lightweight one for little miss for nights that aren’t 85 for a low.

          • rh1985
            February 19, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

            They make them in toddler sizes with leg holes now. I think the biggest size is 4T or something. My daughter is currently using the 12-18 size though. She is going to be 2 tomorrow. Either she’s short or they run big.

          • demodocus
            February 19, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

            Happy birthday to her! My boyo’s in 3T now and only 3 1/2 months older. He was in 2T on his birthday.

          • rh1985
            February 19, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

            thanks! I think she’s only about 25 pounds. She wears mostly 18-24 clothes now but some 12-18 still fits. She’s pretty skinny!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 19, 2016 at 9:57 am #

            Our older guy slept in sleep sacks until he was almost 4

      • Daleth
        February 19, 2016 at 10:20 am #

        Another possibility is that binkies keep the baby’s face from being pressed against the mattress if baby turns face down. So it’s just a mechanical thing: airflow is maintained because baby can’t have its mouth and nose pressed right up against the mattress.

    • Anne Catherine
      February 18, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

      I agree –the SIDS thing is misguided. SIDS is so rare in the first place (like 1/10,000 isn’t it ?–please correct me if I’m wrong) and how much does BF (even if there is a causal relationship) reduce the chances to?

      The chances that a woman can’t breastfeed are at BEST 5% 1/20–and the chances she’s going to have a rough time are probably 1/5. Do we really need to make big deal out of SIDS and BF? Especially when the science is isn’t all that solid?

  12. February 18, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    I think I’m gonna send the local dairy advertising group a slogan of “Milk: It’s cow love turned into food!” and see how that goes over.

  13. Zornorph
    February 18, 2016 at 11:50 am #

    All those silly breastfeeding T-shirts, they just make me laugh. ‘I make milk – what’s your superpower’ (My superpower is I make methane gas). I had not seen this ‘love’ one before. I guess the person who gets food for the mum (which of course might be the mum herself) that she can then turn into breast milk is not part of the love train?

    • Roadstergal
      February 18, 2016 at 11:52 am #

      I can laugh at it*, but a stressed-out sleep-deprived mom trying her best to Be A Good Mom? It’s not cool.

      *I really want to make a joke about sperm being love turned into… never mind.

      • Bugsy
        February 18, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

        Yep. Both the three-year-old and baby are sick right now, and I’m fighting their bug. Three-year-old refuses to use the potty consistently, so I spend well more time than I’d like washing underwear and pants. Never mind that my lame attempt at reusing his cloth diapers this weekend for his little brother resulted in half of our house smelling like baby pee. And I’m exhausted; the three-year-old slept with us last night because he’s sick, and I was up for half the night because his feet were in my face.

        Add to it I’m fighting side effects from the SSRI I just started for my postpartum anxiety.

        So no, I don’t want to hear about other moms’ superpowers. All I want to hear is “I get you, I’ve been there. Let’s have a coffee and a laugh together.” And maybe a hug.

        Because there’s no reason to brag about our superpowers. We’re all in this thing called parenthood together; we all face struggles and joys. Perhaps our struggles are different, but they’re all there.

        The people I want around me are those who can commiserate with my struggles, not those who brag about their own awesomeness at parenthood.

        • moto_librarian
          February 18, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

          I wish I could give you a hug and make you a cuppa. For me, the first 2 weeks are the worst for onboarding side effects. If you can get through that, it should start to improve. Also, if you get to the 8 week mark and aren’t noticing noticeable improvements, you might need a dosage adjustment or a different medication. Hang in there!

          • Bugsy
            February 18, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

            Thanks! I think things are looking up. I had one of those days the other day where everything went wrong – cat peed in the bathroom, food stained the counter, jeans’ button popped – and I actually was able to look at it and laugh. In the past, it would have left me a hysterical mess.

            The superpower stuff would have really gotten to me when #1 was a baby. Having three years of experience in the parenting game has given me a lot more insight, and I now just think that everyone has superpowers (and the people who promote their own are blathering idiots.).

            It’s just a long week with the illness, the side effects and the seemingly non-stop rain we’ve had. It’s pouring buckets outside right now…somewhat soothing, but it would be so nice to get outside to play! Generally I’m doing well and feeling optimistic, though – it’s an indicator to me that it’s starting to work. Very thankful for modern medicine. I didn’t realize how trapped my anxieties were leaving me.

        • Megan
          February 18, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

          Getting through motherhood during those kind of tough times is a superpower and matters more than lactating, IMO. Pat yourself on the back for how much you’re doing and that you are getting through. It’s so hard to be sick while caring for a sick child. I just got over stomach flu while pregnant and caring for my daughter so, as you said, I get you and I’ve been there. Hugs.

          • Bugsy
            February 18, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

            It’s true…sometimes getting through is what matters. My superpower? “I survived!”

          • BeatriceC
            February 18, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

            That’s an awesome superpower! BTW, it does get better when they’re teens. I know people talk a lot about how awful the teen years are, but I just don’t get it. I’ve enjoyed being a parent (for the most part) for my kids’ entire lives, but the teen years have definitely been the most fun.

        • Allie
          February 18, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

          Sounds like your superpower is coping like a boss : )

      • Angharad
        February 18, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

        I think that’s why this blog matters so much. I’ve never been such a mess as I was immediately postpartum. I cried that my daughter was eating formula and she would think I didn’t love her. From my great perspective of a year and a half of parenthood I can see that it was irrational, but being a mother was new, and there aren’t many things you can do with/for a newborn. “Failing” at one of them feels so devastating, especially when it is something you hear from both medical authorities and your peer group.

        • BeatriceC
          February 18, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

          I’ve sent two different friends links to specific posts here on topics relative to their issues. It was sort of “you’re okay, and here’s this doctor who explains why”.

      • DelphiniumFalcon
        February 18, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

        Don’t park, accidents cause people?

        • Zornorph
          February 18, 2016 at 11:55 pm #

          Well, an accident caused me. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Megan
            February 19, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

            And my husband. MIL was 41 when he was born.

    • ElaineF
      February 18, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

      I spent 3 1/2 years lactating between feeding two kids and I don’t view making milk as a superpower. It took some effort and sacrifice to breastfeed, but formula-feeding has its tradeoffs as well. That slogan always annoyed me. Of everything I do, my body’s manufacturing of milk to feed my children is not really one of my top achievements.

      • momofone
        February 18, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

        I agree. My kidneys make urine. Is that a superpower too? (Oh no, I just crossed into “breastmilk is not a waste product!” territory too.)

        • Azuran
          February 18, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

          I turn food into poop!

          • momofone
            February 18, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

            You’re a magical unicorn!

        • Bugsy
          February 18, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

          Using that rationale, my kid’s butt is out of this world!!!!!

          Oh never mind…try as I might, I can’t even will myself to pretend it’s full of superpowers. Just poop.

          • demodocus
            February 18, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

            depends on the volume :/

          • Michele
            February 19, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

            Depending on what crafts they’ve been doing at daycare that day, my kid might even have sparkly rainbow poop.

    • indigosky
      February 18, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

      That one is pretty stupid. The majority of women can produce milk. If making milk is the average and the norm, how can it be a superpower? It’s like the women who do unmedicated births and brag about it. Um, that is what our species did since it was first born. You “natural” birthers are average, not special.

    • Rachele Willoughby
      February 18, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

      Where’s my t-shirt that says, “I tutor underprivileged kids in trig. What’s your superpower?”

        • Rachele Willoughby
          February 18, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

          Well, I know what I want for my birthday.

          • BeatriceC
            February 18, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

            There’s a couple different versions of that. I linked to my favorite one.

            I have a couple math t-sirts. My favorite ones are:

            Why be and then the equation of the normal cure followed by a question mark.

            and the one that I called my “are you smart enough to date me” shirt from before I met MrC. I simply has a definite integral of 2X from 10 to 13 followed by a question mark. If you compute it, the answer is 69. Not all my math related t-shirts are g-rated.

          • Charybdis
            February 18, 2016 at 6:13 pm #

            I saw one that said “My password is the last 8 digits of Pi”.

            Have you seen this:

          • BeatriceC
            February 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

            lol. There are a ton of math t-shirts I love. MrC would kill me if I spent that much money though, so I refrain.

            I’ve seen a couple variations of that clock. They’re all awesome. When I was teaching I really wanted to put one in my room but my principal squashed my hopes on that. Something about “unapproved electronic or battery powered devices.”

    • Sarah
      February 18, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

      My superpower is I got to delegate all the night feeds.

    • demodocus
      February 18, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

      My superpower is my ability to not strangle people. ;p

  14. OttawaAlison
    February 18, 2016 at 11:41 am #

    Hey I was a Canadian baby 38 years ago and breastfed… I do think my daughter is healthier than I was, but I think it is due to not living in a house with second-hand smoke. I have been a much healthier adult than child!
    I don’t blame my dad, he was addicted and struggled badly with anxiety. But I’d say many more kids are no longer routinely exposed to second-hand smoke than they were 30 years ago and that is probably the biggest factor.

    • Amy M
      February 18, 2016 at 11:43 am #

      There are also more vaccines now, then we had 30yr ago, so kids today don’t get chicken pox or rotavirus so much anymore. I imagine that also contributes.

      • OttawaAlison
        February 18, 2016 at 11:45 am #

        So basically there are tons of other reasons, not just the increase in breastfeeding!

        • Megan
          February 18, 2016 at 11:46 am #

          Tons of reasons, probably one of the LEAST of which is breastfeeding. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Roadstergal
            February 18, 2016 at 11:48 am #

            Hell, filler caps still had to be marked Unleaded Fuel Only when I was a baby.

      • moto_librarian
        February 18, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

        Have there been any breastfeeding studies that control for the rotavirus vaccine? I’m wondering if fewer diarrheal illnesses will no longer be a specific benefit of breastfeeding now that we vaccinate for rotavirus.

        • Joy
          February 18, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

          I think it is too new still. My baby was the first group to get in the UK. My GP’s office published an article saying hospital admissions for rotavirus dropped about 80%.

    • moto_librarian
      February 18, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

      Yeah, I suspect that being cared for by my grandmother who chain-smoked in the house has more to do with my asthma than being formula fed.

    • Azuran
      February 18, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

      Paid parental leave also increased a lot in canada in the last 30-40 years. It helped raise the breastfeeding rate, but it also means babies are staying at home with one of their parent for a longer period of time instead of going to day care. Less exposition to viruses and better care in the first months of life is probably a huge factor.
      Also, the general health of the entire population is constantly improving, so of course, the health of babies also improves.

      • Bugsy
        February 18, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

        You’re absolutely correct that a lot of babies are home for longer here. With #1 in Florida, almost all of my friends’ kids were in day care by 6-12 weeks. With #2 here, the majority of moms I’ve met are off for nearly a year.

        Granted, given that this kiddo is getting shuttled in and out of his brother’s preschool and activities, his level of exposure to germs is quite a bit higher than his brother’s was!

    • DaisyGrrl
      February 18, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

      I was also a breastfed Canadian baby from over 30 years ago. Aside from what you and others have mentioned, there’s also the back to sleep campaign, more car seats, and increased prenatal and neonatal screening for disorders that would have proved devastating to babies of our generation. Those babies get to live, and have healthier lives as a result.

  15. mostlyclueless
    February 18, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    You know what else decreases the rate of colds and diarrheal illnesses? Hand-washing. And effective hand-washing prevents illness in everyone, not just infants. So why does every hospital I go to have more signs about breastfeeding than hand-washing? Why isn’t hand-washing proof that you love your child? Why aren’t there professional hand-washing consultants in the hospital who loom over every patient as they leave the restroom, asking if you counted to 30 and got underneath your nails?

    Oh, right. Because breastfeeding activism isn’t really about preventing disease. It’s about reminding women what their bodies are really for — other people.

    • Megan
      February 18, 2016 at 11:44 am #

      And let’s not forget the biggest factor associated with infection in children, exposure. I would love to see them factor daycare exposure in to these studies (not that I’m against daycare; I send my daughter there three days a week and no amount of breastmilk can combat that giant petri dish!)

      • CSN0116
        February 18, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

        THIS! My first borns were not sick once in their first two years of life (until they started pre-school, of course). The three babies to come after them have experienced more bouts of the common cold in the first two years of their lives. Why? Not because they’re in day care (we have a sitter who comes to our home and none of the kids have ever been to day care) — it’s because their siblings bring home a host of things to which the first borns were never even exposed. Funny enough, as the younger siblings age into pre-school themselves, these early illnesses seem to have had a protective effect as they pick up far less illness from the age of 2 and onward, which is the complete opposite of the first borns’ experience.

        So things like day care and older siblings matter incredibly. I think Bofa has said it before, but if the US were to allow 6 months of paid maternity leave – effectively keeping all babies out of day care for at least the first full 6 months of life – your breastfeeding “benefits” could likely disappear completely.

        • Inmara
          February 18, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

          To add an anecdote – acquaintance of mine has baby who is a month younger than mine, and also a 2yo and 6 yo. Her EBF baby has been sick with cold and fever twice, while my combo and then EFF baby has not had a single episode yet (knock on wood!). Exposure, it’s a thing.

          • StephanieA
            February 18, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

            My EFF two year old wasn’t sick once his first year of life. He also wasn’t in daycare or around other kids at all. He doesn’t get sick often, but we can always count on him getting something after I take him to the play place at the mall.

        • Amy M
          February 18, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

          I asked our pediatrician about this when my boys were babies. He confirmed that if the kid is home as a baby, as soon as he starts school (kindergarten, pre-school, whatever), he’ll get sick and stay sick for a year or two, while his immune system learns to cope with common antigens it wasn’t previously exposed to. The process just starts earlier if the kid goes to daycare as an infant.

          • BeatriceC
            February 18, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

            I recall reading about this topic some years ago. I don’t recall if it was an actual study or just somebody postulating a theory, but it basically said the same thing: The difference in illness between children who went to daycare as infants and kids who weren’t in such care until preschool or kindergarten was simply the age in which they got a string of illnesses.

          • Dr Kitty
            February 18, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

            As someone who spends a LOT of time diagnosing sick kids… Yup.
            Your kids will probably get coughs, colds, hand, foot and mouth disease, slapped cheek, strep throat, head lice, thread worms, norovirus and Epstein Barr.

            They will get these as soon as they start being around non-related kids.

            This might be daycare at six weeks or school at six years, or whenever their older sibling starts daycare or school.

            You can delay you child getting exposed to all of the common childhood illnesses and infestations, but short of keeping them in a bubble you can’t prevent it entirely.

            Oh, and the average 2-6year old has 10-15 upper respiratory viral infections a year. So…yes, they are either sick, getting over being sick or about to be sick.

            Probably better to get it over with before being sick means missing important stuff at school.

          • BeatriceC
            February 18, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

            I think there is some basis for delaying a newborn’s grand entrance into society and constant colds. Newborns aren’t as good at fighting off infection as even a 6 month old, but this idea that they’ll *never* get sick really needs to go the way of the white wig.

          • Dr Kitty
            February 18, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

            I’m not suggesting you take your newborn to be licked by toddlers at the local soft play area, by any means!

            But there is something to be said for having your kid exposed to all the germs from toddlerhood rather than having them miss most of the first years of school while they get caught up to the local germs.

            Some things are better suffered through when younger (HF&M, slapped cheek, herpetic stomatitis) rather than as an older child or adult.

            I am glad #1 got chickenpox at 18 months. It means she won’t be bringing it home to her baby bro while he is very tiny (no routine vaccination in the UK) and she was little enough that she was not particularly sick with it.

          • BeatriceC
            February 18, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

            Oh, to be clear, I’m talking about only very young babies. For example, there’s some wisdom in providing enough maternity leave so moms don’t have to leave 6 week old babies in daycare vs 6 month old babies.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 18, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

            I recall what the pediatrician told us when we brought our older guy home: Don’t take him out in public until you are ready for him to be sick.

            Sure enough, first time we took him out was to church for baptism, and sure enough, he caught a cold.

      • February 18, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

        Gah. That day care petri dish. My daughter started daycare 2 days a week when she was 2. So, here’s how it went: Daycare Thursday and Friday, Monday she’d be sick. Better by the following Thursday, by which point Mom and Dad had it. Then new disease the following Monday. For a year.

        My job share partner also had a kid who was in daycare for the first time with the reverse schedule. So basically, 5 days a week, whichever one of us was at work was sick. Our coworkers put up a quarantine sign on our cube and it wasn’t even a joke.

        When we moved across the ocean 7 years ago, we went through an entire year of sickness again. We had to catch all the Swiss germs we’d never seen before. Some weird things that I’d never heard of and I’d call the nurse line in a panic about my toddler’s weird rash and she’d assure me it was some common illness, and she was right and it went away.

        That said, daycare was awesome in so many ways. And switzerland? Once we built up our immunity, it’s been good.

        • Roadstergal
          February 19, 2016 at 11:26 am #

          Dagnabit, I want to move to Switzerland. I interviewed for a job at our parent company in 2013, was one of the final three candidates, and didn’t get it. We were even house-looking… ๐Ÿ™

          • February 19, 2016 at 11:53 am #

            Oh, so sad. It’s awesome here. Unless you have a baby and want an epidural. The midwives prefer to offer you herbal tea. But, after you have the baby you get a cheese plate, so I guess it balances out.

          • Roadstergal
            February 19, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

            Herbal tea. Oh, boy, that sounds so effective. :p

            I’m still working connections there to the extent I can…

          • February 19, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

            We’re in Basel, so if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know! If, for instance, you’re a top notch statistician with programming skills, I can hook you up.

          • Roadstergal
            February 19, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

            Alas, no, I’m on the biology side of things. Interviewing for the company with that new, really tall building.

          • February 19, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

            That building is super ugly. Know the company well. My husband does a lot of consulting with them. And with their biggest competitor in town. They have fab packages for expats, so if you do get a job, try not to get a local contract. Try for an expat package. Local packages are fine, but expat packages from that company are the bomb.

          • Roadstergal
            February 19, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

            I will keep that in mind. ๐Ÿ˜€

            I’m working on some projects right now with Global (my current job is with the US division), so I have all-morning telecons to get the Basel folk at the end of the work day. It just reminds me of my trip there, and I go “Gahhh.”

          • February 19, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

            if it makes you feel any better. it took almost two years from my husband’s first interview with biggest competitor to getting a job offer here.

  16. Brooke
    February 18, 2016 at 11:21 am #

    I’m actually amazed that you’d post this and attempt to paint this doctor, one whose study you’ve used several times to support your idea that breastfeeding has minimal benefits while ignoring all other data, as a lactavist. He clearly doesn’t agree that breastfeeding is not better than formula and clearly is worried about Jung’s approach.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      February 18, 2016 at 11:26 am #

      “P’r’aps we’d better ask the little Pink Bear about Ozma,” suggested Trot.
      “Pshaw!” said Button-Bright, “he don’t know anything.”
      “He never makes a mistake,” declared the King.
      “He did once, surely,” said Betsy. “But perhaps he wouldn’t make a mistake again.”
      “He won’t have the chance,” grumbled the Bear King.
      “We might hear what he has to say,” said Dorothy. “It won’t do any harm to ask the Pink Bear where Ozma is.”
      “I will not have him questioned,” declared the King, in a surly voice. “I do not intend to allow my little Pink Bear to be again insulted by your foolish doubts. He never makes a mistake.”
      “Didn’t he say Ozma was in that hole in the ground?” asked Betsy.
      “He did; and I am certain she was there,” replied the Lavender Bear.

      • Brooke
        February 18, 2016 at 11:35 am #

        Please go take your meds.

        • Bugsy
          February 18, 2016 at 11:46 am #

          As someone who just went on a SSRI for generalized anxiety disorder exacerbated by postpartum anxiety, I find your comment to be highly inappropriate.

          • moto_librarian
            February 18, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

            How are you doing, Bugsy? I hope that the meds help. I finally went back on Effexor XR after taking Zoloft during my childbearing years. I’m noticing a huge improvement. I hope you will be feeling much better soon.

          • Bugsy
            February 18, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

            Thanks! I’m generally doing well. They were going to put me on Zoloft but went with Cipralex (Lexapro in the U.S.?) instead due to my concerns over weight gain. I’m up to 10 mcg now…the biggest side effect I’ve noticed is drowsiness, although it could be also because our whole family is sick.

            I’ve been on it three weeks, and it seems to be starting to help. At the very least, I can give my boys a bath without fears taking over…and I’m finding I can enjoy my time with the three-year-old more than I used to.

          • Amazed
            February 18, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

            Glad to hear you’re better now!

          • Who?
            February 18, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

            Hope it continues to improve for you.

            And yes, I wouldn’t be too quick to sheet home drowsiness to medication with two sick babies on your hands.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            February 18, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

            Glad to hear it’s helping! Just did the med reaaragement dance myself so however you did it with kids, pregnancy, birth, and the side effects, good job!

            And take this with a grain of salt but sometimes I know an anti-anxiety med is working properly for me because I get drowsy. My anxiety keeps my body keyed up into this hyperalert state constantly so when I finally get relief from it I generally feel worse (sleep, drowsy, sleeping way too much, being tired) because my body came down from that high alert and is allowing itself to rest. Once I start getting rest and my body isn’t in this constant flight or fight state I feel like a human being again.

            You don’t realize how exhausting anxiety is until you find a good med and start to recover from it. And it can take a while so don’t get discouraged! You just had a baby and you’re recovering from all that anxiety. Don’t get down on yourself if you don’t bounce back immediately since you have more to recover from physically and emotionally than someone without anxiety.

          • Bugsy
            February 18, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

            Thank you! The hyper vigilance is a good way to describe it. It’s like my body has always had an “on” switch for anxiety, but that the switch can’t be turned off. Hyper alert, certainly.

            I can tell it’s starting to take the edge off because when I have a heart palpitation – I’ve been having them for a few years, and they’re benign – my mind doesn’t immediately start panicking that it’s symptomatic of a heart problem. I can actually tell myself “it’s just a palpitation, and probably a gas bubble,” and my brain moves on. It’s the first time in my life I’ve been able to talk myself out of fears…

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          February 18, 2016 at 11:49 am #

          Scraps laughed jeeringly and the others saw there was no use arguing with the stubborn Bear King, who seemed to have absolute faith in his Pink Bear.

          • T.
            February 18, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

            This is both hilarious and absolutely appropriate.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 18, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

            While the section of the book to which I jump is generally random, the quotes I pick are not always so.

        • Azuran
          February 18, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

          OMG Brooke has finally bothered to answer a reply to one of her posts, that has to be a first!

        • Who?
          February 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

          Rude.

          And disrespectful. You could look that one up in the dictionary.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 18, 2016 at 7:21 pm #

            Hey, to be fair to Brooke, I am admittedly rude and disrespectful to her. But that is only because I think she is a doofus and have no respect for her and think she deserves nothing but mockery. I can’t criticize her for being rude. Dumb, yes. Rude? Nah

    • LaMont
      February 18, 2016 at 11:44 am #

      Wait, did you just say “I can’t believe you think he’s a lactivist, he *clearly is a lactivist*”. How does that make sense? If he thinks breastfeeding is better and is worried about Jung’s approach then it’s hardly “actually amazing” to paint him as a lactivist… I’m severely confused.

      • Sarah
        February 18, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

        Nah, she said lactAvist. I don’t normally pull people up on spelling online, but just occasionally there is need for an exception.

    • PrimaryCareDoc
      February 18, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

      Can you rewrite this without the double negatives? I have no idea what you’re trying to say.

  17. Roadstergal
    February 18, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    Breastmilk is love turned into food. Nice. So women who don’t produce enough milk just don’t love their kids enough, deep down.

    Neither do dads, but we already knew that. Dads are sperm and paycheck donors.

    • kfunk937
      February 18, 2016 at 11:29 am #

      Nor do adoptive parents, so obvs no bonding possible there. Meh.

    • Brooke
      February 18, 2016 at 11:34 am #

      Lol. Wow, overly offended much? If you say something is love it doesn’t mean that other people who don’t do that are vicious monsters. Although what else should I expect from someone who goes into a MRA rant in the last sentence.

      • Amazed
        February 18, 2016 at 11:42 am #

        You love thinking you can hurt someone’s feelings, don’t you, Brookie thingy? I’ve got a secret to tell you: you aren’t smart enough. You aren’t eloquent enough. Pure viciousness isn’t enough. Did you get it through your mom’s breastmilk? I’ve got trouble believing that a woman who raised a thing like you could be any better.

      • Taysha
        February 18, 2016 at 11:42 am #

        Wiping someone’s ass for years requires more love than breastfeeding.

        • Bugsy
          February 18, 2016 at 11:49 am #

          Yes x100.

        • mishabear
          February 18, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

          Honestly, after wiping two asses for almost 6 years, the love is waning. Yet, I fear poopy underwear more….

        • BeatriceC
          February 18, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

          If they’re boys, wait until they’re teens and you’re doing their laundry and you realize that some of the shirts and underwear are stuck together with some sort of sticky fluid, and then it dawns on you what that fluid is…

          • Taysha
            February 18, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

            ….ALL THE KLEENEX. No questions asked.

          • demodocus
            February 18, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

            …he may be doing his own laundry from about age 11…

          • Charybdis
            February 19, 2016 at 10:19 am #

            I’m not really looking forward to that stage. Although I think DS will tell me when it occurs. He has NO issues asking me the sex-type questions.

            Probably because I will answer them. Truthfully.

          • BeatriceC
            February 19, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

            I’m very open and honest with my boys. Funny story from recently:

            I forget what the topic of conversation was, but I was in the car with middle son and his girlfriend. The topic turned to sex related topics. I answered bluntly and clinically. The girlfriend totally freaked out. I had to pull the car over I was laughing so hard and told her “sweetheart, how do you think you’re going to learn if nobody talks to you.”

            A few weeks later I was ranting about one of the topics here and again, with both kids in the car I said something about if they ever get so wed to a philosophy they actually hurt my grandkids I was going to be no end of angry”. After explaining for a little bit, the girl laughed and said “I thought we were going to have another sex talk. I can handle this one!”

          • Charybdis
            February 19, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

            Yeah, I figure if he asks, he’s ready for the answer. I start basic, but then will get into the gory details if he asks follow-up questions. Which he does more and more often these days.
            Last session involved tampons, how they work, when do you change them, etc. Fun times.

      • Taysha
        February 18, 2016 at 11:44 am #

        “Although what else should I expect from someone who goes into a MRA rant in the last sentence.”

        WTF? Where the hell do you get an MRA rant on a whole sentence? By definition, a rant is more than a sentence, and there’s nothing MRA about claiming fathers love their kids.

        Are you the type of person who “deigns” to allow the father to “babysit”? man, your poor husband.

      • Roadstergal
        February 18, 2016 at 11:45 am #

        LOL, sarcasm is lost on someone with the IQ of spinach.

        • DaisyGrrl
          February 18, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

          Hey now, don’t be mean to spinach! Spinach is awesome.

          • Roadstergal
            February 18, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

            It is indeed very tasty in salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and just about anywhere you throw it, really. But I stand by my contention that it’s not terribly intelligent. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • demodocus
            February 18, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

            and calzones and certain pasta dishes. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Roadstergal
            February 18, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

            Our local restaurant makes a spinach calzone that is to die for. Damn it, I’m drooling at work.

          • Charybdis
            February 18, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

            Spinach artichoke dip. With warm tortilla chips and sour cream…….mmmmmmm…..

      • Dr Kitty
        February 18, 2016 at 11:47 am #

        Brooke, not only do you like to make really idiotic assertions without any evidence (we’re all still waiting for the evidence base for your claim that a 5%CSection rate is ideal), you appear to have had a sense of humour bypass and are unable to recognise sarcasm.

        That isn’t an MRA rant, dear, that is Roadstergal making fun of the NCB trope that only mothers matter because only mothers give birth to and feed their babies.

        At this point I’d have a little respect for you if you said “I pulled that 5% figure out of thin air. Sorry”. But you haven’t done that. You just keep posting weak insults directed at Dr Tuteur, all the while making yourself look even more petty and less informed.

      • Amy M
        February 18, 2016 at 11:48 am #

        Well then, we should also have shirts that say “Formula is food turned into love.” Since feeding a baby is often considered an act of love, and love between the baby and the feeder is built during meal times as well.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        February 18, 2016 at 11:51 am #

        “Where is Ozma?” was his first query.
        “Here, in this room,” answered the little Pink Bear.
        They all looked around the room, but of course did not see her.
        “In what part of this room is she?” was the Wizard’s next question.
        “In Button-Bright’s pocket,” said the little Pink Bear.

      • moto_librarian
        February 18, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

        Brooke, were you breastfed? Because if you were, I think we have additional evidence that breastfeeding is not linked with IQ.

    • Amy M
      February 18, 2016 at 11:53 am #

      And surely there are (luckily) a few moms who don’t love their babies, yet most of them can still lactate. Where does that milk come from I wonder, if there is no raw material (love) from which to make it?

      • Megan
        February 18, 2016 at 11:54 am #

        Obligation? Resentment?

        • Roadstergal
          February 18, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

          “Breastmilk is some sort of emotion – perhaps love, but resentment works, and perhaps ennui, or even excitement at passing another level of Soda Crush – turned into food.”

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 18, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

            I am so totally stuck on level 189, can breastmilk help me get past it?

          • Roadstergal
            February 18, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

            You know, there’s no reason they couldn’t have a Breastmilk Booster.

          • An Actual Attorney
            February 18, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

            I’m on 456, maybe the secret is lactation.

      • Zornorph
        February 18, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

        Hatemilk.

        • Sarah
          February 18, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

          That’s what comes out of The Alpha Parent.

          • AirPlant
            February 18, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

            SERIOUSLY where did she go? Its has been really hard to find a new worst person on the internet. Was one bookdeal enough to get on with? Did her kid finally wean?

          • Sarah
            February 18, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

            I actually reckon, for reasons I’ll not get into here, that her youngest went to school and her husband made her get a job.

          • AirPlant
            February 18, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

            ooh, but I am so tempted to ask after the reasons. I can’t be catty in my real life and she is so terrible and I am going through such withdrawl and being internet anonymous makes it horribly tempting.

    • An Actual Attorney
      February 18, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

      Again, there is a need to brush up on thermodynamics. First law, people.

    • StephanieA
      February 18, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

      That quote is irritatingt. I bonded much more quickly with my first son, and he was formula fed. My current new one is breastfed (for now) and it does not inspire loving feelings, for me at least (don’t get me wrong, I adore my baby, the bonding process is just different this time around).

  18. moto_librarian
    February 18, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    I truly hope that this is the beginning of the pendulum swing back towards moderation. I want to see women supported AS PARENTS. Rather than continuing this misguided public health crusade to promote breastfeeding, can we please focus our efforts on ensuring that all parents have paid parental leave? Breastfeeding in the developed world has devolved into a moral crusade that is hurting mothers and babies. Our efforts are better spent on other measures.

    • OttawaAlison
      February 18, 2016 at 11:47 am #

      Admittedly he is in Quebec which has a great parental leave program, even better than the rest of Canada’s!
      But I do agree, the current crusade is sanctimonious, misguided and does hurt moms and babies.

      • moto_librarian
        February 18, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

        Lactivists in the States routinely ignore the fact that Canada has paid parental leave while we do not.

    • Bugsy
      February 18, 2016 at 11:56 am #

      I agree. I’m truthfully so tired of seeing post after post in my Facebook newsfeed about breastfeeding mothers needing more support. What about _parents_ generally needing more support? How does this harm families who aren’t breastfeeding?

      (And before it’s assumed that I’m anti-breastfeeding, I nursed #1 for 2 years and my three-month-old is EBF. I support formula feeding because I feel strongly that each family should have the support to make choices that are best for them.)

  19. Hannah
    February 18, 2016 at 10:47 am #

    This is great!

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