Adele is right: the pressure on new mothers to breastfeed is fu**ing ridiculous!

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When asked at a recent concert about breastfeeding, singer Adele didn’t mince words:

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]PUSH BACK against the guilt![/pullquote]

The “Hello” singer was greeting members of the audience during a performance at London’s O2 Arena when a group asked her about breastfeeding mothers. Adele, who has a three-year-old son, responded by condemning the perception that breastfeeding is easy and reassuring women who struggle to breastfeed that formula milk is just as beneficial.

“It’s f**king ridiculous, and all those people who put pressure on us, you can go f**k yourselves, alright?,” she said. “Because it’s hard. Some of us can’t do it! I managed about nine weeks with my boobs (I mean I trip over them – I’ve got a very good push-up bra). Some of my mates got post-natal depression from the way those midwives were talking. Idiots.

“Breastfeed if you can but don’t worry, [formula milk] Aptamil’s just as good. I mean, I loved it, all I wanted to do was breastfeed and then I couldn’t and then I felt like, ‘if I was in the jungle now back in the day, my kid would be dead because my milk’s gone.’”

Adele is right. While breastfeeding has real benefits, in countries with clean water the benefits for term babies are small, limited to a few less colds and episodes of diarrheal illness across the entire population of infants. Nearly all the other purported benefits touted by the breastfeeding industry are based on scientific evidence that is weak, conflicting and riddled with confounding variables.

Why is the pressure on new mothers to breastfeed “fu**ing ridiculous”? It’s because the breastfeeding industry has moralized breastfeeding, and the moralization of breastfeeding has paralleled its monetization.

La Leche League was founded as a volunteer organization providing peer to peer breastfeeding counseling. Then in the 1980’s the folks at LLL began to wonder why they were giving away information for free when they could make money from the same information. They spun off an organization that created the lactation consultant credential; women who previously earned nothing for giving breastfeeding advice at LLL meetings, now were earning $100/hr or more giving the same advice for profit.

LLL and lactation consultants themselves began aggressively promoting and lobbying at all levels of government for lactation consultants in hospitals and doctors’ offices. They’ve grossly exaggerated the benefits of breastfeeding and minimized the difficulties for women. Regrettably, they hit upon the best marketing technique of all: they moralized infant feeding and convinced doctors (who should have known better) to moralize it, too.

Breastfeeding in 2016 has no greater or lesser benefits than breastfeeding in 1976, but the urgency around breastfeeding has grown phenomenally, far out of proportion to its actual benefits. That has harmed mothers and it hasn’t helped babies. The fact is that approximately 5% of women can’t make enough breastmilk to fully support a growing infant. Those babies are starving and their frantic mothers are admonished to “breastfeed harder,” get more help from lactation consultants, buy pumps and otherwise enrich the breastfeeding industry … and blame themselves for not giving their babies “the best.”

This pressure around breastfeeding — and natural childbirth and attachment parenting, too — has got to stop. That’s why I wrote PUSH BACK: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting. The pressure is not based on science, enriches an industry at the expense of women and babies, and is profoundly anti-feminist, telling women how they must use their own reproductive organs.

In this clip I explain why women should push back against the guilt.

  • rh1985

    Wonder what the lactivists would say about this. This is what happens when a woman can’t breastfeed and has no access to safe formula (warning for infant death)http://bigstory.ap.org/article/4849171184654108843028bd7ec8a85c/infants-5-month-life-points-hungers-spread-yemen

    • sdsures

      Heartbreaking. Are there any legitimate ways to contribute to people in Yemen?

  • Green Fish

    OT:
    Baby has arrived and we’re home from the hospital.

    Birth went without complications but as I was weakened by being very ill previously (I was originally admitted because I was severely dehydrated), initiating breastfeeding was very exhausting and didn’t go really well. (I was still ill for days after the birth.) I think my body just needs some time to get better.
    So more or less right away I told the nurse that I wanted to supplement because I didn’t want my baby to suffer.
    Her reaction?
    “Yes, of course! We offer several ways of supplementing here from finger feeding to bottle feeding. Do you need some additional information or do you already have a plan? And, please, if we can support you in any way, just let us know. Being a new mom is tough and you even have it tougher right now. Please keep in mind that a mother who is relaxed and feels fine is much more important to a child than being exclusively breastfed.”

    I was a bit stunned but really happy and we worked out a plan on how to supplement.

    • MichelleJo

      What a pleasure to hear! and congrats on the new baby!

    • sdsures

      That’s wonderful on all counts!

    • demodocus

      Congrats!

  • Valerie

    “The fact is that approximately 5% of women can’t make enough breastmilk to fully support a growing infant. ”

    Dr. Amy, I’ve posted on here a few times about this statistic. Do you have a source on this? I would like to know what data support this number- the best I found in the literature was a study where 15% of the participants did not make enough milk, as judged by infant weight gain, despite intensive and continual intervention.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2288566

    I’m wondering if this “5%” meme is totally made up, like the “ideal” CS rate, for example, or if it’s something taken as fact, completely out of context, like the “infant’s stomach is the size of a cherry” (which is based on 1920s research on how much colostrum the mothers produced- they just called it the physiological capacity). As far as I can tell, nobody has ever done the research to examine a representative sample of mothers, but people have been quoting personal judgements and estimates for a very long time (and citing sources that quote the number, not the research).

    • MichelleJo

      I also think the 5% sounds too low. I think it is more likely that 5% cannot produce enough milk to keep the baby satisfied for more than 20 minutes (me), and up to 15% don’t produce enough for the baby to thrive on, although they may get a couple of hours sleep here and there.

      • Valerie

        Yeah, many people have commented on here about how 5% seems too low based on their experience (with mothers they know or their patients). I can’t figure out why professionals think the number is so low- if it’s based on data or just heresay. If it’s data, it has to be published somewhere, and I haven’t found it.

      • Anne Catherine

        That sounds about right to me.

    • swbarnes2

      7% of that population had had breast surgery, is that % right for the general population? I can’t read the original paper.

      • Valerie

        I don’t know, but they were not trying to recruit women with breast surgery- it was incidental. In any case, if you throw out all the data from those with any breast surgery, it was still 13% of their population.

        • MichelleJo

          But can’t they nurse from their armpits if they’ve got no breasts?

          • Valerie

            Ug. I know what you are referencing, but for clarity, all of the women in this study intended to breastfeed exclusively. They all had breasts, just some of them happened to have had incisions on their breasts for one reason or another. Statistically, the authors found that only periareolar incisions made a woman less likely to have a sufficient supply.

    • Valerie

      P.S. Usually when writing a manuscript for publication, one cites the original research. As in, if I were writing “An estimated 5% of women do not make enough milk to support an infant,” I would cite a paper where they looked at a sufficiently large population of women (or their babies) and had some way of estimating how many of them made insufficient milk. Instead, in the literature where they quote this number, they cite another paper that quoted 5%, which cites a review, which cites a textbook, and it’s turtles all the way down. Or, at least to the point that my library has no subscription or the paper was never digitized and made available online. This is why I think it’s probably BS, but I’m very interested to know if you have a legit source on this. Thanks!

      • Inmara

        Agreed, I would like to see a scrupulous and bulletproof analysis of where this number comes from and how credible it is.

    • anh

      Groundedparents did a decent look at this. 5% is based on a super small limited study of a small fairly homogeneous group. Other studies put the number closer to 15%, but including primary and secondary lactation failure

      • Valerie

        Thanks- here’s the link for anybody interested:
        http://groundedparents.com/2015/08/07/bust-a-myth-breastfeeding-advocates-need-to-stop-using-this-statistic/

        She’s talking about the same study I referenced, but she got something wrong- 15%, not just 4%, were still unable to exclusively breastfeed at 21 days postpartum, despite the best interventions. The 4% was personal communication (in a NYT article), not published, and the author doesn’t say how that was derived. She doesn’t say that those judged to have secondary lactation failure were able to eventually breastfeed exclusively. In any case, whether it’s “primary” or “secondary” is academic when a woman doing all the prescribed things to improve latching and boost supply is unable to produce enough milk for her infant.

      • sdsures

        I’d love to see a larger study done on this (i.e. with a larger sample). As we all know by now, studies with smaller samples are difficult to draw conclusions from.

  • cookiebaker

    2 of mine are ADHD. It takes a few tries to find the right meds. We tried Adderall for my son and hated it. He was like a zombie while on it, then once it wore off he was 10x worse. Next we tried generic Ritalin and it worked well. They were still themselves, just calmer. We ultimately chose Concerta. It’s in the Ritalin family with time-release doses, so it lasted for a whole school day. Now they’re 14 and 15 and have good control of themselves, so they no longer take any meds.

    I’m ADD. I take Strattera when I’m not pregnant or nursing. It helps. My mind often feel scattered and disorganized, but the meds help me feel calmer. It also greatly curbs my tendency to self-stimulate with sugar or caffeine to chase that calm feeling. It does have a side effect of making me feel sick to my stomach, so that’s kinda tough, but I need to lose weight, so it helps there, too.

    • cookiebaker

      Oops. Meant this to be in reply to Gatita OT discussion.

  • Gatita

    OT question for anyone who has experience with medication for children with ADHD: We started my 7-year-old on Quillivant xr a week and a half ago. Initial dose was 1 mg with not much effect but when we bumped it up to 1.5 mg he suddenly got hyperactive, talking a mile a minute, dancing, and running around our house. We’re seeing his doctor tomorrow but wanted to know if anyone has ever had this experience with these meds? I’ve googled but not finding much. Thanks in advance.

    • Amy M

      They are usually stimulants, for one thing. I don’t have experience with children on ADHD meds, but my husband was for a bit. He found that they did him a lot of good, but had to have the actual brand name drug because for some reason, there were unpleasant side-effects from the generic. (He was paranoid and anxious and it seems unlikely that it was placebo because he didn’t even know he was taking generic for a while there). I’d say that with these drugs, like most, finding the right drug at the right dose can take some time and not all of them will work for everybody. Good luck!

      • Gatita

        Thanks for the kind words! He’s better today and doctor isn’t concerned so all is well.

  • BeatriceC

    OT: Questions and plea for help from the doctors and scientists on the boards. I adore MrC but he’s not the best explainer in the world. He gets a ton of different journals (he likes the printed versions) and will pull out any articles he thinks I might be interested in. He left me one this morning that I’m very interested in, but since my biology and chemistry background isn’t as strong as I’d like, it takes me forever to get through some of these articles, and I’m often left with a ton of questions about things I have a difficult time understanding. I do look things up, but it’s a slow, painful process. Anyway, this article he left me this morning is very interesting and I’m reaching out in a couple different places, hoping somebody might have the right subscription and can help me understand the nuances of this particular study. Here’s the link to the abstract:

    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6279/1296

    If any of you guys get “Science” and would be willing to let me bug you with questions, I’d really appreciate it.

    • Anne Catherine

      This is was over my head. It would be nice to see the full text.

      But I’m a little skeptical of something, though.

      They say that they colonized microbe free pregnant mice. Can normal animals be microbe free? Don’t we need them? I would think that a microbe free mouse would not be a good test subject–

      • BeatriceC

        They somehow made “germ free controls”. That’s one of my questions. I don’t understand what they did and they don’t go into much detail in the full text.

      • Azuran

        They are lab animals raised into very strict environment to be ‘pathogen free’
        A baby in the uterus is usually ‘sterile’ unless it has an active infection from the mother. So they raise them in super controlled environment in order to prevent any colonization from bacteria.
        They are used in very specific research, not as standard test subject. It allows them to test various things without interference from outside bacteria. Research the benefits of ‘normal flora’. Or helps keep animals with purposely defective or absent immune system alive.

        • BeatriceC

          Thank you. MrC tried to explain that but was unsuccessful. I love MrC, but think about every single stereotype you’ve ever heard for a lab scientist and he fits it. He knows what he’s doing, but can’t explain it to save his life.

        • Roadstergal

          That ‘normal flora’ is always the difficult bit. Even among inbred strains of mice, flora differ, and it can have a massive impact on studies. A model that works at one institution won’t work at another, and there’s one institution in particular that does a lot of this research that has a very distinct microbiota that works differently from most others. We can never replicate their experiments. :p

          In that way, I give the authors of this paper credit for introducing one very specific bacterium to control for the differences, but that makes the title a little disingenuous – it’s hardly the ‘microbiota.’

    • Charybdis

      Here’s a link…..http://www.thepigsite.com/pighealth/article/29/by-pigs/

      It’s about pigs, but it give a good breakdown of the various types of “health status”: germ-free (axenic), gnotobiotic, specific pathogen free (SPF), secondary SPF, and minimal disease (MD).

    • Roadstergal

      Sure, bug away.

      • BeatriceC

        Thanks! I’m running out the door in a few minutes, but I’ll be back. If you also happen to have the Feb 25th issue of “Cell”, there’s one in there I’m trying to slog through too. 😀

        • Roadstergal

          We get Cell, too, ya.

          • BeatriceC

            yay!

  • Marie

    OT: Dr Amy I am so grateful for you and this site. I used to believe all the woo and felt tremendous pressure to be a certain type of parent. I found this site when I was about 7 months pregnant with my first child. I now realize that I can be a loving and supportive parent without following strict AP principles. I now feel I have much more confidence in my parenting choices even if they aren’t always “natural,”

    I had a maternal request scheduled c-section and I loved it. I do enjoy breastfeeding but was fine with supplementing before my milk came in. We babywear when it’s convenient but my son also enjoys being in the stroller. My son is fed, happy, and very attached to both myself and my husband.

    Thank you for all that you do.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    OT:

    WTF??!!

    From Jan Tritten, Editor of Midwifery Today

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      Because babies born by c section grow up to become terrorists?

    • BeatriceC

      I don’t curse often*, but my only response to this is “What the actual fuck?”

      *Online. In person is another matter. When I get upset the rational part of my brain is telling the emotional part of my brain “Calm down, there’s truckers over here and you’re offending their sensibilities”.

      • Sean Jungian

        I, too, thought “What in the actual fuck?”

        What nonsense.

        I don’t curse much even in person, it’s such a context-dependent kind of thing. However, I do often think it is HILARIOUS when I do swear, because I’m such a mild-mannered, middle-aged MOM. I also find the same hilarity in using out-of-date slang.

        It doesn’t take much to amuse me, is what I’m saying.

        • Bombshellrisa

          Out of date slang is the best!

          • Roadstergal

            I was excessively delighted by the use of ‘quim’ in Firefly.

          • Bombshellrisa

            You are a Firefly fan too?

          • Roadstergal

            Massive. I mean, how can I not be? An atheist sorta-protagonist, a geeky engineer gal definitely-protagonist, a high-class prostitute also-protagonist… and my husband is suspiciously similar to Wash. (In temperament. In looks, he’s disturbingly like the love child of Wash and Mal.)

          • Bombshellrisa

            Firefly on DVD was gifted to my husband shortly after his dad died. A friend wanted us to have something amazing to bond over and his instincts were right. This same friend outfitted his work van to look like Serenity and he has the full Malcolm Reynolds outfit.

          • Who?

            Me too love it. And my son seems to have absconded with our dvd box set, so sign him up.

            It all started when it was the husband’s turn to choose the movie, and he chose Serenity. I got my sackcloth and ashes on, went to the movie with my carefully arranged martyr face, and loved it.

    • demodocus

      That is very silly.

    • Charybdis

      Uhh….Whut? What color is the sky in her world? Maybe she thought she was responding to someone else about how NCB, midwives and non-stop breastfeeding is totally they way to stop those terrorists.

      I got nothing else.

    • BeatriceC

      I read this to MrC. He gave his “that’s freaking ridiculous” laugh and said “and it cures cancer”.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Hitler was born vaginally. Just sayin…

      • And almost certainly breastfed.

        • sdsures

          His mother died of breast cancer.

    • Bombshellrisa

      Nigeria and South Sudan have c-section rates under 2%. Has Jan Tritten never heard of the Boko Haram or SPLA?

    • namaste863

      Further evidence that this whole movement is a cult. It sounds suspiciously like “Help ISIS find Jesus!” I personally will go on record as saying “ISIS, Go fuck yourselves with a cattle prod.”

      • LibrarianSarah

        “Help ISIS find Jesus” is a hilariously ironic statement considering ISIS thinks what they are doing is going to eventually, in a Rube Goldberg like manner, bring about Jesus’s return. No that is not a typo and yes you read that correctly.

        • namaste863

          Actually I was just reading an article in The Atlantic about that very subject. That was after I wrote that comment. It’s quite interesting.

        • Roadstergal

          I’ve learned a lot about rapture theology from reading The Slactivist, and now I understand better why a: the Protestants and Catholics have teamed up in the US, and b: a certain evangelical fundamentalist block is VERY supportive of any and all things to arm and fund Israel.

      • sdsures

        Oh, I was thinking more to fuck themselves with a hot poker.

    • jenn p

      This has to be one of the stupidest things I have ever read. WTF indeed.

    • Rachele Willoughby

      Maybe she thinks that all terrorists need is s healing natural birth?

      • Erin

        Well that explains why my bags always get searched for explosives at airports whilst my husband sails through…once I’ve had my “healing birth”, the world’s security forces will no longer see me as the major threat they apparently do.

        It’s pretty disgusting that she’s using the death of innocent people to piggyback her crusade. My husband wants to know if they’re volunteering to go and “educate” terrorists on the front line as he’d like to contribute to their travel costs (one way of course). For some strange reason I can’t quite fathom he’s very anti midwife…

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      Wait, I’ve got her meaning now. Instead of saying “Some babies aren’t meant to live” after a preventable home birth death, the new platitude will be “well the baby might have grown up to be a terrorist, so really this is all for the best”.

    • An Actual Attorney

      I’d say u can’t believe this, but I do, and I’m not even surprised. Some people really think a “non medicalized” birth fixes everything. But then again, some ppl are batshit crazy.

    • realitycheque

      I’m no history buff, but I remember reading a while ago about Wilhelm II, who had Erb’s Palsy caused by complications in during childbirth.

      Apparently he’s considered to have played a significant role in the development of WW1. He was fiercely insecure about his disfigured arm and developed an inferiority complex that led to aggressive, compensatory behaviours, which some people believe contributed to his actions as an adult. So, I guess NCB wasn’t so helpful in this instance.

      • Wilhelm was a breech, complicated by a complete placenta previa. It wasn’t exactly a birth without interventions. After she’d been in labor for three days, the German doctors, who’d mostly stood around wringing their hands, allowed the doctor Queen Victoria had sent to help her daughter, to take over: let him be blamed for Princess Victoria’s death, which looked imminent. He rolled up his sleeves (no gloves back then) shoved his hand in, through the placenta, grabbed the baby’s buttocks and pulled him out as fast as he could, severing the brachial nerve of Wilhelm’s left arm in the process.

        No “ifs” about it: it turned out to be a contributing factor in both world wars, if you think of WWII as a continuation of unresolved problems stemming from WWI.

        • realitycheque

          Interesting! (And utterly brutal). History isnt really my strong point (it’s largely a matter of not knowing where to start and then becoming overwhelmed when 1 historical event links to 80 others), but stories like this make me want to know more.

    • Deborah

      An Afghanistan woman labors in agony at home for three days. The midwife arrives but is unable to do anything to help. The woman needs an urgent caesarean. Other women arrive and speak soothingly to the woman. She dies anyway.
      The war outside rages on.

      • MaineJen

        You know…the way nature intended. /sarc

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Well, she kind of has a point, though the exact opposite of the one she thinks she’s making: Birth injuries can cause problems. Someone’s already mentioned Kaiser Wilhelm. A person with a history of birth hypoxic encephalopathy might have impulse control problems as well, making them potentially more likely to end up using violence as a solution. In short, adequate maternal and fetal care may reduce the risk of terrorism and state violence by producing healthier children and mothers.

      • Daleth

        Oh yay! My elective c-section prevented terrorism by enabling my boys to be born with Apgars of 9 and 10 and, unlike Kaiser Wilhelm, no nerve damage to develop a psychological complex about.
        🙂

        My god Tritten is a nutcase.

    • Sarah

      Is she on crack?

      • fiftyfifty1

        “Is she on crack?”

        Let’s not disparage people on crack. It’s true that people on crack can display a number of dysfunctional behaviors, but coming up with ridiculous theories linking mode-of-birth to later recruitment by terrorist organizations isn’t one of them.

        • Sarah

          Snort. I am duly chastened, and apologise to the entire crack community for my unwarranted slur.

    • MaineJen

      WTF indeed.

    • LibrarianSarah

      I know correlation does not equal causation but JFC she doesn’t even have correlation!

      • sdsures

        Maybe she’s made up her own definition of “terrorism”.

      • Roadstergal

        People ask me if I worry about terrorism, but no, I’m in an NCB-heavy area. The midwives and doulas will protect me.

    • Poogles

      I think she’s referring to the whole “Peace on Earth Begins with Birth” slogan that the NCB/HB movement loves so much.

      “It ties in with Michel Odent’s research, where he discusses how disturbing the critical period during and after birth for mothers and babies has the potential to shift people’s capacity to love to a capacity for aggression (Odent, 1999). It appears the more violent the disturbance, the more aggressive a person is – take Sparta for example.”
      http://www.freebirth.com.au/politics/peace-on-earth-begins-with-birth.html

  • Sean Jungian

    This seems a good place to admit something about myself.

    It wasn’t until I began to read Dr. Amy’s blog and considering the prevalence of EBF promotion that I realized it was none of my business how a woman chose to feed her child.

    Prior to reading here, whenever someone I knew became pregnant or had a baby, I would routinely ask if they were going to breastfeed just as a matter of course, as a typical question you’d ask any new mother. I suppose I thought this because I myself breastfed and it seemed like a lot of women do.

    I was reading a blog o Dr. Amy’s when it struck me what an incredibly intrusive and thoughtless question that is. How on earth could I have ever thought that was something I could or should ask about?

    I know better now. I just wanted to put this down somewhere here.

    • Rachele Willoughby

      I used to ask new moms whether they’d given birth vaginally. Yep, that’s right folks, I asked other women how they were using their vaginas. >.<

      • Sean Jungian

        You made me laugh with that one, but I see myself the same way. Yep, that’s right! I asked other women how they were using their breasts, as if it were somehow MY business! Hey, your boobs belong to society now, didn’t ya know? Oy vey lol.

        Remarkable how this kind of body policing crept in with almost NO internal critique. Just shows you how successful the movement has been, imo.

        • LaMont

          It’s very upsetting! Especially sad because it’s just adjacent to legitimate conversation where people might share their war-stories/tips/strategies/options but instead it got all judgy. It *should* be okay to talk about this stuff if everyone in the conversation is on board and not angling for one particular answer, but you know, read the room first. 🙂

          • Sean Jungian

            To offer full disclosure, when I asked I didn’t usually have a preconceived answer I wanted to hear, because I didn’t care really how they were feeding their child. I made use of formula at times, and I don’t have anything against formula feeding.

            But that in itself made me question why I was even asking if I didn’t care what the answer was?

            I wouldn’t have even been able to offer much in the way of advice on BF anyway, since, as I’ve said elsewhere, it was never difficult for me. Inconvenient at times, uncomfortable at times, but overall it was uneventful.

          • BeatriceC

            I’ve made the comment before, but the only time I can even conceive of asking how a baby is being fed is for gift-giving purposes, but it would be something like “Hey, I wanted to buy you some feeding supplies. What should I get you?”

          • guest

            That, and I’ll also ask “have you started solids yet/can your child eat this?” in the context of whether or not my children can share their food with whatever baby they are currently fascinated with. And whatever the answer is is fine, it’s just about ascertaining what stage the baby is at and if it has any allergies. And of course I don’t ask about newborns, lol.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Also works if you are looking to hand down stuff. I did this, gifting a cover, nursing pillow, unused pump parts and nipple shields.

          • Rachele Willoughby

            “I have an unopened can of formula/breastpump do you want it?”

          • AirPlant

            I also care if I am taking care of the baby. You need feeding instructions for that shit.

      • BeatriceC

        To a certain extent, we’ve beed conditioned by society that this behavior is okay. That’s why we need people like Dr. Amy who are speaking out. And while we can debate if Adele has any authority, I’m glad that a celebrity came out on the side of science and reason. That’s refreshing.

        • Sean Jungian

          It’s this kind of institutionalized sexism that makes it seem okay to police other women’s bodies, even when we don’t think that’s what we’re doing.

          Whether she gained the “right” amount of weight.

          Whether she lost the baby weight, and how quickly.

          How she gave birth, and where.

          How she feeds her baby.

          • Kelly

            I have people comment many times that I had my children close together. I have decided to just go with the Phineas and Ferb answer, “Yes, yes I did.”

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Odd though it is, when DD was tiny and I’d get asked intrusive questions (rarely–local attitude of MYOB plus resting bitch face for the win!) I found it rather comforting to revert to, of all people, Judith Martin, who wrote the “Miss Manners” column for decades. She was by all definitions a perfect lady, but had no trouble offering new moms suggestions on how to answer impertinent questions. “The baby is eating well, thank you for asking.” “We’re both recovering quite well.” “Things went as well as could be expected.” Etc. Basically, you needn’t be a doormat to be a lady.
          Mind you, I still think there are times when telling someone to go commit anal copulation with a cattle prod is the only appropriate response, but if you’re a nervous new mom, having a set of stock responses to be repeated as necessary in ever-firmer-but-polite tones can be quite helpful, especially when dealing with the sort of person you can’t make the cattle prod suggestion to (coworkers, etc).

          • Dr Kitty

            ” I don’t believe we’ve been introduced, and I was raised not to take advice from strangers”.
            “I’m sorry, you seem to be under the misapprehension that I would care to hear your opinion”.
            ” I don’t care to respond to such intrusively personal inquiries”.

            Or just a very hard stare.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Clearly, another Miss Manners aficionada. 😉

          • BeatriceC

            I love Miss Manners. I’m not the greatest at actually following through, but I try. My fall back response is the icy glare followed by complete silence. It’s the one thing I can usually pull off.

          • Sean Jungian

            I think – or HOPE – most people are well-meaning when they ask questions, and simply curious. As snarky as I can be, I generally try to be polite when someone asks me a strange personal question.

            When I was pregnant the weird thing was not questions per se, but the way complete strangers wanted to touch my belly. Now that was intrusive but it surprised me EVERY time.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Ugh, the belly touching. Fortunately, the aforementioned MYOB culture combined with resting bitch face meant that that quite literally never happened to me, though I can only imagine how annoying it might be!
            I’d agree with you re many of the more standard questions, though some really are beyond the pale from totally strangers–vaginal vs CS, for example, or a certain tone of voice when asking about breastfeeding, or “Was she planned?”

          • Sean Jungian

            “Was she/he planned?” now that to me does call for a rude response, because COME ON, that’s just beyond the pale.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            To me, it’s right up there with “Is he circumcised?” Don’t have a boy (yet), don’t have strong views on the issue one way or the other, but it boggles my mind that it’s considered socially acceptable in some circles to walk up to a mom and ask about the appearance of her son’s penis. I mean, isn’t that the point at which you’re generally expected to run screaming/call the cops?

          • Sean Jungian

            “Intactivism” was just starting to be a thing when my son was born, so I can’t remember if anyone asked me about that. I do recall kind of agonizing over the decision, though, whereas I don’t think I’d have thought twice about it even 5-10 years earlier.

      • LeighW

        Ha! I had a cashier ask me that after my son was born, and I asked her if she used pads or tampons. She looked shocked and said that was personal and she felt uncomfortable answering…. Yeah, I know the feeling.

        • Mom2Many

          That is an awesome comeback! It reminds of the time that I had a fairly intrusive woman at Walmart ask me question after question about my foster son. I normally don’t volunteer the fostering piece to people, it’s rarely relevant.
          After asking me the age, gender and name, (all pretty typical) she weirdly asking me if his birth had been painful or not…and so I told her that his had been absolutely painless for me.
          I normally do enjoy the chit-chat around newborns, but she annoyed me by assuming that I was grandma-I’m what I thought was a fairly youthful looking 43 year old!! When I told her that I was actually Mom, I thought she would be embarrassed and stop with the questions. Nope, she came back with, “Oh was he an oopsie?” Not gonna lie, I was pretty done with her at that point. So I told her that he absolutely was not an oopsie, but that he was just as welcome to our family as my other 15 children had been. At that point, she walked off in a huff, telling me that there was no need to mock her by telling her lies. Ha, it was 100% truthful, but I did not care to explain. 🙂

          • Sean Jungian

            Sigh, I have been on the receiving end of the Grandma thing more often than I can even say. I was 37 when I had my now-14-year-old son. I also went gray in my 20s, and do not dye my hair.

            I just grin and bear it. I don’t even bother correcting people anymore unless they really do have to know.

          • Phoenix Fourleaf

            I was asked if I was my daughter’s grandmother while I was visibly pregnant with my son. It was especially bewildering at that time, but it is not surprising any more. I don’t understand the need people have to ask such a question. It still makes me cringe a bit involuntarily every time I hear it.

          • I love it when the vendors in the open air market where I do a lot of my shopping address me as “auntie” instead of “grandma”. They’re a rough lot, so the tact is surprising. While I don’t look my 70 years, I’m obviously no spring chicken,either.

          • Sean Jungian

            Aww, that’s kind of sweet lol.

          • Christy

            Yup that’s going to be me. I’m 38 with a 7 week old. Started graying at 25 and am to lazy to dye my hair.

          • demodocus

            a few people thought I was my son’s grandma, at 36. *snort*

          • Erin

            When I was around 2, I called all female family members who weren’t my Mother a variation of “Gran”, including my 16 year old aunt. Apparently we got a lot of disgusted looks and bitchy comments from random passers-by.

          • demodocus

            My brother called me mommy at that age, which also got us some strange looks. (I was 10 when he was born and a slow developer)

          • Sean Jungian

            I have a baby sister who was born when I was 13 and she was a special “pet” of mine (I took her with me EVERYWHERE even on dates later!). People often gave me crosseyed looks thinking I was a young girl who’d gotten “into trouble”.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Other good responses:

          “What do you use for birth control, if any?”

          That’s all I got. Any others?

          • Rachele Willoughby

            What’s your favorite sexual position? Y’know, missionary position isn’t ideal, we just think that because Big Catholicism only cares about convenience and not the alignment if our chakaras….

          • Bombshellrisa

            “Do you use lubricant or do you prefer to just rely on what nature gave you?”

          • Sarah

            There might be something wrong with me. I’d be delighted to discuss any of these questions and/or to share both my VB and EMCS stories with complete strangers.

          • Sean Jungian

            Do you shave or trim up your pubic hair, or just let it grow naturally?

            Do you swallow or spit?

          • Box of Salt

            Well, you just made me spit on my keyboard.

          • BeatriceC

            I don’t know which one of these to reply to; they’re all so good! I’m sitting here laughing so hard the Evil Attack Parrot ™ is actually acting like he’s concerned for my well-being.

          • demodocus

            Do you have any piercings or tattoos that can be covered by a bikini?

          • Deborah

            “Does your vagina smell?”
            My delightful 6 year old granddaughter actually asked a woman at the checkout this as we waited in the line. She was on very powerful antibiotics at the time and this had been a side effect for her. The woman, bless her, paused and without batting an eye, answered “not today”.

          • Bombshellrisa

            “Do you wipe back to front or front to back? I ask because unless you absolutely can’t physically do it, back to front is wrong and can harm you. Hasn’t anyone ever talked to you about the benefits of wiping front to back?”

          • Charybdis

            Are you a virgin?

            Boxers or briefs?

            Butt floss or commando?

            Gay, straight or bisexual?

            What is your favorite sex toy?

            Have you ever had a STD? Which ones?

            I don’t know you; why are you asking me these questions?

            Do you have breast implants?

            Were you born a nosy jackass or have you worked at it your whole life?

          • sdsures

            How often do you poop in a day?

        • BeatriceC

          Wonderful answer. Maybe next time you can ask the person if they prefer vaginal or anal sex. That’ll really make them uncomfortable!

      • nomofear

        Yep! At least we’ve seen the light…

      • sdsures

        Answer: “It cleans itself once a month, you pervert.”

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Sean – sorry, I don’t believe you. Because, according to all the parachuting lactivists, Dr Amy is MEEEEEN and her tone isn’t convincing anyone. Therefore, you must be lying if you say you were influenced*** by this blog.

      ***I originally had written “helped” but realized that from the parachuting lactivist perspective, that you no longer are meddling in other women’s feeding choices is not necessarily a case of self-improvement, so that Dr Amy’s blog has corrupted you.

      OBTW, Sean, I’m glad you are commenting now and not just lurking. You’ve had great contributions.

      • Sean Jungian

        Thank you, Bofa. Helped is accurate, because reading here does make me think of my own attitudes and prejudices, and hopefully re-evaluate them.

        I didn’t comment for a long time because I gave birth and breastfed a long time ago, comparatively, and NCB & EBF woo wasn’t nearly so strong when I was in the thick of it. It was getting under way, though, as I was in a major west coast city, and I had several friends who were, if not full-blown woo devotees, were at least woo-adjacent particularly on the topic of breastfeeding.

        Also, I had what I have characterized as a very ordinary, uneventful pregnancy and birth; likewise I had no issues at all breastfeeding. Many of the commenters here have had varying degrees of the opposite of this experience, so I try not to say, “Oh blah blah blah my pregnancy was a BREEZE blah blah blah” because to me it feels kind of disrespectful to the majority of the stories here, if you understand my meaning? But I started thinking, it seems like maybe some of the commenters here don’t even know what an “ordinary” hospital birth might look like, either – I didn’t know even when I did it – so maybe it will be seen in the helpful spirit intended.

        • Erin

          Call me weird but I like “ordinary” birth stories, they give me hope. Plus any discussion about birth needs to include the whole gamut of experiences not just the extremes.

          I went through a phase of not feeling I could discuss the physical recovery side of my section because it was “too easy” compared to all the horror stories I heard and read online. Then I realised that perhaps only reading the “I couldn’t walk for a month, couldn’t go to the bathroom for a fortnight, was throwing pills down for six months and my stomach muscles still don’t work 10 years later” might be what helps make women scream f**k off at consultants when they suggest sections because the baby is in distress. So now I make a point of telling people it isn’t always that bad, because it isn’t and I think talking about “ordinary” births is important for the same reasons.

          • Amazed

            My SIL’s birth story? “In the beginning, it was pretty bearable. The last two hours, it became horrible. The aftermath with all the stitches? Worse. All in all, absolutely worth it. And that waterproof makeup held strong all the way through so I gave birth looking as glamorous as possible.” Quite concise. She never goes into the aftercare at home when it was quite uncomfortable for her and her 30ish stitches to sit down and stay seated. All in all, absolutely worth it and it’s in the past now. It’s been (almost) two months already, as she puts it.

          • Sean Jungian

            WELL IF YOU INSIST (lol). The worst thing I remember about being pregnant was the constant farting. All the time, I was crop-dusting everywhere. Luckily, at work, my office was right across the hall from the (little-used) stairwell, so I would pop in there to let loose. More than once I would let out some loud, wet, sharty-sounding gas then hear footsteps above or below me and ZOOM back to my office. Heh heh heh…

            My actual “birth story” always sounds like an wacky episode of Lucy and Ethel-type shenanigans. I had just had my last day at work on Friday, and we were moving to the suburbs (ugh). I wasn’t due for another 2 weeks, supposedly. I was moving from a 3rd-floor walk-up to a 2nd-floor condo, which we did on Saturday. That night I had a hard time sleeping, and the next day I was irritated with my partner because he had gone fishing with his friends, leaving me to clean up the old apartment. I was sweeping the old apartment in between going and sitting on the toilet because I just kept feeling that I had to defecate yet nothing would move. I finally called my younger sister (one of my birth coaches) to come and get me and that I was DONE with this bullshit!

            So at the new condo my sister and I and my dog are out on the balcony talking. It’s the day before New Year’s Eve. I’m finally relaxing after the move. My sister and I had only just attended the birthing class at the hospital a few days prior. As this was 2001, cell phones weren’t quite so ubiquitous, and the hospital had given me 2 pagers for my birth coaches (my sister and my partner) but I hadn’t even given them out yet. Then right there my water broke. I was flabbergasted. I called my doctor – actually I got the on-call OB – and he said I should probably think about getting to the hospital in the next hour or so, since my water had broken. “Are you SURE my water broke,” I asked incredulously on the phone, “and I’m not just peeing uncontrollably and can’t feel it?” The doctor grunt-laughed – I’m sure he’s heard sillier things – and told me to get going.

            I had no idea there would be so *MUCH* amniotic fluid, so I sent my sister to the store down the street for maxi-pads. For some reason, after 6 months of not shaving my legs and not even being able to put my own shoes on for 3 months, I decided that OMG the one thing I HAD to do before leaving for the hospital was to SHAVE MY LEGS. I was sitting on the toilet yet again – my dog in front of me, and I kept holding my sodden pants out to him “DOES THAT SMELL LIKE PEE TO YOU???” as if he was going to answer me…

            I managed to “shave” my legs in the loosest definition of “shave”. Luckily my partner came home just as we were leaving, he walked in, I said, “I’m in labor, come to the hospital when you’re ready”. “You are fucking with me”, he replied. Got to the hospital with a shirt tied around my waist – those maxi-pads were WORTHLESS.

            I had a very nice birthing suite which included a CD player and VCR, a private sterilized whirlpool tub, and sleeping areas for my visitors. I was monitored and everything just went along quite well, honestly. I didn’t know the OB but it didn’t worry me, he was pleasant when I met him, and the nurses – like all nurses I’ve known – were awesome. We dozed off and on. I had a birth plan that the hospital and my OB had had me fill out, and in it I basically said “Drugs. Plenty of drugs.” It was uncomfortable because for me it just felt constantly like I had to poop and couldn’t. My son was “sunny side up” which supposedly makes labor a little harder but then the heavenly epidural was administered when things started getting hairy.

            I got tired when we were almost to the end, so suction was used the final few pushes and then boom! He was out. No major traumas or bleeding that I know of. I believe I did tear but no one mentioned how severe it was and I did not ask.

            We were allowed to “room-in” and it was easy enough for me to do so, my baby slept a lot. I was ALL about the rubber-gloves-filled-with-ice on my hoo-hah, man, those felt so good. I was ecstatic to not be pregnant anymore, and I did experience a real rush of energy, wanting to get home and get this parenting gig UNDER WAY.

            My boobs were YUUUUUGE. I don’t even know what size they were. The kid had no trouble latching on, and I never had any problems with mastitis or supply or chapped nipples or anything. I remember thinking, a few days later, “Man, they really overstated how hard all this stuff is!”. I had had the mindset that a lot of it was going to be a LOT harder than it turned out to be. I disliked pumping because I felt like a friggin’ dairy cow but I had an excellent top-of-the-line pump so it wasn’t all that bad. The worst thing was being engorged if he went a little too long, and the copious leaking that happened occasionally.

          • sdsures

            Oh god, my boobs are J40 and I’m NOT PREGNANT.

            How will I survive?????

          • sdsures

            Makeup?? Seriously?

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            For some women, it’s a must.
            I feel naked/exposed if I’m in public without at least foundation and lipstick. It was one of the things I loved about my CS.
            It’s not about how others perceive me; it’s about how I perceive myself. I’m happier and more content when I’m wearing a full face of makeup; I feel better about myself; I feel more, well, *me.* Don’t care what others think I look like, and I don’t care if another woman is or isn’t wearing makeup–it’s just a personal thing. It’s also one of the things that, hilariously, I’m looking rather less forward to about a VBAC, and one of the reasons I’d rather be able to take a shower and get prettied up sooner rather than later afterwards.
            Yes, I am very weird. 😉

          • sdsures

            All righty then. 🙂

          • Bombshellrisa

            I feel much the same, I always curl my eyelashes and put lipgloss or lipstick on. I like how I feel when I look my best, or at least put a little effort into how I appear.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            When I was at my worst with PPD, one of my routines was that no matter how long it took in a given morning, I would get my makeup on, damnit, because then I felt like I might be able to handle the rest of the day. Sort of a “dress for success” kind of thing, I guess. Same thing with putting on shapewear and pulling an at-least-okay-looking outfit on. Fake it ’til you make it, and all that. It did seem to help a bit, though of course I wouldn’t suggest it as a primary treatment for PPD.

          • Bombshellrisa

            OMG yes! This was my routine during pregnancy, I had severe depression. Taking a shower and putting some makeup on (and earrings, I never leave the house without earrings. I even have small stud earrings that are the color of my scrubs) helped me so much. The only part about it was the care provider I was seeing told me I couldn’t really be depressed if I was showering and putting on makeup. Got news for you lady, if I walk out of my house without lipstick, call 911. There is something seriously wrong!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Ohhhh yeah. Daily showers, no matter what, meant the difference between not functioning and functioning-if-barely for me. I skipped the earrings most days cos DD is still, two years in, much too fascinated with them, but I’d wear a particular necklace most days.
            My OB was shocked and horrified when I told him recently that I was severely depressed after DD. He hadn’t guessed it at all. He blamed himself for not screening me as thoroughly as he could have, but to be fair, he *did* ask several good questions at the time, I said things were fine (and said so convincingly, since the PPD had me convinced that he’d report me to CPS if I had PPD), I looked pretty darn good for 2 and 6 weeks postpartum (all pregnancy weight lost, dressed neatly, wearing makeup)…I mean, it’s not fair to expect him to be psychic. That care provider, on the other hand, sounds like an idiot. (I can tell you that appearances aside, if I told my OB “yes, I know I look good, but I’m having suicidal ideations all. day. long.”, he’d move heaven and earth to get me the right treatment immediately.)
            And yeah, if I’m not wearing makeup when I leave the house (workouts aside, because no makeup will survive more than 5 minutes of being outside in Texas in August), someone needs to call 911 *immediately.* I am the sort of pregnant woman who shaved her legs and did her nails (yes, feet too) the night before her 39-week CS. Leaving the house sans makeup? Not likely!
            I seem to remember we have very similar backgrounds; I wonder if the makeup thing is kind of a defiant/protective thing? “I am pretty, damn it, and I feel confident and happy when I am, and you all can Deal With It.” (In my case, think what could be described as rabid fundamental Catholicism, much of it being based on some very nutty ideas of my parents rather than actual Church teaching.)

          • Bombshellrisa

            When I hear that a healthcare provider is taking someone seriously about depression, it makes me feel better. I want that for everyone!
            Yes, you and I have so much in common, I think we bonded over the unschooled/homeschool thing. I do think that my attention to my appearance ( which carries over into my screen name) comes from the whole “be ladylike” admonition from my parents strange beliefs (no contacts, hair pulled into a bun, dowdy clothing, don’t call attention to yourself). I thank goodness that I was able to end up rejecting that and part of that was the influence of my husband. He is a very kind and patient man, and he loved me when I looked so awful. I started caring about my appearance right before we got married and he helped me, we picked out cute glasses for me (although I wear contacts now) and he would encourage me to buy cute clothes and nice things for myself. I realize now that it’s ok to look my best and actually care about looking my best. It’s not shallow, it’s important to ME and what makes me feel better should be important.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Ohhhh yeah on the ladylike thing. “Ladylike” meant insanely modest clothing (with all that suggests), giant, awful glasses, at-home haircuts…UGH.
            DH isn’t especially visual, but he’s also very kind and patient. I always felt terribly guilty about spending money on myself, and when I got married and stopped working out of the house, I felt worse because I wasn’t bringing in income. (Never mind that I was keeping the house, saving us money in various ways, pregnant, etc, and we’d agreed that my staying at home would be best for now.) A turning point was when I asked if it might be okay if I spent some money on new bras at a, by my standards, moderately-pricey place that carries my hard-to-find size. He looked at me as though I’d completely lost my mind, and said “I couldn’t possibly care less if you buy underwear. It’s our money, not just mine; you don’t have to ask permission!” *slight pause while his accountant brain realized that he knows nothing about women’s clothing prices* “Erm, new bras don’t run, like, a mortgage payment or something, right?” I reassured him on that point. 😀
            One of the things he does for me is wrangle DD once a month or so while I go out for an afternoon of shopping and pick out a few new cute, comfortable pieces. Which, I must say, is awesome, and makes me a much happier person. And as you say, “it’s important to ME and what makes me feel better should be important.” Exactly!

          • Bombshellrisa

            It sounds like you found someone amazing. He sounds awesome and I am glad he understands that you need to be able to get out and feel good about yourself and buy things that you can enjoy.
            I have never before met someone who understands what it was like for me growing up and who understands how it feels to be treated like you are nothing, worth nothing and what it does to your head. I hate the word “lady like” and what it meant for me. It’s been a process, reframing the idea that I am ” worth” whatever (dinner out, hair conditioner, makeup) and sometimes I sabotage myself and once that starts, it takes awhile to get back to normal. I have noticed that I can hide behind “but I am a mom” so I can justify NOT doing something like buy a new shirt or go out to dinner sometimes. I can only imagine what it must be like for women with backgrounds like ours who are stuck in the woo, mommy martyrdom must feel so familiar that it is impossible to believe that an “easier way” would be ok to take.

          • demodocus

            me, i don’t bother. The last time I tried, my husband thought I’d taken medicine and got concerned. That was in college. My sister, however, feels better with a bit on.

          • Amazed

            Absolutely. She jokes about the glamourous part, of course, but yes, she did have a full makeup on. She’s one of the women who use it daily so of course she went to give birth with it.

          • sdsures

            Okie dokie.

            I can’t remember the last time I wore makeup. I’m actually becoming a UK citizen in June, so I’ve been wondering if I should break out the (gasp!) lipstick. Dress code is smart, but not necessarily formal. I’m leaning towards smart but comfortable.

          • Megan

            I had the opposite reaction re: my scheduled CS. It was so fantastic I want to shout it from the hills and rooftops. I may start evangelizing RCS and MRCS the way NCB folks evangelize vaginal birth! (OK, I won’t but it’s tempting!) Foley out in hours, no pain meds by day four, and I’m already back to my walking routine 2 weeks out (with my OB’s permission, of course.)

          • BeatriceC

            I might be tempted to join you in that crusade. My c-sections were so much easier than my vaginal deliveries. Even the super-emergency “smash and grab” section that was done while I was inches from death was easier to recover from than my vaginal delivery of my oldest surviving son. The vaginal deliveries of the late term losses were physically okay, but emotionally difficult.

          • All three of my C/Ss were exactly like that. Indeed, because my mother was terminally ill, I flew to the US 10 days after my first child was born, feeling very well, and got there in time for my mother to see her first grandson.

          • Megan

            My family doc was surprised and upset with me that I drove my daughter back to the hospital by myself on post-op day 3 for her readmission (jaundice). We had just found out that she needed to go after we’d put my older daughter to bed. I wasn’t about to wake her up and drag us all to the hospital just so my husband could drive me, especially with how great I felt (only on ibuprofen at that point).

          • demodocus

            I’m jealous. My sister and husband let me carry my knitting bag on day 3 because I was so wobbly they didn’t trust me with anything/anyone else. lol.

          • sdsures

            I fnd knitting so relaxing. You could always teach your husband how to knit. 😀

          • demodocus

            He plays his guitar and he’s happy. Wouldn’t mind if he did develop a sock habit, though, ’cause knitting pink socks for those giant feet… *shakes head*

          • sdsures

            My husband is 6’2. I feel your pain.

          • Erin

            It sounds crazy but I never had any pain with my emcs, discomfort yes but compared to the 75 hours of big headed baby trying to exit via my spine, it just didn’t hurt. On my feet and dressed myself four hours later, walking to and from NICU including stairs by 24 hours. They left the catheter in 23 hours but given I could and was walking I guess that came from the same laziness as allowing me to believe NICU was in the children’s hospital. Had painkillers the first night, took some NSAIDs on the advice of a midwife and then that was me.

            Yet when you search online most of the recovery stories you find are from the extreme negative side of the spectrum.

          • sdsures

            Fantastic!

          • MichelleJo

            The stomach muscles not working 10 years later is based on a misconception (I believe) that the stomach muscles are cut. They are not. They are just pushed aside enough to reach the uterus. It’s not exaggeration, it’s lies. To scare people of a life saving procedure.

          • sdsures

            “Stomach” muscles? Or “abdominal muscles”?

          • MichelleJo

            Abdominal muscles. Stomach muscles are most definitely not cut!

          • sdsures

            Yeah, that would be weird, unless baby is supposed to get a bath in hydrochloric acid! 😉

        • demodocus

          My first was pretty uncomplicated, too, and so far this one isn’t either, besides the depression. Boring birth stories are the best for all actually involved. 🙂

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I have related before, when I was doing Dad’s Boot Camp, we always had fathers be there, and among the things we did was to talk birth stories. In the end, the main lesson is that they were overwhelmingly underwhelming. One guy did have a pretty hair-raising story (of basically nothing going on for way too long on to an emergency CS), but, at least from the Dad’s perspective, no serious issues. Lots of “epidurals are wonderful” stories, but other than that, it was “yadda yadda yadda and then the baby was born.”

            Now, stories about what happens after the baby has arrived were a lot more detailed. Really gave the impression that the birth is not the most significant part.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Honestly, I think that every sort of birth story is important, just like every sort of *life* story is important. I mean, I had a CS (breech/transverse baby) followed by every issue under the sun related to breastfeeding. The CS was a breeze and a genuinely lovely experience with a rather easy recovery, while breastfeeding was…ahem…not. On the other hand, I certainly can’t claim that my CS experience is universal, just like I can’t claim that my many issues with breastfeeding are, either.
          Basically, it seems to me that one of the healthiest preparations for birth a person can have is not to read only horror stories or only the “birth was a perfect, empowering experience and I wish I could be in labor every day!” stories, but to read or listen to a lot of different stories and get an idea of the many ways things can go–not unlike life. (Apparently, I’m feeling philosophical today…)

          • Sean Jungian

            The internet wasn’t as much of a thing when I was getting ready to deliver, so I had mostly “What to Expect” and of course stories from my relatives and friends, and birthing class at the hospital. I realized later that they tried to prepare me for “medium-worst” experience, so it was surprising to me when it all went pretty easily. I think part of why the pain was never that unbearable was because I tried to scale it, thinking it would definitely get worse so I’d better not let myself go to the “red zone” too quickly.

            In my case it was a pleasant surprise, but I did wish at the time that I’d known it could go really easily, too.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I had a somewhat similar experience, in that while my CS was scheduled in advance (ie, non-emergent), it came as a near-total surprise because I’d planned on The Perfect Natural Birth (TM) and had never even entertained the possibility that I’d actually have a CS, and the books and stories I read made a CS out to be the absolute worst thing that could happen to you. I was pleasantly surprised, too: it was a “gentle” CS (something I’d never heard of), and everyone was very relaxed, DD was on my chest within minutes of being born for snuggles, the staff couldn’t have been lovelier, etc, and the incision was far, far smaller than I imagined it to be, and healed faster and better than I’d been led to believe would be the case.
            Like another poster, I’ve tried to mention to expectant moms if the topic of CSs comes up that they aren’t all the horror show that they’re often portrayed to be.

          • AnnaPDE

            I had one of those “gentle” CS things too, and specifically chose my OB/Gyn for her support for the whole idea. (She did a maternal-assisted one for a patient who really wanted it, with rehearsals beforehand so it would be smooth and safe. I was happy to keep my involvement to watching over the lowered screen.) They really need to become more widespread, as it was a lovely experience all around, and completely the opposite of the “I was strapped down and treated like a piece of meat” stories that give CSs a bas name even with not woo-y women.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I’d never even heard of them before I had one, but I have to say mine was absolutely lovely. They did initially strap my arms down to make sure I wouldn’t react badly to the spinal or incision (extreme shakes, for example) but once it was clear that I was fine, they unstrapped them. And the initial nursing in the OR–well, that’s honestly my only really positive nursing memory, and I loved it! I might (*might*) consider doing that again with future kidlets: no pressure to do anything “right,” get the kid some colostrum with their snuggles, and then on to formula. The warm blankets they piled on top of us were a definite bonus. I have a selfie my OB took with DH’s phone of DD nursing on my chest (and giving the camera a definite stink-eye) with DH on one side and my OB on the other that’s my favorite of her newborn pics, though obviously it’s not for the general public. :p
            I didn’t watch, either, but that was a personal thing: I could watch someone else’s surgery without batting an eye, but my own would probably result in my freaking out, just like I could look at someone else’s incision, but it took me ages to work up the courage to check mine out after the fact. For those moms who’d like to see the actual CS, I say go for it!

          • sdsures

            Might just do that! Those warm blankets are so wonderful, for any type of procedure. I’ve always loved them.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Back when I was in high school, I volunteered in an ER. One of my jobs was to keep the blanket warmer filled and to distribute the blankets as needed. I generally found that offering warmed blankets=instant popularity with the patients. 😉

          • sdsures

            I was a frequent ER patient as a teenager, so I can attest to that!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            (Upvoting for the warm blankets aspect, obviously, not the frequent ER patient one. 😉 )

          • Roadstergal

            “the incision was far, far smaller than I imagined it to be”

            I was talking to my husband about C/Ss over the weekend (a friend of his had one), and it emerged that he thought there was a huge incision all the way up the torso – like you were gutting a fish. I demonstrated on me about the size and location of my GF’s C/S incision, and he was floored.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Heh. When I was journaling prior to the CS, I remember using exactly that phrase (“gutted like a fish.”) I was *terrified*. Then I had the actual CS, and while it did take a bit for me to get up the nerve to look at the incision, I was shocked by how small it was–like, “how did a baby that size get out of THERE?” Which, in thinking about it, is probably similar to the way a lot of vaginally-birthing moms feel. :p

    • nomofear

      Me too! I remember almost-strangers feeling the need to explain why they were using formula, and thinking to myself that they just hasn’t gotten the right help. And I thought nothing of it, even though I thought it was incredibly rude to ask a woman about childbearing. G-d bless this site.

      • BeatriceC

        Honestly, it wasn’t until I started posting here that I stopped justifying the bottle my youngest ate from by saying it contained expressed breastmilk. That kid will be 14 at the end of May and it was just a couple months ago when I had that lightbulb moment. Some of these guilt-inducing themes are impressed on us that deeply. Now, those bottles did contain expressed breastmilk, but it doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t have to justify anything, and I’m refusing to do so anymore.

        • sdsures

          You really can’t tell from the outside whether it’s breastmilk or formula, at least, that’s been my impression. And I don’t care. It’s just not on my radar unless the baby is screaming non-stop. And screaming non-stop can be caused by any number of things – right?

    • sdsures

      There is a certain curiosity when you see someone with their baby, isn;t there? It’s not just you. I’ve seen babies being bottle fed, wondered how the feeding was going, and seeing as baby wasn’t screaming its fool head off, concluded that whatever was inside the bottle was working fine. It’s not something I ask the mother about, ever, though. I do compliment her on the baby, and ask its age. Makes moms smile. 🙂

      • Sean Jungian

        Almost everyone loves to see a new baby, I think – maybe not EVERYONE everyone, but a lot of people. It’s natural to be curious, too, and want to engage.

        But if it’s a stranger or just someone you don’t know really well, yeah, I think it’s out of line to ask some of these kinds of questions. Most of the time it’s well-intentioned, but that doesn’t matter to the new parents.

        And in my own case, yes I was curious but does that mean I had some kind of right to have my curiosity satisfied? Obviously no, I don’t.

        • sdsures

          I’ve never asked about feeding. Only its age. Then I go ga-ga.

          • Sean Jungian

            I am an older mom (51, of a 14-yr-old) and I’m at an age where many of my friends are having grandchildren. I go absolute apeshit over babies these days, I have to physically control myself when I see any child between birth and about 3 years old so the parents don’t look at me with concern. I consider it my unfulfilled “grandma” gene asserting itself.

      • Who?

        I do the same-tell them the baby looks just about perfect, and hope they are looking after themselves as well.

        Then move on.

  • demodocus

    Well, Adele has no more authority on this topic than I do (and having actually done a bit, we have slightly more than De Niro does on vaccines), but I’ll agree with her. I’m just wondering how *that* question wandered through someone’s mind to ask her?

    • namaste863

      Was wondering the same thing. Who the hell asks about breastfeeding at a concert? Not the proper venue for such a discussion.

    • LeighW

      Because it doesn’t matter what other things she’s accomplished. It doesn’t matter that she’s respected and known around the world for her career. When it comes down to it she’s just a woman. No one would think to ask a man how his kids were fed.

      • demodocus

        I wouldn’t think to ask either parent. In my family such questions are considered rude unless you were actually charged with feeding the kid.

    • AirPlant

      My guess is that every promotional interview she has dealt with since the baby has been looking for some clickbait quote about how breastfeeding made her shit sparkles and she was just over it. She made a bit g public fuck you statement and hoped to God that people would stop asking and come back to the whole award winning artist thing.