Existential breastfeeding questions

thinking woman with question mark on gray wall background

Lactivists, help me out here. I have some existential questions about breastfeeding.

If breastfeeding is everything you say it is, why do we need blogs, websites, professionals and lobbying organizations touting its awesomeness?

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]If you told me I needed to eat chocolate, I wouldn’t need to be deprived of gifts of liverwurst to ensure that I comply.[/pullquote]

You know what’s awesome? Chocolate is awesome. It appears that there is no need for professionals to explain its awesomeness to doubters. That’s the thing about awesomeness. It doesn’t need to be explained.

You know what else is awesome? Sex is awesome. I don’t notice too many people in need of convincing that sex is pleasurable. People figure it out for themselves without help.

In fact, if you need the purported awesomeness of something explained to you, perhaps it isn’t that awesome after all.

Here’s another existential question:

If breastfeeding is so easy and convenient as you often claim, why do so many women try breastfeeding and then give it up?

Email is easy and convenient, and once people try it, they tend to go on using it.

Fast food is easy and convenient. Even though it may be nutritionally suspect, many people still order it and eat it because it is easy and convenient.

Sex is easy and convenient. After most people try it for the first time, they will never ever give it up.

In fact, it’s generally difficult to give up something easy and convenient, yet women give up breastfeeding in droves. What does that tell you about breastfeeding?

Help me out with this question, too:

You’re constantly claiming that women give up breastfeeding because they don’t have enough support. But why would women need support for something that is easy and convenient? Could it be that they need support because breastfeeding is often difficult, painful, and inconvenient?

On the one hand, you insist that breastfeeding is “normal.” On the other hand you are constantly trying to “normalize it” with public breastfeeding stunts. Which is it: normal or in need of normalization?

And what’s up with calling formula feeding mothers lazy? If breastfeeding is easy and convenient, aren’t formula feeders doing more, and enduring more hardship than women who fall back on breastfeeding because it’s easy and convenient?

Why are you constantly asserting benefits for breastfeeding that haven’t been proven and are often pure speculation? No one needs to be told of the benefits of sex in order to convince them to engage in it. Why should women need so much chivvying about breastfeeding?

Finally, why does the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative bear so much resemblance to the policies of a small totalitarian states If breastfeeding is truly as easy and convenient as you say, why would any new mother need to be lectured about its benefits, be prohibited from using formula, forced to room in 24-7 with her baby, and never be given free formula gifts.

If you told me I had to eat chocolate with every meal, I wouldn’t need to be lectured on the point, wouldn’t need to have oatmeal raisin cookies hidden, and wouldn’t need to be deprived of gifts of liverwurst to ensure that I comply. That’s because chocolate is awesome.

Breastfeeding is awesome? For many women, not so much.

306 Responses to “Existential breastfeeding questions”

  1. MJeano
    March 25, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

    Consider, if you will, an analogy:

    Imagine a village where, for ages, everyone got around using bicycles. That was seen as the norm, there weren’t many alternatives, and it was just what people did. It kept people active and healthy, required no gas, was good for the environment, etc. Then one day someone develops a motorized scooter and says it is so much better than a bike. Better for you, easier, faster, and safer. And because scooters are more expensive, riding one is associated with being well-off; the only people riding bikes are those who can’t afford a scooter.

    Slowly scooters become the norm. People even start to say that riding a bike in public is obscene, because it involves straddling the seat, which they say is indecent. If you are seen in public riding a bike, you are subject to stares and people asking you to get off your bike because “they don’t want to see that.” Most people don’t even learn to ride a bike anymore, and knowledge of what it looks like is lost, because those who do ride do so in private. The infrastructure begins to change so that scooters are the norm.

    Eventually, scientists start to compare scooters and bikes and find out that, oh wait, bikes actually are better. They don’t produce pollution, there are numerous health benefits to riding one, they’re safer, and gas for scooters is much more expensive. They start a campaign to encourage people to return to bike-riding. But it is still seen as inappropriate to do in public, and many bike riders face criticism for riding in public. There are ads for scooters all over the place saying that “Although bikes are best, scooters are still GREAT.” Most work places don’t provide adequate places to secure a bike, so many people find it difficult to ride a bike to work, and thus they switch to scooters despite wanting to ride a bike, because they can’t afford not to work.

    While many people find bike riding easy and convenient once they get the hang of it, it requires a much greater learning curve than a scooter. You may fall off a few times, get a couple scrapes and bruises, and you will likely need someone to help you figure it out. There may be certain circumstances that prevent someone from being able to ride a bike, but many find that once they learn, they enjoy its benefits. However, many scooter companies provide a free trial scooter to people as they are in the middle of the challenging learning phase of riding a bike, thus tempting them to switch before really getting the hang of it.

    This is just like breastfeeding and formula feeding. There IS a learning curve to breastfeeding. It’s not always easy, and one could say it’s like riding a bike. You may fall a lot in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it it gets easier. But there are so many forces working against mothers trying to breastfeed. They didn’t always need campaigns to tell people to breastfeed; everyone just did. But now with so many external factors making it harder, moms DO need support, and they DO need encouragement and information about its benefits.

    • momofone
      March 25, 2016 at 11:22 pm #

      “They didn’t always need campaigns to tell people to breastfeed; everyone just did.” Everyone did, except those who didn’t.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        March 26, 2016 at 11:51 am #

        “They didn’t always need campaigns to tell people to breastfeed; everyone just did.” Everyone did, except those who didn’t.

        Exactly. A couple problems with that statement. First, it is revisionist history. For pete’s sake, the “wet nurse” was so common that it’s part of a nursery rhyme! (Farmer in the Dell).

        Why were they using wet nurses if “everyone just did” breastfeed?

        Of course, that refers to the people who could use wet nurses. What happened when women couldn’t breastfeed and didn’t have access to a wet nurse? The baby died.

        So we didn’t need campaigns to tell people to breastfeed, they just did/ Expect when they didn’t. In those cases, the sought any substitute they could find. Wet nurses were a start, but if they didn’t have that, they tried a bunch of other crap, because they didn’t have access to formula.

        As we have noted many times, formula was not invented as a substitute for breastfeeding, it was invented as a substitute to the crap that people were using instead of breastfeeding.

        So MJeano, like a typical lactivist, has to resort to revised history to try to justify herself.

    • BeatriceC
      March 25, 2016 at 11:58 pm #

      No. Those two things are absolutely nothing alike and it’s insulting to all the women who would have desperately loved to breastfeed but couldn’t for them to be so cold-heartedly dismissed.

    • Charybdis
      March 26, 2016 at 12:17 am #

      You have to straddle the seat on a scooter as well. Equally obscene there. No baby ever died because their mother didn’t or couldn’t ride a bike. Maybe the mother has something like CP, MS, vertigo, epilepsy, a vestibular disorder, or another condition that would make riding a bike difficult or nigh impossible. Maybe they have had a bad experience riding a bike, crash, personal injury, something of that sort. A scooter is a perfectly good option for someone who doesn’t want to learn to ride a bike, doesn’t enjoy riding a bike, wants to get someplace faster than a bike can take them or just wants to ride the scooter.

      A baby is not a participant in a bike ride. They are in breastfeeding. Mom may have a good supply, but the baby has a poor latch, uncoordinated suck and swallow or is just inefficient at transferring milk. And what about the apparently ubiquitous tongue or lip ties? Who fixes those in this bike riding population?

      It takes two to successfully breastfeed and if one or both participants are not being successful enough to keep the baby fed, satisfied, growing and thriving, then something has to change. The baby must be fed. Supplementation or completely switching to formula are the only alternatives. In your example, a person could walk, ride a bike, ride a scooter, ride a donkey, mule or horse, ride double on someone else’s scooter, there are a number of ways to get from point a to point b. There are basically two ways to feed a baby: Breast or bottle, either singly or in concert. Some women can’t produce milk at all, some produce less than the baby needs, some produce enough and some have oversupply issues
      . Then there is the quality and calorie content of the milk, which can vary quite a bit.

      Yes, breastfeeding is a learned skill, but not every woman and baby will learn it well enough together to be successful. Reviewing the skill set and remedial tutorials may not be enough to guarantee success and it is madness to think that more education, more help, more support, just MORE of everything will fix the issues.

    • LibrarianSarah
      March 26, 2016 at 1:16 am #

      And yet there are still some people ( like myself) who, dispite trying their very hardest multiple times, can not ride a bike due to factors they can’t control. Those people might need a scooter to get around instead. Now imagine that those people were not chastised and demonized by bycylists as who assume that because THEY were able to ride a bike EVERYONE ELSE should be able to ride a bike as well. So they not only stigmatize riding a scooter but actively try to make the lives of scooter riders.

      And the most ironic thing of all is that the bicyclists are pretty much the modern equivalent of the past scooter riders; rich judgemental assholes that think that their mode of transportation makes them better than those around them. Except in a way they are worse. While the past scooter riders might have seen themselves as more classy and sophisticated, that more common smugness than moral superiority. But modern bicyclists see themselves as more environmentally friendly, more health-conscious, less prude, and generally better people than those dirty scooter riders.

      TLDR: Fuck bicyclists. Fuck them right in the ear.

      • Bombshellrisa
        March 26, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

        I got stuck behind six of them on a road that winds, where there is no room to pass. The speed limit is 40, I was crawling along behind them at barely 25. They were all in matching bike gear, riding bikes that cost an average of six months mortgage payments for people around here. It was quite clear that this group comprised a bunch of privileged people who didn’t have the sense to realize that they were holding up quite a few people that day and lacked the common sense to move over so we could get on with our lives.

        • LibrarianSarah
          March 26, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

          But they were doing something good for their health and the environment! That entitles them to make the lives of lessor people who don’t care about those things (if they did they would be on a bicycle too duh) more difficult.

        • demodocus
          March 26, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

          My bike cost $350 or half of month’s rent on a 1 bedroom around here, and it’s a fairly good one. I can’t tell you how often I’ve had to stop short so a car to my left can turn right, or how I’ve had to swerve out to miss debris, potholes, parked cars, or storm drains in what my town amusingly calls a bike lane. I bike because i like it, and it is faster to go pick up a gallon of milk from the store than walking, which is my other option if i miss that hourly bus. But please, go on telling me how I’m snooty and selfish for biking.

          • Bombshellrisa
            March 26, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

            Again, if it’s what works well for you and you aren’t insisting that it’s cost and time efficient for everyone else, I have no issue with however people decide to get from point a to point b. The recreational bikers I was talking about were riding pinerello bikes, had expensive gear and outfits and were biking because they didn’t have anything else to do. Much like the privileged, upper middle class women who breastfeed more as a mark of status than actually doing it because it’s what works for them.

    • Sarah
      March 26, 2016 at 5:12 am #

      This analogy is a failure because of your insistence on everyone getting around using bicycles. If you want to compare it to breastfeeding, it would be a village where bicycles were virtually the only option for getting around, although occasionally someone managed to make it to adulthood without a mode of transport, but lots of people didn’t have a bicycle. Or they did but it didn’t work, or their bicycle died during repair and nobody was available to transport them, or it only worked sometimes and you could just about get where you wanted to go for a while but eventually it just became unable to take you there.

    • Box of Salt
      March 26, 2016 at 5:37 am #

      consider, if you will, that not all women are like you.

      Consider that other women are living under circumstances other that which you enjoy, and that they have the right to make things work for themselves the best that they can — even if it isn’t what exactly you would do.

      Could you imagine that, MJeano? I read in another comment that you are a doula. How do you support other women without empathy for them?

    • Megan
      March 26, 2016 at 9:45 am #

      How romanticized and simplistic, just like most lactivist logic. Glad I had a “scooter” for my baby who would’ve starved to death with my “bike,” but hey who cares about those babies, right?

      • Megan
        March 26, 2016 at 10:17 am #

        And may I add that I am disgusted by your comparison of the many difficulties I had breastfeeding and my daughters jaundice with accompanying 18% weight loss as “falling off a few times” and “a couple scrapes and bruises.” Do you people even hear yourselves? Such entitled bullshit.

        • demodocus
          March 26, 2016 at 10:19 am #

          Plus, if you’re a fatty riding a bike, oh my the comments. Fortunately, I rarely hear them

    • demodocus
      March 26, 2016 at 10:12 am #

      My husband has been blind since birth, but tried bike riding anyway. He broke his little brother’s arm when he ran into him.

    • Bombshellrisa
      March 26, 2016 at 11:59 am #

      Bicyclists may be able to get around and from their own point of view, they are going at the right speed. Most even think that they are traveling at a speed that entitles them to share the road with more advanced forms of transportation. Plus they aren’t wasting resources and look at all the health benefits of biking vs automobile. In reality, having to share the road with advanced forms of transportation reveals that riding a bicycle isn’t all that superior. It’s slow, works in only certain circumstances and environments and requires that the bicyclist (and often times the motorists who are stuck behind unable to pass) have nowhere pressing to be. Bicyclists might argue that they are saving money, since riding a bicycle doesn’t require the rider to purchase gasoline and that they can do repairs to the bike themselves. That might be true, but bikes you can actually use for transportation aren’t cheap. That Servello or Pinerello plus your repair kits, bike shorts (or entire outfit), helmet, shoes–all those things cost money. Finally, your time is worth is something. The extra time and effort put into bicycling as a primary form of transportation may take away from time you could be using to earn money, which could make bicycling (no matter how physically easy) very expensive.
      Speaking of campaigns to try and support bicycling and how circumstances, not support, dictate who will choose bicycling a primary form of transportation –look up Seattle’s PRONTO bike share program and how, despite millions being poured into the program with support from the city and modification of roads, it’s an epic fail.

    • Stephanie
      March 26, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

      There was a situation last year where I live, where a cyclist refused to yield to an ambulance because *they* had the right of way. The ambulance, with lights and sirens on was forced to slow behind this cyclist for approximately 10 minutes until it was able to pass. As a result of this, the patient in the back of the ambulance died. Because while bicycles are appropriate in some situations, they are not for all situations.
      As per your analogy, this is akin to the lactivists pushing to have formula not easily available while the baby drops weight, becoming dehydrated and lethargic.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      March 28, 2016 at 3:56 am #

      A better analogy might be this…

      For ages, everyone got around on bicycles. This was not a perfect system because some people had illnesses that prevented them from bicycling, such as congestive heart failure that made them unable to tolerate the work effort or MS that made the balance impossible. Often people who could not bike would hire someone to bike for them or their friends and family would help them. This sometimes resulted in their falling off the bicycle or, in extreme cases, both riders falling off the bicycle. Unfortunately, falling meant dying because this village was surrounded by moats full of hungry piranhas that ate anyone who bounced off the bicycle into the moat. A few people unlucky enough to have any help simply didn’t go anywhere and died of starvation. The lack of any alternative transportation means also meant that some people couldn’t work where they wished or travel where they wished because the bicycles were too slow and time consuming. But mostly life went on and most people coped as best they could.

      Then one day someone invents the motor scooter. It is hailed as a life saver and immediately adopted by those who can not bike. Very soon after, those who do not wish to bike take it up too. The companies making scooters go a little crazy and try to convince people that everyone should use a scooter and bikers are just nuts. Some people buy it and a scooter, others shrug and keep using bikes. They were considered a little odd by their neighbors. One particular ethnic group kept biking more than others and so racism got mixed up in the mess too, which made the whole thing all the worse, but, again, most people just went about their business.

      After a few years of this, a group of wealthy people “discovered” biking and its benefits. They started advocating strongly for the idea that no one should be shamed for biking and that it was, in fact, a healthier alternative to scootering. Some initial research backed their claims. Perhaps because biking had previously been associated with poverty and minority status, no one considered the possibility that some or all of the benefits might be due to the cohort of people who were now biking most often (rich, educated) rather than the biking itself.

      Initially the biking advocates focused on making it easier to bike. And they won! They were successful at getting dedicated bike lanes put in to the streets (to avoid collisions with scooters), making having bike parking in work places the norm, and convincing most people to not think twice about seeing someone biking in public, even if they were wearing an unnecessary amount of lycra while doing so.

      The bike advocates then had a problem, though: their very success had done them out of a job. There was no further need for bike advocates because biking was accepted. Even worse, later research showed that in most cases the benefits of biking were overrated and most of the apparent benefits came from the association of biking with wealth. So the bike advocates went a little crazy too and started insisting that EVERYONE bike, regardless of their medical conditions or desires, that refusing to bike was antisocial, and that biking was natural and pleasant for everyone and that anyone who said otherwise just hadn’t “given it a try”. They recommended a return to the days when, if someone really, truly, couldn’t bike they be carried on another person’s bike, risk of piranhas or no. They advocated hiding scooters from people so that they wouldn’t be tempted to use them.

      In short, they became everything that they had ever claimed the scooter manufacturers had been and more.

      Now, is there any reason why we can’t simply declare bike advocacy mostly obsolete and allow everyone to choose the mode of transport that works best for them?

  2. Amy
    March 23, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

    Once we got past the initial difficulties, breastfeeding WAS easy and convenient for me and that was good, because I WAS (and still am) lazy. And I admit it. Never understood how people could accuse non-breastfeeding moms of being lazy the way they do. But then, I never really cared how other people fed their kids since they weren’t my kids.

    Which I guess makes me a “beta” parent. Or maybe even a gamma parent. Since I work and my kids are vaccinated and in public school and all. I must not love them enough.

  3. Jules B
    March 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    I live in a VERY breastfeeding friendly area. Most Moms I know ebf (or gave it serious effort.) No one around here bats an eye at a breastfeeding Mom, covered or not. The hospital I delivered in has an extremely high breastfeeding initiation rate – in fact, the nurses are paid bonuses based on that initiation rate (no formula gifted or even available!). They offer free breastfeeding prenatal classes. They have LC’s available for unlimited, free one-on-one consultations in the 6 month postpartum period. The public health nurses are often LC’s and offer home-based support if required. I am part of the demographic most likely to breastfeed (i.e., middle-class, educated etc), I had all of the above support plus great support from my family and my partner. I was set up for breastfeeding success, 100%.

    But you know what was a huge contributing factor to my failure to exclusively breastfeed? Aside from low supply, and a jaundiced and seriously reflux-y baby, that is. The LIES the breastfeeding industry/”support” people told me during my pregnancy and in the immediate postpartum period. Their lies and lack of relevant/useful information actually had more to do with my “failure” than anything else.

    If they had told me the TRUTH about how it might hurt initially, I would not have been obsessively checking the latch every time I fed my baby, causing me to be stiff and anxious. If they had told me it was going to be hard and tiring and yes inconvenient, then I would not have questioned myself so much, losing heart and hope. If I had been told the REALITY of what I was about to undertake, versus being sold a fantasy, then I would have known what I experienced was relatively normal and OK. If I had been given actual emotional support and reassurance versus being told I was just not trying hard enough, then I might have had the strength to push through the hurdles.

    The irony with the lactavist approach is that their Lala Land version of breastfeeding actually undermines their stated goal in these ways and more. Women want and need to be told the truth. Only then can they really hope to be able to deal with the challenges involved. Lying about or avoiding mentioning those challenges actually sets women up for failure, not success.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      March 23, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

      Very astute. You were sold Unicorn Sparkles, and then when you didn’t get them, it caused you to question everything, including yourself. I’m glad you came around to realize it was their bullshit that was the problem, and didn’t hold it against yourself.

      If I had been given actual emotional support and reassurance versus being told I was just not trying hard enough, then I might have had the strength to push through the hurdles.

      “Breastfeeding support” isn’t actually support, it’s cheerleading.

      PS I can’t take credit for that description, but it’s dead-on right

    • Roadstergal
      March 23, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

      “nurses are paid bonuses based on that initiation rate”

      Nice. I bet they’re not dinged on readmission rates for babies who aren’t getting enough food.

      • horrified
        March 24, 2016 at 9:40 am #

        That sentence stood out to me too. It explains why nurses harass even women who choose not to breastfeed because of molestation/rape in their past.

        • sdsures
          March 25, 2016 at 9:03 am #


          I never thought I’d need a written birth plan other than the stuff that doesn’t need to be stated: “Get me and my baby through this alive.”

          I’m a molestation and assault survivor. I have cerebral palsy, which means my hips are very stiff, so even putting them in stirrups is painful. It’s also why a vaginal birth is just out of the question. It’s off my radar completely.

          The last time I needed doctors to know this was when I needed a Pap smear, and my vaginismus kicked in, plus PTSD, so I successfully lobbied for them to put me under a general anesthetic whilst they did the smear and checked a couple other things under the hood. I came through it fine. 🙂 The OB who did it was wonderfully understanding about the whole business. My cerebral palsy was also one of the reasons I used for the request: everything below my waist: hips, PC muscles, what have you, tensed up horribly the couple times we tried to do a basic vaginal exam, and almost right away, both we and the OB agreed that putting me through it whilst conscious just wasn’t worth it.

          So, should I put down in a written plan that I’m an assault survivor with vaginismus, so they should not try to screw around with me? It definitely sounds relevant. I don’t like the idea of needing to have a birth plan because the woo-ey ones I’ve read about here are so ridiculous. But if it will make things run more smoothly, then so be it.

          • demodocus
            March 25, 2016 at 10:48 am #

            It’s not so much a birth plan as a warning.

          • sdsures
            March 25, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

            Fair enough. I’m not sure any OB or midwife in their right minds would ever advise anything other than a CS for me given my history. I don’t want to risk it even if it were somehow possible, and I just don’t see how it could be (I’m 4’11”.)

            My older sister is quite slim (about 5’2″) , and she had twins vaginally (I cringed at the time because my mom referred to it as “naturally”!!!!), but she doesn’t have any neurological or musculoskeletal disorders that would have precluded that. She was born with hip dysplasia, and had to wear a cast for both legs and hips for 8 weeks as a baby, so I’m told diaper-changing wasn’t fun. We think I also have hip dysplasia, but it’s secondary from my CP, whereas hers was just on its own and presumably (does anyone know?) it resolved with casting. Mine’s still here, and not likely to go anywhere because CP is a lifelong disorder.

            Sis has a son and a daughter, and they’ll be 6 in a couple weeks! How time FLIES!

          • demodocus
            March 25, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

            diaper changes with a hip covering cast are definitely not fun. And that cast gets pretty funky smelling, no matter what you do. my boyo was in one for 4 1/2 weeks for his leg.
            I read a kids’ book last year in which the main character was crippled. In the postscript, the author mentioned a relatively common hip issue that nowadays is easily fixed in infants but back then (medieval era) they hadn’t figured it out.

          • Erin
            March 26, 2016 at 9:23 am #

            Yes yes yes. I didn’t tell anyone about my history until I was in labour and it bit me hard. They will definitely do things differently with a history which includes assault and PTSD. When I went over my notes afterwards with the hospital, they offered lots of things including continuity of care, counselling and support should I get pregnant again that they don’t usually do.

            Hope everything goes well for you x

          • sdsures
            March 26, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

            Thank you. No doubt I;ll be back here sharing baby pics when we have em!

      • sdsures
        March 25, 2016 at 8:54 am #

        Holy ****.

    • BeatriceC
      March 23, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

      Exactly. My mother being truthful with me and reassuring me he difficulties I was having were normal is probably the single biggest factor in my eventual success.

    • Sarah
      March 26, 2016 at 5:13 am #

      Nurses being paid bonuses on breastfeeding initiation rates is a pretty filthy state of affairs.

  4. Brooke
    March 23, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    If formula feeding is so great why do companies spend millions of dollars in advertising and free samples? Why does every major health organization say it is not as healthy for the mother and baby as breastfeeding? Why do formula companies intentionally sabotage women by offering them bad breastfeeding advice on their websites and along with “free” formula samples in “breastfeeding bags” at hospitals? Why do they shame mothers for publically breastfeeding? Why do you falsely lead women to believe they could harm their babies if they exclusively breastfeed?

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      March 23, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

      Charlotte. Bevan.
      That’s what first-world lactivism gets ya.

      Out of morbid curiosity, since when do formula companies shame moms for public breastfeeding? What, do they have specific positions dedicated to mom-shaming?
      “Applicants wanted for post of Mother-Shamer II at Similac, Inc. Applicants must have strong work ethic, and will be expected to spend 8 hours/day driving around their communities in order to find breastfeeding mothers and express offense at their method of feeding their babies. Company car provided, travel budget and meals reimbursed, salary commiserate with position.” Yeah, I don’t think so–leaving aside the PR fiasco, it sounds like an awfully stupid business decision in terms of use of resources.
      Why do you persist in the notion that women are so weakminded that the presence of a packet of formula will FORCE them to stop breastfeeding if they want to keep going?
      Bad breastfeeding advice? I used Similac, personally, and I just checked their website. Looks like bog-standard suggestions regarding nursing to me: cluster feeding doesn’t mean you don’t have enough milk, crying as a late sign of hunger, milk can take several days to come in, etc. https://similac.com/baby-feeding/breastfeeding/tips for anyone interested.

      • swbarnes2
        March 23, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

        Just wondering, did anyone observe “cluster-feeding” behavior with formula fed babies? Because it strikes me that at least SOME kids cluster feeding must be doing it because they are desperate to get more food, I wonder if cluster feeding might be one of those “normal” things, like losing 10% of body weight is “normal” but doesn’t happen very often at all to FF kids.

        • Heidi
          March 23, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

          My baby is mostly formula fed and he cluster fed.

        • Mom2Many
          March 23, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

          As a foster mom I’ve ‘had’ 16 babies, including my own four that I breastfed anywhere from 6-10 months, and yes, cluster feeding at certain times is absolutely present in formula fed babies. Some evenings it felt like all we were doing was feeding non-stop…and I say ‘we’ because hubby was just as good at feeding formula as me! I would say of the 16 babies we had, easily 12 cluster fed, especially in those beginning weeks and months.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          March 23, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

          DD did. I was a very unsure new mom who didn’t know anyone who’d formula fed who could give me advice, and I was terrified of overfeeding DD. Cluster feeding always meant that I wasn’t noticing that she was still hungry after a meal and that I needed to up her bottles by an ounce or so because she’d grown again, or that she was in a few-day-long growth spurt and just plain needed more calories.

        • CSN0116
          March 23, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

          I’ve only seen it in formula fed babies with reflux – they suck a lot to ease the burn, but the liquid promptly comes back up on them, provoking them to suck more – and on and on we go.

          That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen in non-reflux formula fed infants as well. These are just my experiences. My own five kids never ate in intervals closer than 4 hours.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            March 23, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

            A blogger I read had a baby like that, except she breastfed. Kiddo nurse every hour ’round the clock for the first year of her life, pausing only to puke a lot of it back up, wash, rinse, repeat. I have no idea how mom and baby survived that first year.

          • CSN0116
            March 23, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

            I had one reflux baby out of five. We treated it by thickening his formula with rice cereal, which literally brought relief and “cured him” (his symptoms) on the first try. But to my knowledge, the cereal disintegrates within minutes in breast milk :/ (it only lasts about 20-30 minutes in formula). And the meds are so hit or miss. That poor woman!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            March 23, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

            This was about 7-8 years ago now, so I suspect that infant reflux wasn’t as well understood then as it is now, or as commonly treated. Apparently the ped brushed off her description of kiddo’s behavior as “some babies just do that,” or something along those lines. Ugh.

          • Sullivan ThePoop
            March 23, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

            Mine was 20 years ago and they scoped his esophagus to find out what was going on. So, I don’t know

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            March 23, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

            Geez. In that case, I’d have to go with “idiot pediatrician,” then. Gah!

          • Sullivan ThePoop
            March 23, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

            That is also what we did for my son. It also worked. Although I am not sure that would work for all types of reflux

          • Sullivan ThePoop
            March 23, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

            My son had reflux and ate an extraordinary amount. Although he did not have acid coming up from his stomach. He had a different problem with one of the sphincters in his esophagus that caused things to get stuck there and then come back up

        • demodocus
          March 23, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

          I suspect my kid clustered because i had so much he was mostly getting colostrum that first time around.

        • Valerie
          March 23, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

          I stumbled across this a while ago:


          I thought it was interesting that they classify less than 4% newborn weight loss (NWL) as “insufficient.” I’m impressed by the logical contortion they perform to get to the conclusion that “As breastfed newborns did not lose weight excessively, but newborns with formula/mixed feeding had insufficient NWL, our study supports that breastfeeding provides excellent nutrition during this period,” especially because they don’t show any problems caused by “insufficient” weight loss.

          • swbarnes2
            March 23, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

            And of course, these are kind of like divorce statistics: married people are not happier because marriage MAKES you happy, but because many people who are unhappy stop being married to correct their unhappiness. Those breastfed babies who WERE losing too much weight were supplemented, and left the pool of breastfed babies.

            My goto citation, though the title is ridiculously misleading


            19% of BF babies lost >10% of their weight on day 3, 3% of formula babies did.

            “EWL was significantly associated (P < .05) with higher maternal age, education, and income levels, "

            All those things should be protecting those infants from bad outcomes, but I bet breastfeeding is overwhelming that.

          • Valerie
            March 23, 2016 at 5:50 pm #

            And they didn’t even include babies who were exclusively formula-fed- only those who were supplemented. It might be an even bigger difference for babies who are formula-fed to satiety from the beginning.

            In any case, it seems wrong to me to define something as optimal just because it is typical of exclusively breastfed babies.

          • Daleth
            March 25, 2016 at 10:39 am #

            Insufficient newborn weight loss?! WTF is that?! “We didn’t starve the baby enough”?!

          • Valerie
            March 25, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

            Yep. It’s because they start with the conclusion that breast is best (or “normal,” “physiological,” etc), so what is typical of exclusively breastfed infants must therefore be ideal. It’s an absurd standard to use.

            The whole “stomach size of a cherry” thing is based on a misunderstanding of research from 1920 and perpetuated because lactivists believe that the mother-infant dyad has perfectly evolved to meet the needs of the baby. You don’t make a lot of colostrum/milk? That’s perfect, because the baby’s stomach is tiny, so that’s all he wants/needs. He lost almost 10% of his body weight? Great- that’s exactly what breastfed infants do, so the baby is on the right track. Breast milk jaundice? Totally normal and physiological. Etc. Breastfeeding defines optimal. It is perfect, so there is no room for improvement.

        • Charybdis
          March 23, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

          I think perhaps because we formula feeders can SEE how much our baby is drinking and how fast they are doing it precludes cluster feeding. I mean, if they suck down their first 2 oz in nothing flat and still want more, we can quickly mix up more formula or just pour a little more RTF into the bottle and feed the baby. Next feeding, we’ll start with the number of ounces the baby drank at the last feeding. If they want more, they get more. Also, if they are not finishing the original amount (2, 4, or 6 oz, whatever it is), then we can cut back on how much we offer.

          None of this guesstimating, supply and demand business and waiting until our body responds (or doesn’t, as the case may be). Kid wants more, kid gets more. End of story.

          • Daleth
            March 25, 2016 at 10:39 am #

            I think perhaps because we formula feeders can SEE how much our baby is drinking and how fast they are doing it precludes cluster feeding

            Exactly. We never had cluster feeding with our combo-fed (but mostly formula-fed) twins. They stopped when they wanted, and if they finished a bottle and wanted more, we gave them more.

    • swbarnes2
      March 23, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

      Sigh. Because formula companies don’t just want you to buy formula, they want you to buy THEIRS. An eight year old could understand that.

      • Roadstergal
        March 23, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

        I’m not a marketing person, but it does make me wonder… formula companies give samples because they don’t want moms getting samples only from a competing brand and getting their formula from the competition because of that. An outright formula sample ban means they don’t have to invest in samples (packaging, distribution, product) and they don’t have to worry about the competition doing it.

        So, ironically, I wonder if the ban on formula samples helps the companies while hurting the women. I mean, a baby that needs formula need formula, regardless of the availability of a free sample for the parent(s)…

        • Inmara
          March 24, 2016 at 3:43 am #

          I’m annoyed that in my country not only formula samples are not provided in hospitals or pediatrician offices, but the smallest formula package you can buy is 400 g. So if baby doesn’t tolerate first formula you try, then you spend a small fortune going through various brands and types.

          • Juana
            March 28, 2016 at 5:51 am #

            It’s also totally impractical if you only want to feed an occasional bottle of formula and can’t hope to ever finish those 400 g bags before they go bad. Small packagings or samples (*gasp*) would come in handy there.
            But that’s just me being the Swabian miser that I am…

        • Daleth
          March 25, 2016 at 10:37 am #

          formula companies give samples because they don’t want moms getting samples only from a competing brand

          We used Similac Advance for 3 months for that exact reason: that’s what they were on in the NICU and what the hospital sent us home with. That’s not why we used FORMULA… that’s why we used THAT BRAND of formula.

        • Irène Delse
          March 28, 2016 at 6:57 am #

          I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up helping the companies making formula. There’s been a similar phenomenon in the tobacco industry in countries that ban their advertising: every cigarettes maker that used to advertise just to keep their customers from going to the competition could now cut on the promotional budget.

    • swbarnes2
      March 23, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

      How is giving a woman a CHOICE “sabotaging her”? If breastfeeding is so easy for every woman, why does giving away formula work at all? I took home a bulb for sucking snot out from the hospital. I never used it. Do you think me some kind of hero of iron will for that?

    • momofone
      March 23, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

      We got free formula samples and a free breastfeeding bag. I breastfed for almost two years. How did I ever resist?!

      “Why do they shame mothers for publically breastfeeding?” Can you provide some examples of this? Be sure to provide formula-company-specific examples.

      “Why do you falsely lead women to believe they could harm their babies if they exclusively breastfeed?” Again, please cite examples.

      • BeatriceC
        March 23, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

        I was so convinced I wasn’t going to use formula that I threw away the samples before I even left the hospital. Thankfully my mother, who is very wise when it comes to early infant care, was smart enough to buy more so I could calm the baby down enough to figure out how to latch.

    • Heidi
      March 23, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

      I didn’t get any free formula samples because I was at one of those “baby-friendly” hospitals. Since the baby absolutely had to be supplemented to thrive, all I got was a few of those nursette bottles. When those ran out, I was grateful a family member had passed on her free formula samples since the baby had to eat and my boobs just weren’t providing. With that formula sample was a book about how I should really breastfeed and how to do it. It was the same advice given by the lactation consultants. Only purpose it really served was to make me feel bad.

      • YesYesNoNo
        March 25, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

        I received a giant bag with a teeny tiny hand sanitizer inside. That’s it…

    • Valerie
      March 23, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

      Brooke, some women CAN harm their babies if they exclusively breastfeed, for a whole host of reasons. Some medications are incompatible with breastfeeding. Some babies have sensitivities or allergies to their mother’s milk. Around 15% of women simply do not make enough milk to nourish a growing baby, despite intensive intervention. Some babies cannot extract milk from their mother’s breast. For some women, the time it takes for their milk to come in is longer than the baby can withstand.

      Do you really believe that all women can breastfeed exclusively, despite all evidence to the contrary? Or just that these babies are expendable? There is little to gain and a lot to lose from this lie.

      • Daleth
        March 25, 2016 at 10:36 am #

        And don’t forget that women who are deficient in vitamin D or iron will not be able to give their baby enough of those nutrients to thrive. If they breastfeed, they will have to give the baby supplements. But the lactivist industry tells everyone “breast milk is nature’s perfect food,” it’s “liquid gold,” etc., so the vast majority of women never even think to get tested to see if they’ve got enough vitamin D and iron for their baby to thrive.

    • demodocus
      March 23, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

      If chocolate is so great, why are there commercials for M&Ms?

    • Roadstergal
      March 23, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

      “Why do they shame mothers for publically breastfeeding?”

      OMG, I had thought that random idiots on the street were just random idiots, but you know, you have a point. They’re in the pay of formula companies – and you know, I think that babies who refuse to latch are also in the pay of formula companies. Any obstacle they can throw in the path of breastfeeding women! They’re developing tiny little nipple padlocks…*

      *They should just be checking in with the kinksters, really.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        March 23, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

        Before I got to your *, I was thinking “Nipple padlocks? You know, in the right city/scene, I’m pretty sure there would be a market for those…”

        • Roadstergal
          March 23, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

          I have a different visualization of ‘nipple shields’ from that of y’all who have breastfed babies…

    • Anne Catherine
      March 23, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

      Where (how) do they lead women to believe that they can harm their baby with breastmilk?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        March 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

        Where (how) do they lead women to believe that they can harm their babies with breastmilk?

        It’s right there in their commercials, don’t you know? Like the commercial that says, “While breastfeeding the best way to feed your baby, if you choose to supplement with formula, choose our brand!”

        I mean, who wouldn’t feel shamed and guilty for breastfeeding when they hear that?

      • crazy grad mama
        March 23, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

        They fund all those studies saying breastmilk is toxic and bad, doncha know?

        (Sarcasm, except that my sister-in-law was actually convinced that formula companies must have funded a study that showed that breast milk contains various chemicals absorbed from mom’s environment.)

    • Lizz
      March 24, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

      Samples are because there’s a lot of options on the market, it’s called capitalism. Most major health organizations are advising a wide demographic which may include ones that work in areas where water may make formula problematic. Others have put all their eggs in one basket for preventing things like childhood obesity.
      Bad breastfeeding advice is everywhere so a few sites having it isn’t remarkable. Also bad advice to one person can be stuff that other people need. Such as the LC at WIC I saw that had no idea how to advise women with large breasts and small babies.
      I couldn’t get formula as a formula feeder so I have no idea what you’re talking about with breastfeeding bags having samples. Shame about public breastfeeding would be region dependent.

      You’re last one is too ridiculous to even respond to.

    • Sarah
      March 26, 2016 at 5:15 am #

      If formula feeding is so awful, why are you afraid of PROBIT?

  5. BeatriceC
    March 23, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

    OT: I’m sad there’s no new post (yet) today. I might have to actually clean my house if there’s no new post to read and discuss!

    • Charybdis
      March 23, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

      OT: Here you go! The dipshit doctor who started the whole “vaccines cause autism” bugaboo has made a MOVIE!!!!


      • Roadstergal
        March 23, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

        Ah, so the Conspira-Sea cruise appearance wasn’t the last flailing grasp at relevance?

        “Tribeca, as most film festivals, are about dialogue and discussion. Over the years we have presented many films from opposing sides of an issue. We are a forum, not a judge.”

        I hope to see their Holocaust denial movie lineup shortly.

      • BeatriceC
        March 23, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

        Ugh! Really! Can’t he just go crawl into a hole already?

  6. attitude devant
    March 23, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    If breastfeeding is so natural and evolutionarily perfect, please explain DMER (dysphoric milk ejection reflex).

    • Inmara
      March 23, 2016 at 11:47 am #

      Oh, it’s simple. Vaccines, GMOs, toxins, yoga mats in latte or whatever mom has done wrong during pregnancy and prior to conception.

    • momofone
      March 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

      Don’t you know? Doesn’t exist. Some women just THINK it does.

      • Charybdis
        March 23, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

        It’s a myth. Everybody knows that BF secretes the “love hormone” so mom and baby bask in the golden afterglow during and after each BF session. So any and all dysphoria is not real and the mom just needs to nurse more.
        (Please tell me I don’t need to mention this is sarcasm….)

    • Roadstergal
      March 23, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

      It’s something the patriarcobstetricy made up to make women feel less guilty about being bad moms.

    • Madtowngirl
      March 23, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

      Less than .0123456789% of women “really” have DMER, so no one can possibly have it for real. /s

    • Brooke
      March 23, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

      Its not recognized as a real medical condition but possibly could be triggered by undiagnosed gender dysphoria.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        March 23, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

        Even La Leche League (*gag*) recognizes the existence of DMER–see their “Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” in the most recent edition.
        GENDER DYSPHORIA?! Oh, of course. If you don’t feel happy while breastfeeding, you’re just not a “real woman.” Of course. /extreme sarcasm

        • Roadstergal
          March 23, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

          She really has an eight-year-old-schoolyard level of snark with access to an SAT-prep vocabulary list.

          • crazy grad mama
            March 23, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

            She can copy vocabulary, but she can’t use an apostrophe in “it’s.”

      • attitude devant
        March 23, 2016 at 10:38 pm #

        You are unreal. Can you even HEAR yourself? Do you think dysmenorrhea occurs because of gender dysphoria too? And let me guess: you think hyperemesis gravidarum is the result of psychological rejection of the pregnancy, right? I thank whatever Higher Power that may be that you are not treating real human beings, because real human beings don’t fit into your prejudices and neat little anti-woman paradigms.

  7. The Computer Ate My Nym
    March 23, 2016 at 5:19 am #

    Sex is easy and convenient. After most people try it for the first time, they will never ever give it up.

    TMI: It took me a couple of tries to get it right. /TMI

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      March 23, 2016 at 9:03 am #

      Also likely TMI, but I told DH on our wedding night (we were both virgins) “Hey, you know what the good news is? This is the worst sex we’ll ever have.” Being both true and hilarious, that cracked us up, which also helped the overall situation.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        March 23, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

        Huh, sounds like a challenge….

    • sdsures
      March 23, 2016 at 11:17 am #

      Hear, hear! Primary vaginismus means I’ve never been able to have sex with my husband in the penis-in-vagina way, so the next time anyone tries to tell me it’s easy and convenient, I think I’ll smash a brick against their mouth – because that’s what penis-in-vagina sex feels like to us.

    • Roadstergal
      March 23, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

      LOL, note metaphor-discussion below…

    • Inmara
      March 23, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

      To throw in another TMI – I had to undergo minor surgery (but under GA) so I can have penetrative sex at all (or at least without massive hemorrhaging).

  8. CSN0116
    March 22, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

    So I have a question. I read a lot, everywhere (even here), about women who are not entrenched in woo who speak very openly about despising breast feeding/pumping, but “press on” anyway. They despise being attached to a pump; can’t wait to “have their bodies back”; wish they weren’t solely responsible; etc. Why would somebody breast feed if they really don’t like it or what it requires (for them)? I understand some people who wholeheartedly believe it will cure and prevent umpteen illnesses and procure them some Einstein, but I’m wondering about the people who don’t buy into that. What is the reason for persisting with something you hate when there are alternatives and you could cash out?

    No snark. I’ve just always been curious about this…

    • AnnaPDE
      March 22, 2016 at 9:16 pm #

      Because breastfeeding as such can be a quite enjoyable activity, with the whole closeness, bodily contact, intimacy etc involved. I combo-feed and LO clearly enjoys the breast more, as do I. That doesn’t mean that I like the logistics of it, but since the logistics of formula aren’t better in my view, I keep breastfeeding. The knowledge that it’s a very short-lived thing lets me appreciate the nice bits and put up with the annoying.

    • crazy grad mama
      March 22, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

      No lie, it’s because I’m strongly motivated by money, and at least for my family situation, breastfeeding was a lot cheaper than formula.

      I also did enjoy actually nursing, although I got awfully tired of pumping.

      • CSN0116
        March 22, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

        Pumping seems like the worst of all worlds – you have to take time to do it, you’re still the only one who can do it, plus you still have all the bottles to wash (plus more accessories and storage)…

        I have literally never had a desire to breastfeed. I was exposed to it plenty (which is what ruined it for me), but just knew at a very young age that I’d never do it. Therefore I never even tried(five kids later). Regardless, I think it’s fascinated to learn about the experience from other people! Thanks 🙂

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          March 22, 2016 at 10:42 pm #

          I do know one SAHM who pumps a good bit in addition to nursing. She has a very supportive/helpful hubby, so what they do is have Daddy get up and take care of the baby, including feeding baby a bottle of pumped milk, once or twice/night while all she has to do is pump for 20 minutes and go back to sleep.
          It certainly wouldn’t work for everyone, but in her particular case, it actually makes life a bit easier, mostly, as I said, because very supportive/helpful husband.

        • momofone
          March 22, 2016 at 11:51 pm #

          I always knew I wanted lots of babies and was pretty sure I wanted to at least try breastfeeding. “Lots” turned into one, much-hoped-for, Hail Mary baby for us, and I knew I wanted to do it if I could. It helped tremendously that my husband is a stay-at-home dad, because without him, I never could have made it work. He did everything but breastfeed, and since he couldn’t do that, he made sure I had food and drinks and kept the pump parts clean and in rotation. When my supply dwindled when my period returned (at 12 weeks, and man, did I feel cheated!), he made me lactation cookies. Whether they helped or not I couldn’t say, but it was definitely a two-adult enterprise. When I couldn’t produce with the pump anymore, he brought him to my office so I could feed him there (thank goodness for a very flexible work situation) because I was a wreck at the thought of giving him formula. Which is hilarious to me now, because he was eating real food by then. I will always wish I had been able to relax more and go with what probably would have made both our lives a lot easier at certain points (like 2 a.m.). He was rarely sick, and maybe breastfeeding helped with that, though he was home with my husband, and I suspect that has more to do with it.

          If I had been alone, or had a partner who was less involved, there’s no way I would have been able to make it work.

          • demodocus
            March 23, 2016 at 8:17 am #

            I hear you about the period; mine returned at 8 weeks. Fortunately for my ebf kid, i had oversupply so a small drop was rather irrelevent

          • momofone
            March 23, 2016 at 11:38 am #

            I wish I had realized at the time (well, after the initial drop) that PCOS was probably playing a role in my constant low-ish supply.

        • crazy grad mama
          March 23, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

          I only had to pump at work, and I had a near-perfect setup in which to do so (private office, personal mini-fridge). Exclusive pumping, there is no way.

        • Sean Jungian
          March 26, 2016 at 12:03 am #

          I only had one kid, and I just assumed I would breastfeed him, so I did. For me it was pretty easy, he did well with it, and I had generous maternity leave (about 4 months paid) from my employer. While I didn’t feel like rhapsodizing about BF, I liked it all right, I certainly didn’t hate it. The only thing I disliked was the one time I tried co-sleeping, I just couldn’t stand the sensation of being nursed on in my sleep.

          I had the means to purchase a good breast pump and a private office so when I returned to work I pumped. I wasn’t crazy about pumping but again, I had a good pump and that can make it go quickly and without a lot of mess. I had a dishwasher so washing bottles wasn’t any big deal (also, I pumped into plastic baggies that I used with the bottles).

          All in all, it was a pleasant experience – but I was like a lot of these BF proponents, I was a rather privileged white woman of above-average means, with time and opportunities available to me that not every mother has! So of COURSE it was easier for me. It didn’t hurt that I produced like a damn Guernsey, either. His pediatrician always “joked” that I was making cream, not milk, since he put on weight fast and steadily.

        • Juana
          March 27, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

          Been there, done that…
          I pumped exclusively for DD #1. She was born at 37+2 after induction for probable IUGR and probable fetal distress, could barely latch with nursing shields, was sleepy and not eating well (despite topping up), got jaundiced, … yadda yadda, you know how those stories go.
          And there I was with my milk coming in, feeling severely engorged for two days (until DD got hospitalized for her jaundice), and baby wasn’t helping with that AT ALL. Had a pump at home which was total rubbish to use (Philips, I’m looking at you), so when we went in for phototherapy, I asked the nurse for a real breastpump. I can’t exactly remember my words, but I was rather emphatic… I got what I wanted, and since I couldn’t even try to breastfeed her while she was under the lights, I could concentrate on helping myself out of engorgement.
          I always joked later that I bonded with the pump at that time. I always felt good about the relief, so I never had problems with inducing let-down or the like. And since the milk was there in the bottles, that’s what she got fed, so one thing lead to another.
          I didn’t feel like getting her on the breast afterwards, because pumping went so well, and my visiting old-school midwife was fine with it as well because she thought it was good to control how much my 3rd percentile birthweight daughter was eating.
          I kept pumping until she was 14 months old, I think all because of those early experiences with pumping were so positive – I always had this feeling that it was helping me (otherwise I would definitely be engorged, and that felt so horrible).

          YMMV, of course.

      • Marie
        March 22, 2016 at 11:53 pm #

        I’m not sure that breastfeeding is saving us much money. I am hungry all.the.time. I just ate a full, healthy dinner less than 3 hours ago and I am already shaky with hunger.

    • demodocus
      March 22, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

      I half-believed it, after all, nurses were telling me it was best. That, and the financial element. I wasn’t working and my insurance paid for the pump which i only used it a few times a week, so not that much washing either. So long as I could ignore him, i was able to tolerate nursing for several months.

      • demodocus
        March 22, 2016 at 9:37 pm #

        I gather the majority of women do sort of enjoy it after their boobs toughen up.

        • CSN0116
          March 22, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

          I think the people I read about who really really hate it are the ones working full time and needing to pump and store multiple times per day, make up work hours, come home and need to breast feed, etc. I can only imagine that’s really difficult for many :/

          • demodocus
            March 22, 2016 at 10:09 pm #

            i got to the point where i really really hate it. as in i quit cold turkey 18 months ago and still don’t want DH to touch them, much less anyone else. it had to build up in my case, i guess.

          • CSN0116
            March 22, 2016 at 10:34 pm #


    • Megan
      March 22, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

      I think there is also a hormonal drive to keep doing it once you start. It makes the whole issue more emotional than it would be otherwise, for me at least. I call starting the process of lactating “falling down the rabbit hole.”

      • CSN0116
        March 22, 2016 at 9:39 pm #

        Ok so there’s (maternal) emotion involved in it? I can understand that. Do you think that comes straight up from nature, or that it’s also influenced by society and its view of breast feeding?

        • Megan
          March 22, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

          I think it’s some of both.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          March 22, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

          My experience is much the same as Megan’s. I combo-fed DD ’til she was 4 months old. Hated just about every minute of it: it hurt horribly, I produced very little, DD didn’t want to latch (and once she did, I couldn’t even take a deep breath without her unlatching), and every nursing session seemed like a battle of wills between us. And then mastitis and plugged ducts and the like.
          Yet once I made the decision to stop, and I knew it was the right decision intellectually, I felt HORRIBLE. Tears. Overall feeling of miserable-ness. I wasn’t nursing my baby anymore and it was awful. I can’t even assign it much to some sort of hormonal high from nursing, because I never felt good while nursing; I just felt horrible when I stopped.
          Partly hormones, partly some sort of evolutionary/biologic process (I mean, until recently, not nursing your baby meant your baby would likely die, so there’s a pretty strong motivator to do so), some social/societal stuff. I had a very clear picture in my head pre-DD of what nursing would be like, how awesome it would be, etc, and it was nothing like that at all–it was painful, stressful, and unhappy, so I felt like my body must be deficient.

        • Dinolindor
          March 23, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

          It’s not often talked about, but there’s another set of “baby blues” that tend to come on after weaning (or giving up on breastfeeding/drying up your milk). With my first, I stopped pumping 3 months postpartum, and while I knew it was absolutely the right thing to do, I definitely felt a similar sadness that I felt in the first few weeks postpartum. With my second, I decided to give up breastfeeding I think at 2 weeks postpartum, so my belief is that the “drying up” blues got mixed in with the regular baby blues. I’ve heard other women talking about getting blue when they stopped breastfeeding, even at a year/whatever “breastfeeding goal” they had, and were happy to stop.

          For me, the other part of knowing you need to stop but keep plowing ahead anyway – I place a high priority on efficiency and logistics. So I had a very very hard time figuring out exactly how I was going to dry up my milk and switch over to exclusive formula feeding. Every time I thought I had a plan the baby would get hungry at a different time than I expected, and so I couldn’t figure out how to just get on with my plan. (Sleep deprivation also hindered this thought process, I’m sure.)

          • momofone
            March 23, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

            I had a hard time (emotionally) stopping, even though I think my son was beyond ready. We were down to a couple minutes at bedtime, and he had had a “nursing strike” that I think was actually his being done a month or so earlier. It was so bittersweet; it was sometimes really hard to do, but it was representative of a special time in my life as a mother that was hard to fathom ending, and we pretty much knew there were no more babies in the cards for us. I didn’t/couldn’t know at the time how our relationship would change–in wonderful ways–after breastfeeding stopped. And of course perspective is a great thing; as my son got older I could see what a small part of a huge thing it was. I couldn’t really see that before then.

          • Dinolindor
            March 23, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

            You know, I felt the same way when my EFF daughter turned 1 and we were shifting to cups instead of bottles. She might be our last, and I was so morose over her first birthday it was ridiculous. I already was feeling the loss of cuddling time because she was eating at the table more and more. Newborns and infants are assholes, but oh how I love them.

          • Sean Jungian
            March 26, 2016 at 12:10 am #

            I experienced some sadness too when my son stopped bf, although I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a true depression. He simply was ready to stop and to eat “real” food around 8-9 months (although he did continue to drink expressed BM until the end of the year, most of which I had frozen already).

            I was sad because it was our last physical bond. I guess I thought of it like, I kept him alive and growing with my body for a year and a half, and having that last physical connection go was the sign that he was growing up and (eventually, if everything goes right) will be an independent person. So that was a little bit sad. I’m not generally super-sentimental about many things, but ending bf was one of them.

          • momofone
            March 26, 2016 at 12:36 am #

            “I was sad because it was our last physical bond.” This is exactly what I was trying to put into words, but you did it so much better.

          • Sean Jungian
            March 26, 2016 at 12:49 am #

            Like you, I knew he was the only baby I was going to have, too, so there was definitely a finality to it.

    • Anne Catherine
      March 22, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

      I think most women DO buy into the mantra that breastfeeding can make your baby smarter and prevent every disease under the sun.
      Why wouldn’t they?

      Its promoted to do so (with not much science behind it, mind you) by about every major medical organization (as well as every website and magazine).

      I certainly bought into it. I pumped for two months with my 1st (no latch).. the only reason I quit is because my husband and I were both fed formula and either if us have any family history of asthma, diabetes allergies etc.

      If I would have known then what I know now, I would have bailed a lot earlier and with a lot less guilt!!

      It’s just so unfair that most of the information out there on breastfeeding is just a bunch of propaganda –

    • Anne Catherine
      March 22, 2016 at 9:47 pm #

      Wait a minute… I didn’t read your whole post very well–I don’t know about the women who press on who are not ‘entrenched in woo’ —-(when I wrote my post below). Maybe they think..just in case it is all true, I might as well (?)

    • Kelly
      March 22, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

      I thought it was cheaper and I suck at quitting things. I also had my husband so convinced that formula was more expensive that it made it harder for me to quit.

    • guest
      March 22, 2016 at 10:37 pm #

      Because even if you haven’t gone full woo and think it substitutes for vaccines, we’ve all had it drilled into our heads that it is healthier for babies and cheaper for parents. It can take a while to figure out that it’s not really true.

      • Anne Catherine
        March 23, 2016 at 7:57 am #

        Yes –it does take a while –I have spent countless hours fact-checking publications and websites and looking on pubmed for new research every few days of so— It’s hard to believe that it is all a bunch of smoke and mirrors.

    • jjj
      March 23, 2016 at 12:48 am #

      Kid #2 is 8 months old and I breastfeed when home and pump at work. At worst, I find breastfeeding inconvenient (after the initial month) and I really enjoy our bedtime cuddling/feeding session.

      I hate pumping so much. With kid #1, while I was supportive of friends who struggled giving up breastfeeding, I still was very emotionally attached to “exclusively” breastfeeding and was pumping 4xday at the peak (3x during the workday and once after the kid was in bed). With kid #2, it’s 2x at best and I started supplementing around 6 months.

      But I still wonder why I’m doing it at all. Part of the answer is that I do like breastfeeding and I don’t have the greatest supply, so I feel like my baby might just give it up if it gets any worse (and it would if I stopped pumping). But I also suspect (for me at least), it’s some sort of subconscious penance for being a working mom. I don’t want to stay home. I was happy to go back to work. And I’m mostly ok with that but I think there is a part of me that feels like pumping proves I love my kids even though I can’t deal with the idea of being home with them 24×7.

    • Rose Magdalene
      March 23, 2016 at 2:24 am #

      With baby #1 I never could get a good supply. So she was combo fed (formula at daycare, breast fed at home) until she was 9 months when she lost interest in the breast. I didn’t feel guilty about not making it to a year. At that point neither of us was feeling it, and I tried my best.

      #2 is a month old and this time I have the opposite situation. Why breastfeed? I’m a sahm now, so money is the main concern for me. When I’m pregnant I hunger like a Norse god, and i gain a lot of weight. So I’m not hungry all the time, and I’m eating a lot less now that I’m no longer pregnant. I don’t even mind pumping, although I only pump 1-2 times a day max. And I use a cheap manual pump, so no buzzing sounds. The worst part is the leaking. With #1 my supply was so lacking this rarely was a problem, but this time around it’s a daily occurance, yuck.

      But all in all, I don’t mind breastfeeding. Is it mind blowing, no, but i feel little need to switch to formula.

      • Sean Jungian
        March 26, 2016 at 12:17 am #

        lol @ “mind-blowing” I’m with you there. I never rhapsodized ecstatic over bf, but I liked it more than not.

        My biggest pain was when my son started sleeping through the night at 4 months. Yowch in the mornings, and few things feel so relieving as finally nursing after an unexpected night of engorging.

      • Juana
        March 27, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

        Same with me here (for my exclusive pumping history with DD#1, see above). Since DD#2 is breastfeeding champion ever since birth, this is what we’re doing now.
        Breastfeeding her is very practical, in parts even enjoyable (mainly because it’s so damn easy to get her to sleep that way). Plus we both sleep well at night – we’re co-sleeping, and I think it’s actually the safest option for us, because I really have a hard time staying awake at night while feeding her. If I had to because of a different sleeping arrangement, I really fear I would drop her sometime.
        But there are downsides, of course. The constant leaking is only getting better now at six months; plus I just had bout of mastitis yesterday.
        I do also feel little need to switch to formula, mainly because it can only become more work than now, especially at night. But on the other hand, I’m sure I will stop at the latest when she’s a year old, because I really don’t want to figure out how to be assertive about my physical boundaries with a child that has its own mind and can throw a temper tantrum about it…
        But so far, she’s taking solids like a champ AND drinks from a bottle if necessary (thanks to early combo feeding, I guess), so I think we’re going to find our way just like we do now.
        I’m really happy how the whole feeding story is going this time (although I wasn’t sad about exclusive pumping with #1, either – I always have a the-glass-is-half-full approach, and my plan would have been to pump again if #2 had not been such a pro at it). There is a whole lot of sheer luck involved, but I think a part of my happy situation right now is because I give a rat’s ass about what others expect me to do.

    • March 23, 2016 at 4:15 am #

      I breastfed my first for 15 months (after 12 months it was at bedtime only) and am almost 7 months in with my second (my last, FWIW). I work full time and pump 3x/day during the work week. Pumping SUCKS. It takes time from my work day, adds to my “second shift” at home (prepping bottles, keeping everything washed and ready for the next day), it’s uncomfortable, I’m always watching the clock when meetings run long, etc.

      I keep it up for a few reasons, some of which are more rational than others. For one thing, I did it for my first and so I’m damned well going to do it for this one too. That’s just bullheadedness, I fully acknowledge, but there it is. Second, I know from experience that when I stop pumping my supply will dwindle, and I’m not ready to stop breastfeeding yet. My son is really attached to it and gets a lot of comfort from it, and I don’t want to take that from him yet, certainly not for a few months as he’s having surgery in June. Also, I enjoy breastfeeding. It’s a lovely and special time I get to spend with the baby, and even if I’m reading books with the toddler at the same time, it’s still a nice bit of … (I’m trying really hard to avoid the word “bonding” here.)

      So basically, I put up with pumping in order to keep breastfeeding, and I keep breastfeeding for reasons practical (source of comfort for my son), emotional ( enjoyable for me and my son), and bullheaded (did it for the first, etc.).

      And if I’m being really honest, there’s a teeny part of me that keeps up with the pumping to show the higher-ups at my company that it can be done. Very few women pump where I work, and I want it to be a possibility for more women here. Hopefully the next person to try it will be able to do it without even the little bit of embarrassment and awkwardness I’ve encountered (“what’s gingerandlime doing in that conference room with the door locked?”).

    • Inmara
      March 23, 2016 at 4:31 am #

      For me there were several reasons why I initiated breastfeeding and maintained combo-feeding for 5 months. First, as trivial as those benefits of breastfeeding are in developed countries, they are real, so if I can reduce the chance of my baby getting sick I’ll do it. Second, I have all circumstances to EBF – long maternity leave and supportive husband (with 2 week paternity leave so he could stay and help postpartum). Third, baby was colicky for first 6 weeks and nursing was a powerful soothing tool, so I didn’t switch to EFF when it turned out that I have insufficient supply. Also, money (because in our circumstances EBF would have been cheaper for sure, and even combo-feeding reduced total costs significantly, at least during first months). Those are the rational reasons, but there was an emotional component, where I felt like a failure for not producing enough milk, and then couldn’t stop breastfeeding though at 4 months it was just 1,5 night feeds and to maintain that I had to pump 3x per day (baby refused to nurse during the day at 3 months). What finally got me to quit was annoying and expensive elimination diet (from 3 months baby had atopic dermatitis so I tried to eliminate this and that to find a culprit). Also, thanks to ladies here for support and practical advice on how to stop, it was very appreciated!

    • Heidi_storage
      March 23, 2016 at 7:50 am #

      I pumped exclusively, because my babies have never latched. Pain in the butt. There were a few benefits:

      1) Formula tastes nasty. Breastmilk is yummier.
      2) I could indulge my love of cream and butter without gaining weight. (I immediately gained 5 lbs upon quitting, even though I drastically cut my food intake.)
      3) It probably is still cheaper than formula, since breastpumps are covered. I certainly did eat a heck of a lot more, though.
      4) (Maybe) My chronically inflamed joints were much better throughout pregnancy and lactation than before and after. Obviously, I can’t say for certain that this benefit was truly tied to either condition.

    • J.B.
      March 23, 2016 at 9:26 am #

      I liked it with my first kid (after getting through the first rough month). It was a sweet time to snuggle with her. Plus I was still hearing all the health messages and thought it was better. Later on she got very demanding for mommy rather than her one night time bottle (and naive first time mom, I went) and the sleep deprivation really got to me.

      With my second I had all sorts of issues. Pumping hurt for a while until I figured out settings better. I only continued because she was so attached to the breast and I thought I would lose my supply otherwise. Then when she was older and started biting, and I got mastitis, I was quite happy to give it up. When she was younger one nighttime bottle of formula was life changing.

      If we ever had another kid (which ain’t gonna happen) I would be on the fence. I might still combo feed, depending.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      March 23, 2016 at 9:46 am #

      This isn’t what you asked, but I’m one of the apparently rare freaks of nature to whom it all felt good: feeding, pumping, whatever. As long as it relieved the pressure of supply, it was fine with me. I began to sympathize with cows. Sorry, it really is TMI day here.

      • BeatriceC
        March 23, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

        I’m completely with you on the sympathy with cows thing. I had a massive oversupply, especially with my third. My body thought I was feeding a full roster of NFL players, not a 504g preemie.

      • FormerPhysicist
        March 23, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

        I’m with you, and even started collecting cow figurines.

    • Charybdis
      March 23, 2016 at 10:18 am #

      I’ve often wondered the same thing, along with something else. *Deep breath*……Why, oh why is “comfort nursing” a thing? I mean, why would you want to become the “one and only” thing that can soothe your upset child/baby? Or that often times it seems that when the baby/toddler sees you, they immediately want to latch on to your boob, even if they have started to eat solids and are drinking some non-boob liquids (water, juice, etc). How do you deal with that?

      Seriously, no snark/meanness intended. I’ve often wondered about that dynamic. I mean, I get that Mom is a comforting person; hugs, kisses, caresses, that sort of thing and that babies often suck for comfort. But WHY does it have to be your breast that is sucked over and above what is necessary for feeding purposes? This is why there are pacifiers.

      I hated, loathed and despised breastfeeding. Stuck it out for about 3 weeks and then completely switched to formula, as we had been supplementing because my supply was abysmal. DS was also a tactile soother, meaning he would rub a blurp rag with one hand and would always have one with him to rub/pet as he went to sleep or while he was having his bottle. I would hold him, rock him, pat his back or butt, but I was absolutely not sticking my breast in his mouth to comfort him. Nope, nope, nope.

      Like I said, I’m really curious about the comfort nursing bit. I’ve never understood that thought process…

      *braces for torches and pitchforks waved in my general direction*

      • demodocus
        March 23, 2016 at 10:58 am #

        considering my dislike of the process, i never let him comfort nurse. Besides, my family has a tendency to comfort eat… Anyway, he has his Snoopy and as much snuggles, reading, and singing as he likes. Me, i preferred my left thumb as a kid.

        • demodocus
          March 23, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

          I think Daddy singing will work very well for Kid 2. She was kicking like mad the other day but when her father started to sing, she got really quiet. He finished the verse and she started kicking again.

        • demodocus
          March 23, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

          and funnily enough, I didn’t have an overbite or need braces, despite not being able to break the habit until i was 14

      • Amy M
        March 23, 2016 at 11:43 am #

        I’ve seen this with some of my friends—the child learned that the only comfort was nursing, and would want to nurse for every little upset, well into toddler-hood. In the cases of my friends, I don’t really know why they did that. At least for one of them, I believe she didn’t intend it, but it was a quick easy fix for a fussy baby overnight, and then a very hard habit to break later on.

        • Zornorph
          March 23, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

          When my kid needs comfort, I give him his blankie. Much more convenient than one of my body parts but there are some times when he needs ‘up’ and then, of course, I hold him. But lots of times when he’s upset, I need to be doing other things like cooking our dinner – I would be really hampered if he was hanging off of my nipple while doing that.

          • Charybdis
            March 23, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

            But, but ….BABYWEARING! Then your hands are free to do whatever.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            March 23, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

            Yeah, I had a friend who was so into babywearing that she’d wear the toddler while cooking dinner–until an unfortunate and happily relatively minor incident (it could have been SO much worse!) involving the toddler’s bare feet and hot, splattering oil. She still is massively into it, but having common sense, has since banned babies and toddlers, worn or not, from the kitchen while doing that sort of thing.

          • Zornorph
            March 23, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

            He’s been a bit heavy for that for a while, now. Even so, I wouldn’t want him anywhere near me when I was frying bacon.

      • J.B.
        March 23, 2016 at 11:45 am #

        Well, both my kids got pacifiers early and often. Otherwise they would have comfort nursed every waking moment. But sometimes mommy is a much quicker and easier answer. I did sometimes wonder if they were fussier early because they breastfed.

      • Megan
        March 23, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

        We do both comfort nursing and pacifier, whatever works at the moment. Mostly, at this point it’s a way to relieve discomfort for me and to ease away from breastfeeding because, even though I know formula is the right answer for our family, it’s still somewhat hard for me to let go completely cold turkey. I think it’s hormonal honestly, because once the lactation hormones go away I’m much more rational and always wonder why I made such a BFD about it. Plus, I feel like it makes the transition easier for baby. And with my first baby, I really enjoyed nursing. This time around, I don’t as much, which has made it easier to stop than last time was.

      • crazy grad mama
        March 23, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

        We very deliberately avoided comfort nursing because it has always been VERY important to my husband that he not be a secondary figure in our son’s life. So we purposefully avoided setting up a situation where only mom=comfort.

        I think my first frustrations with the lactivist crowd originated with this, because all the advice I could find anywhere assumed that of course as a breastfeeding mother I would stick my boob in the kid’s mouth whenever he cried. (Note: I also believe that infants, while they are hungry a lot, do cry from reasons other than hunger. Responding with food when the kid is bored or hot seems like it’s setting up bad habits for the future.)

      • Brooke
        March 23, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

        Honestly I didn’t want my kids to suck their thumbs or have a pacifier until they were 5 and have an overbite or need braces.

        • Charybdis
          March 23, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

          So you prefer they use the boob as a comfort device until whenever?

    • Dr Kitty
      March 23, 2016 at 10:21 am #

      I dislike pumping, but I do like BF.
      I only work 3 days a week, and BF on days baby is with me.
      If I don’t pump at work/ in the evening after baby is asleep:
      A) my supply will tank after a few days and I won’t be able to BF on the days I want
      B) I’ll be engorged and sore
      C) baby will have no EBM to drink

      So I pump.
      All I really want is to 6-8oz to send to his childminder the next day, which is (thankfully) easily achievable for me.

      At this point A and B are much more important than C.
      The little monkey slept through the night last night and I woke up uncomfortably full of milk this morning (but he was ravenous and the situation was easily resolved).
      The idea of NOT pumping once during my 9hour work day….ow.

      • MI Dawn
        March 23, 2016 at 10:53 am #

        That was part of my problem. As a nurse, even though we were *supposed* to have breaks/lunch, many times we were too busy or short-staffed to take them. And – we had to punch out and back in, which meant if you went to the cafeteria for anything, by the time you got down there, obtained and paid for your food/drink and got back up, your 30 minutes were gone, or nearly so. Even bringing food, it was often not possible to take the 20 minutes needed to pump. So I would often run into the bathroom, manually express enough to be comfortable/not leak like crazy and run back out. No time to grab a bottle and save any.

        And they wonder why so many nurses don’t breastfeed very long. My current employer is much better, with an actual nursing room where you can sit and pump or, if your baby is in the daycare, bring your baby to nurse. But I’m not in a hospital setting any more.

    • guest
      March 23, 2016 at 10:49 am #

      And another reason: We are also told, by doctors, even, that breast feeding and pumping is good for the mother’s health – and that we will lost the baby weight faster if we do it.

      I don’t know how many women do it only for that reason, but when you add up all these little benefits breastfeeding supposedly has, it’s not surprising that women who don’t enjoy it/find it painful still press on.

      • Roadstergal
        March 23, 2016 at 10:51 am #

        That’s a very good point. I haven’t been pregnant, but hearing how much it changes your body – wanting to undo that and gain control of your body back must be a strong motivator for some?

        • guest
          March 23, 2016 at 11:49 am #

          I imagine so. I know the idea of getting my weight down appealed to me. Unfortunately, breastfeeding had the opposite effect on me – I gained weight while doing it. I was constantly hungry, and unable to even leave the apartment most days because of the monumental task of breastfeeding newborn twins.

      • AA
        March 23, 2016 at 10:58 am #

        Yes, the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding includes cited benefits to parents, children, and employers. Also not cited–there can be peer pressure as well, such as people questioning whether you are trying hard enough to provide optimal opportunities to your baby via breastmilk.

        • Anne Catherine
          March 23, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

          Yes the Surgeon Generals Call to Action does tout quite a few benefits (it even has a formula risks table–appendix-2).

          Fact checking that thing is interesting. Although published in 2011, none of the studies (for the benefits for the babies) are post 2007. The citation for eczema is from 2001, obesity, 2004, and LRTI 2003. Mostly the studies cited say there is an association, not a causal relationship, and further research is needed. .

          They also cite that silly $13 billion study by Melissa Bartick.

          One would expect a little less bias coming from a government source staffed with professionals.

    • Erin
      March 23, 2016 at 10:59 am #

      My reasoning went something like,

      1. Quiting despite finding it hugely triggering felt like letting my rapist win.
      2. I’m stubborn.
      3. Despite having read lots of studies, I couldn’t quite convince myself that there were little to no benefits. Dismissing the claims antenatally was one thing, being confident about that afterwards was another. That little voice kept saying “what if”
      4. C section guilt, see above.
      5. Survival instincts. I was suicidal in the first few months and feeling that I had to feed him as much as I hated doing it made it harder for me follow through on those thoughts because I’d go into panicky loops along the line of what if he wont take formula or worse doesn’t get given any if I’m not there.
      6. My mother told me to give formula, not because she was being supportive but because she hates the fact that I breastfed when she couldn’t.
      7. Guilt in general. Despite his rocky start he latched well and I could have fed the whole of NICU, my milk came in fast and ferocious. Midwives, nurses and assorted others kept telling me how lucky I was as milk poured out.

      I managed three months and probably should have stopped before we left hospital on day 3

    • Bugsy
      March 23, 2016 at 11:17 am #

      For me, the same answers as in the comments below…particularly along the lines of Erin’s #3. Being confident of dismissing the claims, particularly when it’s so beaten into us that “breast is best,” has been impossible for me.

    • sdsures
      March 23, 2016 at 11:17 am #

      Martyr complex?

      • J.B.
        March 23, 2016 at 11:46 am #

        There are plenty of reasoned answers below, from women who don’t sound like martyrs.

    • Taysha
      March 23, 2016 at 11:52 am #

      Quite frankly, my reason was easy:

      Twins, and broke.

      If it’d been a singleton I would have done differently (not sure if I’d tried to bf more or gone straight to formula, but def not what I did). The pump was covered, I sacrificed sleep and I was fortunate to have decent supply. Daycare costs almost did us in, but the worsehalf got a better job and we could breathe then.

      So it was formula then.

    • Suzi Screendoor
      March 23, 2016 at 11:57 am #

      It’s hard to remember through the hormonal fog, but I think I resisted stopping “just in case”. Although I rationally knew that the benefits are small and the research isn’t all that good, I wanted to do the best I could for my kid. Like, if she died of SIDS or ended up with diabetes or something else terrible, I would always wonder if it was my fault for not breastfeeding longer.

      I certainly felt more rational about it once I stopped lactating, but that guilty “what if” kind of feeling does linger a bit. She’s almost three now and she still struggles with constipation, so every time she poops I get to beat myself up over it even though I know it’s probably genetic.

    • BeatriceC
      March 23, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

      I rather enjoyed breastfeeding once the first few weeks went by. I had appropriate support to get through those early days, and that made all the difference. I’ve posted before about how my mother was amazing during those early days. I was feeling frustrated because it just wasn’t working out. The baby couldn’t latch, my nipples hurt, nothing was working right. My mother assured me that it takes time to learn new skills, and both the baby and I were learning, so I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. She convinced me that it was okay to give him a little formula to calm him down so he could learn to latch. She convinced me that it was okay to have trouble and that most women did, and that we would work it out eventually. Or we wouldn’t, and the baby would be just fine on formula.

      I think just hearing that my troubles didn’t mean I was a bad mother who couldn’t do “what nature intended”, made me willing to persevere and work through those issues. My mother was real with me, and that, I think, made all the difference.

    • Heidi
      March 23, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

      I only pump and sometimes I just absolutely can’t be bothered with it. So I just don’t. I’m not that worried about my supply drying up, but so far it’s been maintained at 8 oz. no matter how often or little I pump. I was throwing in the towel so I began pumping less often but found it didn’t plummet my supply so I was able to deal with pumping two or threes times a day vs. 8 or more.

      Why do I think I’ve stuck with it? One, I think postpartum hormones can do a number on you. I’ve sat in tears at the thought of completely giving up. Really no good reason why though. Two, the idea that I can eat an extra 160+ calories a day appeals to me when I’m dieting to take off the baby weight plus some. Then there’s this somewhat irrational part of me that is scared once I quit my baby will be struck with a cold and diarrhea that my breastmilk would have prevented. Totally illogical really when you look at the real statistics.

      Now if my boobs dried up tomorrow and I had to exclusively formula feed, I think I’d manage just fine, especially since it was my body that gave up, not me.

    • Brooke
      March 23, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

      Formula isn’t exactly a great alternative. I didn’t really know about all the benefits when I was breastfeeding my daughter, I just what the AAP recommendations were and figured they knew what they were talking about. My mother in law gave my daughter soy formula which she projectile vomited all over the place and then milk formula without my permission while I was at work that caused my daughter really painful constipation. So at that point I really didn’t have much of a choice. Not that it was really that difficult but I got a lot of flak from her dad because he wanted to bond with her and said I was being selfish and my mother in law thought my daughter was going to be malnourished. With my son I had cracked bleeding nipples for the first 6 weeks but I kept going because how could I stop when he was gaining weight like a champ and I didn’t really know how I was going to afford formula or what I would do if he couldn’t keep it down.

      • CSN0116
        March 23, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

        Formula IS a great alternative. That’s why you can’t observe a difference between anybody breast versus formula fed – not a 5-year-old or a 95-year-old. That is why no medical intake form you fill out to assess your health risks will ever ask you if you drank breast milk. It’s why your kid’s school forms will ask about a whole bunch of social and medical shit, but not whether they drank breast milk. It’s why you know formula fed kids who are sick less often and more intelligent than their breast fed counterparts, and why you know breast fed kids who are sick less often and more intelligent than their formula fed counterparts. Because it’s not clinically significant. In the US, it is unobservable and you know it.

        And you use a one-time experience to substantiate?

        Your kid puked because soy formula is often not well-received, especially by a baby who doesn’t have sensitivities and needs it, and especially when said baby abruptly goes from 100% breast milk to 100% soy formula with no transitional period. What an odd go-to formula on behalf of your mother-in-law.

      • crazy grad mama
        March 23, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

        “I got a lot of flak from her dad because he wanted to bond with her”

        You decided that the magical woo of EBF was more important than letting a father spend time with his child?

      • Commander30
        March 23, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

        “My mother in law gave my daughter soy formula which she projectile vomited all over the place and then milk formula without my permission while I was at work that caused my daughter really painful constipation.”

        It could have been the type of formula and not just formula in general. My daughter also projectile vomited formula–the pre-mixed, ready to drink stuff. So my husband and I stuck with the powered stuff, which she tolerated just fine. (And in fact, she seems to have outgrown her intolerance for the pre-mixed stuff, because she can take that fine now, too (although she has it very rarely.))

        Oh, and I wanted to add (and I mean this sincerely) that I’m glad breastfeeding worked out for you! It’s all about finding the best fit for your babies and for your family. For some people, that’s formula, and for some, that’s breastfeeding. I’m glad you were able to find the choice that benefited you and your babies the most.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          March 23, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

          My old colleague and I share an anecdote from when her baby was about 1 mo old. We were at an event at their house, and she had just nursed the baby and I got to hold her. She subsequently projectile spewed it all out, basically looking like a volcano erupting.

          Whenever I see my colleague (she has since moved on), she reminds me of it. And her daughter, now 16 years old, knows the story well, despite the fact she doesn’t know me at all.

          So anecdote away!

          • Roadstergal
            March 23, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

            See, the problem is that you held the baby. As you can clearly tell from Brooke’s anecdote, nothing good comes from a non-lactater trying to do anything resembling bonding with a baby.

      • Anne Catherine
        March 23, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

        Sorry that you had a rough go of it at first –and I’m glad it all worked out as well.

      • Erin
        March 23, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

        My mother in law was given cows milk at a very early age, talking weeks not months here because her Mother’s milk had the same effect on her as soy did on your daughter. Different babies, different reactions. My anecdote doesn’t prove that breastmilk is bad for all babies, yours doesn’t prove formula is bad for all babies.

        Question for you though. For reasons I have discussed previously breastfeeding made me sick to my stomach and I think impeded my ability to bond with my son. I found it triggering and considered self mutilation amongst other things. Do you believe the “benefits” of breastfeeding out weigh the “negatives” of formula even in situations like that?

      • Gene
        March 23, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

        My exclusively breastfed youngest once projectile vomited all over me. I’d just taken my first shower in a week and washed my hair and felt SO CLEAN. The vomit covered me from freshly washed hair to clean toes and everywhere in between. It also covered the fresh sheets I had just put on my bed. Spouse is a saint and took the baby and changed her and the sheets and let me take another shower. It was glorious! Two showers in one night!

        So, obs, breastfeeding causes projectile vomiting!

      • Charybdis
        March 23, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

        Did you leave a bottle/bag or two of pumped milk for your daughter whilst you were at work? I mean, your MIL had to feed the baby *something* didn’t she? Or should she have let her go hungry until you got back? Why was she using soy formula? Was it recommended by the pediatrician? Was it because it was a non-animal product choice? Soy is not normally the first go-to choice for formula, so why was the milk-based formula against your permission?

    • Gene
      March 23, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

      I hated the pump with a passion, but I hated the expense of formula more. I’m cheap to a fault.

      Plus, I had great supply and hated the idea of needing to haul bottles and supplies everywhere (I’m a whip it out girl). One used pump (free), mostly free supplies (perk of the job), and using ziplock snack bags instead of legitimate milk bags means that I probably pumped cheaper than many others. Plus spread over three kids.

      Same reason I use cloth diapers. I spent about $350-400 outlay in 2009. And we are still using those same diapers on the third child (can’t wait for potty training!!!). I’ll bitch about laundry, but I’d complain about the cost of paper diapers more…

    • Michelle
      March 24, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

      I don’t like BFing, but I do it anyway for a few reasons:
      1) I feel that as long as I can make enough milk, breastfeeding is a bit healthier for my baby than formula. (Breastfed babies tend to get sick a little bit less than formula-fed babies, and who knows, maybe someday other benefits will be proven.)
      2) Although I actually have a harder time losing weight while breastfeeding (I hate how the lactivists act like breastfeeding always helps), I don’t want to decrease my calorie budget even more.
      3) The biggest reason: Some of my relations really believe breastfeeding is way better than formula-feeding, and I don’t want to deal with the judgement that would come with formula-feeding for my own convenience.

      • CSN0116
        March 24, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

        I feel horrible for your biggest reason 🙁

  9. catspharm
    March 22, 2016 at 8:29 pm #

    I think another important question is, why aren’t there more resources made readily available to the public, especially online? So many women are buying into this stuff, we continue to see the public Googling their way through parenthood using little or no discretion, willing to accept anecdotal evidence and misinformation from questionable sources as fact, the lack of common sense is just daunting. I work in healthcare, I understand that knowledge deficits exist, however I believe this goes far beyond a just basic lack of understanding, it’s conspiracy theory grade b.s. and women are eating it right up because it’s the first thing they’re being served, and there is an abundance of it.

    When we see these campaigns about “normalizing breastfeeding”, we’re seeing women fighting for their right to be respected by the public, meanwhile they’re abiding by and conforming to clearly abnormal ideals set forth by a “lactivist hierarchy”. Sure we are taught to “never blame the victim”, but at what point should women be held accountable for their gullibility, at what point is the child recognized as the victim? At what point do we push to take control back?

    • CSN0116
      March 22, 2016 at 8:54 pm #

      Yes. You get pregnant. If you’re like many women today you might be geographically displaced from a lot of friends/family due to a new budding career. If you are surrounded by lots of friends/family, they might not be in the “mom phase” yet, or God forbid you think your own mom and grandmother know a damn thing. I mean, they didn’t even use car seats and started feeding solids nearly at birth! Gasp! Broads don’t know shit.

      So you Google. You want to find people about as pregnant and you are and you want to learn about pregnancy and childbirth. That very quickly leads you to someplace like Baby Center or The Bump, or some other miscellaneous Facebook group, where the woo will hit you in gestational week 4. There is so much of it that you will start to assume it as normal; it becomes your normal. This inundation occurs weeks before your first prenatal appointment; you come in equipped with countless preconceived notions.

      And on it goes from there…

      It’s also very trendy right now to be a social deviant. I mean you can’t be racist or sexist or criminal – no – but you CAN be anti-The Man. “The Man” in pregnancy and mothering is the mainstream, traditional medicine, the CDC, etc. You can give them the proverbial middle finger and be praised for it. It is acceptable. Shit, it’s encouraged. Pepper in an extremely self-absorbed society of followers (and an age group even more likely to be self-absorbed) and you have a shit storm.

    • Anne Catherine
      March 22, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

      The thing is –the AAP and HHS and the USDA–(though WIC) are giving out bad information. These are all well respected organizations that healthcare professionals are supposed to trust. Its really pathetic that they do this. I’ve been on their backs for about 4 years to change their websites/statements–(I’ve gotten no-where).

      They all promote breastfeeding as being preventive for chronic disease and pretty much always working provided you try hard enough and get advice for a LC. (which is ridiculous).

      Just as an example here is an AAP webpage that is for health professionals–ti claims ‘unequivocal evidence”

      UGH don’t get me started… I think that my blood pressure is rising!!

      Anyway –I could give you some emails and phone numbers if you wanted to write the AAP or HHS!

      • Madtowngirl
        March 22, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

        In dealing with infertility, I was actually quite shocked by some of the bad information being given out – by medical professionals! When I was going through miscarriage #1 (I didn’t know I was pregnant), I actually had a nurse tell me I was fine and I just didn’t know what a “real period” was. I had been bleeding for 2 weeks at this point.

        And feeling alone in dealing with this infertility, I very quickly found myself on some Internet forums where I could connect with women who were having the same issues – and then I spiraled into woo central. When you’re desperate to have a baby, and someone tried something that coincided with them conceiving, well, it’s very easy to get sucked into that.

        Dr. T posted a great article on her Facebook page a while ago from a “reformed natural mother,” and she did a pretty good job of describing how easy it is to buy into the woo (and mommy wars) when you feel like you’re part of a community.

        • demodocus
          March 23, 2016 at 8:29 am #

          ugh, the number of people who told us that having one kid via IVF might relax us enough to have another unassisted. My father assumed this was the case with our 2nd. Since he was also telling me he hoped i *wasn’t* going to have another (for financial reasons, not that he was being asked to support us), I didn’t enlighten him.

      • CSN0116
        March 22, 2016 at 10:39 pm #

        Like one of my students wrote in a paper (I posted his excerpt on yesterday’s blog post), if these large entities KNOW there are no major benefits to breastfeeding, then what IS their motivation for wanting women to breastfeed? THAT is the million dollar question. Makes me break out the tin foil hats, honestly :/

        • Who?
          March 22, 2016 at 11:08 pm #

          If in doubt, follow the money.

          Consider the NRA-when it was started it was an organisation of gun owners, and it’s now an organisation of gun sellers. Same name, different motivation.

          Was someone here talking about $400 an hour for lactation consultants? Plus all the gear you need to do this apparently simple natural activity. It’s a business, which is fine. What I mind is the pretence that it isn’t, and that all the hype is for the benefit of women and babies.

          I don’t doubt that the women who accost strangers in the street are sincere, and would be horrified to think that their mentors are anything other than what they claim. True believers, whatever their passion, are hard to communicate with.

  10. Cartman36
    March 22, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

    Isn’t is funny how no lactivist ever swoops in to answer these type questions?

    • Who?
      March 22, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

      I never thought I’d type these words, but ‘where’s Brooke?’.

  11. Heidi
    March 22, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    When I read this, I began thinking, “Sex *used* to be awesome, before my vaginal birth and before breastfeeding.” Although I make inadequate supply, the measly 8 oz. I make a day have caused “momopause,” and of course, the recovery from “just” a 2nd degree tear has been slow and caused some scar tissue. I know there’s some definite overlap in lactivism and you gotta give birth vaginally-ism. In my opinion, breastfeeding sucks (no pun intended) and if I choose to reproduce again, I’m seriously considering asking for a c-section. I don’t expect recovery to be easy, but still.

  12. Heidi
    March 22, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    I’m beginning to think overzealous lactivists actually hated breastfeeding and want to make everyone miserable with them. I’d understand if they just wanted to support women who wanted to breastfeed, but to make women who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed makes no sense to me. I know at the hospital, the LCs acted like I absolutely had to call if I had any issues, that somehow it wouldn’t be okay to make the decision on my own to formula feed. You know, just let my baby go hungry while I waited for an appointment where the LC was going to somehow whisper to my breasts, and voila, they’d make enough milk! If they’d said, “If you come across any issues and you still want to breastfeed, then please call us,” it’d be one thing. But once you tell them you want to try breastfeeding, they act as if it’s a decision you can’t go back on.

  13. guest
    March 22, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    I’ve given up sex. But I’m not going around telling everyone else how easy that is that that if they don’t do the same thing they’re selfish.

    • Zornorph
      March 22, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

      Women who don’t want to have sex with me are selfish! Don’t they know that sex is what their vaginas are designed for? Why would they want an artificial orgasm instead of the real thing?

      • Roadstergal
        March 22, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

        Perhaps sex isn’t a bad parallel for BF. For a lot of women, the first time they try it, it’s uncomfortable, but then it’s easy and fun. But for other women, it’s not easy or fun, and the answer isn’t “just keep putting the P in the V until it works,” it’s using artificial help (lubricant, warm-up toys = nipple shields, formula supplementation) or substitutes (vibrator = FF).

        Actually, maybe formula supplementation so the baby isn’t starving while you work out BF is more like getting a guy off without the V first, so he’s not so starving for sex that he can’t be slow and gentle. :p

        • BeatriceC
          March 22, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

          You are brilliant. This is actually perfect. There’s even more options once you get into the kink world, but even just vanilla, this is a perfect analogy.

          • MI Dawn
            March 22, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

            I like you! And I know what you mean…

          • Zornorph
            March 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

            Yeah, actually, I was thinking that the way some of these lacto-nazis go on badgering women to breastfeed is nearly identical to guys who want their gals to let them have buttsex. ‘You’d love it if you tried it! It’s awesome!’

          • Roadstergal
            March 22, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

            Oh lol, I’ve thought in the past that the right answer to “Are you breastfeeding? Have you tried it? It’s wonderful!” is “Have you tried anal? It’s wonderful!”

          • demodocus
            March 22, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

            a rebuttal for that one is for the woman to ask the guy if he’s ever been the recipient of anal that he’d know..

          • guest
            March 23, 2016 at 11:56 am #

            Rebuttal, lol.

          • Charybdis
            March 22, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

            To keep with the comparison, I think it would have to be a guy who enjoys being anally penetrated (by finger, hand, toys of varying sizes or by a flesh and blood penis) trying to convince another guy who isn’t into anal/doesn’t like being penetrated that it is OMG the Best Thing Ever and all he has to do is relax, breathe deeply through your mouth, maybe reframe the anal experience as pleasant instead of odious.

            Then the butt-shaming starts.

          • Roadstergal
            March 22, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

            Ja, I think vanilla is a decent parallel?

            In that scenario, I guess I was the for-hire wet nurse. :p

          • BeatriceC
            March 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

            Vanilla is more than enough of a parallel. But to be honest, part of the reason I got into kink to begin with was pelvic floor issues caused by childbirth and looking for options to make sex enjoyable again.

        • Stephanie Rotherham
          March 22, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

          And now you’re making me wonder about asexuals.

          • LibrarianSarah
            March 22, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

            Would asexuals be women who don’t have or want kids?

            I don’t know. I have never been good with metaphors. Metaphors are dumb.

          • Stephanie Rotherham
            March 22, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

            I don’t know enough other aces to speak for all of us, but I have never wanted children. Of course, there are ways to have a child without sex, or even just making an exception to make a baby.

          • Roadstergal
            March 22, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

            Yes, no desire to have babies would be ace in that metaphor, I think. 🙂

      • LibrarianSarah
        March 22, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

        The sad thing is that there seems to be plenty of guys who think this way. My favorite is the ones that call women who have NSA sex (or just sex, or just look like they’ve had sex) “sluts” and then call women who refuse to have sex with them “sluts” as well. “Sluts” who, of course, deserve to be raped for not “giving men sex.”

        I should probably stop reading We Hunted the Mammoth.

        • BeatriceC
          March 22, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

          Oh, the “slut-as-an-insult-or-coersion” term really gets my rage going. Many BDSM dynamics involve the Dom “sharing” the sub. Other women just like having casual sex, group sex, gang bangs, etc. Woe is the woman who enjoys those things that says “no” to somebody. Not everybody, of course, but I’ve seen many men go off the handle because that “slut who fucks everybody” didn’t have the right to tell him no. Ummm, yeah. That’s not how that works. The following is actually my story, though details were changed (like the part about not engaging in the lifestyle…this was posted before I admitted to things publicly and even though somebody was posting for me, I still didn’t want to admit it.)


          • demodocus
            March 22, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

            I make lots of quilts and freely give most of them away but I ain’t making one for my former downstairs neighbor. Ever.

          • LibrarianSarah
            March 22, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

            What? Don’t you know that a woman that has sex with ANY man is therefore required EVERY man? I am pretty sure it is in the constitution. /sarcasm

            Ugh I hate that kind of entitled shittery and that it only seems to apply to women. I’m pretty sure there’s a woman out there that those douches don’t want to have sex with and I am sure they would not appreciate it if someone forced them too.

            One of the great things about being asexual is I can honestly say “sorry I am just not into dudes” and it’s cool. Though being hetero-romantic confuses things a lot but if you know any nice guys who lost their penises in an unfortunate smelting accident let me know.

          • Roadstergal
            March 22, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

            It’s just like the laws mandating a TV ultrasound before an abortion. “They consented to being penetrated when they got pregnant!” Um, a: not always, b: hey, since you consented to your last prostate exam, let me shove this cucumber up your ass.

          • niteseer
            March 23, 2016 at 5:33 am #

            “” b: hey, since you consented to your last prostate exam, let me shove this cucumber up your ass.””

            I think……….that I just fell into platonic love with you. LOL!

          • critter8875
            March 26, 2016 at 1:19 pm #


          • Stephanie Rotherham
            March 22, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

            Asexual high five!

            Yeah, double standards suck worse than a Hoover; what’s the betting that if a woman the douchecanoe doesn’t find attractive acted as entitled to them as they do to women, they would run a mile screaming about how wrong it is? And get away with it, or at least not called out on it, whilst women have to reject in a way that they don’t hurt the poor wittle arsehole’s delicate sensibilities. And still get called a slut. You’re a slut if you enjoy casual sex, and a slut if you don’t like casual sex.

          • Mishimoo
            March 23, 2016 at 12:51 am #

            Oh hey, I used to hang out at CS and I’ll be back more once I’m working again!

            Argh, that is one of the many reasons I hate the term ‘slut’.

          • BeatriceC
            March 23, 2016 at 1:36 am #

            I still read and occasionally post there, but I’m not that active. I met one of my closest friends through that site. The “bartender in Key West” I’ve referred to occasionally here is Jester.

          • Mishimoo
            March 23, 2016 at 5:47 am #

            He’s one of my favourite posters! That’s so funny – when you mentioned your tomato allergy a while ago, I thought about sending you to his tomato-free spaghetti sauce recipe but had to chase munchkins and forgot.

          • BeatriceC
            March 23, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

            Guess who he created that recipe for?

          • Mishimoo
            March 23, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

            I realised it was you when you mentioned him lol!

        • guest
          March 23, 2016 at 11:52 am #

          Yeah, and sorting the wheat from the chaff is why I just gave up trying to find suitable, respectful male partners. I’d rather just not have sex. Saves a lot of drama, and I can keep my vagina from getting dusty in other ways.

          • Roadstergal
            March 23, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

            I just need them to be respectful for one evening, then they can bugger off…

  14. YesYesNoNo
    March 22, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    Totally OT but you all have all helped me in the past, my 5 month old has a tooth breaking through. Besides cold teething toys which he enjoys tossing, is there anything else I can do?

    • Zornorph
      March 22, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

      Well, in the old days when things were perfect, mums used to rub cocaine on baby’s gums and that would numb it up real good.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        March 22, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

        Amazing how many adults back then were “teething,” too

      • BeatriceC
        March 22, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

        I mentioned yesterday that my pediatrician was old school and prescribed paregoric. Good stuff.

        • YesYesNoNo
          March 22, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

          I wish, going to make ice for him.

        • MI Dawn
          March 22, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

          OMG, I LOVED paregoric. My pediatrician prescribed it for my kids. A little rubbed on the gums and they were much happier than any use of tylenol or advil. And the 4 oz bottle lasted until I tossed it about 5 years later – tossing out about 3 remaining ounces.

          YesYesNoNo: try getting some cheap white washclothes, dampening then placing in separate snack bags and freezing. Reusable, cheap, and they last pretty long.

          • YesYesNoNo
            March 22, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

            I must call and ask about this wonder drug.

          • MI Dawn
            March 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

            You probably won’t be able to get it. It’s tincture of opium, to be honest, and most peds won’t give it any more – this was nearly 27 years ago. Like BeatriceC, my pediatrician was old fashioned (and he and his wife had 6 kids of their own.)

          • YesYesNoNo
            March 22, 2016 at 2:42 pm #


          • BeatriceC
            March 22, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

            If you can find a friendly, 80 year old pediatrician…

            But seriously, just like MI Dawn, my pediatrician prescribed two ounces when my oldest was a baby. Five years (and two more kids) later I tossed the remaining ounce and a half. It took very little to be effective.

          • BeatriceC
            March 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

            It’s still around because it’s still used for some extreme cases of reflux and other extreme digestive issues, in addition to pain relief for babies with severe pain conditions.

          • YesYesNoNo
            March 22, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

            Thanks for your help.

    • Heidi
      March 22, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

      If you are in the US, they make baby Ambesol, which I assume is okay. Might want to check in at the ped’s office. Same idea as cocaine, I guess. haha.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        March 22, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

        Anbesol is a topical analgesia, but I am not convinced it is great for teething pain.

        I remember hearing something recently about something that babies could suck on that they liked, that could in principle soothe teething pain. Can’t remember what it was. Something frozen I think (popsicle? Doesn’t sound right)

        • YesYesNoNo
          March 22, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

          I am going to freeze a toy. Only 19 more teeth left, yay…

          • Michele
            March 22, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

            They have mesh feeders that some of my friends swore by for putting a chunk of frozen fruit or breastmilk (maybe formula too, I don’t know if it freezes well?) in and letting baby suck on. Like these http://www.amazon.com/Munchkin-Fresh-Feeder-Colors-Count/dp/B000GK5XY2
            YMMV though, my kids weren’t terribly impressed.

          • YesYesNoNo
            March 22, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

            Thanks !

      • YesYesNoNo
        March 22, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

        He nixed it for babies under 2…. said results are very short term, My friend recommended some homeopathic garbage…

        • An Actual Attorney
          March 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

          Shot of whiskey? Drop on the gum, the rest for you.

          • YesYesNoNo
            March 22, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

            Sounds terrific 🙂

        • Heidi
          March 22, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

          I’ve seen the “natural” ambesol at the store…and assumed it was garbage. My baby is only 3 months, but now I know when the teething time comes, no to the orajel/ambesol!

    • Charybdis
      March 22, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

      They have baby Orajel, specifically for teething. I found a bit of baby tylenol helps as well. If he will let you, gum massage helps some too (counterpressure and all that).

    • Heidi_storage
      March 22, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

      My pediatrician said Tylenol was okay if the baby was miserable, and it helped. Some people swear by cold, damp washcloths; some by cucumbers. I was always nervous the kid would choke on cucumber bits, but tried the washcloth thing with meh results.

      • BeatriceC
        March 22, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

        Kosher dill pickles were awesome when the boys were old enough. But it had to be the ones that come from the refrigerator aisle. The others didn’t work as well.

        • YesYesNoNo
          March 22, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

          How do you use them? I have them here as hubby loves them?

          • BeatriceC
            March 22, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

            I bought the ones that had been cut in half, not quarters, and I just gave them a chunk to gnaw on. I didn’t do it before they were old enough to swallow well, and only did it when they were in their high chairs and I could watch them closely because of fear of choking, but something about the cold, vinegary pickles really soothed their gums.

          • YesYesNoNo
            March 22, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

            He eats veggies and cereal in a high chair. Thank you for this information. I appreciate it.

          • BeatriceC
            March 22, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

            You know what I wonder? I wonder if it was the cold pickles themselves or the vinegar and spices in the pickling liquid that causes the numbing effect. I know when I eat a lot of pickles my gums get a little tingly. That causes me to wonder if rubbing a little of the juice from the jar on her guns might be effective without the choking risk of the actual pickles.

          • BeatriceC
            March 22, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

            Hmmmm, I don’t have the “edit” option on this one for some reason.

            “Gums” and “his”. I should know better than to post from my phone.

      • YesYesNoNo
        March 22, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

        Too nervous to try cucumber here too. No luck with washcloth either but a wet mess.
        He is fussing with his bottle now too, not drinking. I will try infant Tylenol.

      • Roadstergal
        March 22, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

        A co-worker of mine would toss a pile of damp washcloths in the freezer and let the kid chew on them when they were stiff and icy. Apparently, that worked well for her kid.

      • Commander30
        March 22, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

        I usually wipe down my daughter’s (who is also teething) high chair tray after she’s finished eating but before I take her out, and she always snatches the washcloth from me and chews on it like crazy. Then again, she chews on literally anything she can get her hands on…

        • YesYesNoNo
          March 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

          My son wanted to chew the dog the other night.

    • demodocus
      March 22, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

      My boy preferred room temperature teething toys and any fingers in his reach

      • YesYesNoNo
        March 22, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

        He is hand eating now as I type.

        • demodocus
          March 22, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

          If it’s his own, that’s not too bad, if it’s yours, you have my sympathies. lol.
          Teething here too. My boy’s getting his 2 year molars and has been chewing on his thumb a lot this month. He seems okay except when the dang thing actually breaks through.(He’s gotten 1 and is working on #2)

          • YesYesNoNo
            March 22, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

            Just noticed the first little bottom tooth breaking through Sunday.
            Poor babies ♡

    • Kelly
      March 22, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

      We put Orajel and give Tylenol if they are really cranky and chew on the bottle. Otherwise, I just give them teething toys and they seem to enjoy that. One of my children would cut four teeth at once. I feel for you. It can be rough.

      • YesYesNoNo
        March 22, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

        This is just the first… he is chewing bottle barely drinking. Wonder why our parents put whiskey/brandy on our teeth….

      • demodocus
        March 22, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

        This reminds me, my kid’s first canine broke through the night his leg was broken. Not that he noticed, poor thing. Generally, I don’t recommend vicoden for teething pain.

    • Megan
      March 22, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

      Frozen banana worked well for us. And Infant Motrin once they’re over 6 months old.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      March 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

      If he’s started solids, there are mesh feeders out there that you can put pieces of fruit etc into. It would be messy with drool and whatnot, but a frozen strawberry or frozen peach slice in one of those might both soothe the gums and distract him with a yummy flavor?

    • Inmara
      March 22, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

      Not very helpful, but here is an entertaining and fascinating article on history of baby teething and how it’s treated nowadays http://www.chadhayesmd.com/cutting-teeth-part-1-the-fascinating-history-of-teething/

      What kind of teething toys have you tried? For my baby, this type worked well http://nuby.com/en/natural-touch/teethers-toys/67918/ (though he didn’t have much discomfort with first teeth; waiting anxiously what will be with next ones).

      • YesYesNoNo
        March 22, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

        All sorts of teething toys that you refrigerate first, a mitt which he can take off, washclothes, my finger, my arm, you name it… I think I bought it.

    • Liz Leyden
      March 26, 2016 at 3:00 am #

      My pediatrician recommended frozen waffles for chewing.

  15. demodocus
    March 22, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    Math is easy! Ban the calculator! Here are anecdotes from Airplant and BeatriceC to prove just how easy it is! You shouldn’t even need to practice!
    (No, my dear math profs, i’m not saying it’s impossible, just that it takes some of us longer to learn even when we kind of dig it.)

    • BeatriceC
      March 22, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

      To be completely fair, I’ve tried to put the word easy in scare quotes every time I’ve used it. The fact is that while I’m really good at math and enjoy it immensely, I did put a lot of work into learning it, particularly at the graduate level. It was only “easy” because I enjoyed the work it took to get to the level of expertise I have.

      • demodocus
        March 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

        I suspect the same of the bf’ing anecdotes.

  16. Amy M
    March 22, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    Yeah, breastfeeding is more like knitting. Knitting doesn’t generally come naturally, it must be taught to most people, so its not easy unless you’ve learned and practiced. Even then, some never find it easy, so they don’t do it. Knitting takes time and resources—one must buy yarn, needles, bags to store it in, etc. It’s not convenient, because you must have a place to sit, and of course, have your project with you—even if you have a 20 minute commute on the bus, you can’t really get your knitting done there. As a result of this, and also that we can all go to the store now and buy whatever knitted items we want, most people don’t knit. Many never learn, or can’t learn, or don’t like it enough to do it even if they know how.

    • LeighW
      March 23, 2016 at 10:09 am #

      Having the physical ability to knit doesn’t mean you’re required to. Buying that hat & scarf set for $20 is a more reasonable decision, if you compare it to spending $20 on yarn and 5-10 hours of your time sitting on the couch with needles in your hands, because the end result is the same.

      Oops, I forgot. A knitters time is worth nothing.

  17. YesYesNoNo
    March 22, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

    I replied to her again and sent her a PM…

    Posted 1 sec ago

    XXXX also please visit the Fearless Formula Feeder site, and the Skeptical Ob, it is a blog 
    and I explained your situation, they can help lots .


    IBS is nothing to fool with.

  18. sdsures
    March 22, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    The UK’s BFHI scares the crap out of me. Rooming-in 24/7 is the norm. How the heck am I going to make it out alive?

    • Erin
      March 22, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

      Escape asap, lots of visitors when you can, candy crush and posting here would be my advice.

    • YesYesNoNo
      March 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

      I had my 1st September 30th in NYC. The hospital will soon be baby friendly. Husband and I are getting up there in age, he wants to start trying within 4-6 months. I fear going back there; but I love my obstetrician.

    • Inmara
      March 22, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

      Somehow you’ll manage, as I did (same story here, mandatory rooming in, though possible to give baby to nurses if mom is flat out passing out from blood loss or something similar). If you can have individual room and support person staying through the night – excellent; if only during the day, also you can have a nap. If it’s shared room then you’re out of luck.
      What I would do differently now – give a bottle of formula if it could buy at least 2 hours of sleep during the night. Also, timely discharge if there are no medical problems for you or baby and you have quick access to doctor/nurse when at home.

      • CSN0116
        March 22, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

        Ricki Lake made that awesome “The Business of Being Born” documentary. Seems it’s high time the world sees what BFHI actually does to women. Anybody wanna make an indy with me?! 😀

      • sdsures
        March 23, 2016 at 11:19 am #

        We know I will be having CS, so any specific tips?

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          March 24, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

          I’m not in the UK and only just saw this, but perhaps I could offer a suggestion or two, bearing in mind that the CS I had with DD was in the US, albeit in a hospital that was heading towards baby friendly status.
          If you have someone who can be there with you, have ’em there.
          I’m told that much of the UK has bassinets that attach to the bed, which is brilliant. (Here, the wheels don’t lock on the bassinets, they don’t attach to the bed, and they’re so high you can’t get baby in/out of them while in bed.)
          Be polite but firm, and document, document, document as necessary. “Nurse Smith, you say that I am solely responsible for getting my baby in and out of her bassinet, changing her, etc, even though I can’t get out of bed for another 6 hours due to my spinal anesthesia. Do I understand correctly that you are contravening Dr. Jones’ orders regarding my getting out of bed? Thank you for confirming that. Please send your supervisor in here immediately, as I want her/him to speak to Dr. Jones when I call her, as I’m doing right now.” “Nurse Smith, my chart clearly states that I will not be breastfeeding. I have discussed this with my obstetrician, and she agrees with my decision. If you have any questions about this, you may speak with her about them. This discussion is over.” Repeat the last sentence as often as necessary. Give as little information as possible so as to avoid a discussion or defense. “I understand you aren’t even trying to breastfeed.” “That’s correct.” “But don’t you want to try? Why not?” “No, I don’t, and my reasons are private.” “But your child will be mentally retarded and die of leukemia at 18 months old if you don’t breasted, and you’ll never bond!” “I said my reasons are private. This discussion is over. Good afternoon.”
          I have no idea if you’re breastfeeding or not, but you get the idea, tone-wise: polite, professional, but firm. Channel the Queen Mum being asked impertinent questions by an underling, and you’ll do brilliantly. 😀 I can’t imagine her cussing the underling out, but I also could see her putting them in their place PDQ.
          One of the reasons that the more bullying medical types in obstetrics get away with as much as they do is that their patient population is very vulnerable: tired, often in pain, hormonal, worried about baby, worried about aftereffects from the birth, sleep-deprived, in unfamiliar circumstances, etc. Bullies are universally cowards. When faced with someone who is polite and firm but strong in their position and willing to contact the appropriate authorities about inappropriate behavior, they back down. Of course you shouldn’t have to deal with this nonsense at such a time, but that’s a rant for another day…

          • sdsures
            March 25, 2016 at 8:41 am #

            I’ll try to remember all this stuff when we do have a kid – thank you! Heck, I could c+p it into a Word document on my computer for later use! We’re not sure bout BFing, mainly because I will have to come off a lot of my migraine meds for TTC and the pregnancy, and we don’t know how soon afterwards I may need to restart them.

            Polite, firm, strong: Hannibal Lecter? *evil grin*

  19. Zornorph
    March 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

    “You know what else is awesome? Sex is awesome. I don’t notice too many
    people in need of convincing that sex is pleasurable. People figure it
    out for themselves without help.”

    They why did George Michael feel the need to inform us that ‘Sex is natural/sex is good/not everybody does it/but everybody should’?

    • YesYesNoNo
      March 22, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

      Lol =)

    • Charybdis
      March 22, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

      Perhaps the lactivists have more of the Salt-N-Pepa mindset. “Push it, push it real good”.

      • Amy M
        March 22, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

        Except Salt-n-Pepa also said: “If I wanna take a guy home with me tonight, its none of your business. If she wanna be a freak and sell it on the weekend, its none of your business. Now you shouldn’t even get into who I’m givin skins to–none of your business…” I think they are more of a live and let live kind of people.

        • Charybdis
          March 22, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

          True, but it was the first thing that popped into my head….:P

          • Amy M
            March 22, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

            Well you know those lactivists, always missing the point. They probably THOUGHT Salt-n-Pepa were suggesting that they oversell breastfeeding.

        • Roadstergal
          March 22, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

          I love that song.

        • Liz Leyden
          March 26, 2016 at 2:58 am #

          That song bugged the hell out of me when it came out. Maybe it was the crowd I ran with, but at the time the people in my life who were the most like “mind your own business about my sex life” were the ones who talked about nothing *but* that.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      March 22, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

      In the bathroom at the park…

  20. YesYesNoNo
    March 22, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    I just responded to a poster’s question on baby center’s formula feeding board. She is being bullied by her nurse who wants her to cease her IBS medication in order to breast feed. She is very worried as she approaches her dye date. This is a shame.

    • YesYesNoNo
      March 22, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

      I am GZR

      • Cartman36
        March 22, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

        I would recommend she find another doctor.

        • YesYesNoNo
          March 22, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

          Waiting to see if she responds too me.
          I never had any issues with my doctor or any doctor in hospital I delivered in.
          Some of the nurses were really bitchy about my choice, gave me the whole breast is best speech, and wanted me to sign something that basically said I was going against medical advice. I refused to sign it.

    • Zornorph
      March 22, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

      When is she going to dye her hair?

      • YesYesNoNo
        March 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

        Woopsy daisy

        • Zornorph
          March 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

          It could have been worse – you could have typoed it as her ‘die date’. 🙂

    • Madtowngirl
      March 22, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

      Oh Lord, no. My mother just had surgery to remove part of her colon that had become so damaged over years of diverticulitis. The breast milk is not worth that. That baby needs a mother that is healthy. Please direct her here, or to Fearless Formula Feeder.

      • YesYesNoNo
        March 22, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

        My brother in law was just hospitalized last week due to IBS. He’s now contemplating surgery

    • MI Dawn
      March 22, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

      Wow. First, she needs to complain to the doctors about that nurse. TOTALLY inappropriate behavior! No nurse should be telling a patient to stop her necessary medications and she should never quit them without consulting with the MD who prescribed them.

      Second, get her doctor(s) to write ON HER CHART (copies usually go to the hospital) that she is to formula feed with no questions due to medication needs. She should also get her OB doctors to write it on an Rx slip she can give the nurses upon admission.

      Third, if she has a pediatrician already, get them to write it on a Rx slip to go onto the baby’s chart also.

      Lastly, make copies of everything so they can’t say “I can’t find the Rx” – she can just hand them another copy.

      Good luck to her!

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