Hallelujah! Public health officials begin to push back against the breastfeeding industry


It’s about time!

The USPSTF (US Preventive Services Task Force) has changed its approach on breastfeeding.

According to MedPage Today:

Primary care clinicians should “support” patients who wish to breastfeed their infants, said a draft recommendation statement from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), in an effort to avoid the impression of pressuring women into breastfeeding against their will…

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The breastfeeding industry overplayed its hand.[/pullquote]

.. Alex Kemper, MD, of the USPSTF, told MedPage Today that there has been a slight change in wording from the last statement: using the word “supports” in place of “promotes” to describe the Task Force’s position on breastfeeding.

“The reason the Task Force made this slight word change is to recognize the importance of a mother doing what she feels is best for her and her baby and not wanting to, for example, make mothers feel guilty or bad if they decide not to breastfeed,” he said. “It’s really a personal choice that needs to be made based on her own personal situation.”

It’s a small change, but it is very significant. It’s a sign that public health officials are beginning to push back against the breastfeeding industry.

Breastfeeding has benefits, but in countries with clean water those benefits are small. Nonetheless, doctors, hospitals and public health officials have given the breastfeeding industry free rein to enact an ugly agenda, shaming and harassing women who can’t or don’t breastfeed.

Doctors, hospitals and public health officials allowed La Leche League and related organizations pressure them into:

  • Massively exaggerating the benefits of breastfeeding.
  • Implementing the Orwellian named Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, which is not friendly to babies and remarkably punitive to mothers.
  • Closing well baby nurseries even though there is no evidence it improves breastfeeding rates and a growing body of evidence that it leads to babies being smothered or falling to their deaths from hospital beds.
  • Banning formula gifts, though the burden fell disproportionately on poor women (many of whom were women of color).
  • Concealing the fact that anywhere from 5-15% of women can’t make enough breastmilk to fully nourish a baby.
  • Banning small amounts of formula supplementation in hospitals despite evidence that it is necessary and does not harm the breastfeeding relationship.

The breastfeeding industry never hid its desire to shame and humiliate women, and even as leaders like Dr. Alison Steube acknowledge that the industry’s tactics are both ineffective and based on inaccurate information, many lactivists are howling that their days of humiliating women who don’t mirror their own choices back to them are coming to an end. Comments about Dr. Stuebe’s article on shaming language on the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine’s Facebook page include:

… So we’ll just sit back & watch more & more rampant, aggressive & unethical marketing of infant formula & lie to mothers & babies about risks so as not to hurt their feelings & when their health falters due to the ill effects of formula feeding what will we tell them? …

How about we ban formula advertising? …


… So this is like the 5th really horrific article posted recently. I expect better. The FACT is that most breastfeeding mothers are medically mismanaged in the US and that’s why they “need” to supplement. Let’s chat about that.


… I feel by not shouting from the roof tops the risk of not breastfeeding we are complicit in the resultant diseases that can be acquired. Not responsible but complicit in the vale of silence.

The news that the USPSTF will now support breastfeeding instead of promoting it has been greeted rapturously in some quarters. Melissa Willetts writing for Parents explains:

As a mother who encountered difficulties with breastfeeding, I cannot say how much I love this new approach. Because it’s not necessary to remind me that I’ve “failed” at breastfeeding with language and actions that make it feel like a failure to choose formula. When doctors pressured me to try again, try harder, try more, they only fed into my fear that I sucked as a mom.

I’d much prefer a supportive approach, no matter how I choose to feed my baby. I realize this is a lot about a specific doctor’s bedside manner, but it’s comforting to know a medical task force is finally embracing the notion that breastfeeding isn’t going to work for every single mother on Earth.

The breastfeeding industry is not going down without a fight:

… In response to the new guidelines, which still very clearly say that breast is best, Diana West of breastfeeding advocacy group La Leche League International said, “Women need to understand all of the risks of formula, and benefits of human milk.” She added, “What we really come to understand is that far too often, women feel tremendous regret because they were not given adequate information and support [about breast-feeding] when they needed.”

And what about the women who feel tremendous regret when pressured by the breastfeeding industry even though they can’t or don’t want to breastfeed. Ms. West apparently doesn’t care about them.

The breastfeeding industry overplayed its hand. When given the opportunity to dictate breastfeeding policy it used its power to humiliate and harass women who can’t or won’t breastfeed, instead of concentrating on supporting women who request help.

The decision by the USPSTF to change its language is only a small step, but it is hopefully the first step in doctors, hospitals and public health officials extricating themselves from the clutches of the breastfeeding industry, an industry that has placed promoting breastfeeding ahead of the health and wellbeing of babies and mothers.


195 Responses to “Hallelujah! Public health officials begin to push back against the breastfeeding industry”

  1. Mastitis
    May 13, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    I just finished reading your new book and I wish I would have discovered your blog when I gave birth a year ago! It would have saved me and my baby much suffering. Breastfeeding can be extremely painful and, as happened in my case, it can lead to complications. I developed mastitis six weeks postpartum which turned in an abscess that had to be surgically removed. The lactation consultants and nurses who tried to help with the mastitis (by trying to drain the affected breast with a pump, which, incidentally, was more painful for me than labor and childbirth) all told me that it was because I hadn’t tried hard enough to make breastfeeding work. A successful breastfeeding relationship, they insisted, is all in the mother’s mind — whether or not she can make it work depends on whether she WANTS to make it work. And the mastitis was also my fault. I hadn’t developed a proper breastfeeding technique, nor had I consumed sufficient liquid, in particular herbal teas. (I should add that my supply was insufficient and I began supplementing at three weeks. I suspect my child was undernourished for those first few weeks, something I will never forgive myself for). Mastitis and breast surgery were horrible and no one told me in advance that this could emerge. Maybe it’s because it’s so rare? Well, no, at it turns out, it’s not rare at all. I know of two other women in my immediate environment who had babies around my time (one is a close friend, the other a mommy friend), and a number of acquaintances in my community (an aunt, another friend) who had children many years ago are also telling me that they, too, had mastitis. Breastfeeding in my case was life-threatening for my child, and it resulted in surgery for me, taking a toll only on my health during those precious early weeks when I should have been recovering from childbirth. I’m posting my experiences as a thank you to you, Dr. Tutuer, for empowering those of us who allow ourselves to be taken hostage by charlatans who put our well-being at risk to advance their own careers.

  2. A Baby Nurse
    May 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm #

    My hospital hired a new director not long ago. One of the first things she did was to close our wonderful newborn nursery. It was available to all of our tired mommies. Our patient satisfaction scores were through the roof, and we had awards to prove it. We always “supported” mom in breastfeeding, never giving formula unless it was asked for. If we took a baby into the nursery that was breastfeeding, we would return the baby to mom for feeding if that’s what she wanted. If she wanted to sleep all night, we provided that as well. No longer. I’m sad beyond belief that this is happening. Our latest and greatest is that we have to call the pediatrition (even at 0300) if mom wants to give a formula bottle. Crazy! I support both bottle and breast feeding moms. Always.

    • A Baby Nurse
      May 12, 2016 at 6:06 pm #


    • AA
      May 12, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

      Having formula as an order is madness. Thanks, BFHI recommendations (sarcasm).

  3. goatsintutusbalm
    May 4, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    I think the hardest question I got after my daughter was born was “are you breastfeeding?” and the nasty looks I got when I answered “no”. I had breast reduction when I was 18 knowing full well that I’d probably not be able to breastfeed, it was well worth it. I never made milk, it never “came in”. Many ladies asking me this question barely knew me and I didn’t feel comfortable telling them why I wasn’t, you shouldn’t have to explain yourself. I was in tears when she was 3 days old and my husband’s cousin laid into me about my lack of breastfeeding and how breast is best and my husband told her she could leave and not come back. I have no guilt for giving formula and am glad we live in a time that it’s available and decently affordable.

  4. Jed
    April 30, 2016 at 11:53 pm #

    is there a reference for the 5-10% number? Interested to learn more.

  5. April 29, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

    The newborn nursery in the hospital that I work at has just revised its policy for acceptable blood sugars. Currently, blood sugars that fall below 40 and stay there over several hours are considered concerning – may need to be supplemented or even sent to NICU for IV fluids. Due to pressure to limit supplementations, even supplements of mom’s own expressed milk (as opposed to straight from the breast), the new policy is to accept blood sugars down to 28. Maybe it’s just me but that seems awfully low, like brain-cell eating low. If the number is already that low, by the time orders are written and the kid gets to the NICU and IV access is established who knows how low it will be. But anything to protect the exclusive breastfeeding data!

    • demodocus
      April 30, 2016 at 11:46 am #

      that’s disturbing

    • Young CC Prof
      May 1, 2016 at 9:17 am #

      Currently, hospitals are dinged for supplementing but NOT penalized for preventable hospital readmission or intensive care admission due to insufficient breastmilk intake. It’s a massive perverse incentive, and babies are suffering as a result.

      But this is terrifying. A limit of 28? Are they applying that to at-risk babies too, like LGA or SGA?

      • May 2, 2016 at 8:50 am #

        They haven’t shared the particulars yet so I’m not certain on the details. Currently they don’t have separate parameters for LGA/SGA/early term, etc although the number of checks required may be higher. But on a normal newborn with no risk factors, a sugar is never checked unless the baby becomes symptomatic so who knows how low they normally run…

  6. Julia Wurst
    April 28, 2016 at 11:57 pm #

    This baby went from 7 lbs 15oz to 6 lbs 13 oz. That’s a lot! The Fearless Formula Feeder article believes that her son got autism from not having enough milk right away. That is scary! Everyone on these crunchy FB pages think weight loss is normal and you will just magically create what your baby needs. Having a preemie who was automatically put on a IV nutrition and supplementation while we practiced nursing was the best thing that could have happened to me and my baby. I EBF now, but it took a couple months to get to that point. I am sufficiently freaked out for new moms right now!

    • Megan
      April 29, 2016 at 7:46 am #

      Those numbers are similar to my older daughter’s weight loss. And she ended up readmitted for jaundice and dehydration (despite wetting an adequate number of diapers). By my rough calculations, a 10% loss is roughly 7lbs 2oz. This baby has lost about 14% of its birth weight. I would be intervening with supplement until mom’s milk comes in. There are studies showing judicious use of formula during this period actually improves breastfeeding relationships. Theoretically,if she has access to donor milk from a milk bank, that is an option too, but if baby is full term it’s not likely to be available and honestly it really isn’t a big deal to get a little formula. Anyway, I agree with the suggestion to get baby to the pediatrician for a weight check today, before the weekend. This is a baby I would be supplementing. The risks of not feeding are far greater than the risks of a few mL’s of formula.

  7. Julia Wurst
    April 28, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

    A new mom posted on Facebook about her new baby, born on Monday, losing almost a pound. She’s unable to pump anything. Everyone is encouraging her not to supplement and to not let the doctors push her around, etc. How much weight loss is normal and/or safe? I had a preemie who was put on IV fluids right away and she lost about 3 oz. (When you are only 3 lbs 12 oz that’s a lot of weight!) Can a baby still have wet diapers and be starving? Thanks!

    • BeatriceC
      April 28, 2016 at 10:32 pm #

      The general cut off for too much weight loss in a full term infant is 10% of their birthweight. And lack of urine is a *late* sign of dehydration.

    • Puffin
      April 28, 2016 at 10:49 pm #

      That baby is starving and as a mom I’d be worrying about dehydration and losing the ability to attempt to feed vigorously at that point, which may further delay full lactation. A pound is a lot for any baby to lose (unless they’re like 12lbs, which I suppose could happen…)

      • Julia Wurst
        April 28, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

        7 lbs 15 oz down to 6 lbs 13 oz. And one of the ladies got mad at another one for saying her baby was starving because it’s “hard enough being a new mom.” Ummm, but what if your baby IS starving?!

        • lawyer jane
          April 29, 2016 at 10:48 am #

          Please just encourage her to go to the pediatrician.

          • Julia Wurst
            April 29, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

            She is going to supplement. I don’t personally know her, but so many moms on the FB group post things like this. The advice is scary!

    • Heidi
      April 28, 2016 at 10:54 pm #

      I had a baby with a somewhat low blood glucose. Instead of crying out in hunger or trying to eat, he lacked the energy to really do much. And in this case, it wasn’t even a super low blood sugar. It wasn’t until we got an ounce of formula in him that he was able to root around and breastfeed. If there’s any hope getting breastfeeding to work, she should supplement IMO.

    • An Actual Attorney
      April 28, 2016 at 11:19 pm #

      Here’s a SOB post that may have some info you can share with her: http://www.skepticalob.com/2015/03/pressure-to-exclusively-breastfeed-is-causing-neonatal-starvation-what-will-be-the-long-term-effects.html

      And this story is heartbreaking, but may pop some sense into her: http://www.fearlessformulafeeder.com/2015/05/interview-with-dr-christie-del-castillo-hegyi/

      • Julia Wurst
        April 28, 2016 at 11:57 pm #

        Sorry, tried to reply here but my post went to the top.

    • AA
      April 29, 2016 at 1:50 am #

      At the time of this posting the next business day will be Friday. I would encourage her to call her pediatrician about doing a weight check on Friday.

      Look for the FB groups “Fed is Best”, the Momivist, and “Breastmilk is best, but only if you have breastmilk”

  8. BeatriceC
    April 28, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

    Completely off topic: I need fiction recommendations. I have a never ending reading list of non-fiction, but now that I’ve finished the two Ken Follett “historical epic” books, I’m looking for others that might be similar.

    • Bombshellrisa
      April 28, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

      Haven’t read those. I guess I should…
      I am finalizing “The Madagaskar Plan” after reading “The Afrika Reich”. Alternate history and a page turner. There are always Kate Quinn’s books too, historical Rome. She also does a series on the Borgias.

      • BeatriceC
        April 28, 2016 at 8:02 pm #

        Historical Rome sounds interesting. I’ve always been fond of medieval England, so I gravitate to those. BTW, I don’t know about other formats, but I was thrilled to find out both “Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End” could be purchased together for a mere $15 in iBook format.

        • Bombshellrisa
          April 28, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

          I really enjoyed Kate Quinn’s books, very detailed.

        • April 29, 2016 at 9:39 am #

          For historical Rome, Colleen McCullough’s “First Man in Rome” series is the best, IMO.

    • Nick Sanders
      April 28, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

      Any particular genres you like?

      • BeatriceC
        April 28, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

        Historical fiction, though not the ones where romance is the main theme. I particularly like medieval through about the 19th century set in Europe and the British isles, and colonial through civil war US. I don’t tend to like fantasy, but I did really enjoy Harry Potter, particularly the last two, as they got intricate and complicated. I’m a huge fan of the actual novel Les Miserables, but not a huge fan of the musical. I’m quite enamored of Julie Rose’s translation. She brings out the depth and beauty of Hugo’s writing in language more accessible to modern readers without sacrificing the seriousness of the original. I also really like Spencer’s “Faerie Queen”. I dont really like Phillippa Gregory. It’s the right historical period and location but I find her boring and lacking depth. For a completely unrelated genre, I loved Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta books up to “The Body Farm”. She kinda jumped the shark after that.

        • Nick Sanders
          April 28, 2016 at 10:18 pm #

          Sorry, out of my element then. I once read the first few books of an extremely low magic retelling of the Arthurian legend from Merlin’s point of view, and it was alright, but I sadly can’t remember the author’s name or the name of the series.

          • BeatriceC
            April 28, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

            Speaking of Arthur and Merlin, “The Once and Future King” is fantastic.

          • BeatriceC
            April 28, 2016 at 10:38 pm #

            Oh, and yeah, my tastes in fiction is oddly specific and runs towards the “heavy”.

          • April 29, 2016 at 9:37 am #

            Tried any of Dorothy Dunnett’s books? Two series: The Lymond Chronicles (6 books), The House of Niccolo (8 books), and King Hereafter (stand-alone)

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 29, 2016 at 2:39 am #

            The Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart (it’s on my list, for someday, like when I can enjoy it without screaming children around)

        • Dinolindor
          April 28, 2016 at 11:42 pm #

          Have you tried Guy Gavriel Kay? He does historical fantasy, so it might not work for you, but the “Lions of al-Rassan” was one of his best in my opinion – it’s fantasy based on late medieval/early modern Spain. I also enjoyed his “Sailing to Sarantium” and “Lord of Emperors” based on Byzantium. I just finished “The Light of the Fireflies” by Paul Pen and that was pretty heavy (a family living in an underground bunker, the sister has a baby).

          • Nick Sanders
            April 29, 2016 at 3:35 am #

            Ooh, I have Sailing to Sarantium in my bookcase. It was in a discount bin at a bookstore and the cover blurb sounded really cool, but I’ve yet to get around to reading it.

          • Amazed
            April 29, 2016 at 7:31 am #

            The Fionavar Tapestry is a great read too. Also by GGK. And, as foolish as I feel, have you tried The Mists of Avalon?

            Ever tried C.W. Gortner? NOT The Elizabeth I’s spy, though. I liked his The Last Queen best. It’s about Queen Joanna of Castile. Juana la Loca.

          • Dinolindor
            April 29, 2016 at 9:13 am #

            You know, I haven’t read the Fionavar Tapestry because my husband didn’t like them and I’ve been kind of fantasied out for the past couple of years, so it’s gone further down on my reading list. I think his main complaint was that he felt it wasn’t edited well. Oh, have you read Robin Hobb? The Assassin’s Trilogy and Fool’s Trilogy were amazing. One of the very best of fantasy, imo. (Although my husband has since decided The Mistborn by Brian Sanderson books take the title of very best.)

          • April 29, 2016 at 9:32 am #

            A huge thumbs up for Guy Gavriel Kay, although I think it’s a mistake to begin with The Fionavar Tapestry. New novel coming out in May; less overt fantasy as his work matures.

        • Megan
          April 29, 2016 at 7:48 am #

          Bernard Cornwell?

          • April 29, 2016 at 9:32 am #

            His “Last Kingdom” (Saxon Chronicles series) and his King Arthur trilogy, for sure! The Sharpe novels were not to my taste so much.

            I also liked Conn Iggulden’s novels about the Mongols, and his current Wars of the Roses series (currently 3 books published.)

        • MI Dawn
          April 29, 2016 at 8:39 am #

          If you like history, have you read any of Edward Rutherfurd’s books? I loved his Sarum but didn’t have the time (until recently!) to read any of his others. Getting The Forest from the library as soon as it’s returned.

        • Anne Catherine
          May 1, 2016 at 10:04 pm #

          I’m late to this and you probably have too many suggestions, but I just read “In the Company of the Courtesan” by Sarah Dunant and it was amazing

    • Charybdis
      April 28, 2016 at 9:47 pm #

      It’s an oldie, but I enjoyed it immensely: Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds. I’ll still dig it out and re-read it once in awhile. Anne Perry’s Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series about Victorian England is pretty good. She also has a William Monk series, but I prefer the Pitt series. It starts with The Cater Street Hangman, but the second one in the series, Callendar Square is a really good one. Good plots, engaging characters and decent continuity throughout the books.

      I also enjoyed Allison Weir’s books. They are historical, but they tend to read more like a novel than a history book. That’s all I can think of right off the top of my head; I’ll check the bookcase when I get home.

      • demodocus
        April 28, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

        One or two are novels now

    • demodocus
      April 28, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

      If you don’t mind a few dragons thrown in, Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series is quite an interesting variation on the Napoleonic Wars. I’ve mentioned the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters before. Peter Tremayne’s Sister Fidelma mysteries are pretty cool Irish mysteries (and since he’s a scholar in his day job, he’s probably fairly accurate) (Mostly my fiction is fantasy and/or mystery)

    • Mishimoo
      April 29, 2016 at 4:22 am #

      I absolutely adore the novels by Gail Carriger, she’s brilliant. Not historical exactly (except for the clothes) because they’re steampunk fantasy but they are a rather good read. I’m about to start on ‘The Hanged Man’ by P.N. Elrod and I’ll let you know how it works out. I also love and highly recommend Kerry Greenwood’s books.

      • MI Dawn
        April 29, 2016 at 8:43 am #

        Oh, I have so much fun with Gail Carriger! I’ve got the Parasol Protectorate, the Finishing School series, and Prudence on my Nook. Waiting for the next.

        Another fun series: Aunt Dimity (by Nancy Atherton). There’s about 20 books in that series.

        Jacqueline Carey’s Agent of Hel trilogy is also fun (but then, I’m from Michigan so I enjoy the location of the books!)

        • Mishimoo
          April 29, 2016 at 9:19 am #

          Oooh thanks for the recommendations! I also recently read ‘Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club’ by Alison Goodman which is set in the Regency Era, and was rather good. If you ever read and enjoyed Meg Cabot’s ‘Nicola and the Viscount’ or ‘Victoria and the Rogue’, you’ll like it.

          The benefits of going to a little bookshop in the city (beyond the fact that they only stock books they like) is that they know what I like and recommend books I haven’t heard of, plus I get to hear little snippets like that Gail Carriger once stopped in for a spot of shopping a few years ago and was every bit as lovely as one would expect. (which is so nice to hear)

    • Deborah
      April 29, 2016 at 8:56 am #

      If you liked those two you just have to read his trilogy “Fall of Giants” “Winter of the World” and “Edge of Eternity” . They are set in the first and second world wars and span about 4 generations I think. Follet writes with such depth and compassion creating characters who are so utterly relatable and nuanced I found myself rooting for the Communists, Germans and Allies simultaneously!

    • Daleth
      April 29, 2016 at 11:34 am #

      Magnus Flyte’s “City of Dark Magic” (set in Prague) is FANTASTIC. A really fun read.

    • Amy M
      April 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

      Blackout and All Clear (2 book series) by Connie Willis. Historical fiction, with time travel, very well researched.

    • AllieFoyle
      April 29, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

      People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks?

  9. Gatita
    April 28, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

    OT: Slate has an article on the abused wives of famous men and this paragraph is just, well, read it:

    Often the debate over whether we should condemn someone like Leo Tolstoy—who refused to consider giving his wife a rest from her constant pregnancies, or to help her much with the resulting babies—centers around whether or not the person in question was “typical of his time.” Tolstoy’s wife Sofia almost died when she contracted puerperal fever after her fifth delivery, but he impregnated her again and again. He also made her breast-feed, even though it was extremely painful for her.

    Tolstoy made his wife’s life a misery because of his own ideas about gender: “It was not just that Tolstoy could not conceive of marriage without children,” writes his biographer Rosamund Bartlett. “He regarded a woman’s main vocation as being to bear children, breast-feed and raise them, and was therefore horrified at the thought of his wife avoiding future pregnancies.” For her part, Sofia, who eventually had 13 children total, wrote in her diary in 1870: “With every child you have to give up a life for yourself even more, and resign yourself to the burden of cares, worries, illnesses and years.”

    • Roadstergal
      April 28, 2016 at 8:05 pm #


      • Roadstergal
        April 28, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

        You know, this reminds me of stories about the Oneida cult, and that the founder was partially to wholly motivated in making ‘male continence’ (basically, the withdrawal method) a duty the husband owes to the wife after his own wife had five traumatizing birth experiences and one live child. He thought it important for man and wife to have sexual pleasure, but that it was unacceptable for a woman to have such painful and taxing experiences.

  10. Rachele Willoughby
    April 28, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

    The “vale” of silence? I’m imagining a magical woodland place where no one ever talks about infant feeding ever again.

    • MLE
      April 28, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

      I want to go to there

    • Roadstergal
      April 28, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

      Was that the first draft of the Cone of Silence?

  11. Amy
    April 28, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

    Oh sure, they’ll shout from the rooftops about all of the risks of not breastfeeding lest they be complicit in the vanishingly small risk of a few more colds or GI illnesses over the entire population, but when it comes to the massively increased risks of DEATH associated with home birth, not vaccinating, and vilifying the medical profession, they’ll absolve themselves with “women have to take responsibility for their own decisions.”

    All righty then.

    • namaste863
      April 28, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

      It’s a cult mentality. Their beliefs are more articles of faith than actual scientific facts. In this case, its a worship of the “Natural.”

    • Chant de la Mer
      April 28, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

      I was thinking the same thing. All about mothers knowing ALL the risks and benefits for feeding a baby (except the risks if you accidentally starve them when you have insufficient breast milk and don’t supplement, or the risks of unscreened bodily fluids from strangers with donor milk) but when it comes to home birth nada, nothing, zip, zilch. No need to talk about risks since there aren’t any of course.

  12. Sarah
    April 28, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    Ooh, delicious lactivist tears to bathe in.

    • AirPlant
      April 28, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

      I collect them in my tiny violin that I use to play sad songs for the poor unloved formula babies of the first world.

      • Sarah
        April 28, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

        I knit hats out of them and force them onto newborns.

        • AirPlant
          April 28, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

          I have so many logistical questions regarding that process.

          • Sarah
            April 28, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

            It’s indigenous, obvs. Don’t ask me to explain where it’s indigenous to, though.

          • Chant de la Mer
            April 28, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

            obviously she just dips the yarn into the tears thereby soaking it into the very fabric of her sadhats.

        • DirtyOldTown
          April 28, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

          Hats? What kind of monster would put a hat on a newborn? Next I suppose you’ll want to bathe it.

          • Sarah
            April 28, 2016 at 2:24 pm #

            And cruelly rip infant and placenta apart, forevermore.

    • Cartman36
      April 28, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

      You can make such funnies when I am drinking coffee. I spit some out laughing at this!

      • Sarah
        April 28, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

        Good, you should be drinking breastmilk anyway. I did you a favour.

        • Cartman36
          April 29, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

          OMG! Seriously, you should do stand up

          • Sarah
            April 29, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

            You’re far too kind. I was going to say homeopathic vaccines but then I remembered that’s water and I didn’t want you to think I was hydration shaming you!

  13. Madtowngirl
    April 28, 2016 at 11:56 am #

    “How about we ban formula advertising?”

    Can someone please point me to where all this formula advertising is happening? It’s never on sale, so it’s never in the ads in my paper. I watch a lot of t.v., and I have yet to see a commercial for formula (although I’ve seen commercials for the Enfamil toddler drink). I’ve gotten a handful of mailings that I never signed up for, but everything else I’ve received, I’ve consciously signed up for.

    However, I’ve received many a pamphlet on breastfeeding. Pumps and other accessories are constantly in the ads I get. Maybe I’m sheltered?

    • Sean Jungian
      April 28, 2016 at 11:58 am #

      I wondered this too, and maybe I just don’t watch enough daytime television since I’m at work all day? Maybe it’s targeted at SAHMs?

      I’ve seen the ads for supplemental protein drinks but not for formula.

      • demodocus
        April 28, 2016 at 11:59 am #

        mostly i see ads for senior citizens

        • Houston Mom
          April 28, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

          Lucky Grandma rides her electric chair up the stairs. Unlucky Grandma takes a bad fall down the stairs. My son cried about the falling meme commercial.

      • Megan
        April 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

        Not on daytime TV. I can tell you for sure since I’m on maternity eave currently (and boy, is daytime TV depressing, with the exception of Ellen). I have never seen a formula ad. Not once. I inadvertently ended up on Enamel’s smiling list through shopping at Motherhood Maternity for clothes, but that’s it.

        • Megan
          April 28, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

          *mailing list

        • Amy M
          April 28, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

          when I was on mat leave, I got hooked on “What not to wear” which I htink isn’t on anymore. anyway, they never had formula ads.

          • Sean Jungian
            April 28, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

            I was on maternity leave when “The Osbournes” was just hitting it big. I remember incredulously telling my friends about it.

          • An Actual Attorney
            April 28, 2016 at 6:47 pm #

            British or American version?

          • Amy M
            April 29, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

            American. I didn’t even know there was a British version! 🙂

          • An Actual Attorney
            May 3, 2016 at 11:41 am #

            I think the British version, with Trinny and Susannah, was first. It’s even quirkier.

        • Roadstergal
          April 28, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

          Got DVR?

          Or failing that, there’s a lot of decent TV on YouTube…

          (A recent Full Frontal had Sam Bee teaching Syrian immigrants useful phrases for their new life in the US. “Can you give me your HBO Go login?”)

          • Megan
            April 28, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

            I would catch up on GoT or Orphan Black, but I feel bad watching it without my hubby. I’ll have to find something else just for me. Gave up my Netflix subscription a while ago when I was back to work and not using it but I am on Amazon Prime.

          • Roadstergal
            April 28, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

            I’ve been watching Transparent when I have time (ha) on Amazon Prime and enjoying it. And being entertained but horrified by People vs OJ Simpson. There’s a lot of decent movies through Prime, too…

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 28, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

            The People vs OJ Simpson really brought me back to being a teen. We binged watched it.

          • Roadstergal
            April 28, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

            I need to watch that new documentary about the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, speaking of things that remind me of being a YA. I heard about it on the NPR Politics podcast, of all places.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 29, 2016 at 7:36 am #

            I saw Anita Hill on morning shows recently

          • namaste863
            April 28, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

            I jumped on The People vs OJ Simpson bandwagon myself. I was a child at the time, so I found looking at the trial through adult eyes was fascinating.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 28, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

            I watched lots of Fxx this past time around. I got into “Parks and Rec”, “Anger Management” and “Raising Hope”. My son actually stops what he is doing now and runs to the tv when he hears the theme song from any of those.

        • BeatriceC
          April 28, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

          I’m too attached to my computer and phone to watch tv. I watched the world championship figure skating last month, but before that I can’t even remember when I last turned it on.

          • Gatita
            April 28, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

            I only recently regretted not having cable because MTV ran a Prince marathon. Otherwise don’t miss it at all.

          • Megan
            April 29, 2016 at 7:53 am #

            I missed it?? Shoot! I love Prince!

        • BeatriceC
          April 28, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

          I had another thought. I’ve just spent the last 5 days engrossed in two good (and very long) books. In e-book format, they’d be easy to read while holding a baby. Well, maybe. I read them on my phone, which is an iPhone 6s Plus, so it’s easy to hold but big enough to not be annoyingly small. Anyway, the thought is that a few good books might help pass the time without having to tolerate daytime tv.

          • Mrs.Katt the Cat
            April 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

            I use a tablet to lurk comment sections while I nurse. Typing is a challenge, but at least I don’t feel isolated and get interesting tid bits of info. And I can play music. 🙂

      • Heidi
        April 28, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

        We don’t have cable but we get over the air antenna and when I’ve caught TV during the day, it’s been ads for stuff found in the “feminine hygiene” (that phrase makes me cringe) aisle, bladder leakage products, and toilet paper. I’ve yet to see one formula commercial.

        • Roadstergal
          April 28, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

          “bladder leakage products”

          An, another product of the natural birth industry? :

          • Heidi
            April 28, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

            Yep, there’s been an obvious and definite shift in who bladder leakage products are advertised too. It use to be people who appeared around 70 years old or older. Now it seems like the demographic is more like 25-45.

      • Old Lady
        April 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

        Isn’t it mostly older retired people that watch daytime broadcast? We only watch streaming and DVDs, the only exception is sports. I’ve been watching Daredevil and Penny Dreadful while I nurse.

        • Sean Jungian
          April 28, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

          Yeah, I cut out cable now that my kid is in his teenager years and we just don’t watch that much TV other than streaming services. I have Sling TV too, which carries AMC and HBO.

          So I guess the fact is, I don’t really watch many commercials *at all*. Of the few I do see, though, none have been for formula. Diapers, yes.

    • Megan
      April 28, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

      You know, come to think of it, even the Pregnancy and Newborn magazines we have in the waiting room don’t even have formula advertising. If it’s not there, where the hell else would it be?

    • Valerie
      April 28, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

      When I was a child, circa 1990, I saw formula adds on daytime tv in the summer. I particularly remember Gerber Good Start. I have no idea if they still advertise- perhaps some of these lactivists are remembering a time when it was more common?

      • LaMont
        April 28, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

        Well the whole natural birth movement seems to talk about hospitals as if they haven’t changed since the 50s, this is almost sane by comparison.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      April 28, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

      There has been commercials on TV recently for formula. Then again, the message is, “Breastfeeding is best, but if you choose to supplement, use our brand…”

      • Madtowngirl
        April 28, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

        Interesting! I wonder if it’s one of those regional things.

    • guest
      April 28, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

      I remember seeing formula ads! It was in the mid- to late- 1980s, but I saw them! One had a very cute (white, of course) baby and it was something about “comfort proteins.”

      I haven’t seen a single ad since I had my kids, though.

    • Dinolindor
      April 28, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

      I wonder if it’s about that “viral” video Similar made about the mommy wars at the park. It painted the natural parenting crowd as particularly judgmental, I thought. Beyond that, yes, I agree that formula packaging misleads the public. Breast surely was not best for me and my kids, but that’s what was printed on every can of formula that I saw.

      • Hilary
        April 28, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

        I don’t think it portrayed one group as more judgmental than another.

    • Zornorph
      April 28, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

      I saw formula ads in some of those ‘baby’ magazines. They all that that little blurb that boob juice was better and lots of the ads focused on supplementation.

    • Deborah
      April 28, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

      I can’t help wondering if formula companies are watching all this with interest. They have been muzzled in their ability to advertise in much the same way as the tobacco industry (as if the two products are in any way similar).

      • Roadstergal
        April 28, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

        I would think the formula companies, like the tobacco companies, would benefit from a moratorium on advertising. They spend money on advertising to keep up with competitors; if nobody is allowed to advertise, they can just hang on to advertising money. Like money that goes to free samples, if those is banned.

        It’s not like the actual need for formula is going away, after all.

        • Deborah
          April 28, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

          Yes that’s true. I guess I was thinking more along the lines of whether they feel validated that their products are not as harmful as the breastfeeding lobby suggest and that people and organisations are speaking out publicly in defence of formula feeding mums.

    • Rach
      April 28, 2016 at 8:38 pm #

      I’ve only seen toddler formula adverts. The most played one goes along the lines of ‘You’ve always given them the best, but when it’s time to move on, there’s Aptamil Gold Plus Toddler.’ I grind my teeth every time I hear it! The visuals show a breastfeeding mother and a child with an unbroken glowing blue line around him (must be the breastmilk magic :P), and shots of various babies doing movements which are matched to an inset image of a ballerina, mountain climber, etc. It’s a good thing none of my kids are interested in any of those activities, because their lack of breastmilk would definitely have prevented them from having those abilities/skills. /s
      Also, the lack of advertising of baby formula (maybe three instances in the last three years) meant that I was either pleasantly surprised that my formula costs were going to be less than normal for the fortnight, or pissed that I’d just missed the special by a day or two.

      • Hilary
        April 28, 2016 at 9:57 pm #

        Gag. Why the assumption that people giving their kids toddler formula must have breastfed them? Most of the breastfeeding moms I know would rather give their toddlers raw goat milk or hemp milk than toddler formula.

        • CharlotteB
          April 28, 2016 at 10:06 pm #

          I gotta say though…when I recieved samples of strawberry-flavored toddler formula in the mail, I did think that was, well, unnecessary is the nicest word that comes to mind.

          I love formula, and I love formula companies, but yeah…

          • Hilary
            April 29, 2016 at 12:25 am #

            My son drinks toddler formula, only because he doesn’t eat much (sensory issues) and can’t tolerate whole milk. We are following the advice of a nutritionist. But it’s just the same as the infant formula with different amounts of vitamins. It’s not flavored or anything. I suppose if he refused to drink it, we might resort to flavoring. But I agree it’s really not something that should be encouraged for typical toddlers.

            I would absolutely LOVE to be sent free samples of the stuff we use, or coupons for it, or anything, but of course it never happens. I only get stuff for products we can’t use.

        • Rach
          April 28, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

          It’s probably because the Department of Health (Australian Federal Government department) recommends exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months, then introduction of solids and continued breastfeeding until 12 months ‘and beyond, if both mother and infant wish’. My theory would be that the formula companies use toddler formula adverts to tap into the market who have not yet used formula. The lack of baby formula adverts is most likely due to the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas (MAIF) agreement, which most formula companies seem to be signed up to, and which includes this fantastic clause:

          Clause 4: Information and Education
          4(a) Manufacturers and importers of infant formulas in Australia agree that informational and educational materials, whether written, audio or visual, dealing with the feeding of infants and intended to reach pregnant women and parents of infants and young children, should always include clear information on all the following points:
          (i) the benefits and superiority of breastfeeding;
          (ii) maternal nutrition, and the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding;
          (iii) the negative effect on breastfeeding of introducing partial bottle-feeding;
          (iv) the difficulty of reversing the decision not to breastfeed; and
          (v) where needed, the proper use of infant formula, whether manufactured industrially or home prepared. (WHO Code Article 4.2)

          4(b) When such materials contain information about the use of infant formulas, they should include the social and financial implications of its use, the health hazards of inappropriate foods or feeding methods and, in particular, the health hazards of unnecessary or improper use of infant formulas. Such materials should not use any pictures or text which may idealise the use of infant formulas. (WHO Code Article 4.2)

          4(c) Manufacturers and importers of infant formulas should not donate informational or educational equipment or materials unless it is at the request of, and with the written approval of, the appropriate government authority or within guidelines given by the Commonwealth, State or Territory Governments for this purpose. Such equipment or materials may bear the donating company’s name or logo, but should not refer to a proprietary infant formula, and should be distributed only through the health care system. (WHO Code Article 4.3).

          This entire clause seems to me to be a way to get the formula companies to promote breastfeeding using scare mongering tactics. It is actually quite smart, in it’s own way. It effectively stops the advertisement of baby formula.

          • Rach
            April 28, 2016 at 11:49 pm #

            I should note that my use of the word ‘fantastic’ in the above comment was entirely sarcastic. I actually think it’s horrible to put so much limitation on a perfectly safe and acceptable food choice for babies.

    • Jules B
      April 29, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

      My thoughts exactly. After my daughter rejected the boob I did pretty well on the pump for a couple of months, but then it became clear my supply could not keep up with her growing needs – so I went to the grocery store to look for some formula. I remember being surprised and somewhat overwhelmed by the choices available! I had never heard of any of the brands on the shelf – so if the formula companies are aggressively marketing their product, it missed me entirely. I ended up picking one completely at random.

      Also, somewhat related: I had gone to a few breastfeeding classes while pregnant, but they were more like exercises in breastfeeding propaganda – I got zero practical breastfeeding info or advice during those classes, which I found annoying to say the least. I ended up having to do my own how-to research, and because of that, I didn’t have time to read up on bottle-feeding at all (plus, because I wanted to bf, and had been told if I really wanted to and tried hard, I 100% could bf, I didn’t think I needed to know how to bottle-feed anyway). The end result was that when I suddenly found myself having to use both bottles and formula, I was at a loss. I didn’t even know I had to sterilize bottles! And I didn’t mix the formula correctly the first couple of times I made up a bottle for her – luckily I caught my measuring error! My point is: If the formula companies are out there in force pushing their form of feeding, they are doing a shit job from my POV.

  14. Puffin
    April 28, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    I’ve been flipping through the book of information for mums from the hospital where I’ll be delivering and there are 8 pages about feeding, with two pages about formula. A quarter of one of the formula pages is taken up by an outlined box about the risks of formula feeding. Of course there’s no equivalent ‘challenges of breastfeeding you may face’ box, because apparently they aren’t allowed to be realistic about breastfeeding. There’s no actually useful information about feeding formula, though there is a link to a booklet, at least.

    The first page, third paragraph, of the breastfeeding information says “Some things you may hear [about breastfeeding] are not true. For example, you may hear that some women cannot breastfeed.” That isn’t a myth, that’s actually true. Even if it is ‘only’ 5%, that’s 1 in 20 women who simply won’t be able to breastfeed at all or sufficiently. That’s a lot of women who can’t breastfeed even if they want to no matter how much they’re badgered about it.

    I’m glad to see some shift in the language. It annoys me to death how often breastfeeding is painted as something you just choose to do and *poof* it all works out nicely.

    • Commander30
      April 28, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

      I got a book on baby care from my hospital that was very helpful, but the section on feeding had about ten pages regarding breastfeeding and only one page regarding formula feeding. I get that “mix water and powder into bottle, shake, give to baby” is a little more straightforward than breastfeeding, but it was still pretty obvious what they were trying to sell us on. Especially since, like yours, the formula feeding page’s very first sentence was “Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby.”

    • Cranky Anon
      April 28, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

      I just flipped through the book we got at our childbirth class. An entire chapter about breastfeeding and absolutely *zero* information about formula. That’s just plain irresponsible.

    • LeighW
      April 29, 2016 at 10:59 pm #

      I’m part of that 5%. My boobs are purely ornamental. I had no supply. Tried breastfeeding, pumping, etc and nothing.

      The pressure I got to keep trying was astounding. The harpy of a consultant was adamant that it was in my head, if I relaxed and put more effort into it I’d have no problem. My (male) OBGYN would make nasty comments about me not taking motherhood seriously (I was 21), and that with my “assets”, I should be able to feed the whole waiting room. A medical professional should know better. Size has nothing to do with production.

      When my second child was born I didn’t want the damn lactation consultant anywhere near me. My (new) OBGYN asked if I’d considered breastfeeding, and when I said no and why, it was never mentioned again. No shame, no pushiness. Just “ok, I’ll make a note of it”.

      Sorry about the rant but this whole conversation drives me nuts. As long as the kids are healthy and happy it really shouldn’t be anyone’s business how they’re fed.

  15. demodocus
    April 28, 2016 at 11:50 am #

    now i have the hallelujah chorus floating through my head

    • Megan
      April 28, 2016 at 11:53 am #

      In 8 parts! Man, I’ve performed that far too many times…

      • AirPlant
        April 28, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

        I just watched Evangelion one too many times…

        • Heidi_storage
          April 28, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

          Oh, man, that series let me down so badly–especially the episodes that are mostly black screens while various characters deliver angsty monologues.

    • Amy
      April 28, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

      The music in her pic is of something else, and since I read music, THAT (completely unfamiliar) tune is now what I have running through my head. #musicnerdproblems

      • demodocus
        April 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

        Yeah, i noticed, but it started before I actually checked the notes.

      • MaineJen
        April 28, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

        Looks like it’s from a hymnal…

    • Deborah
      April 28, 2016 at 7:16 pm #

      Yes me too. Thanks Dr Amy.

  16. Amy M
    April 28, 2016 at 11:35 am #

    Do many of the lactivist leaders truly believe that formula will lead directly to specific diseases/ill health or is it really just that they’ll say any crazy lie to get women to breastfeed? I have a hard time believing that anyone who isn’t a sleep deprived, hormonal, brain-washed by lactivists- new mother could really think that formula is the poisonous root of all ills. I guess that they (lactivists) could cling to the idea that they are “helping” when they warn women away from formula, if they really believe it’s that bad, but if they know perfectly well they are lying, how do they even justify their actions to themselves?

    • guest
      April 28, 2016 at 11:52 am #

      I think if you believe that the contemporary world is one of evil, then it is easier to believe that lack of breastfeeding is the root of ills.

    • demodocus
      April 28, 2016 at 11:52 am #

      i dunno, lots of people believe all kind of ridiculous things

    • Sean Jungian
      April 28, 2016 at 11:57 am #

      I think it is probably incorrect to think lactivists know perfectly well that formula isn’t poison. In all likelihood they really DO believe that it is barely a step up from poison. It’s not a rational belief but as we’ve seen time and time again, the cult mentality posits articles of faith rather than demanding or examining proof.

      • Amy M
        April 28, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

        That’s a good point. To me, it makes no sense to believe that formula is poison, but lots of people believe crazy things, so why should that one be exempt?

      • AirPlant
        April 28, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

        Just like any cult there are the true believers and the hangers on. You get the people who let their baby die of meningitis, but then you have people like an acquaintance of mine. She started out breastfeeding, but with severely inverted nipples and a full time job as a corporate lawyer exclusive breastfeeding was just never going to keep her kids fed. Unsurprisingly, both of her kids were exclusive formula from about 3 months or so, and she is incredibly rational about it in person, but then you look at her facebook page and it is just a totally different story. Lots of “I am so glad I breastfeed my babies!” even after they were on formula, lots of sharing lactivist propaganda, including (bizarrely) the just one drop bullshit, religious follower and frequent commenter at all the usual lactivist pages. As near as I can tell it has to be an identity thing, because it doesn’t seem like she mourns the end of breastfeeding, it is just that she wants to be seen as a natural type mother and breastfeeding is a big part of that. Like somehow the actual act of breastfeeding matters less than the social media façade.

      • Commander30
        April 28, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

        If they really did believe that, though, and they have the numbers about how many babies get at least some formula in the first year or so of life, shouldn’t they be able to look at everyone they encounter and think “obviously that large percentage of people who were supposedly poisoned by formula clearly weren’t”?

        • Poogles
          May 2, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

          “”obviously that large percentage of people who were supposedly poisoned by formula clearly weren’t”?”
          I think if/when they even think it through that far, they go with using every possible health concern as “proof” that so much of society has been “poisoned” by commercial baby formula – asthma, diabetes, obesity, allergies, cancer, mental illnesses etc etc etc. In their world, the fact that there are so many more diagnosed cases of these health concerns is evidence that formula (and/or GMOs, vaccines, “western” medicine, etc.) is “poisoning” us and weakening our “natural” ability to be perfectly healthy.

    • Puffin
      April 28, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

      (Med student here.) We just did our reproduction block and we were inundated with the ‘benefits of breastfeeding’ information and little else. We were offered almost no actual, science-based information on sources infant nutrition except breastmilk (aside from the ‘these are the bad things that happen if they aren’t breastfed.) I went into it with my group, though, and emphasized the importance of respecting maternal choice, and I told them – as the only one there who had actually breastfed – about what it’s really like since none of our resources actually touched on what the experience is actually like. But we didn’t get any of that formally through the program.

      • Megan
        April 28, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

        That was my experience in med school too. A glossing over of benefits and no discussion of maternal choice, the realities of the difficulties of breastfeeding or any education on formula. When I did my meds rotation as a 3rd year, one attending in particular was appalled that we knew nothing about formula and how to help parents choose regular or specialty formulas when necessary. Given how many babies end up with at least some formula at some point, the mind boggles at how poorly we are educated on the topic.

        • Megan
          April 28, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

          *Peds rotation

          Man, I am terrible with the typos this morning. Sorry.

        • Puffin
          April 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

          I’ve never actually fed formula to my kids, but the one I’m pregnant with now will probably be getting a fair bit since I’ll start my clinical rotations when this one is 2 months old. At least I’ll have some familiarity with it.

          The fact that we don’t get any good information about formula feeding annoys me. A significant majority of babies will receive formula at some point. We already know that withholding factual information from people doesn’t prevent them from doing undesired behaviours. I swear this is the maternal care equivalent of abstinence-only education in high schools. Only the system is keeping care providers ignorant too.

          • Megan
            April 28, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

            So true. The only reason I know anything about formula feeding and how difficult breastfeeding can be is because of my own experiences. All you can do is share that info with your classmates. I share it with the FP residents I teach all the time because they just aren’t hearing it anywhere else (I am probably seen as the “anti-breastfeeding” attending, even though I’m not at all) and with no other experience to base their knowledge off of, they can easily come away with the idea that breastfeeding is easy and preferred in all situations. Keep up the good work!

          • Puffin
            April 28, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

            You know, someone actually said “Well we can tell you’re against breastfeeding” when I was telling my classmates what it’s like. No, I’m so not. I brestfed each of my kids for two years. Neither ever had a drop of formula. I’ll be nursing and pumping for this next one too (though I don’t respond well to pumps and I know we’ll need to supplement) because I personally find it easier after the first month or so. I am not ‘anti’ anything, I’m for physicians operating off of accurate, realistic information, not idealized crap that treats women as nothing more than milk delivery systems. We consider the wants, values, lifestyle challenges, and desires of patients in all other decisionmaking – why do we ignore it when it comes to their decisions around how to use their breasts?

          • BeatriceC
            April 28, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

            Introduce them to the concept of a false dichotomy? I think the thing that angers me the most out of everything is the way people cannot figure out that it’s not a “for” or “against” breastfeeding thing. Some of the most ardent supporters of maternal choice breastfed their own kids, including the author of this blog and many of us who regularly comment.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 28, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

            It’s something I, as a mom who combo-fed the first kid and who plans on FFing the second, just don’t get. Apparently, I shock some of my BFing friends by giving them, as part of my new-mommy-gift-box, a jar of the nipple ointment I found to be most helpful in healing/preventing sore nipples. Since I FF, it’s assumed I must be “against” BFing. Nope. I don’t care which you pick, as long as you and baby are okay, and if I can make things a little easier on you by sharing a product I found to be really, really, awesome, why wouldn’t I? If anything, I’m a bit pleased with myself that in one case, a mom might have given up breastfeeding without the cream I gave her!
            (Not because she should have continued if she didn’t want to, of course: she desperately wanted to keep going, but the sore nipples were about to drive her around the bend, and she found a smear of this stuff to help immeasurably.)

          • Roadstergal
            April 28, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

            “I swear this is the maternal care equivalent of abstinence-only education in high schools.”

            Yes, that’s exactly what it is. Exaggerating risks, and instead of explaining how to mitigate the real risks, telling you to avoid the behavior. Making a complicated topic with a great deal of physical and emotional drivers that can vary from person to person into a black-or-white moral decision. The idea that there is only one acceptable choice. Lack of ability to see shades of grey. (Lactivists will refuse to say that combo feeding is possible, eg, and abstinence-only education ignores some of the not-full-on-PIV things one can do to be sexually fulfilled, such as mutual masturbation.)

          • Deborah
            April 28, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

            Your comment got me thinking about how we provide “fit kits’ to IV drug users in order to protect them from diseases they may be exposed to from needle sharing. The aim obviously is not to promote drug use but to minimise the risk of contracting a life threatening disease – a far greater problem both in immediate terms for the individual and more broadly in terms of community and healthcare costs.
            It seems perverse to me that we are willing to do this but not provide easy access to formula and information about it’s preparation to women whose babies may suffer without it.
            IV drug users – here you are, now you can safely inject.
            Struggling breastfeeders – sorry.

        • Amy
          April 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

          This gives lie to the lactivist claim that mainstream doctors aren’t given sufficient training in pushing breastfeeding. Once again proving that they have no idea what they’re talking about.

      • Mac Sherbert
        April 28, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

        I’m glad you were able to give them your experience. Experience really does change how you view things. I took my BF baby to see a rather young doc who had a young baby. Anyway, we started talking a she said something about she used formula because BF was terrible and almost made her cry. I looked at her and said “I did cry with my first kid!”.

  17. moto_librarian
    April 28, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    It’s about damned time. I love to see groups like the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine backpedal. I love how they’re suddenly talking about how important it is for mothers to support each other after they’ve spent years promoting false information about infant feeding and perfected the use of shaming tactics. It’s true that I feel regret about not being given accurate information about breastfeeding – if I had known then what I know now, I certainly wouldn’t have put myself and my first son through such a punishing regime in order to breastfeed.

    • Megan
      April 28, 2016 at 11:32 am #

      Like the lactivists are so fond of saying, “When you know better, you do better!” That’s why I supplemented and then EFF my second daughter!

      • nomofear
        April 28, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

        Ha! If I had another (god forbid, lol), it’d be formula all the way – and I have an easy time breastfeeding. I just got burned by baby #2 refusing bottles altogether, even after initial combo feeding to avoid newborn hunger and its complications.

        • BeatriceC
          April 28, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

          I’ve said this before, but if for some reason I had another baby (less likely than winning next week’s Powerball drawing), it wouldn’t breastfeed at all. I wouldn’t even try. This in spite of the fact that I really loved breastfeeding my kids. This stage of my life is just not favorable to having an infant attached to my boob all day.

    • Mac Sherbert
      April 28, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

      I’ve noticed on some of the pages I follow on facebook that women are speaking out more against these extreme views on breastfeeding (and other things too). For example, a post I saw a while back had a mom asking about how to wean and right underneath that question the admin said there was to be no judging and to only respond if you had advice on how to WEAN as that is what this mother has decided to do.

      • AirPlant
        April 28, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

        And anecdotally I have noticed that my targeted ads on facebook are actually including bottle-feeding paraphernalia, and the comments are actually fairly normal. Like it isn’t just a sea of women insisting that the very existence of the product undermined breastfeeding and women and the lives of babies.
        Hell, there is one going around right now for a tool that helps babies hold their own bottles and I expected a comment section shitstorm, but it was seriously just a bunch of women saying “I bought this and my baby loved it!” It was like the twilight zone!

        • Heidi
          April 28, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

          What’s this tool?!

          • AirPlant
            April 28, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

            I can’t find it now, but it was kind of like a daisy with a bottle inside instead. Super cute and the baby in the video seemed psyched.

          • Heidi
            April 28, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

            I found a bottle holder on Amazon, maybe the same one, read a one star review by a self described LC, doula, and childbirth educator. “If babies were supposed to hold their food source that’s how our bodies would be, babies massage breasts to help with milk flow but that’s typically the extent of ‘holding.'” Well, crap, my baby has never once massaged my breasts and sometimes at 4 months holds his bottle on his own. Maybe I get a pass if I use it?

          • MI Dawn
            April 28, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

            Babies massage breasts? Mine never did while I nursed them. The closest they ever came to any breast movement was when the little buggers were nursing and something caught their attention away from my body. They’d pull their head away but not release the nipple…

          • Heidi
            April 28, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

            I’ve had baby in front of me, and he has kicked my breasts multiple times. That’s the closest he’s come.

          • Inmara
            April 28, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

            Yeah, mine was hitting and kicking too…

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 28, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

            Ugh. My kiddo was very into the clamp-and-yank method while a newborn. *cringes*

          • Mishimoo
            April 29, 2016 at 5:12 am #

            Mine liked to pat and grab at my boobs, so I kept their nails short to make it less painful.

          • AirPlant
            April 28, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

            Maybe if you stick your boob through the daisy?

          • Taysha
            April 28, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

            I think she got babies confused with cats.

          • Roadstergal
            April 28, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

            Or the partner in crime in the making of the baby.

          • Heidi
            April 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

            When I had roommates, they had an orange tabby that liked to give butt massages. I’m a belly sleeper, and I’d wake up to a cat on my back kneading my butt.

          • demodocus
            April 28, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

            mine mostly just dug nails in. If that’s massage, I’m going to avoid all massuers like bubonic plague

          • April 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

            Ha! Mine too. He digs in his nails, shoves his hand into my armpit, kicks, and flops around.

  18. MWguest
    April 28, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    OT – but want this on Dr Tuteur’s radar.

    ACOG endorses the NARM bridge certificate for apprentice-trained CPMs?!


    Granted, it’s pretty weak language. But any hint of recognition by ACOG conveys acceptance of NARM’s exceedingly low standards for training and practice of these ‘midwives.’

    No professional organization in the US should endorse any standards of midwifery that are not in line with the standards set forth by the ACNM and ACMB. Anything less is not enough. And the 50 credits required by the bridge program are a joke. A. Freaking. Joke.

    Why ACOG, why? What are they spiking the koolaid with? You’re smarter than this.

    • MWguest
      April 28, 2016 at 11:47 am #

      A sample of courses approved for the NARM bridge program:

      ‘does meconium deserve its crap reputation?’

      ‘rethinking GBS prophylaxis’

      ‘breech waterbirth’

      ACOG just endorsed this training? Seriously? Did they spend even 5 seconds on the NARM website looking at the requirements for the bridge program?

      They need to be called out on this.

      • moto_librarian
        April 28, 2016 at 11:50 am #

        Did they not actually read the curriculum? This is horrifying.

      • Megan
        April 28, 2016 at 11:58 am #

        This is ACOG’s supposed goal according to the statement:

        “It is essential that we send a unified message to legislators, regulators, the public, and our patients that we support nothing less than high quality maternity care.”

        Not sure how supporting that kind of curriculum forwards that goal. It sure seems like no one paid any attention to the details, just said “Improve midwife training? Sure, we’re on board with that.”

        • MWguest
          April 28, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

          And the only reason ACOG was sought out for an opinion, is so that MERA (and ilk) can boast that their efforts have ACOG ‘support’ thus legitimizing their shady and shoddy ‘standards.’


      • Roadstergal
        April 28, 2016 at 12:47 pm #


      • nomofear
        April 28, 2016 at 2:08 pm #


    • AA
      April 28, 2016 at 11:49 am #

      The ACOG Executive Board members should be ashamed of themselves for this statement.

      • MWguest
        April 28, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

        Here’s how ACNM framed it in an email sent out to members today. ACNM should be ashamed, too, for supporting this lunacy.

    • April 28, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

      Even in some of their good courses like (http://www.aafp.org/dam/AAFP/documents/cme/also-blso/BLSOCaseStudy.pdf ), they have some shitty statistics involved.

      This one caught my eye because I’m using a similar Likert-type instrument in my Master’s project. Problems:
      1) Misleading title. It’s a student self-assessment of their skills before and after, not one verified by a trained instructor.
      2) Why weren’t student skills assessed by a trained instructor? Self-assessment is good fun if you are interested in educational methodology; I don’t want a self-assessed medical student delivering a baby.
      3) What’s the median pretest score on each item? I’m guessing it was near 1 or between 1-2 at the highest because you can’t get a 76% increase if it was much above 2 to start with. In other words, the participants moved from “No experience” to “Beginner”. That’s better than nothing, but hardly enough to, say, deal with an emergency at a home birth.
      4) What statistic did they use to prove that there was a difference between the pretest and posttest scores? It’s not that hard to get a 50% increase (or decrease) on a 4-point Likert Scale; it can be much harder to get a statistically significant difference.
      5) Who uses a 4-point Likert Scale? There’s plenty of studies to show that 5pt or 7pt are the most accurate for getting student data.

    • nomofear
      April 28, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

      I wonder if we have the numbers to start some sort of petition, or twitter campaign. They’re probably been getting hit with efforts from the NCB community, without many opposing voices (like us) making themselves heard. Maybe they need to know that we’re here and we think this is bad news.

      • MWguest
        April 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

        My guess is that this statement came after from some pesky lobbying by ACNM.

        And that ACOG spent all of 10 seconds thinking, “Sure, we want to improve midwifery standards.” And left it at that.

        MERA is a ruse and a joke and a travesty. I’m positively disgusted that ACNM has anything to do with it. It’s legitimizing incompetent midwives.

        • Squillo
          April 30, 2016 at 11:04 am #

          My guess is that both ACOG and ACNM want to be seen as doing something about substandard midwifery in the U.S., but they don’t want to appear to be “anti-midwifery.”

          ACNM has always been coy about their relationship to non-nurse midwifery, so no surprise there.

          ACOG needs to grow some balls or ovaries.

    • Squillo
      April 30, 2016 at 10:59 am #

      Really careful language: “ACOG recognizes that the US MERA bridge certificate is an attempt to elevate the training and education of midwives who lack accredited education and do not currently meet ICM criteria. . . . Every CPM, no matter when they were credentialed or where they practice, should at least meet the educational and training standards required of midwives in other nations.”

      In other words, NARM created it to address the criticism that >50% of all current CPMs don’t meet the minimum standard acceptable in even the developing world. Of course, they position it as a way to protect midwives rather than to improve care:

      “Midwifery practice is still illegal in some states; several states have been arresting midwives or issuing Cease & Desist orders to CPMs for attending home births without a license, despite attempts to pass licensure laws in recent years. ”

      The acceptable coursework seems to have useful things and keeps bullshit to a minimum (with the exception of a “spinning babies” workshop as a VBAC course), so in that sense it’s an improvement.

      Of course, it isn’t required for the CPM, so it means nothing until states with mandatory licencing require it, so I’ll be really interested to see how many CPMs actually pursue it. My bet is on close to zero.

  19. Zornorph
    April 28, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    Nice to see some forward progress.

  20. Megan
    April 28, 2016 at 11:24 am #

    “And what about the women who feel tremendous regret when pressured by the breastfeeding industry even thought they can’t or don’t want to breastfeed. Ms. West apparently doesn’t care about them.”

    Thank you for mentioning this. I deeply regret the lengths I went to trying to breastfeed my older daughter. I let her starve, losing 18% of her body weight (in my defense, unbeknownst to me) rather than supplement with evil formula, pumped while she cried for me instead of spending more time cuddling and playing with her, and spent a lot of our first few months crying over my “failure” as a mother. Apparently those consequences aren’t supposed to matter.

    I refused to allow these things the second time around and so far, aside from dealing with reflux, younger daughter’s babyhood has been much more enjoyable. It seems my older daughter hasn’t suffered long term consequences for her weight loss and jaundice but I still worry about later subtle effects. (And in that light, would an supposed 3 point difference in IQ matter if attempting EBF meant starvation, dehydration and jaundice, which we know has effects on the brain?)

  21. MissKate
    April 28, 2016 at 11:14 am #

    Well of COURSE they are, they are all paid shills after all. /s

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