The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is like abstinence-only sex education

Hand writing practice abstinence on grey background

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of sexual abstinence for high school students. Most aren’t ready for sexual activity, aren’t careful enough, and don’t properly weigh the consequences.

Despite my strong support of abstinence, I am fervently opposed to abstinence-only sex education.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The ends don’t justify the means.[/pullquote]

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of breastfeeding, having successfully and happily breastfed 4 children. But despite my strong support of breastfeeding, I am fervently opposed to the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative for exactly the same reasons I oppose abstinence-only sex education.

What are those reasons?

1. Both programs present personal values and beliefs under the guise of science.

Promoters of abstinence-only sex education insist that their views reflect the scientific evidence — indeed abstinence is safer than even the best protected sexual activity. Lactivists insist that their views are also bolstered by scientific evidence — all things being equal, breastfeeding has slight advantages over formula feeding.

While there may be some scientific support for their claims, they aren’t fooling anyone. The primary purpose of abstinence-only sex education is to promote the personal/religious belief that abstinence is morally superior to sexual activity of teenagers.

Similarly, the primary purpose of the BFHI is to promote the personal belief of lactivists that “good mothers breastfeed.”

2. Both programs use censorship to compel desired behaviors.

More than anything, advocates of abstinence only programs want to hide the ways in which teenage sexual activity can be made safe; they misrepresent and censor information about the effectiveness of condoms and other forms of birth control — how to get them and how to use them.

Similarly, the BFHI promotes censorship, going so far as to muzzle nurses and doctors from discussing the risks and downsides of breastfeeding.

3. Both programs pervert science.

Abstinence only programs routinely misrepresent the science on the effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases and the effectiveness of all contraceptives in preventing pregnancy.

The BFHI is in some ways more egregious. It bans formula supplementation despite the fact that judicious formula supplementation has been shown to increase breastfeeding rates. It bans pacifiers despite the fact that there is no evidence they interfere with breastfeeding and a growing body of evidence that they reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). It countenances the closure of well baby nurseries and mandated 24 hour rooming in despite the fact that there is no evidence that these practices increase breastfeeding rates and copious evidence that they violate everything we know about the safe care of infants and mothers.

4. Neither program works.

There’s no evidence that abstinence only programs leads to lower rates of teen sexual activity, and precious little evidence (most of it weak and riddled with confounding variables) that the BFHI does anything to increase breastfeeding rates.

5. Both programs deprive people of choice.

Both abstinence only programs and the BFHI are about forcing people to make program approved choices. Want to make a different choice? Too bad for you. The people who run the programs think they are better equipped and more entitled to make choices FOR you than you are yourself.

6. Both programs are punitive.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that teens deprived of accurate information about protecting themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy are going to be at higher risk for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Too bad; they deserved it.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that depriving women of accurate information about the risks of breastfeeding is going to lead to infant hospitalizations for dehydration, jaundice and the permanent injuries and deaths that result. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that when you close well baby nurseries and force women to violate every principle of safe infant sleep, some babies are going to die from falling out of their mothers hospital beds or being smothered by the bedding or their mothers bodies when she falls asleep from exhaustion and narcotics. But apparently brain-damaged and dead infants are a price that lactivists are willing to pay to promote breastfeeding.

7. They violate the fundamental principle of bodily autonomy.

People have a right to control their own bodies!

For teens that means that they have a right to accurate information about preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy and information about how to access those methods.

For new mothers that means they have a right to decide whether they wish to use their breasts to feed their babies and a right to parent their children consistent with their personal values which may not be the values that lactivists hold dear.

8. Both programs are unethical.

They subvert science, rely on censorship, deprive people of accurate information and violate bodily autonomy.

It’s pretty obvious in the case of abstinence only sex education programs, but while it may be more subtle, it is equally pernicious for the BFHI.

Advocates of abstinence only programs and advocates of the BFHI both think they hold the moral high ground and that the ends justify the means.

They’re wrong on both counts.

  • AA

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Parenting/comments/4wqi2p/opinions_of_baby_friendly_hospitals/

    LOL, hire a postpartum doula overnight in the hospital with two parents and baby to get sleep? So BFHI hospitals are willing to max your insurance deductible for your hospital stay…but can’t provide a baby with a RN to care for babies, unlike every other patient (pediatric or adult!) who is able to rely on nurses for care.

    “It’s a little selfish to want to banish away the baby to a nursery so
    mom is ensured sleep. Baby needs to be with mom after being born into
    this scary world. They are an extension of mom. Mom has to get naps when
    she can. Adrenaline and hormones will get you through that tough
    period. It’s called being a mom. Put your baby first.”

    some of these commenters are totally the equivalent of

    https://m.popkey.co/f6d204/LWYby_s-200×150.gif

  • Pinky

    I’m just wondering when you last looked at the UNICEF. WHO Baby Friendly Initiative Any. The guidelines were rewritten in 2012 and address not about exclusive breast feeding. I suggest you update yourself otherwise thing may start to look foolish
    http://www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/Resources/Guidance-for-Health-Professionals/Writing-policies-and-guidelines/The-evidence-and-rationale-for-the-UNICEF-UK-Baby-Friendly-Initiative-standards/

    • guest

      They do not address exclusive breastfeeding? I find that hard to believe. Which section(s), exactly, do you think Dr. Amy is unaware of?

      • Pinky

        Reading her blog I’d say the whole thing. Take a look yourself.

        • Pinky

          Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative is firmly committed to the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding. However, in the UK bottle feeding remains very common and so we also work to ensure the best outcomes possible for babies when they are not breastfed. When considering use of ouwr materials outside of the UK, we suggest taking into account the country context and individual needs before deciding whether or not our materials are suitable for use

          • swbarnes2

            ” If a mother chooses not to breastfeed, this can pose significant risks for both mother and child…The child’s road to success and subsequent life chances begin in pregnancy and strong emotional bonds between a parent and their baby are built on good foundations in the early postnatal period and through breastfeeding” (emphasis mine)

            Yeah, sooo supportive of formula feeders.

  • Jules B

    It is a great analogy. I was literally hitting sexual maturity the year everyone in the world woke up to the AIDS crisis in North America. So the minute I started thinking “hmm, this sex stuff seems interesting actually…” I was hit on all sides with “SEX WILL KILL YOU! EVEN CONDOMS ARE PROBABLY NOT ENOUGH! NEVER HAVE SEX EVER!!” Ok, that is a slight exaggeration – but not by much, simply because no one really knew that much about HIV transmission back then…scare tactics aimed at teenagers were everywhere. So what did I do? I had sex anyway. Without condoms most of the time, because if sex is gonna kill me anyway, might as well just say “to hell with condoms” right? That was my teen logic at the time at least, and I know I was not alone in that mindset by any means.

    So to me, that is the ultimate irony of a lot of these all-or-nothing agendas – people do not see a middle way presented, so they just say “fuck it” and do the thing (or do not do the thing) that the crazies are promoting/arguing against.

    • Deborah

      We all know that a teenager’s common sense, highly developed moral responsibility and accountability, and ability to suppress curiosity and show restraint in the face of an interesting and likely pleasurable new experience will prevail and no harm could possibly come to them.

      • Jules B

        Hah, exactly.

  • Mariana

    Very off topic, but inspired by last question of breastfeeding. Can you have insuficient glamdular tissue and big breasts at the sMe time? Mine look nothing like the pictures i found for igt, i wear a F cup and they look like the other women in my family. They didnt change much during pregnancy, and i dont rememer engorgement untl about 5 daya after my daughter arrived and not much after that. I had serious supply problems affer day 10. I always felt so terrible thaf i couldn’t breastfeed her. .. until i found this site and learned that it’s not a big deal to feed formula. I kept worrying i was ruining her IQ! (I just read that. .. it sounds crazy to me too!).

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      I’m not an expert, but I would think that it is possible for a woman to have large breasts and IGT – a significant portion of the breast tissue in women with large breasts is made up of non glandular fatty tissue. I’m sure it’s quite possible for large breasts to have lots of fatty tissue and little glandular tissue.

      I would guess that increase in size during pregnancy would be a more reliable indicator than overall size. Anecdotal, but I barely filled a B cup prior to pregnancy, and it increased to a D (maybe even a DD) at the end of pregnancy. I had somewhat of an oversupply at first. When my milk came in, I woke up in the morning looking like I’d had a botched boob job overnight.

      • AnnaPDE

        Yeah, “porn boobs” is what they looked like for me too. But the fact that they hurt, were red and had big blue veins kind of defeated the effect…
        The fatty tissue doesn’t do much but the glandular tissue grows, which obviously shows more when the breasts started out small, but is still an indicator for IGT if there’s not much change.

      • Daleth

        I went from D (100% natural btw) to G during late pregnancy but never made enough milk for my boys. Only one of my boobs even worked–the other made so little milk it was really frustrating for them to try and nurse from it.

    • Tori

      I’m not an expert either but yes, you can. I know someone who was eventually diagnosed with IGT and it was initially missed because of breast size. I have IGT and one lactation consultant was puzzled at my tiny supply saying “they don’t look hypoplastic”. Another LC made the diagnosis after a fuller history and an examination.
      Sorry for your experiences too – I looked forward to breastfeeding so much and was broken hearted that I couldn’t. Seeing how happy, chubby and healthy my baby is on formula makes it easier though.

    • Adelaide

      Just a little antidote with your morning coffee, but I have a similar but related problem. I too am well endowed and I have had difficulty breast feeding after initial engorgement as well, but in my case I don’t think it is IGT.

      It is a very poor let down reflex and what we would call small orifices in our dairy goats. Basically the milk is there but baby has to work really hard to get to it because it comes out slowly. I struggle to pump because I get almost nothing even when engorged in the early days. I very rarely leak, especially past the first few weeks. My babies have all taken a very long time to nurse and gain weight slowly. On the flip side regardless of diet it is difficult for me to lose weight while nursing.

      I see many women struggling with this issue saying things like they have to nurse 12+ hours/day to satisfy their baby and they get a slew of bad advice. Everything from “It must be a tongue tie!” to “If you schedule feed you won’t have this problem” to “That’s normal so stop whining.”

      If you’re set on breastfeeding and you think this might be your problem, what I found works best for us is to breastfeed first and use a supplement of choice afterwards. This reduces nursing time, makes sure baby is full, and prevents mastitis.

      In my case I was able to breastfeed past a year and was able to stop supplementing at some point along the way with each of mine. Your case may be more extreme or your supply may behave differently. Do whatever works for you and your baby and let the rest go. Good luck to you!!

      On a side note we see this exact problem in our dairy goats. We get a doe who is very difficult to milk because the milk comes out very slowly. In some cases we have to supplement or bottle feed the kids for a few weeks. Luckily in goats this isn’t hereditary so we generally sell the does with this problem at a discount and let the new owners use them as breeding and not milking stock. Oddly enough I’ve never heard about this topic discussed for humans, even though let down reflexes and orifice sizes must vary significantly.

    • Montserrat Blanco

      Just anecdata but it happened to me as well. I have normal size breasts (B cup) but they did not change at all during pregnancy. When it came to breastfeeding it was impossible. I did not produce enough milk. I do not have any other problem, so probably it is IGT.

    • Heidi

      I had a D/DD cup before pregnancy and they never got any bigger that I noticed. I make 8 oz. on a committed day. But since I am never going to have a full supply, I no longer stress myself out with pumping so many days I might only get 6.

  • Tori

    Off topic, but I trust the answers of this group. Does induction of labour make breastfeeding more difficult and less likely to succeed? Rationally I don’t see how it can make any difference, and wonder if it is part of more of the NCB philosophy. Certainly breastfeeding wasn’t possible for me for different reasons, but the nagging feeling remains..

    • guest

      No idea what the science says, but I was first induced and then rushed to a c-section 8 hours later was was still able to breastfeed successfully.

      • Tori

        Thanks. One of the midwives had said all that matters was that the baby gets born and the placenta removed in order to ‘turn on’ the lactation process initially. I don’t have enough glandular tissue and never felt my milk come in, and it took me weeks to realise that rather than blame myself for induction/not waking baby frequently enough for feeds/poor attachment leading to mastitis/stress about low supply making the low supply worse. Induction is more a future question – hopefully I’ll have a bit more glandular tissue next time and maybe a bit smaller baby who doesn’t need to eat quite so much! Still am not hopeful though – I know it doesn’t matter in terms of outcomes but I wanted to just the same.

        • yentavegan

          Shame on your midwives for hiding the truth from you. It is well known in lactation consultant education that breasts that do not change in size and heft during pregnancy and no initial hormonal milk production ( engorgement) are indicators of low /insufficent milk supply. I am sorry some agenda blinded professionals allowed you to suffer needlessly.

          • Tori

            Thanks – She said that in context of labour interventions, encouraging me that I could have an epidural if I wanted to. I had ob led care, but wonderful midwives in labour! But I was disappointed about the postnatal ward – the midwives kept asking me if my milk had come in, and I kept saying I didn’t know but they didn’t press me further. The last day I noticed that it had changed colour and that was enough for them. I had breast changes in pregnancy but none postpartum and didn’t until I started on domperidone, got mastitis and then my milk almost dried up. I think IGT was mentioned at 3 weeks in vague terms at the first LC appointment, but I didn’t realise for weeks what people were saying as I had breast changes in pregnancy, my breasts don’t look hypoplastic and I wanted to breastfeed so badly. Live and learn I suppose. Keen to put the IOL question to rest though – just in case I have better luck next time (although I’m doubtful).

          • yentavegan

            the science studies on domperidone are positive for mothers of pre- term infants. not for low glandular tissue !
            So many mothers combo-feed. They nurse and give bottles ( formula or donated breastmilk) there is no reason unless you are looking for a placebo effect to take an off label medication to increase your milk supply. Some mothers breastfeed formula/donated milk by using an SNS.

          • MichelleJo

            I took domperidone for it’s intended use, (until it was pulled) as I suffer from Gastroparesis. My Doctor told me that he used to prescribe it for nursing mothers, but now refuses to do so. Domperidone has not been declared safe for lactating women, ie it is not known what effect it may have on babies. Regardless of whether it works or not, these women were taking up to six tablets a day that could potentially harm their babies in the name of breastfeeding, but wouldn’t touch formula which has been tested as 100% safe for babies!

          • Montserrat Blanco

            I decided agaisnt Domperidone when I started having issues with breastfeeding and I do not regret my decision at all. I preferred to assume the increase in NEC than the possible heart side effects. He had already been exclusively breastfed for a couple of weeks and NEC was less of an issue at that point. My son was a 28-weeker. We were lucky and he did not have NEC.

          • yentavegan

            YES!! the early colustrum feeds are beneficial for preventing NEC.

          • Tori

            Domperidone is so widely used where I’m from! I wasn’t aware of the controversy until here, it’s generally used in short bursts to bring the milk in and then weaned off. I took it for 3 weeks and then weaned off – I only wanted it to be a short term thing, three weeks was 2 weeks longer than I hoped. Used the SNS for a fair few weeks, now combo feeding with bottles, but a bottle preference is showing. He needs more than can fit in the SNS anyway now though.

          • Daleth

            Domperidone is so widely used where I’m from! I wasn’t aware of the controversy

            The “controversy” is that it can kill you by causing irregular heart rhythms ending in cardiac arrest.

            I tend to feel that a baby does better with a living mother and formula than a few weeks or months of breastmilk and then a dead mother!

          • Tori

            Perhaps controversy was the incorrect word, but I couldn’t think of a way to succinctly describe how commonly domperidone is used here, usually 30mg total daily dose, max 40mg, spread in three or four divided doses. When hearing you have low supply (or sometimes any breastfeeding problems), anecdotally in my small sample of peers it’s what is suggested fairly soon by community health after “Have you tried lactation cookies?” Doesn’t make this approach right and it feels very wrong, but there you go.
            I wasn’t aware domperidone had been withdrawn in the US until I had been on it for a week or so. Then I was surprised at the dangerous lengths people were taking to procure high doses without a prescription which is very concerning.

          • Daleth

            Having a prescription and taking a normal dose as opposed to a high one doesn’t prevent you from being killed by domperidone-induced cardiac arrest….

          • Tori

            No, of course not. What I meant that something in a controlled and monitored fashion is better than something purchased without a prescription over the Internet. Interestingly I was at a work function the other day, and when a senior medical colleague heard about my feeding troubles, the first thing they asked was about whether I’d tried domperidone. I immediately thought of this thread..

          • Mariana

            I nursed and used a sns for 6 months!! It’s insane! So many tubes to wash!!!! I was so crazy into the woo about breastfeeding. Whe my second was born I threw all the sns stuff away and combo fed with bottles. When tjr pediatrician asked me why i had decided do ditch the sns this time around i told him that having a mom was surely more important than being breastfed… he laughed and agreed. He later told me he never suggested sns for another patient again.

          • Tori

            Oh I know! Wow, 6 months. Well done. Well done too for deciding it wasn’t for you the next time. I gave the SNS up a bit before 3 months – I’d been advised to restrict the amount of formula so he’d feed frequently so I felt awful keeping him hungry and there were too many emotions around the whole feeding thing for me at the time. Not being able to breastfeed exclusively long term took me by surprise. In hindsight I could have put extra in the SNS rather than small comps but didn’t think of it in the midst of the situation. I don’t know what I’ll do next time yet – I wonder if I’ll be prepared with a couple of SNS ready, or move to bottles much sooner.

          • Ada Barnes

            I can’t begin to tell you how much I truly wish I had been told this.

    • swbarnes2

      It’s probably hard to separate from confounders. If induction is called for, you should do it, no matter the BF effect, so the answer has limited clinical relevance. if this “induce at 39 weeks for that reason alone” becomes popular, maybe a good study can be done.

      • Tori

        Thanks. Mine was a ‘soft’ indication for induction – baby was large for gestational age, no diabetes. Honestly I doubt I’ll ever be able to breastfeed successfully which I do feel sad about. Induction was great and I’d do it again between 39-40 weeks on maternal request, if only I didn’t have the nagging concern about feeding about it.

        • yentavegan

          My wonderful sister-in law breastfed her colustrum/early milk while in the hospital and also gave formula bottles right away. She went on to combo-feed for 4 months, and then transitioned to formula only. She successfully breast-fed. It is not an all or nothing experience.

          • Tori

            Thank you- you just brought tears to my eyes. We used SNS until I got overwhelmed with it and realised he was still hungry anyway, then moved to bottles and gave him as much formula as he wanted. We hit 4 months of mixed feeding which was more than I hoped for. When I heard the diagnosis was IGT my previous goal of 12 months of breastfeeding was adjusted to 3. I don’t think we’ll make 5 months – baby essentially breastfeeds for comfort only before the bottle, and not in public. I guess he’s at the developmental stage where there are too many other exciting things to look at. He’s a good night sleeper (I know, I’m lucky) but missing a few night feeds a week has hurt my supply. It seems silly to set alarms to wake and express now so I don’t. The time breastfeeding is limited now I think, so I’m enjoying it while it lasts and bonding with him over bottles too.
            It’s just so nice to hear it phrased as successful breastfeeding. Both baby and I have worked really hard to breastfeed for as long as we’ve been able, and difficult sometimes for others to understand. Thanks again.

        • Mel

          My sis-in-law had an induction turned CS at 37 weeks and has been dealing with overproduction ever since.

          Milk production in humans is badly understudied, but in the other mammals we’ve studied, the main cause of milk production is the removal of the placenta causes the amount of progesterone to crash and an increase in other hormones in comparison to the amount of progesterone triggers milk production. In other words, as long as the placenta comes out, milk production is triggered.

          Every farmer who raises milk animals figures out that not all animals produce the same amount of milk. We have cows that produce a maximum of 50 pounds (5.8 US gallons)of milk a day and we have cows that max at 200 pounds(23.2 US gallons) of milk a day. Even in beef breeds – whose sole duty in life is to raise one calf per year – some dams never produce enough milk to keep their calf alive which is just 12.9 pounds of milk a day (1.5 US gallons). Why NCB can’t figure out that humans have some of the same issues as every other mammal is beyond me…..

          • Tori

            Thanks for the reassurance – I’ve had people I know with oversupply and they had premature labours with emergency sections. My ob said he thinks I’ll be more philosophical about breastfeeding next time, and I think I agree. Wise man.
            A family member is a dairy farmer. Good thing I’m not a cow, otherwise I’d be off to the slaughterhouse!

      • Roadstergal

        I just can’t even think of a mechanism by which induction would affect breastfeeding…

    • ADG

      This is just anecdotal evidence, but I was induced at 38 weeks; 4 days due to hypertension (I also swelled up like a balloon… Ugh) and I was able to breastfeed with few issues. We did have to supplement with formula at the beginning because of his weight loss and jaundice, but after a few weeks I was able to breastfeed pretty much exclusively. Now DS is nine and a half months old and I’m in the process of weaning him in order to make my return to work in September easier.

    • demodocus

      no idea either; my anecdote is i was induced and 4/5 days later my milk came in like crazy. i ff for psych reasons

    • MI Dawn

      Not at all. I was induced with both my pregnancies and successfully breastfed for several months. And, as a nurse and a midwife, I saw many women who were induced and breastfed with no problems. (Also saw many who didn’t, and those who didn’t want to. But that’s not what you asked.)

      • Tori

        Thanks! No, doesn’t matter how others choose to feed their babies at al- – their babies, bodies and choices. I loved my labour, and felt very safe having an induction. There is something delightfully reassuring about labouring during business hours! The only thing that would sway me against a maternal request induction from 39-40 weeks would be any association with feeding problems – good to know there isn’t. I’d like to try breastfeeding again and see what is possible with a bit more glandular tissue and optimal management. Of course, if my ob suggested an induction I’d have one regardless of anything else, or if he said no induction I wouldn’t have one – I really trust him and wouldn’t argue!

    • guest

      I think the NCB types think that pitocin interferes with “natural” oxytocin production. But although there are website all over the place saying they are not the same, the medical types all say they are identical in structure, just not in how they are produced. So if anything, wouldn’t pitocin-induced labors have *more* successful breastfeeding?

      • Tori

        Thanks, and that makes perfect sense. Induction is very anti NCB philosophy so I guess there is a second agenda. Induction of labour theoretically should promote better mother-infant bonding then too!

  • Brooke

    I was going to say this comparison fails on the premise that adult women are not as gullible and impressionable as teenagers, but unfortunately the existence/popularity of this website proves me wrong on that point. Especially since once again you didn’t bother citing any of the studies you claim support your points.

    • guest

      This doesn’t even make any sense, Brooke. What does teenagers’ supposed gullibility (for which you provide no citations) have to do with whether they are taught accurate and comprehensive sex-ed, or just abstinence?

      • Who?

        I have to say guest I think you’re being unduly harsh. Brooke started off as a foul mouthed, prolix bundle of uncontrolled anger, and she seems to be progressing very well through to shade-throwing, including appropriate use of grammar and syntax. I see it as growth, which I find heartening.

        As to content, I don’t mind it. I don’t think it takes her as far forward as she’d hope, but considering what she would have posted a couple of months ago it’s a dramatic improvement. If only because it is shorter and easier to follow.

        Well done Brooke!

        • guest

          I prefer a coherent argument to proper grammar. The only part I understood here was that she wants Dr. A to provide citations – if she stuck to that, she’d have a fair enough request.

          • Who?

            Dare to dream, guest. My hope is that as Brooke becomes clearer in her writing, and the thinking that goes into it, she will become open to views other than her own.

            Perhaps we’re both dreamers?

    • MI Dawn

      Brooke: how about some defense of either one? Neither one have been proven to be safe and effective in the normal population.

    • LibrarianSarah
  • Amy

    This is SUCH an awesome analogy!

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

    9. Both are rooted in the same archaic religious beliefs.

    • MichelleJo

      Perhaps abstinence is, but not breastfeeding. The NCB crowd don’t strike me as a particularly religious bunch. Their misplaced beliefs and righteous promotion of them sure look like religious fervency but which religion is known for it’s insistence on breastfeeding? If anything, NCB have created a new religion. Believe or you are damned.

      • Zornorph

        They are religious; they just worship Mother Nature rather than Jesus.

      • indigosky

        Look up the history of La Leche League. It was started by Catholic women who wanted to get women out of the workplace and back into the homes where they “belonged.” Breastfeeding is all about getting women back into their “proper place” as one cannot exclusively breastfeed (*breastfeed*, not pump) and work full time.

        LLL is 100% against pumping, I was told by them to quit my job which means I would have lost all our health benefits because the ones through my husband’s work suck. That’s why I ended up formula feeding and have zero regrets.

      • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

        Both NCB and Breast is Best and Attachment Parenting were all spawned by The Christian Family Movement.

        http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Womens%20Page/place_is_at_home.htm

        Natural Childbirth is rooted in the belief that God cursed Eve to suffer in childbirth for eating the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Using painkillers is UnGodly or UnChristian. They had to repackage Godly Childbirth as Natural Childbirth to sell it to modern women.

        http://www.birthingnaturally.net/christian/

        Formula Feeding is also UnChristian because it allows men to participate in child-rearing and allows women to maintain a job outside the home. Attachment Parenting has the mother as sole caregiver.

        https://contexts.org/articles/breastfeed-at-your-own-risk/

  • Cartman36

    Standing ovation! Excellent post and excellent analogy! I wish I could hire Dr. Amy to be my doula when I give birth at the local BFHI hospital just to deal with the hard core lactivists on my behalf.

  • OttawaAlison

    I always laughed and then cried at their methodology for getting parents to make an informed decision about Breastfeeding: BFHI hospitals/BFI Health units must only give the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of formula feeding.
    It’s like a joke except it isn’t.

  • guest

    I like this analogy. I’m also of the opinion it’s better for high school teens not to be sexually active – but I recognize that I don’t get to decide for them, and even if they were to be 100% compliant with my personal opinion, I’d still want them to get comprehensive and accurate sex education. High school is the last schooling that is mandatory – not everyone goes to college, so we couldn’t wait until college to teach sex ed even if all high school students were abstinent. So between that and the fact that they are not, and never have been, and the failure of abstinence only sex ed demonstrates that they never will be, they need this education in high school. And it should be accurate and complete.

    • Mel

      I went to a Catholic HS that was (allegedly) an abstinence-only curriculum. Based on the number of pregnancies I knew about, it didn’t work.

      • guest

        It definitely doesn’t work. Pregnancies used to be hushed up more, so some older folks think “they” didn’t do that, but they did.

        • Roadstergal

          Irish laundries.

        • OttawaAlison

          You also had girls getting married at 15 – 16 to “legitimize” a pregnancy.
          In fact there are still some laws on the books in the US that a girl can get married if she’s pregnant at a young age with her parents permission (thankfully they’re trying to repeal those laws in places).

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Girl in the class below me got married (pregnant) at 14.

            To a 22 year old guy.

            It lasted as long as you would expect. I can’t believe the parents (hers and his) let them do that.

            Her younger sister, apparently, was wiser and had abortions for the times she got pregnant in high school. Or so I’ve heard.

            Her older sister who is my age, otoh, was/is a nice person. Growing up in Catholic grade school, she was the last one planning to be a priest or nun when they grew up (in first grade, it’s like half the class; by 4th grade, it’s no one)

          • Megan

            I have delivered babies of 13 year olds. Aside from being sick (and statutory rape or just rape, period), it’s just so sad. It’s the ticket on the express train to poverty.

          • Cartman36

            So, so, so true! When I had my first child I became very very aware how illequipped teenagers are to be parents. Financially, emotionally, etc

          • AirPlant

            My husband did postpartum care for a 16 year old when he was in training. He said that her thought process was that since the baby couldn’t move yet she would just be able to leave it in a crib all day and maybe nip by to check on it over her school’s lunch time.

            A social worker was called natch and I am sure that it was resolved, but my take away was that teenagers were never ever intended to be mothers

          • Roadstergal

            You’re reminding me of a This American Life episode I heard some years ago. The idea was to give teenage girls ‘robot babies’ (for lack of a better term) to give them some idea of how care-intensive babies could be. They would ‘cry’ and you would have to figure out why they were crying and do whatever was needed (change, feed, rock) to soothe them.

            I remember that one of the girls, the one who wanted a baby herself, was telling the interviewer that it wasn’t a good test, since real babies weren’t as much work as they were making it out to be. :p

            (I also note that they did not give teenage boys ‘robot babies.’)

          • AirPlant

            This is why we need to ctfd about teenagers babysitting. three hours with a colicy infant does a world of good towards this nonsense of babies wanting babies. Hell, I am in my thirties and a squalling infant makes me rethink my choices.

          • Azuran

            My best friend has always wanted babies and with each new year that passed she would go more depressed about still being single and childless. She had even decided to get herself artificially inseminated by 28 if she still didn’t have a baby.
            Then last year she took care of a 6 month old baby in her extended family for 4 hours. She’s since running away whenever she hears a baby and she’s traumatized that I’m trying to have one.

          • AirPlant

            Babies are just terrible. Like I get that it is an unpopular position and most people like them and chubby cheeks and all that, but most babies are just not that awesome.
            .
            Honestly, that is probably my biggest ideological difference between myself and the NCB philosophy. The idea that the shitty baby time is the high point of parenting just sounds painfully bleak and self serving.

          • An Actual Attorney

            A friend asked me how my baby was at about 2 months. Friend still laughs at my honest answer : really needy and self centered.

          • Amy M

            I love babies—when other people have them. I have children, and they were pretty good babies, but the sleep dep wrecked me. And infants are boring after a while, because they don’t respond to you. Toddlers are more fun, but draining because of all the repetition. In general, I’ve enjoyed my children more with each passing year, though they are only 7, so I might feel differently when they get to 13 or so. 😉

          • Thank you for saying this. My kids are 3 and 10mo, and it really feels like I’m in the thick of it. My coworkers with older kids keep telling me (unsolicited) that I should, you know, savor every moment and it only gets harder and I should enjoy how easy my kids are now … And I’m thinking, that sounds like rose-colored nostalgia from someone whose kids blow their own noses, wipe their own butts, and don’t wake up screaming 3 times a night.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            My guys are 7 and 5. I won’t say it is harder, just different. There are a lot of things that are easier than before, and lots of things that are more challenging than before.

          • demodocus

            I hear you. Mine are 2 years and newborn. I’ve been giving people the eye for all of my elder child’s life because sleep deprivation sucks. Son’s a fearless runner who already knows how to operate every lock in the house but the padlock. o.O

          • Kelly

            Babies are so dang boring. They get so much more interesting as they get older.

          • MichelleJo

            Yeah, we’re thrilled to get pregnant (as settled adults wanting a baby), can’t wait to meet them, holding them for the first time is magical… and then are grateful if we have a ‘good’ baby, one who sleeps most of the time and isn’t fussy when they are awake. One that doesn’t bother us too much or disrupt our schedules… But of course that’s because it’s not really the baby that we want, it’s a son or daughter, who we hope to help and watch grow into adulthood, and become a real person. A teenager or young single pining for a baby is only thinking of the cutie cuddly bits, so a reality check on what newborns are really like is enough to scare them off.

          • ladyloki

            I wanted a baby, and my husband and I had started TTC. Then we took care of our friends’ 4 month old baby. That’s why we adopted two tween instead. They have their own issues but at least they can wipe their own ass and don’t cry every two hours…at night.

          • Mel

            Those have become rather popular in my neck of the woods for both genders.

            My only problem is that they don’t spew liquids like real infants do….

          • MI Dawn

            Some schools in the US do have a class where both boys and girls are given those dolls (when they “cry” you have to insert a key into a slot and hold it there for a specific amount of time to ‘feed’ it). Those kids learn fast how much work a baby is! I’ve also heard of classes substituting a raw egg and if the egg is broken, you fail that section. (The egg must be carried with the student everywhere).

          • Mel

            My Catholic HS tried the egg version. They stopped when two teachers started kidnapping egg babies and holding them for candy ransom. The teachers felt – and I agree – that an egg is a poor substitute for a child.

          • demodocus

            candy ransom? bwahahah. I like those two.

          • Nick Sanders

            My highschool had us use a bag of flour, and the worse shape the bag was in at the end of the exercise, the lower your grade. And you were on the honor system to have it with you or under care at all times.

            It got really annoying when my parents wouldn’t even watch it for a few minutes so I could take a bathroom break. I realize real babies don’t give you a bathroom break, but real babies can be changed when they acquire poo stank.

          • Guest

            When I was 15 or 16 my mom was a mother/infant nurse on a postpartum unit and she had me spend a day observing her take care of new moms and babies (with their permission, of course). I don’t know how common it was/is, but for whatever reason she had a very high proportion of women having a rough time. (Come to think of it, now that I’m writing this out I wonder if she did that on purpose!!)

            I had zero interest in having a baby for years after that.

          • Mel

            My aunt and uncle got pregnant with surprise twins (they had unexplained infertility and had declined ART) when I was 16.

            My 12-year-old brother, my twin sister and I were brought up to their house every month from when the girls were 1 month old through 6 months old and placed on semi-supervised babysitting duty for the whole weekend.

            That did the trick…..

          • CSN0116

            I made my 21-year-old sister watch me give birth back in September 😛

            Scared the shit out of her 😉

          • demodocus

            By that age, I was the main baby-sitter for my 5 year old brother, and a regular for the 6 year old cousin. Completely satisfied my interest in babies for ages (though I still wanted one in a vague, after college way)

          • Roadstergal

            If my circle of friends and myself are at all indicative, kids are very sexually curious at that age and earlier. They want information, and they’re going to get it in one way or another. The idea that the worst thing you can do for a young teen is give them accurate information and the means to control their bodies is one I don’t get at all.

          • Mel

            I had a 15-year-old student who was surprisingly calm and collected about her pregnancy. It took me a few months to put together that she was very calm and collected because she already had a toddler son. I realized this in the middle of a parent-teacher conference when the student’s mother started complaining about how ‘badly’ her daughter’s junior-high school’s policies dealt with pregnant students compared to our alternative-education high school.

            I was a very new teacher, so I spent most of the time staring at the mom with my jaw gaping slightly from the shock. Her 15 year-old was pregnant -for the second time! – and the mom was angry at the junior high school for not having a written student maternity policy….. eesh.

            On the flip side, I often had much better luck convincing students who already had one baby that there were many convenient long-term reversible contraceptives available. I had an Implanon placed prior to my marriage and was more than willing to show the students the amount of bruising from the procedure (not much and I am pale-skinned blonde) and the size of the scars (grain of rice and a grain of barley) on my arm. A few girls got one or a Mirena.

          • Mishimoo

            I accidentally made my Mormor cry recently by explaining that yes, pro-lifers exist and that people make children carry pregnancies to term instead of offering them an abortion. She was absolutely appalled and furious because she knew people who had been desperate enough to do it themselves with unfortunate outcomes.

          • MI Dawn

            When I worked in inner city Detroit, we had a 14 year old girl come in to deliver. When her mom arrived, we all recognized her – she was the 28 year old who had delivered the previous week. Her mom (approx 50) would be raising the 2 babies.

          • MI Dawn

            I remember the same sort of thing – C was 13 when she got pregnant and married to the guy who was 21. No one apparently blinked an eye (the family was considered “lower class” so who cared), but my friends and I were appalled. Last thing I knew, she had 4 kids (the first pregnancy was twins) at age 19. I lost contact after I graduated from high school.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Heh. Until their 14 year old got married, the parents were always considered (relatively) upstanding. Their two older kids were ok. They certainly weren’t lower class, nor considered so. Until their two youngest came to be recognized as the town sleaze.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Not too many years ago, I worked in Appalachia and that was common. Prosecutors wouldn’t charge molesting men (up to even 50 year olds) who impregnated girls, barely into puberty, as long as they married their victims. I also knew a girl who at 12 had her mother sign papers so the mom’s drug dealer could marry her in exchange for canceling the mom’s drug debt. Yes, her mom sold her for drugs, but because she did it through the sacrament of marriage, the authorities seemed fine with it.

        • Inmara

          During Soviet Era in my country, there were definitely teen pregnancies, despite the notion that “There is no sex in USSR” (a short history of this famous phrase for those interested http://russiapedia.rt.com/on-this-day/july-17/). They just didn’t appear publicly because pregnant girls were pressured to have abortions (either by parents or by teachers/school principals as it would be a disgrace for school to have a pregnant student). Due to lack of reliable contraception, abortions were used as a method of birth control, with inevitable consequences (my mom had several miscarriages due to abortion history, both before and after my birth).

      • Roadstergal

        Bristol Palin is the public face of an abstinence-only sex education group. The irony writes itself.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          When I was growing up, the couple that was heavily involved in the Catholic pre-Cana marriage preparation course was a couple that had 7 kids, I think – 5 boys, 2 girls. The oldest boys were the town trouble makers, and I think 4 of them served jail time for one thing or another. They had the hot rod cars and drove them wildly, so a lot of their run-ins with the law were for reckless driving, and they had a lot of wrecks. The older girl was pregnant when she got married.

          And these folks were the ones being held up as examples for engaged couples on how to have a good marriage.

          They didn’t have a lot of credibility. OTOH, I bet they knew the rules about contraception though…

          • Mel

            That reminds me of the NFP couple who is really into NFP….without having used it for that long. This couple is traditionally a couple in their mid-50’s or early 60’s and loves to tell young people how NFP changed their marriage. When Q/A time comes, the young adults – led by me and a few other brats – would start asking questions:
            Q: How long have you been using NFP?
            A: 15 years.
            Q: How old were you when you married?
            A: Early twenties.
            Q: How old were you when you started using NFP?
            A: At least 40.
            Q: How many unplanned babies did you have on NFP?
            A: 1 (or 2)

            Then the math geeks would start trying to explain to the couple that if they had one(or two) babies in their 40’s when conception rates are ~5% per cycle and miscarriage rates are high while using NFP, they probably would have had 4-5 kids in their twenties plus another 2-4 kids in their thirties if they used NFP the whole way through…..

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            I’m planning to start using NFP as soon as I am certain that I’ve definitively hit menopause and am never going to drop another egg. I’m sure it will work perfectly for me.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It was just easier for us for me to get a vas…

          • MI Dawn

            Yeah. My ex got one of those….after I got pregnant (with an ectopic) 5 years after my tubal ligation. We were both kinda sorry we hadn’t done his first…

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      I went to a school run by people who believed that raging teen hormones made abstinence nigh impossible so it was important to start brainwashing kids about the importance of always using condoms before middle school. And followed it up with repeat brainwashing every year afterwards. I am so grateful for that.

      • guest

        Good point – I see high school as the last chance to reach the public at large, but it’s better not to wait until the last possible second to get people the information they need.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      The problem is it starts too late , at least in most schools in the US. Accurate, age appropriate information needs to start in middle school at the latest, if not earlier. I started discussing things, simply, with my daughter at around 5 or 6. I made her an appointment with GYN at about 15 to go on the pill(massively painful and long periods, she would faint at the start of her period each month). I talked about birth control and condoms, etc. As in the pill won’t keep you from getting a VD. I also told her(in the midst of one of her friends pregnancy scares) that if she ever had a birthcontrol failure I would have her back and help her do what ever she decided. She is almost 22 and finishing up school. It has not been all sunshine and flowers but doing ok so far. p.s. I would have taken her in to get the pill if she wanted regardless, although it would have probably developed into a long discussion with her dad. He has come around to my way of thinking but it is a work in progress…

      Ignorance helps no one.

    • Roadstergal

      I’m just going to throw in Last Week Tonight’s segment on sex education. A good and sometimes heartbreaking overview of the problems with lack of sex education (including the presence of some truly horrific abstinence-only programs).

      Also, gratuitous Jonathan Banks.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0jQz6jqQS0

      • demodocus

        That’s freaking awesome. Especially their version of the sex-ed videos.