Lactivist-splainin’

41015744 - model angry scolding and pointing

I’ve written before about mansplainin’. Mansplainin’ occurs when a man condescendingly explains something to a woman assuming he has a superior understanding since he is a man.

The founders of the natural childbirth movements were mansplainers, assuming that as male physicians they had a better understanding of what women feel during childbirth than women themselves. The fundamental problem with mansplainers is they are so enamored of the sound of their own voices that they never stop to listen. If they listened, truly listened, to women they would realize that women are not merely their intellectual equals, but have specialized knowledge that they as men could never have.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]When a lactivist explains to formula feeders why they choose not to breastfeed.[/pullquote]

I’d like to introduce a new term: lactivist-splainin’.

Lactivist-splainin’ occurs when a lactivist explains to formula feeders why they choose not to breastfeed. The fundamental problem is the same as in mansplainin’: a group of people so enamoured of their own opinions that they never listen to anyone else.

In the past few days I’ve had the typical lactivist-splainin’ experience, when a group of lactivist imagined they would taunt me and then couldn’t address my arguments about the misogynism at the heart of contemporary lactivism. So they fell back on lactivist-splainin’as if their experience of pressuring women to breastfeed gives them greater knowledge of women who choose formula than those women themselves.

For example, this tweet comes from British psychology professor Dr. Amy Brown. It’s a perfect example of the biological essentialism at the heart of lactivism: the believe that women should be defined by and limited to their biology.

img_1481

We are animals. Mammals. Did you not realize? Or are breasts the animal bit? …

You may remember Dr. Brown from my piece The naked misogyny of pressuring women to breastfeed in which I took her to task for ignoring the results of her own research that 80% of women stop breastfeeding because of pain and difficulty and instead lactivist-splained that they really stop breastfeeding because of lack of understanding and support.

I pointed out to Dr. Brown that insisting that women ought to breastfeed, whether they want to or not, because they have breasts is like insisting that gay women ought to have penetrative intercourse, whether they want to or not, because they have vaginas.

img_1483

Dr. Brown starts back pedaling.

I’ve never told women to do anything. Just supported.

Really? And what do women think about such “support”? They don’t feel supported; they feel bullied.

A new paper, The emotional and practical experiences of formula-feeding mothers, joins a long list of previous papers in pointing out that lactivist “support” isn’t supportive in the least :

…Given the widespread knowledge of the many merits of breastfeeding among mothers, the moral statuses of those who decide not to breastfeed, or who are unable to, are left in jeopardy. Assuming that every new parent desires the “best” for their infant, the “breast is best” slogan becomes a profoundly moralistic message, rather than a promotional tool to simplify the scientific evidence about the benefits of breastfeeding. This is amplified further by expert claims about the “riskiness” of choosing formula. In this manner, the pro-breastfeeding discourse has become intertwined with broader ideologies of the concept of optimal parenting. This can lead to considerable pressure to conform to infant feeding guidelines in pregnancy and an emotional burden for those who do not manage to adhere to current recommendations in the postnatal period.

That’s not support; that’s bullying.

But lactivist-splainers wouldn’t know how their efforts are received because they aren’t listening to women who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed, or ignoring them when they do listen:

Compared with the large literature on breastfeeding and despite the high percentage of infants receiving formula and the potentially grave consequences for maternal and infant health and wellbeing arising from negative feeding experiences, there is very limited evidence regarding the opinions and experiences of formula-feeding mothers… To our knowledge, no study has explored emotional and practical factors simultaneously nor quantified them in a large sample.

What would lactivist-splanners learn if they ever stopped talking and started listening?

…[A] high percentage of mothers experienced negative emotions including guilt (67%), stigma (68%), and the need to defend their decision (76%) to use formula.

The primary source of these negative feelings was internal, but:

These negative emotions were secondarily driven by health professionals. These feelings may occur as a result of not conforming to health professionals’ recommendations or stem from a perception that health professionals judge formula to be an inferior option. Such conclusions are further reinforced by data revealing that the majority of mothers in this study felt unsupported by health professionals and were more likely to rely on the internet for infant feeding information than seek advice from them…

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is recognized as promoting these negative outcomes:

While the BFHI message is critically important in developing countries or high-risk situations (prematurity, very low birth weight) where the relevance for child survival is undisputed, it may be internalized differently among affluent or low-risk populations. The evidence presented here suggests that the current approach to infant feeding promotion and support in higher-income countries may be paradoxically related to significant issues with emotional well-being and may need to be situationally modified…

In other words, while breastfeeding can be lifesaving in developing countries, the benefits are far smaller in places like the US and the UK. In industrialized countries, lactivist efforts do not improve outcomes for babies but instead they damage mothers’ mental health.

And that’s not surprising since regardless of the claims of Dr. Brown and her colleagues, they are not providing support, they are deliberately bullying. Lactivism is often more about making lactivists feel superior for their choices by demeaning women who make different choices.

Dr. Amy Brown and her colleagues need to stop lactivist-splainin’ and start listening. Based on her responses, I’m not hopeful that she or they give a damn.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    Oh he’s special all right.

  • itry2brational

    “The founders of the natural childbirth movements were mansplainers, assuming that as male physicians they had a better understanding of what women feel during childbirth than women themselves.”
    Dick-Read is utterly irrelevant in the here and now of the movement – which is almost entirely, if not entirely, run by feminist women who are mostly not physicians. Same goes for lactivists/lactivism: virtually all feminist women doing the ‘splain’n.

  • itry2brational

    “…women are not merely their intellectual equals, but have specialized knowledge that they as men could never have.”
    Women are superior, got it. Despite discovering science, math, biology, astronomy, medicine, physics etc, men just can’t learn this knowledge only “special” people can grasp…and they never will.
    Gee, you’re not enamored with continually convincing yourself of this belief 24/7 and then telling it to other people condescendingly and ironically in a blog, are ya? Breaking news! Feminist who believes women are intellectually superior to men condescendingly explains that men condescendingly explain things to women. lol You are a parody of yourself.

    • Azuran

      Admitting that women have certain ‘specialized’ knowledge that men don’t have is not saying that they are superior. It’s just acknowledging differences between the two and acknowledging the fact that there are things about women that men will never really know, and things about men that women will never really know. Indeed, when it comes to pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, women DO have knowledge and experiences that men will never have.

      I’m a woman. I have no freaking idea what having an erection or getting kicked in the nuts feels like. Likewise, a man is never going to experience the feeling of menstrual cramps, labour or breastfeeding.

      • itry2brational

        Strange that feminists, especially like Tuteur, claim and act as if they know everything there is to know about men: how they behave, why they behave that way, their motivations, that they won’t need or want to experience certain sensitive parts of their body etc. She doesn’t actually believe men have any “special knowledge” that women cannot grasp. You’re right, though. You can never know what an erection feels like, good point. So I guess you shouldn’t cut away part of someone else’s genitals when you are utterly clueless to the experience, huh? I mean, only if you want to apply that logic consistently.
        No person knows precisely what another experiences so your argument is moot. Your cramps don’t feel precisely like my wife’s, her labor wasn’t like yours and so forth ad nauseum. Also, every female is not born with this “special knowledge” nor have they/you all had the same experiences so its silly to claim/act as if they/you all do. However, humans developed language to express our experiences and thoughts to each other. Women share their experiences with other women via language and there is no difference in the ability to process information between the sexes. If women can understand complex mathematical equations then men can grasp child birth. Humans have been reproducing together since our origin. To believe that men can never grasp what they are being told is preposterous and displays an obliviousness to what is blatant misandry.
        Besides, you’re making way too much of this. All you need to know is that an erection feels great and getting kicked in the nuts can be one of the most painful experiences for a man. Do you -actually- have to be kicked in the nuts to grasp that its painful? To sympathize? No, you do not.

  • itry2brational

    Feminists: “a group of people so enamoured of their own opinions that they never listen to anyone else.”

    • Nick Sanders

      I didn’t realize you were a feminist.

      • itry2brational

        I bet there’s a lot you don’t realize, Nick. 😉

  • OttawaAlison

    The formula I’ll be donating to the food bank next week will be in honour of Anna Perch visiting this page again 🙂

    • Sean Jungian

      Excellent idea. My son’s school is also holding a food pantry drive, and in addition to disposable diapers I will also be sending formula.

  • moto_librarian

    Thank goodness Anna Perch is here to illustrate our brave new post-truth society. She is convinced of the utter superiority of breastmilk because, well, because. When confronted with actual evidence that rebuts her claims, she has no response other than to claim that she is being attacked. She’s also quite sure that she’s not a bully, but actually the victim. Sounds an awful lot like the new leader of the free world.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      utter superiority of formula?

      • moto_librarian

        Had a typo. Fixed it.

        • J.B.

          what about “udder” superiority 😉 ?

    • MaineJen

      I was thinking the same thing. She even insists that we are taking her comments “out of context” when we are actually quoting back to her what she said word for word. It’s really quite striking.

      • moto_librarian

        Would she prefer that we start calling her an “alt-lactivist” instead?

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          She is still the only person I’ve ever blocked. Spectacular gas-lighter. Oh, I never called you a bad mother, i just think you’re a selfish jerk for putting your mental health above your baby’s health. Because human milk is soooooooooo superior and why are you undermining all the good mothers by implying breastfeeding isn’t always awesome for ppd?

          • LibrarianSarah

            “She” sounds like your run of the mill troll that got bored with reddit or 4chan. Best advice is to either ignore her or post nonsense in response. Reaction gifs are always a fun option.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Blocking is a highly effective method of ignoring.

    • J.B.

      And we simultaneously listen to “meeeen” Dr. Amy and have our personal experiences discounted, because no lactivist could ever condescend.

  • maidmarian555

    Quick question for the lactivists….why, if breastfeeding is so superior, did my health visitor tell me I don’t need to give my 7m/o baby vitamin drops now we’ve made the switch to formula full-time? If formula is so awful and fails to provide babies with the nutrition that they need then why do breastfed babies need extra vitamins once you introduce solid food?

    • Daleth

      Breastfeeding is magic except that it can leave your babies anemic or with Vitamin D deficiencies. Oh, and it can starve them if you don’t make enough. But apart from that…

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Because it’s not really about nutritional needs for hardcore lactivists. It’s about ill-defined mystical powers of breastmilk and the sacredness of the breastfeeding relationship and, I think, the display of maternal self-sacrifice that is symbolized by nourishing a baby with your own body. All Good Mothers must constantly demonstrate that they would do anything for their children with no thought for themselves and this is just one way to show that. Not that I’m saying that all or even most women necessarily experience breastfeeding as arduous but it does involve a certain sacrifice of bodily autonomy. If it’s one you choose to make because it works for you and your baby, fine, but, to lactivists, not making that choice signifies selfishness.

      They don’t really seem to concern themselves much with anything as concrete and practical as actual, physical health benefits.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      I just had my first and being told I have to give him D drops was quite the “BWAHAHAHAAA!!” moment. Perfect food my ass.

      • kilda

        the breast somehow knows how to give each baby the exact antibodies and mix of nutrients that he/she needs and yet somehow doesn’t know the baby needs vitamin D. Hmm.

        • AnnaPDE

          To be fair, babies would normally get that stuff by being exposed to some sunlight, not from food.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            When we moved to Guam with my blonde, blue-eyed 2 month old daughter, one of the first things I insisted on with her child care worker was that she was NOT to be outside without sunblock and a hat.

            Most recommendations from pediatricians are that you avoid excess sun exposure in infants and to use sunblock on babies older than 6 months when they are outside.
            https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/vitamin_d.htm

            http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/news/20100322/cdc-babies-dont-get-enough-vitamin_d#1

            “Babies who drink 34 ounces (1 liter) a day of formula get enough of the vitamin to meet the new recommendations. But only a third of the babies in the survey drank this much formula, says the CDC’s Cria G. Perrine, PhD, who led the study team.”

            “Breastfed infants definitely need a vitamin D supplement, and most formula-fed infants probably need supplementation too to get 400 IU a day,” she tells WebMD”

  • namaste863

    “Anti bf motives?” As far as I can tell, the point is “If it works out, great! Knock yourself out! If it doesnt, don’t sweat it.” In whose universe is that “Anti BF?” Does anybody seriously know anybody who is anti bf? Jeez, let’s keep a little perspective. It’s milk. It isn’t the Elixer of Life, the Balm of Gilead and Ambrosia all rolled into one (That would be coffee). We use cow’s milk all the time. There’s nothing magical about it. Pointing that out does NOT make one anti bf.

    • SporkParade

      I’m in an evidence-based infant feeding group in Facebook. Basically, the rules are “Fed is Best” and “We don’t support unsafe breastfeeding practices, such as using unregulated supplements or feeding unscreened donor milk.” And about once a month, a new member will ask why we’re so anti-breastfeeding and need to be reassured by the breastfeeding members that what they’re experiencing isn’t anti-bf sentiment but culture shock.

      • Anna Perch

        “Fed is Best” is an extremist group that equates breastfeeding with infant starving.
        I’m not sure which group you happen to be referring to, but there are numerous online pages that claim to be evidence-based that are no such thing.

        • Charybdis

          They don’t equate breastfeeding with infant starvation, not at all. They don’t worship at the Holy, Magical Altar of Breastfeeding and Breastmilk, which pisses you right the hell off. They support, educate and offer support for ALL the ways you feed a baby: EBF, combo feeding, EFF, tube feeding, bottles, syringes, cups, etc. They provide concrete numbers and detailed feeding plans for mothers (what percentage of weight the baby can lose before there is a problem, how to do pre- and post-feed weights, how to properly prepare a bottle, how to combo feed, etc) as well as giving more realistic information about the size of babies’ stomachs, how colostrum may not be adequate to satiate a baby, and that breastmilk does not provide protection from VPD’s.

          They are extremely pragmatic and realistic in their information and advice, so one can certainly understand how a lactivist apologist like yourself views them as an extremist group.

          • Sean Jungian

            Promoting feeding your baby = extremist views.

            Hoo boy, Anna.

          • Anna Perch

            Fed is Best is about feeding your baby the same way that Pro-Life is about creating better lives for children.
            Nice try.

          • Sean Jungian

            How so? I’m not following your logic on this one, Anna.

          • Anna Perch

            Have a go at it.

          • Sean Jungian

            So I’m supposed to guess what your argument is and you’ll perhaps deign to tell me if I’m correct? Or is this going to be more along the lines of a game of “hot & cold”? You made the statement, you know what you meant, I asked you to clarify.

            Apparently you can’t.

            I can never remember, are you the troll that insists that Dr. Amy is evil and that the c-section rate should be under 5%? Or are you the troll that hates Dr. Amy and refuses to acknowledge any scientific study in favor of your own personal narrative and sample size of 1? Or maybe you’re the troll who hates Dr. Amy and insists that “formula feeders aren’t being bullied, breastfeeders are being bullied!”? So hard to keep you all straight.

          • Anna Perch

            So – anyone who contradicts Tuteur is an insignificant troll, in your opinion. That’s nice.

          • Sean Jungian

            Oh Anna, don’t be disingenuous, it’s so unbecoming. You’re a well-known troll, instigator, and rabble-rouser here, if you’re ashamed of it maybe you should think twice about doing it?

          • Anna Perch

            No, I am not ashamed of sharing my opinions.

          • Azuran

            Oh I’ll try it.
            Let’s see……..Fed is best is saying that you can either breastfeed, formula feed, combo feed, use safe donor milk, pump, use bottle or tubes for either breast milk or formula and just about any mix of approved BM/Formula with any kind of safe feeding method. And that regardless of feeding method, as long as someone with feeding their baby with something safe, they should be supported.

            While pro-life are saying that if any woman ever fall pregnant she should have the baby no matter what.

            ………………..Weird, it seems to me like Fed is best is more like being pro-choice and letting women make their own decision about their lives. And Breast is best is more like being pro life: claiming one choice is always better and judging those who don’t follow it.

          • Anna Perch

            Ah. I see that you are having trouble moving past your own myopic worldview. That might explain why my logic escapes you.

          • Sean Jungian

            Right, since you won’t explain or clarify, you can just lob insults from a distance. Excellent trolling, Anna!

          • Anna Perch

            I have no reason to believe that you have any interest in what I meant when I said that “Fed is Best” has as much literal meaning as “Pro-Life”. If you were interested, I think you would have said more than simply I-don’t-get-it. The fact that you have now pegged me as a troll validates my decision not to invest too much into an explanation for you.

          • Azuran

            If you don’t want to be branded a troll, stop acting like one and start trying to explain your viewpoint.

          • Anna Perch

            If my opinion were not different than yours, then I would not be branded a troll. My opinion IS different.

          • Azuran

            No, you are not a troll because your opinion is different. You are a troll because you just run around saying nonesense and then refuse to explain yourself.
            So, explain: How do you think fed is best is like being pro life?

          • Anna Perch

            I have expressed my viewpoint, clearly.

          • Azuran

            again: How is fed is best like being pro-choice?

          • Anna Perch

            Again, really?

          • Azuran

            well, you still haven’t explained it

          • Anna Perch

            Ditto.

          • Azuran

            I haven’t explained what? I don’t remember you asking me a question. But please, ask again, and I will answer with pleasure.

          • Anna Perch

            🙂

          • Azuran

            And you wonder why we call you a Troll. But my invitation still stand, ask away, prove that you are not a troll and actually trying to have an honest conversation here.

          • Sean Jungian

            Obvious troll is obvious.

            I actually *was* interested in your initial statement:

            “Fed is Best is about feeding your baby the same way that Pro-Life is about creating better lives for children.”

            which I see you’ve already changed in this current comment. I still don’t get it, at all, and since you don’t wish to clarify I think I’m pretty safe in ignoring it.

            I do have one question though – what IS your opinion on formula feeding? Please be straightforward if you can, although I know it’s easier to hide behind weasel-worded vagueness.

          • Anna Perch

            I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: IMO, people have no obligation to breastfeed. They can opt not to breastfeed for any reason, or no reason at all ie just because. There is rarely any good that can come of trying to justify not breastfeeding online, so don’t bother, it’s unnecessary. When breastmilk is not accessible, store bought infant formula is a perfectly legitimate substitute. Policies that promote breastfeeding are population-based. Individuals have autonomy.
            Weasely enough?

          • Sean Jungian

            Okay, first of all, thank you for answering and for answering clearly.

            I agree with you, pretty much straight down the line. I think, if I may be so bold, that most of us in the comments and even Dr. Amy also agree with you. (The only part I don’t agree or disagree with is the part about justifying anything online – I don’t have an opinion on that one way or the other).

            So, what’s the issue? Why do you come here time and again to “disagree” with us when you…mostly agree? At least on this particular topic?

          • Anna Perch

            No – I fundamentally disagree with Tuteur.

          • Sean Jungian

            Well, if you say so. But your clearly stated opinion says otherwise.

            That right there is what makes you a troll. You agree with most of the ideas expressed (about breastfeeding and formula feeding, at least) yet you continue to come in here and strictly stir shit.

            That’s the textbook definition of internet troll.

          • Anna Perch

            Yup, right back to “if you disagree, you are a troll”. Predictable.

          • Sean Jungian

            Exactly the opposite of what I said, but hey! Reading comprehension isn’t for everyone!

          • Anna Perch

            My bad. I thought for a second there that you were being reasonable.

          • Anna Perch

            So, using your superior reading comprehension skills, tell me, what bits of my opinion on formula feeding differ from Amy Brown’s based on Tuteur’s rant?

          • Sean Jungian

            I haven’t seen you argue anything that says women must breastfeed because they have breasts and are mammals, which is Amy Brown’s opinion.

            As I said, your opinion seems to reflect Dr. Amy’s (and most of the commenters’) opinion point by point.

          • Anna Perch

            No, that is not ABs opinion. That is what Tuteur wants you to think her opinion is. Totally different, and exactly my point.

          • Azuran

            If AB didn’t want us to think it’s her opinion, then she shouldn’t have wrote it on twitter.

          • Anna Perch

            LOL! Dearrie, Tuteur’s cherry picked tweets are not representative of ABs opinion.

          • Azuran

            It actually does. If she didn’t want to be called out on it, she shouldn’t have wrote it.
            If I did 1 racist tweet, out of 1000 tweets, and people called me a racist because of that one tweet, it would be 100% deserved.

          • Anna Perch

            And what would you be called if I blogged that you tweeted a racist tweet? A racist? 100% deserved?

          • MaineJen

            Find a tweet from Dr. Amy that could be construed as racist. We’ll wait.

          • Anna Perch

            Tuteur blogs erroneous information. For example, her representation of Amy Brown’s tweets are misleading.

          • Azuran

            You would be someone who pointed out my racism.

          • Anna Perch

            Gosh, sometimes my patience wears thin. The point is that I could blog that you tweeted a racist tweet whether or not you actually did. I could be falsely accusing you of racism. Kinda like Tuteur is making false allegations about AB.

          • Azuran

            Oh, so you are saying that Dr. Tuteur FORGED that tweet?

          • Sean Jungian

            Do you…do you think this is the only blog any of us read? Or that this is our sole point of contact for information about lactivists? That’s adorable.

            Most of us have plenty of experience with real-life breastfeeding proponents who DO say, with a straight face, that formula is poison, that women who don’t breastfeed shouldn’t even have children, etc. etc. and worse.

            In any case, you already agree with me, and most of us here, so I see no reason to keep arguing with you. Have a great day!

          • Anna Perch

            Sure. I’ll just take your word for it, despite that fact that there is a near zero occurrence of breastfeeding bloggers calling formula poison.
            As I have clearly stated, I do not agree with Tuteur.

          • Azuran

            So……what you wrote is basically everything that Dr Tuteur is talking about:
            -People have no obligation to breastfeed
            -They can opt not to, for any reason, or just because
            -Store bough infant formula is perfectly legitimate.
            -Individuals have autonomy.
            So…….what exactly are you fundamentally disagreeing with Dr. Tuteur about?

          • Anna Perch

            Repeat post: The issue is not views on “formula feeding”. The issues include views on formula itself, the marketing of formula, and the hype that formula is essentially the same as breastmilk, etc. The fact that Tuteur grossly mischaracterizes those who acknowledge the importance of breastfeeding, that she breeds animosity and spreads misinformation is relevant, too.

          • Azuran

            What misinformation is she spreading?
            She totally agrees that there are very real proven health benefits of breastmilk in premature infant. She also agrees that breastmilk will have some health benefits, such as a lower rate of diarrhea and infection in babies.
            I’ve never read anything about her supporting aggressive marketing of formula.
            Nor is she saying that they are the same.

            What she is saying, is that in most of the studies on breastfeeding, the real life implication are often exaggerated and the studies are often poorly constructed and full of confounding variables. If anything, she’s advocating for better studies to be made.
            Most of the people here will agree that everything else being equals, breast milk is probably slightly better than formula. And that everyone who wants to breastfeed should receive proper support. But we accept in real life, there are a LOT of variables at play and many situations where formula is actually better.
            But she is right that the benefits of breast milk are often blown out of proportion. No one is able to tell if anyone has been breastfeed of not, you can’t even tell if a baby is currently being breastfed or not. You wouldn’t even be able to know if YOU were breastfed or formula fed without your mother telling you.
            When you compare the benefits of breastfeeding put next to all those other things that are going to affect your baby all the way through adulthood, it’s really not going to matter much.
            And it’s important to also have a realistic discussion about breastfeeding. It’s not all rainbows and sparkles, it can be hard, it can be painful, and when it’s not working, it can have real consequences for the baby.

          • Anna Perch

            You know all those independent thoughts you have about how horrid lactivists are, how they do not value autonomy, how they are holier than thou, how they vilify formula, how they think breastmilk is magic – those are examples of Tuteur’s misinformation.

          • Azuran

            Except that MANY lactivists do those things.

          • Anna Perch

            And many people are the internet are ignorant jerks.
            Many apologists are horrid and holier than thou.
            Many white men can not dance.
            Do you have a point?

          • Azuran

            That those people, who are trying to make themselves appear better by pushing other down (regardless of if they are lactivist, racists, men’s right activists or whatever) should be called out for what they are, and their victims should be given a voice.
            Do YOU have a point?

          • Anna Perch

            Yes. My point is that YOU are prejudiced against lactivism because of the behavior of some lactivists. You want to paint them all with a single brush. You prefer to view them as one homogeneous, unpleasant group. You are not willing to consider the idea that the vast majority of lactivists are kind, good hearted people.

          • moto_librarian

            Would it be better if we started calling you an alt-lactivist?

          • Anna Perch

            Nah, I’m a pretty run of the mill lactivist.

          • Azuran

            Well YOU sure aren’t going to change the mind of anyone with that nasty attitude of yours.
            You know what you could have been doing to be a productive, kind, good hearted lactivist and help people who have been hurt by lactivists? You could have been pointing people to a few good supporting lactivists or BF group that is actually based in the real world, and not going on and on about imaginary ‘natural’ benefits of breastmilk and making combo or formula feeding mothers feeling shame.
            But no, you choose to be an asshole, and then cry when we call you asshole.

          • Anna Perch

            Is anyone here interested in a good breastfeeding group? I got the sense that you all would avoid them with a ten foot pole.

          • Azuran

            That’s only because you have 0 listening skills and are not actually interested in having actual discussion with people.

          • J.B.

            Really? I didn’t think the lactivists I met at La Leche were villians, just silly. I mean, not going anywhere because a baby screamed in the carseat? Cosleeping and complaining about the horrible sleep? Those are not requirements.

          • Anna Perch

            Right – lactivists who meet at La Leche are silly, do not go anywhere because a baby screams in a carseat and complain about co-sleeping. There’s no stereotyping or misinformation there! It not about the stereotyping, eh? It’s about which misinformation you use to stereotype disparagingly. [That’s sarcasm, I assume you missed it]

          • J.B.

            I found the women I specifically met who were complaining about not getting out of the house because… and not getting good sleep because… to be silly, yes. If a baby is going to scream in the carseat he or she will do that. Not that it is ever fun to be in a metal box with your screaming kid, but never going anywhere because of the screaming is not practical. Co-sleeping with a squirmy 10 month old could possibly be a sign that the child would do better with his or her own space.

          • Anna Perch

            La Leche League is a breastfeeding organization. They are not about co-sleeping or driving with babies crying in carseats.
            That fact that you are using your individual experience to negatively stereotype “La Leche” is an issue.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Have you ever interacted with LLL ever? People in it tend to be into a whole cluster of “natural mothering” practices. It’s never just about breastfeeding.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            It seems to me that many of the women here observe these things elsewhere–sometimes directed at them–and are relieved that Dr. Amy is actually willing to acknowledge that they happen. Nobody thinks this stuff happens just because Dr. Amy said so.

          • Anna Perch

            Alternatively, Tuteur gives people a scapegoat to blame for their troubles. Hmm. Reminds me of someone….

          • Azuran

            And you have another answer as to who or what is responsible for their troubles?

          • Anna Perch

            The issue is not views on “formula feeding”. The issues include views on formula itself, the marketing of formula, and the hype that formula is essentially the same as breastmilk, etc. The fact that Tuteur grossly mischaracterizes those who acknowledge the importance of breastfeeding, that she breeds animosity and spreads misinformation is relevant, too.

          • Anna Perch

            Yes, I re-worded my initial comment. I think it still says the same thing.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Anna, you have clearly already invested a crap ton of time in engaging with people here so your “why should I bother investing in explaining my nonsensical analogy” excuse is pretty weak.

          • Anna Perch

            You all can dish out OK, but you just can’t take it.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            That’s a funny thing to say to people who have repeatedly asked you to say more and not less. Or is “we wouldn’t be able to take it” your new excuse for not explaining yourself? You talk a lot but say very little. By all means, please dish out whatever you’ve got. We’ve been waiting.

          • Azuran

            No, you logic escapes us because you didn’t explain it.
            Go ahead. Explain to us how fed is best is somehow like being pro life.

          • Cynthia

            I don’t know anything about that group, but I would say “Fed is Best”. Of course, I was also working for a child protection agency while they were involved in an inquest into the starving death of a young infant….

          • Heidi

            I’m sure that was more than awful being on that case. Fed is best! To say otherwise is to say starving is the better option. I don’t understand why there’s controversy over “fed is best” at all.

          • Cynthia

            The moral of that story was that partial breastfeeding with a mom who refused assistance from a nurse because she didn’t want anyone to see her exposed, partial formula feeding by a mom who couldn’t be bothered to read the label and who therefore over-diluted the formula, and lax supervision by agency who gave mom her space and didn’t realizing that she was lying about attending well baby checks and didn’t bother to look at the baby underneath his blankets = dead baby.

          • Dr Kitty

            Poor baby.

            Did the mum have low IQ, mental health or addiction issues?
            Anyone who watches their baby starve to death must be in serious denial and one has to wonder what would make a defence mechanism so strong that it overcomes every instinct to protect your child.

            When I was working in Paeds we had a baby that at 2 months was still at its birthweight. Mum was EBF.
            She had been attending LLL meetings and reading online groups, hadn’t slept more than 2hrs straight since the birth, was pumping for hours a day and getting an ounce if she was lucky, every waking moment was consumed with trying to feed the baby, she had clear Postnatal depression and was absolutely convinced that we were lying to her that the problem was inadequate supply which required formula supplementation.

            She accused everyone of being anti- breastfeeding, formula shills, uneducated, unsupportive etc etc.

            So they sent me (at that time nursing #1 ) and a senior paediatrician who had breastfed all of her many (many) children to try to convince her.

            Because the next step was getting the father to consent to formula against her wishes or a court order, and no-one really wanted to do that to them.

            After a very,very long conversation she was finally agreeable to give the baby some formula. It slept. She slept. In the morning, everything was suddenly clearer and she agreed that the baby could have as much formula as it needed (we were perfectly happy for her to continue to nurse and pump as much as she wanted).

            That is what I think about when I read Anna Perch’s posts.

            The woman who could barely think straight due to sleep deprivation and depression who had been convinced by lactavists that inadequate supply was a myth, doctors were out to sabotage BF through ignorance or for profit and that one drop of formula would ruin her baby’s gut flora forever.

            She wasn’t crazy- she was tired and at her wits end and had found people who told her pretty lies in the name of support.
            She even showed us the “supportive” messages and posts she had been sent which encouraged her to ignore her starving baby and continue to BF.

            Thank whatever higher power you choose to believe in that she had brought the baby for its 8 week vaccines and the GP had been so alarmed at the sight of it that they sent her to hospital.

            If she had skipped the vaccines I firmly believe that baby would have died.

            Fed is best.

          • Cynthia

            Homeless teen mom with some serious attitude. There was a lot of evidence on street-involved youth, and the fact that the agencies needed to have more intense involvement.

          • Dr Kitty

            Ahhh
            That sort of explains it.
            To survive on the streets denial as a protective mechanism makes a lot of sense, but not so much as a parenting strategy.

            Also- the first thing they tell you in Paeds is to strip every single baby down to the nappy when you examine them.

            That way you won’t miss bruises, rashes,subtle signs of respiratory failure,sepsis or dehydration, and the dirty, neglected, abused kids can’t be hidden by clothing and blankets.

            As one of my professors said- neonatology is damn close to vetinary medicine. The patients can’t talk, and the only history is second hand. A thorough examination is the only chance you have to double check that the history is accurate and complete. You can’t afford to take everything the parents tell you as gospel.

          • Anna Perch

            I’m not sure why you think you know better than I do what pisses me off.
            As I have already said, people who make strawman arguments about breastmilk being holy and magical are, obviously, anti-bf.
            FIB is not a pragmatic, realistic organization. They are an agenda-driven fringe group. You probably can’t see that because of your formula apologist apologist view.

          • Heidi_storage

            Yeah, see, Charybdis, you’re just so dumb you can’t understand what “Fed is Best” is REALLY about; good thing you’ve got a lactivist to explain it to your puny, “formula apologist apologist” brain.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            It’s awesome that we got Anna here to perfectly illustrate the point of this post!

          • Anna Perch

            I’m sorry if it bothers you that I have not been brain-washed, Doc.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            How do you get the idea that it bothers me? I just said it was awesome! That’s like, the opposite of being bothered.

          • Anna Perch

            Well, then, thanks for the praise!

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Hang out on mothering.com some time if you think that nobody is making claims about breastmilk being holy and magical.

          • Anna Perch

            Mothering is about natural parenting, right?

        • SAHMof4

          Actually, if you did some research, it is a valid concern. I know of several babies who were starving for weeks because they were scared that formula would hard their baby. I pretty much had to smack them over the head and ask them if starving to death was really worse than formula. And a lot of those babies now have neurological issues of varying degrees, and all have some form of delays.

          • Anna Perch

            I’ve done the research and I disagree with FIB.

          • attitude devant

            There you have it folks: Anna Perch thinks babies can’t be malnourished if they’re breast fed.

          • Anna Perch

            And **I am** the one accused of having a comprehension issue. Go figure.

          • LaMont

            If “fed” isn’t best, I’m pretty sure Anna legit thinks that it is superior *not* to be fed. Yikes. When infant-me started losing weight, my mom supplemented and quickly switched over. I guess I should have died or had potential severe damage instead. Wompwomp.

          • momofone

            Please share the links to your research. We very much want to read it.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Some people seem to define research the way many 8th graders writing an essay do…

          • N

            See? If 8th graders understand how good research works, why don’t you people here?
            (just want to add that I’m not serious here.)

          • attitude devant

            We’ve had those babies in our practice. Moms who were trying soooooo dammmmnnnn harrrrrd to BF, and it just wasn’t happening. And the babies were suffering. In these cases formula is magic!

          • Anna Perch

            Right – “formula is magic” scoff.

          • attitude devant

            If you’ve seen a thin wan lethargic baby (aka a starving baby) turn overnight into a chubby lively baby thanks to formula supplementation, you’d think it’s pretty magic too. Poor supply is an actual thing.

          • Anna Perch

            You seriously do not see a double standard here do you. Sigh.

          • attitude devant

            If BFing isn’t working and all our interventions are unavailing, formula is called for. It is not rare for poor supply to be an issue, and most interventions for poor supply are fairly ineffective. That’s all there is to it. At the end of the day, the baby needs to be fed.

          • Anna Perch

            You are missing the point as well as making erroneously assumptions.

          • Daleth

            Using the same word to mean DIFFERENT THINGS is not a double standard.

            Literal magic is things that have no physical explanation (e.g., how could a calorie and sugar-rich substance kill infections when bacteria love calories and sugar? How could your boob know exactly what antibodies your baby needs at any given time?).

            Metaphorical or ironic magic is things with a clear cause and effect relationship–that is, things that actually aren’t magic at all, but you’re just using the word to be funny. For example, “I went on a diet and started exercising, and I lost 10 pounds! Magic!” Or, “I started feeding my tired, sad, skinny, starving baby all the food it needed, and it got fat and happy! Magic!”

          • Anna Perch

            Daleth, try to stay with me here. When lactivists, on occasion, call breastmilk magical, they do not mean literally. They mean it has incredible, awesome, not always scientifically understood, characteristics. They are using the word in exactly the same way that “formula is magic” was used. See? That’s why it is a double standard.

            Yes, breastmilk is calorie and sugar rich. Yes it kills many infectious agents. How? I’m sure it’s complex, but one simple theory is that the complex sugars in breastmilk feed good bacteria that crowd out the bad bacteria.
            Yes, through the act of breastfeeding, the mother’s body can/does create antibodies for illness that the baby has. Hinde’s explanation is the the suckling creates a vacuum that introduces the babies illness to the mother’s immune system.
            Technically, it is science, not magic. But it is pretty amazing!

          • Who?

            What to bad bacteria eat?

          • Anna Perch

            Potato chips?

          • MaineJen

            ????????

            “I don’t know how it works, but it simply MUST work the way I think it does.” That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

          • Anna Perch

            I do like that commercial.

          • Azuran

            Hum no, that’s not how they used the word ‘magic’ to describe formula.

          • Anna Perch

            Oh? They meant that formula is literally magic?

          • Azuran

            No, she called formula ‘magic’ as a JOKE

          • Anna Perch

            Just like breastfeeders do?

          • Azuran

            XD they most certainly do not call breastmilk magical as a joke. They seriously claim that putting breastmilk in the eyes or any kind of injury will help it heal. They claim it protects against multiple disease that it does not protect against.

          • Anna Perch

            It DOES protect against multiple diseases.

          • Azuran

            8% less cold and diarrhea, in the first year. That’s it. And that’s over the entire population of babies. Meaning that for the huge majority of babies, it protects against nothing. But lactivist are often adding a ridiculous number of other diseases for with it does not .

          • Anna Perch

            Yes, but that’s not all.

          • Azuran

            oh please do post your studies about what else breastmilk does.

          • Azuran

            And also, basic immunology here. It takes times for the body to create antibodies. And a baby has a perfectly functional immune system.
            If baby has an infection, it’s body is going to make antibodies to it on it’s own.
            For the mother to make antibodies, she would either
            -Need to catch the disease as well
            -The patogen would need to be present in the baby’s mouth, get in the breast, and then have the mother’s body make antibodies that would then end up in the breast milk
            In that 2nd scenario, it takes about 7-14 days for the body to produce antibodies. By the time the mother has made antibodies, the baby has made them as well, so he doesn’t needs the mother’s.
            And secondly, the baby’s gut can’t absorb the mother’s anti-bodies either. The antibodies contained in breastmilk are mostly IgA, which can act locally, but cannot be absorbed to fight systemic illnesses.

          • Anna Perch

            Babies system is immature for quite a while. Mom’s is a booster. Right?

          • Azuran

            It’s actually quite able to handle itself and will mount an immunity to any disease it comes in contact to on it’s own.
            Most of the baby’s problems and weakness comes from the fact that it’s a baby and they are extremely vulnerable as a whole. If they don’t drink for a few hours, they might become dehydrated, if they vomit and have diarrhea, it can become even worst.
            A mother can sometime makes antibodies faster, but ONLY if she has already been exposed to the disease. But even if that case, she still can’t give those antibodies to the baby.

          • Daleth

            They mean it has incredible, awesome, not always scientifically
            understood, characteristics. They are using the word in exactly the same
            way that “formula is magic” was used.

            Um, no. Is there anything “incredible” or “not scientifically understood” about the fact that giving a previously starving baby a steady diet of formula will make that baby chubby and happy? The reason the baby gets fat and happy is obvious: because it’s finally getting all the nutrition it wants and needs. The cause and effect relationship is obvious. It’s obviously and easily believable (FYI “incredible” means “unbelievable”).

            So if someone describes that as “magic,” they’re saying “magic” ironically. And that is NOT how lactivists use the word “magic” when discussing the alleged properties of breast milk.

        • moto_librarian

          Or maybe you’re just another idiot who falls for fake news. Since you’re incapable of ever posting any actual evidence for your claims about breastmilk, I’ve concluded that you’re just another example of our sad, post-truth society.

          • Anna Perch

            That’s rich.

          • moto_librarian

            I’ll bet you’re a Trump voter too.

          • Anna Perch

            Ooo. You know me well.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Yep, if you don’t accept inflated claims about the magical benefits of breast milk, it means you are anti-breastfeeding, apparently.

      • Anna Perch

        Or maybe it just means that I don’t agree that formula is magic.

        • Azuran

          And we are not claiming that formula is ‘magic’ Formula and breastmilk are both food, babies need to be fed. Feed your baby whatever works for you.

          • Anna Perch

            Yes. The claim has, in fact, been made that “formula is magic.” Formula is food, yes.

          • attitude devant

            I said that when you have a sick starving baby and you give them formula, “in those cases formula is magic” because the baby is transformed into a chubby alert happy baby. I was being a tad ironic, but that seems to be lost on you.

          • Anna Perch

            The point is not lost! You have a double standard when lactivists say “breastmilk is magic….” you characterize them as ideologues. When apologists say, “formula is magic…” they are just expressing joy and relief. See?

          • attitude devant

            Again, irony seems to be lost on you.

          • Daleth

            Um. Lactivists claim that BM is magic because it allegedly cures infections if you squirt it into the affected area (eye, ear, whatever), because it allegedly adjusts to provide exactly the amount and type of fat, nutrients, antibodies etc. that the baby needs at any given moment, etc. Those things would seem literally magical if they were true, though sadly they’re not true.

            Using the word “magic” in a humorous sense to describe the fact that adequate amounts of food (milk or formula) will make a baby chubby and happy, since well-fed babies are indeed chubby and happy, is not the same thing at all.

          • Anna Perch

            Again, you are misrepresenting what lactivists say.

    • Anna Perch

      If you buy into the hype that formula is near-equal to breastmilk, then yes, I’d call that anti-bf. Cow’s milk and human milk are even less similar.
      I agree that breastmilk is not unicorn milk, that it is not magical, however, the more I learn about breastmilk and what it has to offer, the more impressed I become.
      Creating bogus strawman arguments in order to ridicule those who acknowledge the importance breastmilk is definitely anti-bf.

      • namaste863

        “If you buy into the hype that formula is near-equal to breastmilk, then yes, I’d call that anti-bf”

        Time to brush up on your Greek, sweetheart. “Anti” literally translates to “Against” or “In opposition to.” An anti-bf argument would be along the lines of “BF is gross and perverted and will turn your kid into a sexual predator, and nobody should do it.” That’s world’s away from “It’s a great thing and if you want to go for it, but it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t”

        “Cow’s milk and human milk are even less similar.”

        All mammalian milk is made up up of a mix of fats, proteins, minerals, and what not. Sure, the composition of those components may vary between species, or even between individuals within the same species, but they still basically are made up of the same thing. Provolone is different than cheddar. They have differing tastes and nutritional contents, but they’re still cheese. How different can they possibly be?

        Look, milk is a good thing. Cow’s milk is good for cows. Human milk is good for people. Hell, cow’s milk is good for people (Don’t get me started on the obesity issue. It builds strong bones and healthy teeth, amongst other things). Nobody is claiming otherwise. All anyone is saying is to mind your own damn business if someone else chooses not to use it.

        • Anna Perch

          That’s just your opinion. It is no more (or less) valid than mine. In my opinion, if you view two disparate substances as comparable, you are against the preferred substance. In this case, you would be against breastmilk.
          I agree with you that the formula manufacturer’s attempt to make the fats, sugars and proteins proportionate to an aggregate of breastmilk samples. I also agree that they add to the mix a multi-vitamin which contains known needed nutrients at levels that seem to be tolerated by most infants.
          Your example of provolone and cheddar could be improved my comaring feta to provolone. However, since neither of the two comparisions is species specific to humans, I suppose it’s moot.
          “All anyone is saying is to mind your own damn business if someone else chooses not to use it.” Um, no. That’s not what people are saying and, frankly, I have NOT said anything at all about people who choose not to drink milk or to breastfeed. So they wouldn’t be saying it to me.
          “Cow’s milk is good for cows. Human milk is good for people.” Exactly!

          • namaste863

            You want an opinion? Okay, here’s one: Anybody who wastes their time getting their panties in a wad about how people who they’ve never met choose to feed their kids needs to get a hobby. In a major way.

          • Anna Perch

            Here, I’ll hold up the mirror for you.

          • namaste863

            Whoever said I get my panties in a wad over how someone else feeds their kids? I will say outright that boobs or formula….I don’t give a shit. It’s none of my concern. What I get my panties in a wad about is obtrusiveness and violating boundaries. For example, militant vegans who are out to impose their personal choices on others (I have absolutely nothing to say about non-militant vegans, whatever floats your boat.) Or lactivists who stick their big noses in where they don’t belong.

          • Anna Perch

            Well, you said that someone gets their panties in a wad and mine are not. 😉
            If you do not give a shit then why are you posting about the topic? Why do you prefer to cling to the belief that lactivists are a homogeneous lot out to impose their personal choices on others? It seems to aggravate you. Why not ignore them, or, heaven forbid, actually converse with one? Stereotyping is easier, I guess.

          • namaste863

            Well, if I’m being honest, the real reason is that I’m writing a term paper for grad school and I’m procrastinating.

          • moto_librarian

            Not all women who breastfeed are lactivists.
            But all lactivists are breastfeeders.

          • Anna Perch

            No. Not all lactivists are breastfeeders. Faulty logic.

          • moto_librarian

            So you haven’t ever breastfed. Thanks for confirming that. Here’s my edit to reflect your admission:
            Not all breastfeeders are lactivists.
            But all lactivists are sanctimious jerks.

          • Anna Perch

            “all lactivists are sanctimious jerks” Having I been saying this for a while now? I already know that this is what you belief and nothing is likely to change it.

          • moto_librarian

            Nope. Because I have no evidence that would cause me to question it.

          • Anna Perch

            You wouldn’t see it if it were right in front of your nose.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            They’re only sanctimonious jerks if they behave the way you have been behaving.

          • Anna Perch

            Typing on a keyboard?

          • fiftyfifty1

            “In my opinion, if you view two disparate substances as comparable, you are against the preferred substance”

            Very seriously, I find this fascinating. Anna, I would be interested in having you weigh in on a recent dilemma of mine. I just had a shed built and I had the choice of 2 disparate substances as roofing material: architectural shingles or metal roofing. The materials cost for the shingles was less than for metal, but had a higher labor cost, so in the end the builder charges the same. Metal sheds snow better, but is more susceptible to fading. Shingles are not as spark resistant, but don’t dent with hail. I asked the builder which I should choose and he told me the choice was mine! I asked him what he chose for his own shed and he told me shingles, because fading bugs him. I told him that fading doesn’t bug me, and that snow-shedding was more important because we are in a high snow-load area (his area gets less snow). He told me that makes sense to him. So I chose metal roofing, and the builder seemed happy to put it on for me. But because he treats 2 totally disparate substances as comparable, what does that *mean*? Does that mean he’s against shingles? Or does it mean he’s against metal? I’m getting very confused here.

          • Azuran

            You anti shingles jerk!!!!!!

          • fiftyfifty1

            “You anti shingles jerk!!!!!!”

            But you see this is where I grow confused. Because Anna told SAHMof4 that she was anti-breast feeding despite choosing breast for all 4 of her own children. So by that same logic, I actually must be anti-METAL, no?

          • Anna Perch

            And **I am** the obtuse troll. Go figure.

      • SAHMof4

        Funny, as I have been breastfeeding for the past seven years (on baby #4) and I think formula is near similar to breastmilk. Are you going to call me anti-breastfeeding? (typing while babywearing as she suckles) Because I happily take down people who claim that the two are not similar enough, because they are.

        My kids have never needed formula because I produce so much milk and pump (which is why I do it, plus I am a SAHM and have the time), but see their friends who have only had formula and see no difference. I myself was formula fed and my breastfed husband has more health issues. But that’s because I was raised upper middle class and his family was one step away from government assistance and could not afford the food, shelter, medical care and education mine could.

        • Anna Perch

          “I think formula is near similar to breastmilk. Are you going to call me anti-breastfeeding?” Yup. The fact that you are breastfeeding does not change my opinion.
          Similar enough – for what?

          • Who?

            Oh so it’s the concept of minding one’s own business you have a problem with?

            Good oh then.

          • Anna Perch

            Again, I am minding my own business as much as you are minding your own business. We are both here sharing our viewpoints.

          • SAHMof4

            So supporting all forms of safe infant feeding means I’m anti-breastfeeding? Wow, what inane lack of logic is that? I feel sorry that your life is so pathetic that you have to judge other people and that you’re obviously not literate enough to understand the words you are typing.

          • Anna Perch

            Did I say anything remotely like that? I agree, it is pathetic.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Please keep talking, Anna. Your own words show us so much about what sort of person you are.

          • Anna Perch

            Holds up mirror.

          • Daleth

            Similar enough for kids given adequate amounts of either (BM or formula) to be completely healthy and, all else being equal, to reach their full physical and intellectual potential.

            Nothing on earth is more similar to BM than formula. Or I should say, nothing on earth is more similar to high-quality BM (that is, breastmilk from well nourished moms who are not anemic, not vitamin D-deficient, etc.) than formula.

          • Anna Perch

            No. The evidence shows that when large groups of BF children are compared to large groups of FF children, the BF children are consistently and measurably healthier. BF children have better odds of being completely healthy and reaching their physical and intellectual potential than FF children.
            I can agree to “nothing on earth is more similar to BM than formula”.
            No, not going to agree with the premise that some breastmilk is high-quality and some breastmilk is not. If a mom is anemic, the baby can take iron supplements and will still be better off than switching to formula. If the mom does not have access to daily sunshine, then she can take a vitamin D supplement.
            Formula apologists like to act as if breastfeeding does not matter and formula is just as good, but it is just hype. That seems to be your viewpoint and I doubt you are willing to accept contradictory evidence.

          • moto_librarian

            And those studies failed to account for socioeconomic status. At this point, you are either willfully ignorant about the impact of SES on child health and well-being or are simply a sanctimonious jerk pushing your own agenda.

          • Anna Perch

            All of the studies failed to account for SES? Doubt it. Sounds like apologist hype.

          • moto_librarian

            Like I said, I’ve read them. Show me one that does that proves all of your claims.

          • Anna Perch

            Ha – ha -ha! You are seriously trying to claim that you have read all the studies on breastfeeding!!! Classic.

          • moto_librarian

            I’m betting that you’ve never read even one.

          • Azuran

            You might want to talk with dairy milk farmers. They might teach you a few things about individual variation of breastmilk and how health can affect breastmilk.

          • Anna Perch

            Right. Cuz dairy milk farmers are an objective source for the importance of breastmilk over cow milk based formula.

          • Azuran

            Honestly, they don’t give a shit how you feed your baby. But good job trying to avoid my actual argument.
            But they do know that any sick or malnourished cow will produce less milk and will have a milk of lower quality. They also know that there are very important variation in the quantity and quality of breast milk even in healthy cows.

          • Anna Perch

            Sorry, I’m just not seeing the relevance of your comment.

          • Azuran

            You said: ‘No, not going to agree with the premise that some breastmilk is high-quality and some breastmilk is not’
            And I’m countering that it’s a well known fact that all breastmilk are not equal.

          • Anna Perch

            That makes no sense. You claim that the differences between individual breastmilk is noteworthy, but the differences between any breastmilk and infant formula are trivial. Surely, you see the absurdity of that premise.

          • Azuran

            I said there are difference in breastmilk quality. I’ve made no claim as to how much difference matter to the baby.
            Milk does vary from a woman to another, and it doesn’t seem to matter so long as the baby get enough of it. Which means that feeding your baby is best, and it makes totally sense that the difference between breastfed and formula fed babies are trivial.

          • Anna Perch

            Your talking apples and oranges.

          • Azuran

            No, basically I’m comparing a McIntosh apple with a gala apple.
            Congrats, you ate an apple, you fed yourself with something healthy.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            I’ve been on a Paula Red bender for a couple years now. Probably helps that you can only get it for a couple months around here.

          • Anna Perch

            Moving the goalpost, eh?

          • Azuran

            you might want to check the meaning of ‘moving the goalpost’

          • Anna Perch

            Is it another one of those terms that you have a unique definition for?

          • Azuran

            And what other word do you claim I have a unique definition for?

          • Anna Perch

            Selective memory?

          • Azuran

            I’m just going to roll my eyes at you.

          • Anna Perch

            Thank you.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “The evidence shows that when large groups of BF children are compared to large groups of FF children, the BF children are consistently and measurably healthier. ”

            Yes, because of confounding. But when studies are done with designs that remove confounding (e.g. PROBIT and discordant sib studies) the health outcomes are basically identical.

          • Anna Perch

            Nope. That’s just apologist rhetoric.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Nope. That’s just apologist rhetoric.”

            Well controlled studies are “apologist rhetoric”?

          • Daleth

            Wow, that’s amazing! It’s too bad that evidence falls apart when you correct for the socioeconomic differences between families that EBF and families that don’t! I mean, who would have thought that the reason the children of lawyers and college professors do better in school is not that their parents are lawyers and college professors, but that their mom put her boob in their mouths instead of a bottle of formula?

            I don’t suppose you’ve paid any attention to the sibling studies, though, have you. The ones that compare BF children with their FF siblings, in order to eliminate that pesky socioeconomic confounder…

      • Who?

        Goodness are you still on that old tune? Glad to hear you no longer think it is magical. Interesting what impresses you though-is it the breastmilk itself, or the opportunities offered by the community that fetishes it that you find so engaging?

        • Anna Perch

          And you are still up to your old tricks, I see.

      • J.B.

        For me formula would have been the superior way to feed my second child. I wouldn’t have dealt with vasoconstriction, pain while pumping, scraping time away from work to pump, finding odd places to pump (calling someone before a business trip to see if you can borrow an office is funfun!), getting mastitis. I only pumped because little one found it reassuring, but if I had never started she wouldn’t have known the difference. Once she decided she was independent and kept biting me A LOT we went to formula. She loved it. The angels sang!

        Edit: when teeny tiny little one found breastfeeding reassuring, she didn’t care where the contents of her bottle came from. Mostly she wanted mommy mommy mommy (still does somewhat). The boob is kind of a guarantee of that.

        • Anna Perch

          So, your personal anecdote, that you experienced vasoconstriction and mastitis, means that no one else should have access to the information that, generally, breastfed people are healthier than formula fed people. Lactivists should be silenced.
          Where’s the logic in that?

          • Azuran

            The actual information would be that ‘generally’ there is not that much difference between formula and breastfeed people. And that making yourself suffer and depressive over it might not be worth it.

          • Anna Perch

            Yeah, the depression thing, another one of those go to apologist red herrings.
            Anyway, care to quantify “not much difference”? It is not precise.

          • moto_librarian

            As a general rule, I don’t wish depression on anyone. But since you are such an amazingly callous prick about it, 48 hours of a depressive episode might be necessary for you to develop some fucking empathy.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Everybody knows that being suicidal just means you’re melodramatic like in a soap opera

          • MaineJen

            Pffft. “Depression.” Anna has never experienced it, so it couldn’t possibly be real.

          • moto_librarian

            8% fewer colds and episodes of diarrheal illness in the first year. That’s the quantifiable difference.

          • Who?

            Are you fully human? I’m leaning towards no, but feel free to show me otherwise.

          • J.B.

            I am a human being and I matter. Babies deserve to be loved and fed. The exact form of feeding matters much less than my sanity.

            Also, anecdata alert – the kid of mine who got some formula is likely to be much better adjusted than the kid who never got any and probably has genius level IQ.

          • Anna Perch

            It is NOT and either or scenario. Mothers with depression can and do breastfeed. As the apologists say, “It’s not one size fits all”.

            Surely, you can appreciate my skepticism about your understanding of science based on your anecdata.

          • moto_librarian

            You are information illiterate.

          • Anna Perch

            You keep using that word….

          • moto_librarian

            I don’t think that anyone said that every mother with depression can’t breastfeed. But some women do find their condition exacerbated by breastfeeding.

          • Anna Perch

            Some women with depression prefer to continue breastfeeding. Some do not. That’s my entire point! Depression is a non-issue for BF/FF. Why do apologists bring it up so frequently? I’m guessing because they’ve got nuthin.

          • moto_librarian

            IT IS AN ISSUE. WHEN PPD IS EXACERBATED BY LACK OF SLEEP, LOW SUPPLY, AND A HUNGRY BABY, IT IS A PROBLEM.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            It’s also an issue when thinking about the damned act makes you want to kill yourself. But no, she informed me before that that’s impossible. Nevermind that my ob sent me straight to the shrinks’ offices downstairs.

          • Azuran

            Actually, is is not a non-issue…..In some women, breastfeeding is a contributing factor to PPD. Not all of them, and some women might feel like it helps them. But that doesn’t mean its a ‘none-issue’. It’s actually all the more reason to talk about it.
            It actually means that any woman who is experiencing PDD, or who has a history of mental disease should be able to find proper feeding support that is able to take her PDD/mental health into consideration and offer feeding advice accordingly.

          • Anna Perch

            No. Breastfeeding is NOT a contributing factor to PPD. You’re just making that up.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Breastfeeding is NOT a contributing factor to PPD. You’re just making that up.”

            Actually we just had a a talk about this given by one of our psychiatrists who specialize in perinatal mood disorders. Actually breastfeeding definitely can be a contributing factor to PPD (as well as post-partum psychosis). It’s not the only factor, but it can be a big piece of the puzzle.

          • Anna Perch

            By “our” you mean one who is anti-BF?

          • fiftyfifty1

            No, by “our” I mean one who works for our multispecialty medical group.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Now, now, don’t rain on her parade with your “facts”

          • Azuran

            and who are you to decide what is or isn’t a contributing factor to someone else’s mental health problems?

          • Anna Perch

            I’ve read the research.

          • Azuran

            Oh look at that, you have read ALL the research on breastfeeding AND on mental health, pregnancy and depression?
            Go ahead, then, show us those studies that prove that breastfeeding has never been a contributing factor in any woman’s depression.

          • J.B.

            I’m not clear on your understanding of science here either. What is your degree?

            “Sanity” in my use was not mental health specific but more ability to function in the world. Mommy doesn’t like it is perfect reason not to breastfeed. Although the sleep deprivation with first kid led me down the road of PPD, and prioritizing my sleep with the second kid was hugely important for the health of the entire family.

          • Anna Perch

            Technically “sanity” is a legal term. Anyway, gotta real-life right now. It’s been real.

          • J.B.

            Hmm…degree from Google U, never actually breastfed, and lectures scientific and medical professionals then suddenly claims to be busy after hanging around comments all afternoon. Naw, no resemblance whatsoever to mansplaining!

          • Heidi_storage

            Hey, that’s a good phrase–“It’s not one size fits all.” So maybe breastfeeding works best for some families, maybe combo feeding for others, maybe exclusive pumping for others, maybe formula for others. And maybe, just maybe, we should be “supporting” the feeding choices of ALL of these families.

          • Anna Perch

            Maybe you haven’t been listening.

          • Azuran

            Like I said many times: NO ONE is able to identify who has been breastfed and who hasn’t.
            No doctor nor any medical, physical or IQ test is going to be able to predict with any kind of reliability if anyone has been breastfed or not.
            There is no tool availlable that can detect who has been breastfed and absolutely no one is able to actually see the effect of breastfeeding, then it’s because those effect are not that great.

          • Anna Perch

            So?

          • Azuran

            So?
            Well it appears that since no one can tell the difference, no matter the tools they use, it doesn’t really matter how you feed your baby.
            Sure, maybe breastmilk is theoretically slightly better. But in the real life, it doesn’t matter.
            So mothers should be supported and thought how to properly feed their baby, regardless of if it’s breastmilk or formula. And stop shaming mother or pouring all that money in promotion of ‘fed is best’

          • Anna Perch

            Again, denial. ” breastmilk is theoretically slightly better. But in the real life, it doesn’t matter. “

          • Azuran

            again: Show some proof that it actually matters in the long term. If breastmilk has actual real life observable benefits, they should be visible.

          • Anna Perch

            Yes. The differences are measurable.

          • Azuran

            Oh, then go ahead, show us your way of predicting who was and who wasn’t breastfed.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Nothing about depression is a “red herring.” What a horrible, dismissive thing to say.

          • Anna Perch

            Context.

          • J.B.

            So, your personal anecdote, that you liked breastfeeding means that no one else should have access to the information that, generally, formula fed babies don’t starve. Anyone who wants babies to eat instead of being sacrificed on the altar of breastfeeding should be silenced.

            Where’s the logic in that?

          • Anna Perch

            Did I say that I “liked breastfeeding”? Or anything about an altar? Tell me, where is the logic in making stuff up?

          • moto_librarian

            Let’s see that evidence, Anna. Because as I have pointed out to you many times, the highest quality study on breastfeeding (PROBIT) showed 8% fewer colds and issues of gastrointestinal illness in the first year of life for term breastfed babies. There was no impact on IQ, obesity, asthma, etc. This study also does not account for the relatively new rotavirus vaccine, which may have eliminated the slight protective effect against GI illnesses.

          • Anna Perch

            As you know, I think that you have a fixed belief in the apologist hype.
            The PROBIT study is not on “breastfeeding”, it is on whether or not the BFHI interventions which encourage breastfeeding have effects. I’ll take you word for it that they do. 🙂 I haven’t followed up recently.
            Many healthcare organizations have reviewed the data and concluded that breastfeeding matters. The evidence in favor of breastfeeding has been described as abundant, robust, compelling, accepted, etc. Unlike you, I am not arrogant enough to conclude that the hundreds of studies that I have read are more important than the thousands that I have not read or that my personal views are more relevant than the views of those who have painstakingly reviewed the data.
            The elephant in the room here is: Where is the data from the formula manufacturers that prove that formula is near equal to breastmilk? It is not like they do not have the funding or the desire to do the research.

          • moto_librarian

            Did you hear that, kids? PROBIT isn’t about breastfeeding!

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

          • moto_librarian

            That must also be why the latest research on BFHI finds that it’s an abject failure. Seriously, where do you get your “research?” TAP?

          • Anna Perch

            Look. This is from PubMed on the PROBIT study:
            OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of breastfeeding promotion on breastfeeding duration and exclusivity and gastrointestinal and respiratory infection and atopic eczema among infants.
            In other words the study is on the effect of breastfeeding promotion (BFHI stuff) on GI and respiratory infections and eczema.
            It makes no attempt to compare breastfeeding to formula feeding. Nor does it study other potential consequences of BF. That does NOT mean that BF does not affect other aspects of health.

          • Azuran

            ……..You do realize that when they compare infection and eczema, it’s a measure of the effect of breastfeeding on those things.
            Or are you going to claim that somehow, telling a mother that ‘breast is best’ is going to induce a physiological response that will prevent illnesses in babies?

          • fiftyfifty1

            “The PROBIT study is not on “breastfeeding”, it is on whether or not the BFHI interventions which encourage breastfeeding have effects”

            This is false and you know it. You’ve made this claim previously and I have debunked it previously.

          • moto_librarian

            Maybe she was confused and meant this one, lol.
            http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2571222

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Hundreds of studies? My goodness, that is a lot of studies! Where do you even find the time? Because a single study generally takes a pretty long time to read if you’re actually reading closely–I should know, I’m a full-time graduate student and I don’t get a lot of sleep with all the reading I have to do.

            Is researching breastfeeding your full-time occupation? Are you a student or researcher? Because that seems like the only way anyone could manage the time to read hundreds of studies on it.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Actually, the PROBIT study did show an impact on obesity. The breastfeeding group was actually statistically MORE likely to have overweight/obesity.

          • moto_librarian

            Ooh, I missed that! Thanks, fiftyfifty!

          • Daleth

            And the discordant siblings study showed no long-term health differences except that the breastfed siblings were MORE likely to have asthma.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            I have no idea because you completely made all that up. Absolutely none of what you just said could be inferred from J.B.’s text by any reasonable person.

            And, no, breastfed people are not healthier than formula fed people. There are no benefits that last beyond infancy that can’t be explained by extraneous variables like SES.

          • Anna Perch

            “people are not healthier than formula fed people. There are no benefits that last beyond infancy that can’t be explained by extraneous variables like SES” Right. I call that denialism.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            You can call it pineapple if that floats your boat. No business of mine. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s an assertion actually supported by evidence.

          • Anna Perch

            I respect your right to believe any thing that you want to.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            The cool thing about facts is that they are true regardless of what I believe.

          • Azuran

            you got proof of those long time benefits? found any way to point out who is breastfeed and who isn’t during your little break?

          • Anna Perch

            Just science.

          • Azuran

            Then go on, post some studies that actually show the difference between formula fed and breastfed children, one that is not full of confounding factors.

          • LibrarianSarah

            Last I checked, science required that you back up your claims with evidence and saying “I am right science declares it!” is not evidence.

            Let me guess; you also believe evolutionary psychology is an accurate depictions of modern gender relations and women are naturally “hypergamous.” Because your “logic” is really similar to the “manosphere” trolls that I encounter online: multiple references to “science” and “truth” but very poor understanding of science and not citations to back up your clams.

          • Anna Perch

            Interesting guess.

      • moto_librarian

        So have you ever breastfed a child?

        • Anna Perch

          I do not think that having breastfed a child or not has much bearing on the discussion.

          • MaineJen

            So…no, then.

          • moto_librarian

            Given that you dismiss the very real problems that many of us have encountered with breastfeeding, it absolutely does.

          • J.B.

            nice catch

          • momofone

            But don’t you see?! In theory, it’s perfect! So obviously it’s perfect in practice too. Unless you do it wrong. Which is obviously the only reason it wouldn’t work.

        • maidmarian555

          I’m not even convinced that the ‘Anna’ troll is even female. There is an enormous lack of empathy, ‘lactivist-splaining’ and repeated dismissal of lived experience as ‘irrelevant anecdata’. Because obviously the lived experience of actual women doesn’t count against the mighty power of studies that ‘she’ refuses to actually provide any links to. Seriously, I think it’s very possible we’re dealing with a troll who doesn’t even have the very boobs that ‘Anna’ is criticising so many of us for not using as ‘nature intended’.

          • LeighW

            Bullshit. I’ll bet his boobs are bigger than mine.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Yeah, I’ve never met anyone who is anti-BF. A lot of lactivists seem to like to pretend that it’s still the 60s and doctors are still recommending formula as the superior option. (Kind of like how crunchies in general like to pretend that anyone anywhere is still pushing hydrogenated margarine as a superior alternative to butter or other “natural” fats.)

      The only thing I can say about anti-BF is that there are people who harass women for breastfeeding in public and that is definitely not cool. They may not be explicitly anti-BF but they expect women to subject themselves to a lot of inconvenience to hide what they are doing as if it is some how obscene. But that has much more to do with general prudishness and objectification of women’s bodies than it has to do with any kind of anti-BF agenda.

  • Megan

    I know you’ve gotten lots of thank yous already but I’d like to add mine. I too felt guilt, stigma and the need to explain myself for formula feeding my first even though I put a Herculean effort into breastfeeding. Funny thing is, I’d never pressure my patients that way! Finding your site really helped me and when breastfeeding didn’t work out the second time around, I gave it up with very little guilt (I think the hormones always cause a bit of breastfeeding angst for me) and was able to enjoy my baby. You do a true service to women with your balanced view of the evidence on breastfeeding (and childbirth). Interactions with people like Dr. Brown only prove your points!

  • Cartman36

    Dr. Amy, thank you for all you do. I really hope that the pendulum swings back to a more reasonable place regarding breastfeeding promotion in the US and other industrialized countries soon.

  • sdsures

    It scares me that Dr Brown is an MD, and tht she can affect her patients’ lives with her rigid views.

    Hey, Dr Amy – would a picture of a mansplaining man at the top of this post be more appropriate? Or do women also mansplain?

    • Erin

      She’s a psychologist who also specializes in postnatal depression. I find that a rather scary prospect.

      • sdsures

        Yikes!

      • SporkParade

        And stuff like this is why it took me 9 months to seek out treatment for PPD. Because how could I know if the shrink I saw wasn’t “one of them.”

        • Emilie Bishop

          Same here. My son was nearly a year before I admitted my mental health needed help. My therapist is wonderful, but I was terrified at first that whoever I saw would give me grief about not nursing. Everyone else in the medical community already had.

    • Heidi_storage

      Lactivists are often (certainly not exclusively) women, and a great deal of the most sanctimonious crap I’ve seen on The Interwebz has come from women. I think the picture is appropriate.

  • Aine

    And actually on topic, thank you Dr Amy for all you do to help women. I felt awful about my inadequate supply when my first baby had jaundice and was supplemented until weaning, and finding your site about 6 weeks after his birth was a wash of relief amongst all the lactivist waffle all over the Internet. I try to channel your messages and wise words of ‘fed is best’ and ‘good enough’ in all my real life and online interactions to do with motherhood. I am way more relaxed about breast feeding now late in my Second pregnancy.

  • Aine

    OT: a question about routine prenatal care in the U.S. I have my 36 week appointment coming up and the doctor mentioned it will include taking a GBS swab. Fine by me, it wasn’t a standard procedure when I gave birth to my first son in Europe but I’m happy to have it.

    However, my U.S. pregnancy books and websites say it is standard for 36 week appointment to include a full VE to check for dilation/effacement. Can someone please explain why this is done and if it is necessary? I never normally find smears etc troublesome but I found VEs in my last pregnancy excruciating and, I have no idea why, also quite upsetting. There I had my first internal by way of a sweep at 40 weeks 0, and then several more during induction with several rounds of gel at 40+5. I guess I don’t understand what this type of pre-labour exam might be looking for, and why practice is so different to the country where I first gave birth. When I google, I get NCBers with pitchforks saying all VEs should always be refused, ever, which isn’t helpful. I will of course ask my ob at the appointment but I’d like to have a clear understanding in advance what information is being gleaned from this and what risks they are, if any, of forgoing the exam and the information. Thanks.

    • Kristi Berry Pedler

      VEs are not routine. I personally dont do them until 38/39 weeks

      • Aine

        Thank you both for your replies, hopefully I have misunderstood and my information sources are wrong. I was particularly anxious as my appointment is just before I begin a full day at work and last time around, pre-labour VEs left me in pain but also tearful and upset for the day, but at least my maternity leave had begun so I didn’t need to present a professional face to the world.

        May I ask, Kristi, what you would be hoping to find out from a VE at 38/39 weeks and what recommendations you generally would make for your patients based on that?

    • Anna D

      VE is not standard at 36 weeks, at least it wasn’t for me.

    • EK

      I had my son in June in Germany and had a VE at 36 weeks. Seemed routine. I also had to go to the hospital every week for the last month for about an hour to monitor his heartbeat, which I didn’t have to do in the US with my first. They were both normal pregnancies. There were also ultrasounds at every check up in Germany but only three in the US.

    • Heidi

      As other people have said, I don’t think it really is routine. I had a quick cervical check done at 37 weeks 6 days, but only because I was being sent to the hospital for induction and it wasn’t necessary. It was a simple, “Would you like me to check your cervix?” “Yes, please.”

    • J.B.

      In my experience VEs were offered every week from 36 on, but no issues declining them. In my case I never dilated before labor anyway.

      • MaineJen

        Yeah, you can always decline it, and I don’t think it’s very predictive of when labor will start anyway. 🙂

  • fiftyfifty1

    “The primary source of these negative feelings was internal”

    Or rather there are so many shaming messages about formula feeding everywhere that women no longer need to be shamed directly from an external source. They have internalized the messages and will self-shame.

    • Charybdis

      It’s so much more efficient that way; then the lactivists can focus their “supportive, educational” efforts on those who are resistant to their ‘splainin’ efforts.

      Plus, once you have the negative, shaming and coercive message internalized by someone, their inner control-freak/inner voice will harass and belittle that person constantly, viciously and insidiously, all day and all night.

    • AirPlant

      Internalized guilt is kind of amazing. I was watching a baby and despite following the bedtime instructions to the letter this infant just wasn’t having it. I listened to her scream for 45 minutes (watching on the video monitor and checking in every 10 min or so) and she just would not settle. I thought I was a perfectly rational creature and the parents said that they preferred that I let her cry it out but sitting in that living room every single internet sanctimommy started echoing in my head about serotonin and sustained stress and by the time I gave up on the sleeping plan I was convinced that I had scarred this baby for life.

      • sdsures

        “every single internet sanctimommy started echoing in my head about serotonin and sustained stress”

        Remember that if they do not hold a medical degree, their opinions are worthless.

        • Cartman36

          Sometimes even the opinion of those with medical degrees are worthless. 🙂

          • sdsures

            True.

        • AirPlant

          Oh I know. Cry it out is a legit technique. That the child’s parents requested I use. And I thought I was prepared.
          .
          Less than an hour though and the guilt programming kicked right in. I honestly believed that I was scarring the baby for life because of some bullshit I read on the internet.
          .
          I ended up just giving up and putting her on the living room floor and wiggling toys for the next two hours. I told the parents what happened and they still laugh at me for it.

          • sdsures

            Hey, if it works…

          • Mishimoo

            I would have given up and played instead as well, and that’s as a mum of 3 who used CIO. Some nights it just doesn’t work!

          • Ash101

            I had a similar thing happen to me when I was babysitting ~10 years ago. Personally, I look back on that situation and think it was inappropriate for the parents to ask me to enforce any form of sleep-training (beyond “this is her basic bedroom routine”). CIO is legit, but it is the responsibility of parents to implement it – not babysitters.

          • AirPlant

            Well and the baby didn’t know me well. Her parents honestly thought she would squawk for a couple minutes and settle, but I think her routine was messed up from her parents being gone and sleep just was not going to be happening until they got back.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            It was months before my boy condescended to fall asleep for Mommy while Daddy was at practice.

      • Jenny

        Sanctimommies don’t care about serotonin and sustained stress if the baby is starving to death from an inadequate supply of breast milk. It’s only if the parents (or caretaker) are trying to get the baby to sleep that those things suddenly matter.

      • Above every baby’s crib there should be a large sign: “REMEMBER –THE INFANT HASN’T READ THE BOOK!”

    • sdsures

      The only way to fix that is to avoid the Internet.

      • fiftyfifty1

        “The only way to fix that is to avoid the Internet.”
        I wish! But it’s more pervasive than that. It’s on posters at the doctor’s office and in the bus stop shelter, it’s strangers asking you whether you plan to breastfeed, It’s book after book of NBC and lactivist propaganda at your local library.

        • sdsures

          I read books at the bus stop.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “I read books at the bus stop”

            Sounds great! Just don’t make the mistake of having it be a biased book on pregnancy or parenting that you might pick up from the library.

          • sdsures

            That’s what dust jackets are for.

      • indigosky

        What hole do you live in? Its at the doctors office, you have assholes come up and shame you, you have relatives who have their say, co-workers, sometimes even your spouse. So in no way can you avoid it.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          she hasn’t had one yet, so a lot of that has passed her by thus far

        • sdsures

          So, you (politely) tell those people to bugger off.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Sure, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt. No need to add “can’t even stop caring what other people think of me” to an already existing internal list of “failures.” The fact is, most people do care to some extent what others think of them. We’re social creatures and it’s to be expected. Telling people to just get over it is not very helpful.

          • SporkParade

            I have no problem telling people to bugger off. But it gets very lonely very quickly when you have to avoid basically everywhere new parents congregate because you’re constantly being told you’re failing your child.

        • sdsures

          It’s really not difficult to stop caring about what other people think.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “It’s really not difficult to stop caring about what other people think.”

            I’m glad you find it easy. Most people don’t, especially when they are faced with a new job or role (such as motherhood). So bullying can be very damaging to most people.

          • Erin

            I’m in my late 30s and I still haven’t mastered the art of not caring.

            I got asked this morning at my son’s gym class what my due date was, I answered and said but I’ve got a section scheduled for 4 days before. The silence was deafening and then I had around six women I barely know giving me advice on how to demand a vbac because it’s the best thing for me and my baby.

            When I gave the shortened version of my son’s arrival, they backed off a bit but told me to ensure that I got skin to skin in theater as not to compromise our breastfeeding.

            Should I care, absolutely not but I was sobbing to myself as I walked home.

          • yentavegan

            I too feared the wrath of the “Mommies” for scheduling baby 2 c/section. Baby 2 is now a Navy Veteran getting her college education paid for by her benefits package..the take home message is it matters not how natural or medical a birth is. I still get to keep my crunchy-hippy mother earth narrative.

          • Inmara

            [I can send lots of internet hugs if you want them]
            I think this sums up neatly why you can’t completely avoid being hurt unless you have extremely thick skin or want to go nuclear with all your social interactions (like, in this case you, Erin, could have shown middle finger to other moms as soon as the question about due date was popped, but that’s not a feasible option for many reasons). Sure, you could stop talking with people once your bump starts to show, and for the duration of next 18 years, but why? And why should the victim of good-willed “advice” be the one to take action of not caring, not other people learning some boundaries?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Exactly. She is the victim of assholes, here. She doesn’t need to change, they do.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            *imaginary hugs* I hope this one’s arrival is _much_ better than your first kiddo’s.

          • Erin

            Thanks. I’m really working on the principle that it can’t be worse. Only concern really is that it’s later into week 39 than I would have liked but apparently that’s the earliest they can do it. It’s just scary because I went into labour at 38 + 4 last time.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            As my kids say, “Hugga wugga” (which is their version of hugs and kisses).

            I am often called rude, and in many ways I don’t deny it because I have little patience for nonsense, but this is just something I can’t stand. Such bullshit. You think I’m rude? Look at these assholes!

          • Erin

            And if I told them they were rude… they’d all look at me in amazement. They’re just trying to be supportive. I mean it’s obvious that those nasty Doctors are just trying to damage my relationship with my baby before he or she is even born.

            I can and have shut people down, going into details about how and why I found breastfeeding triggering tends to upset people but it doesn’t leave me feeling particularly great either.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            Lots ir hugs. I wish you a nice and safe C-Section, nice days until you deliver and great and happy first days with your baby.

            And you can use my name to tell them to go make love to themselves the next time.

          • Emilie Bishop

            I’m soooo sorry!

          • indigosky

            That is a horrible statement. People have varying degrees of self-esteem. I am lucky that I was raised in a loving family and was fairly popular in school. I have many friends who were either bullied by family or classmates and thus have little to no self-esteem, so for them it is really hard to stop caring because of what they have suffered. Your statement is the equivalent of telling a depressed person to get over it, which makes you sound like a Grade A bitch in my eyes.

          • sdsures

            I was bullied, and the way I was told to deal with it was to shut up and get over it.