Bashing breastfeeding?

Hammer Through Window.

If you’ve been on The Skeptical OB Facebook page this week you’ve probably noticed a seemingly never ending parade of lactivists dropping in to rail at me. What have I done this time? I’ve dared to insist that #fedisbest. In response I’ve been repeatedly accused of “bashing” breastfeeding.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Is claiming that women deserve equal rights bashing men?[/pullquote]


Apparently because I’ve dare to tell the truth.

When lactivists insist that breastfeeding provides lifesaving benefits, I’ve ask them to show me that the lives of term babies are saved by breastfeeding using real world data, not theoretical models; they can’t.

I’ve posted graphs like this one, explaining that US breastfeeding dropped to an all-time low of 24% in the early 1970’s before rising again. Even a cursory glance makes it clear that breastfeeding rates have no correlation with infant mortality, let alone causation.


And this one that demonstrates that countries with the highest mortality rates have the HIGHEST breastfeeding rates, not to claim that breastfeeding causes high infant mortality, but to show that it doesn’t prevent it.


I linked to disturbing personal story from the Fed Is Best Facebook page about a baby who, at one month of age, looked emaciated despite his mother’s desperate attempts to breastfeed him.


Just last night I posted this meme pointing out that infant nutrition is not a seesaw. High respect for breastfeeding does NOT require low respect for formula feeding.


And still the accusations that I am bashing breastfeeding keep coming.

So I have some questions for lactivists:

Is claiming that women deserve equal rights bashing men?

Is asserting that all religions are worthy of respect bashing Christianity?

Is prohibiting discimination based on sexual orientation bashing heterosexuality?

No, no and no. Why then would honestly noting that fed is best be bashing breastfeeding?

Out of the many hundreds of lactivists comments, I find this one particularly illuminating.


Natalie writes:

…Why do you insist on trying to devalue breastfeeding. If “fed is best” why did I go through hell to breastfeed my son? …


Because you wanted to do so and because you were physically capable of doing so.

Isn’t that reason enough?

Being honest with women about the real benefits (and risks) of breastfeeding is not bashing breastfeeding anymore than promoting equal rights for women is bashing men. Pointing out that formula feeding is an excellent form of nutrition is not bashing breastfeeding anymore than pointing that women are equally intelligent is bashing men.

In both cases, though, it deprives one group of the opportunity to declare superiority over another group and that’s what really bothers lactivists.

Why breastfeed? Not for bragging rights. Not to make a martyr of yourself. Not so you can shame other women who don’t.

You should breastfeeding because you want to and you can.

And like any other aspect of motherhood, you should not expect that your ego should be boosted in return.

182 Responses to “Bashing breastfeeding?”

  1. Mishimoo
    January 16, 2017 at 4:02 am #

    Don’t you just love how paedophile isn’t on that list -_-

    • Who?
      January 16, 2017 at 5:14 am #

      I love how ‘bitter people’ is.

      Also ‘prideful scoffers’ which seems to nicely describe many ultra-religious types.

      • Mishimoo
        January 16, 2017 at 5:35 am #

        And ‘two-faced church members’ are also very common in the ultra-religious groups.

  2. Empress of the Iguana People
    January 14, 2017 at 10:45 pm #

    OT: I’m seriously pissed. My sister is part of a push to make smoking’s legal age 21 in her state. Her kid was pictured in one of the Cancer Society’s memes. Some flaming anal sphincter compared this picture (and thus my nephew) to the Hitler youth and said that the push to increase the legal age equals terrorism. My sister’s so livid I can tell she’s shaking with anger, just from her posts.

    • CSN0116
      January 15, 2017 at 8:03 am #

      Ugh, unfortunately that’s what happens when you put yourself out there, especially with beliefs and values attached. I have run (and won) political office, and of course campaigned with the typical family photos to illustrate who I am. People who oppose me and my ideology defaced those pics :/ nothing comparable to Hitler, but… I know how you feel. I’m sorry. They’re just threatened and have poor expression skills. It sucks but if this is what she stands for she should press forward. Fuck it.

  3. Guest
    January 14, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

    OT: Not sure if anyone here can speculate, but I have a friend pretty deep into the woo. She’s vegetarian and eats a ton of supplements (not sure which ones). She also smokes pot from time to time. She just had a baby at 41+3 by lmp and 1st trimester ultrasound, via induction after tge baby failed an NST (several very scary decels). Baby is born, weighs about 5.5 pounds and 17″. Heartrate in the 80s and they say the staff says he’s evaluated as acting like he’s 38 weeks. Mom and dad don’t seem very concerned, but it all seems off. Baby is with them at the hospital, other than all that, seems fine. Nursing well, peeing and pooping. Am I overreacting by being a little concerned?

    • Madtowngirl
      January 14, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

      I don’t have a good speculation as to what is going on, but I can tell you that my baby was 5.5 lbs at 36+4. So yes, something is definitely off.

      • Dr Kitty
        January 14, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

        Hopefully just IUGR and a crappy placenta.
        First trimester US are accurate to within 7 days either way.
        3 weeks error just doesn’t seem likely (particularly if they knew they were pregnant before 6 weeks).

        • Guest
          January 14, 2017 at 6:10 pm #

          She said the placenta was small and a very short cord, but no calicifications and doc said it looked very healthy. I have no idea if that means anything in terms of IUGR.

          • Dr Kitty
            January 14, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

            It doesn’t sound like the best placenta ever.
            Are they sending it to pathology?

            Mabelcruet knows more about that than the rest of us.
            Maybe she will weigh in when she wakes up (almost midnight here).

          • mabelcruet
            January 15, 2017 at 8:07 am #

            I’m awake! (ok, I had a lie in…)

            Placentas are difficult to assess just on naked eye inspection. The absolute weight of the placenta isn’t that reliable in picking up IUGR. The functional weight of the placenta is that of the disc alone (without the membranes and the cord attached, we call it the ‘trimmed weight’). But in delivery suites, they usually weigh the whole thing which gives the placental weight a spuriously high reading. so you have to take off approximately 50-80 g if they weighed the placenta whole to get the true functional weight. But the absolute weight isn’t the important thing-its the ratio of the placental weight to the baby weight. In normally grown babies, the ratio is 1:7.7 or so. If the ratio is anything above about 1:9, then you have a functionally small placenta (this rules out those cases where you have a small baby and a proportionately small placenta).

            Many of the conditions that can cause IUGR can only be diagnosed microscopically. The obstetrician and midwives might think there are areas of infarction, but this needs to be confirmed microscopically (and I have to say that they aren’t too good at telling the difference sometimes between infarction, old intervillous thrombus, nodular deposits of fibrin etc). The placenta is like any other organ and has some built in reserve capacity, but generally, its considered that if infarction is present in anything more than 15% of the total volume then that will impact on fetal wellbeing.

            There are a few specific placental conditions like delayed villous maturation, chronic villitis, intervillositis, placental floor infarction (gitterinfarckt), mesenchymal villous dysplasia and so on that need to be excluded as there is a slight risk that these can recur in future pregnancies, but pathology is the only way these can be detected currently.

            Also, examining the placenta gives us chance to look at the maternal blood vessels at the base of the placenta (there are usually lots of little spiral arteries come away in the decidua), so that will help as well to exclude maternal vasculopathic disorders.

            Placentas are fascinating bits of kit, but when they go wrong, they go badly wrong.

          • Aine
            January 15, 2017 at 11:44 am #

            So sorry to hijack but this could I ask the experts to translate this for me?

            “Small third trimester placenta (<10th percentile).
            Fetal membranes with no significant histopathology.
            Thin three-vessel umbilical cord (measuring 1 cm in

            The placental disc measures 20 x 17 x 2 cm in
            greatest dimensions and has a trimmed weight of 330 grams. The
            three vessel umbilical cord has a slight left twist and measures
            1 cm in diameter by 58 cm in length. The insertion is eccentric.

            Comment: The placenta is small in size, the fetal/placental
            weight ratio is altered (approximately 8:1), and the cord
            diameter is decreased. These findings are consistent with
            diminished growth of the fetus and placenta. "

            Baby was induced at 37w0 due to my high blood pressure and born at 2620 grammes. The info above on ratio is very interesting to me. What does the data on the cord mean? What would yconsidered normal for cords? Many thanks

          • mabelcruet
            January 15, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

            The placenta is small, but not horribly small-the ratio is altered but not by too much, and that suggests fetal growth was probably ok throughout the earlier part of the pregnancy. You would need to factor in parental build, wee parents generally have wee babies.

            The skinny cord goes along with IUGR. The cord is perfused by fetal blood, so it doesn’t grow as fat if the placenta isn’t functioning as well. The average cord is about 1.5cm. In IUGR, the baby doesn’t waste any oxygen or energy fattening up the cord, it needs it for his brain. But that can backfire-Wharton’s jelly in the cord protects the vessels, it’s a rubbery gelatinous texture that surrounds the vessels and prevents them from getting compressed. It has a physical property called thixotropism meaning that when pressure is applied it becomes like a liquid, and you can’t compress a liquid. But if you have an IUGR baby with a skinny cord and reduced jelly, the vessels are more vulnerable to compression and interruption of blood flow.

          • Aine
            January 15, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

            Thanks so much. That’s really interesting. Both my husband and I are tall and with broad athletic frames so I think if all had been optimal, the baby would have been quite a bit bigger.

            My BP had been fine until a rise at 34 weeks to the upper threshold of normal. My doctor said this was fine and schedule ps next appointment for 36 weeks. I was myself concerned about the rise but figured the doctor knew best. At the 36 week appointment it was sky high. I wonder if anything would have changed if I had insisted on an appointment for BP at 35 weeks.

          • mabelcruet
            January 15, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

            In my centre, they would have had a low threshold for bringing you in early (37 weeks) if your BP stayed high-they would have been seeing you at least weekly and doing biophysical profiling and Dopplers to check on him. It’s a balance between delivering early and risking respiratory issues due to immaturity (although once past 36 weeks babe should be fine, and anyway they would have given you steroids to mature them) or risking the baby becoming oxygen deprived. It sounds like baby’s growth slowed rapidly just in the last few weeks, rather than having a chronically failing placenta, it sounds like it was a fairly acute event and the placenta had been just about coping. In the last few weeks, the demands on the placenta rise hugely-the baby is gaining weight rapidly, the organ formation and development is all but complete and the last few weeks is for chubbing up. But a small placenta with maternal vasculopathy maybe couldn’t keep up with those demands, so it’s safer out than in really.

            If you are both tall, I bet your little one soon starts moving up the centiles and ends up where he was destined to be! In our unit, your next pregnancy would be automatically considered ‘high risk’ (which sounds scary but simply means that with a history of IUGR and hypertension, so you’d be seen by consultants and deliver under consultant led care, not midwifery led care).

          • Dr Kitty
            January 15, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

            I have two babies who had birthweight 9th-25th centile, length on 50th centile, head circumference on 75th-91st.

            I’m pretty sure that even though I am a wee person there is some evidence of head-sparing late IUGR.

            Unfortunately third trimester growth scans, while accurate for HC and length, seriously over estimate weight for both of my kiddos.

          • Aine
            January 17, 2017 at 12:24 am #

            Thanks very much for the detailed reply.

            I’m already high risk due to history of post-partum dvt that (on topic)I believe was caused by following the ‘sit under a cluster-feeding baby for endless hours’ advice. I had a vaginal delivery and nobody ever mentioned need clotting risk. Lots of talk of breastfeeding meaning sofas and box sets and husbands bringing you cake while you fed.

          • Usually lurking
            January 15, 2017 at 9:46 pm #

            Thank you so much for this! In my last pregnancy, I stopped putting on weight or increasing in fundal height after wk. 36. An extra ultrasound didn’t reveal any problems and the baby was measuring normal, so we didn’t pursue it further. After the baby was born, the midwife (a CNM) commented that the cord was unusually narrow. I wonder if the baby did have some minor IUGR. Birth weight was 7 lbs, but older sibling was 8 lbs 12 oz (that child was also born 10 days later in gestational age, however).

            I’m pregnant again and may bring this up at my next appointment.

          • mabelcruet
            January 16, 2017 at 10:22 am #

            Yes, its quite possible baby was a bit IUGR-even if he was in the ‘normal’ range, it doesn’t mean he was in the normal range for him-sounds like he possibly didn’t quite reach his growth potential.

          • Guest
            January 15, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

            Thank you! Very illuminating if we’re ever privy to any of that information.

          • mabelcruet
            January 16, 2017 at 10:20 am #

            We send copies of the report to the family GP as well as the obstetrician-its not uncommon for the GP to go through the report with the parents. And you are perfectly entitled to request a copy of the report yourself-we send them out occasionally to mums at their request. I usually send a cover note stating that its a medical report with terminology used that they might be unfamiliar with, and I include a glossary explaining stuff like decidua, or trophoblast. If you know the placenta got sent to pathology and you find out which lab, write to them to see if you can have a copy (its your tissue after all!)

          • Krystle Dolbow
            January 18, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

            If a fetus is diagnosed with IUGR at 30w gestation, would it be likely that the placenta would be sent to pathology? My son was diagnosed at 30w and I have a history of 2 late second trimester losses (1st antiphosholipid antibody syndrome that wasn’t diagnosed till after my 2nd loss and my 2nd loss was cervical incompetence). I honestly never thought to ask if they tested the placenta to get a more accurate reason for IUGR . I see my OBGYN on February 2nd for my yearly check up so I’ll ask then but wanted to also ask you if it’s usually tested in that case. My son is now almost 15 months and is still small and only slightly fell off of his growth curve once around 11 months but he’s back on his curve and is usually between 1%-2%

          • mabelcruet
            January 19, 2017 at 4:12 am #

            In my region that would meet the criteria for examination no problem, so it should have been sent. There is a protocol we follow that I is fairly well nationally implemented. But I’m in the NHS, I don’t know other countries do.

          • Young CC Prof
            January 14, 2017 at 11:29 pm #

            Small placenta alone could potentially cause mild IUGR. And they can’t be sure whether it’s healthy by inspection alone, it has to be analyzed by pathology.

            If it is IUGR, baby should still be OK, just make sure they weigh the baby frequently until he passes birth weight. (That’s when you can relax with the little ones, not before.)

            It mainly matters if they might have more kids, because she should probably have extra monitoring next time around.

    • Sam
      January 15, 2017 at 11:08 am #

      I don’t think it has anything to do with being vegetarian, either a placental issue or the drug use during pregnancy. I have several vegan/vegetarian friends and all gave birth to big, healthy babies. I’ve been pretty much vegan for 5+ years myself, and my baby was measuring 2-3 weeks ahead during the entire pregnancy, up until 30 weeks. Then the baby’s growth slowed significantly, due to a placenta issue (MCI). MCI can slow down growth in the third trimester. I’m actually looking for an OB who is experienced with IUGR at the moment, as I’m moving out of state next week and desperately need to find a DR there. It’s pretty stressful.

      Anyone have recommendations in and around the Columbus, OH area? I’m trying to steer clear of conservative docs, or ones that lean too “natural”. I’ve heard of docs not taking the issue seriously and refusing to induce/C section prior to 39 weeks despite poor growth because baby passed NSTs, and yet it resulted in stillbirth.

      It’s pretty concerning that real medical professionals in positions of authority are promoting woo, such as this Cleveland Clinic doctor:

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        January 15, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

        I like the Cleveland based docs i saw, Charles Zonfa, Debra Prinz, and Joel Escabedo

      • Guest
        January 15, 2017 at 7:43 pm #

        She has a history of eating disorders, so maybe that would have been more appropriate to note. In any case, we were more curious about all the supplements and perhaps if smoking marijuana perhaps produced low birth weight babies a la cigarette smoking. It was a lot of odd stuff all at once (low heart rate, very small post dates baby, being evaluated as about a month less his actual gestational age), but maybe just coincidental and/or all explained by IUGR.

        • CSN0116
          January 15, 2017 at 10:13 pm #

          I get that pot is becoming legal and even mainstreamed, but I just thought that in pregnancy it would continue to stay stigmatized and “off limits.” I mean, there’s a lot of fun recreational shit that is socially acceptable but not in the pregnant population, you know? And of all ways to use it…smoking while pregnant?!

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            January 15, 2017 at 10:48 pm #

            Smoke, of any sort, is bad for the lungs. Not that I have any interest in mind altering drugs stronger than tea and chocolate

          • Sean Jungian
            January 15, 2017 at 10:59 pm #

            I smoked pot 2 or 3 times at the end of my pregnancy. I would think it would be difficult to ascribe similar outcomes to smoking cigarettes, since it isn’t smoked the same way nor as often. I couldn’t say for sure, of course.

            We’ll probably learn more about the effects of marijuana during pregnancy now that there are a few states where it is legal.

          • guest
            January 16, 2017 at 9:49 am #

            I know of one woman who smoked pot during pregnancy to manage extreme nausea. She thought the medications prescribed were not safe and that marijuana was a better alternative because it is natural.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            January 16, 2017 at 9:52 am #

            …because it’s natural… So are asbestos, toadstools, and poison ivy.

          • CSN0116
            January 16, 2017 at 10:26 am #

            I “get” that, but it can be ingested.

          • Daleth
            January 16, 2017 at 10:40 am #

            marijuana was a better alternative because it is natural.

            So is tobacco. That doesn’t make it safe for a developing baby.

      • guest
        January 15, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

        I’ve heard the OSU high risk is very good, especially Dr. Samuels

      • Merrie
        January 21, 2017 at 10:10 pm #

        Did you find a doc yet? My friend had an IUGR baby and I can ask her who she saw. I personally am happy with my nurse-midwife practice but they may not be the right providers for your situation.

  4. BeatriceC
    January 14, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

    OT Smoking Cessation Update: I had a slight setback in the middle of the week, so I was still smoking a little bit (half every three hours) on Thursday. But yesterday I stopped completely. Basically, I ran out, and didn’t want to buy another whole pack knowing I’d smoke maybe 5-6 out of it. So I didn’t. There were some unpleasant moments yesterday, but I made it. So now I’m on day two! None of my recent attempts have made it this far, so I’m hopeful.

    • Sean Jungian
      January 14, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

      “Like” x 1000! Funny I just so happened to open this page right after your post. Keep trying! You’re doing great so far!

    • Sarah
      January 14, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

      You can do it.

    • Inmara
      January 14, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

      Fingers crossed!

    • Dr Kitty
      January 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

      Go Beatrice!
      Well done!
      One day at a time.

    • fiftyfifty1
      January 14, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

      Nice work. It was like this for my father also. He has now been smoke free for 20+ years.

    • Who?
      January 14, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

      Good job, every cigarette you don’t have is doing you good.

    • Box of Salt
      January 14, 2017 at 11:23 pm #


  5. LaMont
    January 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm #


    Freaking out. How does this not end with millions of women in jail and thousands dead every year? Not to mention what happens to any OB who takes on a high risk anti-choice patient and has something go wrong with the pregnancy. I swear if I have children I’m leaving this country, and I don’t even think I would terminate a pregnancy for non-severe-defect reasons! I am still scared shitless right now. And the odds that the Orange Menace hasn’t paid for an abortion or five in his life are ZERO.

    More urgently – any plans to meet up or somehow find each other in DC next Saturday?

    • Gene
      January 14, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

      I’m game. Prefer MD side…

    • Cartwheel
      January 16, 2017 at 9:44 am #

      I read the legislation actually and it can’t end with millions of women in jail unless those women are doctors – it makes it illegal for a physician to perform an abortion in most circumstances but specifically prohibits prosecution of the mother.

      It also allows physicians to perform abortions if a risk to the physical health of the mother makes termination indicated. Risk to mental health not included.

      • Dr Kitty
        January 16, 2017 at 10:00 am #

        Cartwheel, I think you’re being naive.

        Outlawing abortion after six weeks will end up with women in jail, because they will opt for illegal abortions.

        In the old days that meant back alleys and coat hangers.

        Now it means online pharmacies and getting Misoprostol in the mail or after a trip to a Mexican pharmacy.

        Doctors don’t even have to be involved…

        • Cartwheel
          January 16, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

          Wrong. I’m not being naive, and this particular legislation will not result in abortion-seeking women going to jail. I read the text of the bill and reported what is currently in it, which as written cannot result in women going to jail for having illegal abortions performed or for performing them pharmaceutically on themselves. The relevant text is “‘(c) NO LIABILITY FOR THE MOTHER ON WHOM ABORTION IS PERFORMED.—A mother upon whom an abortion is performed may not be prosecuted under this section, for a conspiracy to violate this section, or for an offense under section 2, 3, or 4 of this title based on a violation of this section.”

          There are plenty of other bad things to say about this legislation, but it doesn’t seem strategically or tactically useful to focus on the “women who have abortions will be prosecuted” angle when the legislation specifically precludes that outcome. In fact doing so seems … naive to me, in that it is quite likely walking into a rhetorical trap that has been carefully laid for people like you by the anti-abortion-legislation-writing teams. To wit, news releases trumpet this as a “total abortion ban” and many, many pro-choice activists get up in arms about abortion-seeking women going to jail, neither of which are factual interpretations of this law. This will end up making pro-choice activists look foolish when people investigate more thoroughly, and will end up making the legislation appear more reasonable to the average citizen than it really is (because at least it’s not jailing women!).

          The total lack of accommodation for abortions performed due to defects of the fetus incompatible with postpartum life or performed to avoid injury and disability to the mother (rather than just to avoid her death) is for instance deeply concerning and probably something that almost everyone would agree is deeply concerning. And I’m sure we can both think of plenty of other things we don’t like about it.

          • Azuran
            January 16, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

            But what do you think is the next step? This bill will not result in abortion disappearing. Mother’s will take this into their own hands, there will be back alley abortion and people who will buy medication.

            You think they will just leave it at that? It is entirely possible that this will eventually lead to even more stupid laws that will make it possible to prosecute women who induce their own abortion.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
      January 16, 2017 at 11:27 am #

      Women are already prosecuted sometimes for attempting to self-abort (Welcome to the Republic of Gilead):
      “On Sept. 12th, Jennifer Whalen, a 39-year-old mother of three in the rural town of Washingtonville, Pa., went to jail to begin serving a 9-to-18-month sentence. Whalen’s crime was, in effect, ordering pills online that her older daughter took in the first several weeks of an unplanned pregnancy, when she was 16, to induce a miscarriage.”

      ” In Utah in 2009, a 17-year-old woman paid a man $150 to beat her in an attempt to induce an abortion.5 The teenager, who was living in poverty at the time, would have had to negotiate Utah’s waiting period and strict parental involvement law, and afford the cost of an abortion at a clinic given Utah’s ban on using state Medicaid funds to cover abortion.6 She was charged with solicitation to commit murder in juvenile court; however, the charge was eventually dropped by a judge who ruled that a woman could not be prosecuted for seeking an abortion.7 In 2010, in a direct response to this case, the state legislature amended the Utah criminal code to give the state the power to prosecute women who seek to terminate pregnancies outside of legal medical channels for abortion”

  6. evidencebasedbreastfeeding
    January 14, 2017 at 11:52 am #

    Hi, pretty off topic for which apologies but this is bugging me so much I feel I need to post/rant.
    Has anyone seen this new resource from LLL-GB on the topic of how much milk newborn babies need?
    This is presented as a summary of how much milk babies need at particular ages, PER BREASTFEED (not in a 24 hour period).
    There are quite appealing infographics/posters which on the surface look really handy. But I cannot for the life of me work out how they have produced this data.
    The only scientific reference given is to this paper by Nils Bergman (I have read the full text but can’t see how it provides data from which the LLL estimates could be derived). No other data/references are given. The bergman paper is an opinion/review not a research study. He presents a set of other research studies (7 studies) estimating the stomach size of newborns, and derives the average estimate of 20ml at birth.
    However the LLL estimates then show apparently that a newborn at birth would only need 5ml per feeding on the first day. Why would a newborn only need 1/4 of stomach capacity in each feed? It’s not justified and no other data is presented to explain this 5ml estimate, or any of the other feed size estimates for later days of the baby’s life.
    I also have no clue how it is useful to BF mums to know how much milk per feeding, unless they are expressing and giving by bottle; since what is important to the baby’s thriving and developing is the feed intake over 24 hours (surely??). (And other things like nappies and their return to birth weight and not dropping too much weight, not jaundiced or other signs of problems like hypernatremia/hypoglycemia). And feed frequency for BF babies can be so variable – 8-12 feeds/day often quoted as normal, but can be wayyy higher, and lower can be OK in the first 24hours. This would then hugely skew the estimate of overall milk intake and might make a mum (even if she knew the individual feeding volume) perceive it to be normal even if a low feed frequency might then mean overall milk intake would be inadequate.
    Finally, the Bergman paper is really weird in that he concludes the “normal” feed frequency for human babies is every HOUR, the way he derives this is using his 20ml stomach volume in combination with 160ml/kg/day milk requirement to conclude that for a 3kg baby, feeding has to be every 1hr.
    (3×160=480; 480/20=24). But the 160ml/kg/day milk requirement would apply by the time the baby is around almost one week of life, NOT the “at birth” milk requirement that would relate to the 20ml stomach size – using this data from a recent systematic review of breastfed babies’ milk intakes:
    (Day 7 milk intake, 495ml).
    Presumably by the time a baby is a week old their stomach is bigger than at birth, and you would divide the 480ml by the estimated stomach size at that age to get a feed frequency for a week old baby.
    This just to me seems to be an illustration of maths gone horribly wrong and used to derive really weird conclusions that could mislead mothers. (In the Bergman paper; the LLL data is just not referenced to any data at all that I can see). It might well all be super sensible, but surely to be responsible you have to couple these illustrations of feed size to both some information about appropriate feed frequencies as well as the overall daily expected milk volume. And explain why this is relevant to EBF mums. GRRRR!

    • Azuran
      January 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

      To me it seems like stuff they just pulled out of their ass for……I don’t know……convince women that it’s ok if their babies aren’t properly fed and they should just keep breastfeeding? They seem to use this to convince women that it’s normal that their baby stays on the breast 24/7 and cries in hunger every 15 minutes because that’s just how their stomach works.

      I mean, if you breastfeed, you can’t know how much your baby is eating (unless you weight him before and after each weight). But then, what do you do with this information? If baby is not hungry anymore, does it matter if he ate less than what he’s supposed to if he’s not losing weights or getting dehydrated? If he’s still hungry, shouldn’t you feed it more?
      I’ve never heard anyone say that you should carefully measure feeding volumes and make sure they don’t eat more than that.

      And this actually leaves no room for variation between baby size. I’m pretty sure a newborn 10 pounds baby has a bigger stomach than a newborn 7 pounds baby.
      A baby that sleeps all the time probably needs less than a baby who cries all the time.
      And some babies will want to feed at different frequency. I sure as hell don’t know any mother who woke up her newborn baby (or even slightly older babies, on purpose, every single hour (or whatever frequency) to feed them. The baby book handed by my government doesn’t mention any frequency. It basically says: Feed whenever it’s hungry, until it’s not hungry.

      To me it’s all just bad use of data.

      • Dr Kitty
        January 14, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

        Newborns who are fed formula tend to take 1-2oz every feed and feed every 2-3hrs.

        Logic would suggest that these babies are feeding until they feel full.

        Therefore LLL seem to be trying to find a way to justify starving BF neonates.

        • CSN0116
          January 14, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

          My five babies ranging in weights from 5 lbs 12 oz to 9 lbs 1 oz all consumed 1.5 to 2 oz of formula within 30 minutes of birth. They would eat that every 4 hours for 24 hours. By day two of life, they were up to 2 to 3 oz every 4 hours. What I understand is this is pretty standard across the board for EFF babies.

          This is nothing more than a way to convince women that baby is “fine” and breastfeeding must continue.

          • Dr Kitty
            January 14, 2017 at 6:57 pm #

            5mls sounds too low.
            That is a teaspoonful.

            Even before my milk came in I was making a LOT more than that.
            Both of mine were in the boob for pretty much 45 minutes every 2hours for the first week. I still managed to express 3oz of colostrum day 2 with my daughter, in between feeds, because the midwives thought I should learn how to use a pump.I was told my milk had come in.

            Oh how I laughed on day five when it really came in and I woke up with rock hard, tender breasts, each roughly the size of the Hindenburg.

            I chose not to pump at all the first week with my son.
            Milk still came in day 5. Still had zeppelin boobs.

            5mls per hour does not seem at all sufficient.

        • Daleth
          January 16, 2017 at 10:53 am #

          Newborns who are fed formula tend to take 1-2oz every feed and feed every 2-3hrs.

          I got into a debate with a lactation consultant (hippy friend of mine) who insisted that babies who nurse from bottles cannot stop eating until the bottle is empty, because gravity, and this explains why BF’ing helps prevent obesity. We had several back and forths in which I repeatedly explained that even in their first 24 hours of life my preemie twins (barely preemie, 36w6) were able to stop drinking when they were full.

          And for a good chunk of the debate, she did not BELIEVE me!!!!!! She clung to this absurd myth despite hearing, from *a formula feeding mom whom she knew personally* and who was speaking from *recent* experience (no memory haze from passing years), that it wasn’t true. She eventually seemed to believe me and back down when I explained it in more and more detail (e.g., we were using the smallest ready-to-eat formula bottles available, which were 60ml, and they would drink 17ml or 22ml or whatever and then stop, and yes, we knew how much was originally in the bottle and we measured how much was left, and we wrote it down, etc.).

          INSANE. It’s seriously like a religious belief for them.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 16, 2017 at 11:20 am #

            At what point do they concede that it must not be true? For example, our 4 mo would always leave an oz or so at the bottom of a 7 oz bottle.

            Daycares have policies for disposing leftovers in bottles. They know babies won’t always finish them.

          • Young CC Prof
            January 16, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

            “Can’t stop because gravity?”

            First off, even brand-new babies can unlatch and turn their heads away. Second, the proper way to bottle-feed a newborn is not to dump the whole bottle in at once like it’s a funnel. You give them some, pause, burp, offer it again and see if they want more. Overfeeding generally comes from ignoring baby’s pretty clear signals of fullness.

            And finally, I never fed newborns with the bottle straight up and down. I hold the baby partially upright to aid swallowing and put the bottle at 90 degrees to his mouth, so it’s generally closer to horizontal than vertical.

          • Daleth
            January 18, 2017 at 9:26 am #

            Right. But this lactation consultant knew nothing about bottle feeding–NOT EVEN FEEDING BREASTMILK IN A BOTTLE. Seems to me like if you’re going to be in the business of helping people feed their babies, you ought to know how a damn bottle works and what babies are capable of doing/not doing with it.

          • Young CC Prof
            January 18, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

            That’s because she’s in the business of promoting breastfeeding, not helping people feed their babies.

        • Brackonfire
          February 10, 2017 at 4:42 am #

          Late to the conversation but I was recently lurking on the Jan 2017 birth board at baby center and this brand new breastfeeding mother was upset that she’d been feeding for 6 hours straight without a real break and the lactivists said that was not only normal but that it’s impossible to over feed a breastfeeding infant. I was completely appalled but decided against joining the conversation. I have very little information on whether what they were saying was true but I knew it wasn’t helpful. So I just stayed quiet. To me it sounded like her baby was nursing so long because there wasn’t enough to eat. I just pity the mother and baby because they are getting terrible advice.

    • Young CC Prof
      January 14, 2017 at 11:31 pm #

      5mL is what the average new mother produces on the day of delivery, I think. LLL’s claim that it is adequate is based on nothing but excessive faith in nature.

      It’s dangerous, too, because they’re normalizing and ignoring newborn hunger. A lot of babies are suffering complications because their insufficient intake wasn’t addressed promptly.

      • January 15, 2017 at 5:18 am #

        My experience with newborns has been that many are (1) simply not all that hungry immediately after birth, even if the mother did not have any form of analgesia that might make them a bit sleepy. It’s as if they need a bit of time just to adjust to the idea that they now have to EAT. (2) Nowadays babies do not routinely have deep suctioning and their tummies are full of mucus (we used to put a tube down just to make sure there wasn’t any esophageal atresia), and (3) many babies only develop an appetite once they have emptied their guts of the meconium.

        This being said, there are babies who are born ravenous. All the protocols for “correct” amounts of intake need to be tempered by observation and common sense!

        • evidencebasedbreastfeeding
          January 15, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

          agree with all of that for sure and that responsive feeding is the key along with looking out for all the usual indicators that baby is getting sufficient milk with close eye to not dropping too much weight and expected return to birth weight by 2 weeks. Alongside that, I’m not sure what use an explanation (with the infographic symbols like “medium sized tomato”) for healthcare professionals of an expected feed size is supposed to help with, when mums working on establishing EBF are mainly focussing on establishing effective feeding directly at the breast at this point. but maybe I am boring and old fashioned and just missing the point entirely.

      • Daleth
        January 16, 2017 at 10:46 am #

        LLL’s claim that it is adequate is based on nothing but excessive faith in nature.

        No, it’s also based on willful ignorance about human history! Pop quiz: Did human beings evolve in…

        (1) nuclear families in which only one woman was reproducing/lactating at a time, so we can assume that average normal lactation must be sufficient for the average neonate?

        Or (2) tribes/extended families in which typically multiple women were reproducing/lactating at the same time, so we can assume they probably fed each other’s babies in the first days of life in order to let mom rest and recuperate, and thus the amount of milk typically produced by one woman in the first days after childbirth tells us little or nothing about how much milk a newborn needs?

    • Box of Salt
      January 14, 2017 at 11:36 pm #

      As already posted below, 5mL = 1 teaspoon, and assuming a density of approximately 1 mg/mL, about 0.17 oz.

      That’s right folks. Not 1.7 oz, as CSN0116’s kids consumed. An order of magnitude smaller.

  7. Daleth
    January 14, 2017 at 11:05 am #

    In both cases, though, it deprives one group of the opportunity to
    declare superiority over another group and that’s what really bothers

    Based on the reactions of Natalie and others, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

  8. Chelley Martinka
    January 14, 2017 at 8:47 am #

    As an EBF mama- I LOVE this. FED is best. We need evidence that supports OUR current children. What worked for my first, was not for my second- and I ran myself ragged pumping for my oldest for over a year. I was grateful for the gift of milk, and I didn’t need formula… but I sometimes imagine how my sanity (and sleep) would have been saved if I wasn’t battling engorgement and the need to pump every 2 hours (even when my baby STTN at 4 weeks!). We have to stop looking for power in who is best as a general statement and take the power as what is best for our children in the moment we are in.

  9. mabelcruet
    January 14, 2017 at 8:19 am #

    Off topic a bit-Vicki Dawn Sorensen, home birth midwife was found guilty of manslaughter and reckless endangerment recently. Has she been sentenced yet?

  10. danmeek
    January 13, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

    Thank you for including evidence, but can we please have the source including the date for the scatter plot?

  11. Sheven
    January 13, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    It’s sad that “what I want and what I choose” is never good enough.

  12. BeatriceC
    January 13, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

    I had a small amount of trouble figuring out the breastfeeding thing with my oldest. Poor kid was trying to latch on to boobs bigger than he was, and my let down was kinda like a fire hose, with a massive oversupply at the beginning. My mother suggested a little bit of formula to take the edge off his hunger so he wouldn’t be so frantic and we could figure out the whole latch thing. It worked. After a couple of days, maybe a week (I honestly can’t remember now), we were totally EBF. I was a teacher and it was close to summer, so my maternity leave was extended because of summer break. I had lots of time. Then we decided for me not to go back to work at all, so even more time. I was still a SAHM when my middle kid was born. Even though he was born at 32 weeks, he had no issues learning to latch and breastfed like a pro from the first attempt. I weaned him when I got pregnant with the youngest, as by that time we knew my body really couldn’t do both. YK was born so very premature, that even though I was now working again (husband had left), and I had a toddler and a baby to care for, I still pumped for him because there are actually proven benefits for preemies. Also, with that massive oversupply, it was easy. I pumped 4-6 times a day, and often times got over 30 oz in a ten minute session. Even then, if there wasn’t evidence that there were actually real benefits, I would have chosen to spend that time with my other kids.

    I breastfed because I could, and it was easy, and the lifestyle choices my husband and I made allowed me to do it relatively easily. My body worked like it was supposed to (mostly…that oversupply thing was a pain), and I had no significant difficulties in getting it established with the older two. Had any of those circumstances been different enough to create a real hardship, I would have switched to formula, I hope, with no guilt.

  13. Madtowngirl
    January 13, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    UUUUUUgh thank you! I am getting so tired of how they are twisting your words. My favorite was “you insist that breastfeeding women are starving their babies!” No – you’ve said that lactivism encourages women to starve their babies for the sake of breastfeeding.

    And it does. Not only was I personally encouraged to starve my baby, the “baby-friendly” hospital I delivered in totally allowed it by not telling me my baby had lost more than 10% of her weight when we were discharged. They allowed it by delaying in getting us donor milk when we requested it (I thought donor milk was the “next best thing” to the tap?). They allowed it by letting the LCs just walk away without helping us, even though my child was screaming in hunger, since I was *trying* to breastfeed. I know many commenters here have similar stories.

    I’m glad you have a thick skin. This all NEEDS to be said, and lactivism needs to be called out for the abusive bullshit it is.

    • Cartman36
      January 13, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

      I’m sorry you were treated that way.

      • Madtowngirl
        January 13, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

        Thank you. It sucked, but my little one is growing and happy and healthy. My only regret is that I didn’t let my husband throw the LCs out when they pissed him off.

  14. KQ Not Logged In
    January 13, 2017 at 12:13 pm #

    “Is claiming that women deserve equal rights bashing men?”

    The Men’s Rights Activists claim that it is.

    “Is asserting that all religions are worthy of respect bashing Christianity?”

    The Christian Right claims that it is.

    “Is prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation bashing heterosexuality?”

    The Conservative Right claims that it is.

    I’ll throw in a bonus one – is claiming that “black lives matter” bashing the value of white/other races lives?

    White Supremacists and racists claim that it is.

    Perhaps the takeaway might be that the party with more power howls the loudest and wails NO FAIIIR and “WHAT ABOUT US” and “UR MEEN” if anyone with less power dares to say that they matter too.

    • indigosky
      January 13, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

      Exactly. If you dare to support a group that is “different” you are automatically bashing them. In their pathetic little worlds where they are the center of the Universe, it is them or nothing. Their worlds revolve in an all or nothing mindset.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        January 13, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

        I say it again, it is about privilege. The complaint is that we no longer are privileged compared to others, and that is a threat.

    • Dr Kitty
      January 13, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

      I live in Northern Ireland.
      Everything here is a zero-sum game.
      If “they” get something it means “we” lose it.
      I’m very, very sensitive to that sort of thing playing out in other arenas, and you’ve got it spot on.

      • sdsures
        January 14, 2017 at 10:17 am #


        • Dr Kitty
          January 14, 2017 at 11:03 am #

          We’re not exactly in the best political place at the moment.

          • sdsures
            January 15, 2017 at 10:25 am #

            NI has always had problems, hasn’t it?

          • Dr Kitty
            January 16, 2017 at 10:07 am #

            What else was the realistic possible outcome of the Ulster plantations given that exterminating the indigenous Irish population wasn’t on the cards and integrating the two communities is pretty much a non-starter?

            We’re trying to make “separate but equal” the defining political strategy, so is it any wonder it isn’t working.

    • Gatita
      January 13, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

      It’s like the story about Ivan’s goat: There was a Russian peasant who was insanely jealous of his neighbor, Ivan, because owned a goat while the peasant didn’t. One night God appeared to the peasant and said, “I’m here to answer your prayers,” and the peasant happily said, “You’re going to kill Ivan’s goat??”

      • Amazed
        January 14, 2017 at 9:31 am #

        Or like the saying here: I don’t wanna feel good (spoken with a strong accent), I wanna the neighbour to feel bad!

    • Petticoat Philosopher
      January 13, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

      And, despite “crunchy hippie” stereotypes, the Conservative Right (especially the Christian Right), is well-represented among lactivists and “natural” fetishists in general.

      • InfiniteSovereign
        January 14, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

        Very true. Certainly in the natural childbirth/parenting circles in my city, one of the top 5 major cities in the U.S. The more politically conservative ones I find are more militant and absolutist about “crunchy” parenting topics than those who style themselves “hippies,” who are more politically liberal and see more gray.

    • Young CC Prof
      January 13, 2017 at 8:08 pm #

      Precisely. The militant breastfeeding crowd has decided that, since less than half of women in most developed countries breastfeed for 6 months or more, breastfeeders are an oppressed minority in need of things like safe spaces.

      Except that a majority try to or want to breastfeed, and the ones who succeed are richer, whiter, healthier and overall more privileged than the ones who can’t. And the folks they are kicking out of their “safe spaces” aren’t oppressors but fellow new mothers, often ones who tried their very best to nurse and couldn’t.

  15. Heidi_storage
    January 13, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    This is the first kid I’ve been able to breastfeed. And you know what? I like it! It’s better than pumping, by a lot. But geez, I certainly don’t feel more bonded to this baby than to my first two, and the minute it stops being a good fit for me is the minute we’ll go to some other feeding strategy.

    • cookiebaker
      January 13, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

      Good for you! I hate when lactivists push the bonding card. I have 6: 2 were exclusively breastfed, 2 were combo fed, and 2 were formula fed. I love them all. (Although, to be fair, sometimes I like some of my kids more than others, but that has everything to do with what bratty phase they’re going through and nothing to do with how they were fed as infants!)

      • Heidi_storage
        January 13, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

        Oh, definitely; if you ask me which kid is my favorite, I’d say “whichever is napping right now.”

    • momofgirls
      January 13, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

      I have a biological child and an adopted from foster care child. While I am bonded to both, my non-bio child (adopted at age 10, btw) feels more bonded to me. I think it’s because we are more similar, bio daughter is a clone of her father in both temperament and interests. And we’ve only known her for a year, my bio daughter we’ve known for 11! So I think bonding is a constructed concept by the lactivist industry to be honest.

      • StephanieA
        January 14, 2017 at 12:21 am #

        My adopted sister is my mom’s dream child. They have a really awesome bond considering their lack of ‘blood.’

    • Empress of the Iguana People
      January 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

      as i’ve said before, i bonded faster with my ff kid, in part because she wasn’t hurting me for hours a day. i knew he wasn’t trying to but without any happy hormones it just grew increasingly unpleasant

      • StephanieA
        January 14, 2017 at 12:20 am #

        Same. I bonded quickly with my FF baby, not as quickly with my baby that I attempted to breastfeed. I was too worried about how much milk I wasn’t producing to enjoy him.

  16. CSN0116
    January 13, 2017 at 11:52 am #

    Ugh, the FB page has been nearly unenjoyable lately (no offense) as any productive, realistic conversation brings the lactivists in by parachute. And Brooke must be especially manic this month. She is literally commenting, repeatedly, within minutes of a post being published. The round and round is getting old and I just want to interact with sensible people, but oh, well.

    It all seems to go a little something like this:

    Lactivist: Breast milk is superior to formula; contains 100 antibodies, stem cells, “other” cells, vitamins, whatever that formula does not; is “specially” designed to meet your baby’s needs; formula will never be breast milk even though scientists are trying tirelessly to copy it.

    Sane person: Of course formula will never be breast milk, but they are more so *different* than they are hierarchical. Both do a great job at nourishing a baby. Breast milk is different but not inherently or quantifiably “better,” as it is incapable of producing better outcomes. If it cannot produce better outcomes – despite having a bunch of cool shit in it – then it cannot be called superior. It is different and a good choice of food for a baby.

    Lactivist: No, no, no! Breast milk does produce better outcomes! And it’s free. There are lower rates of SIDS, asthma, obesity, eczema, colds, and gastro illness, and higher IQ’s – and that’s just what we know about. There are benefits for mom, too, like lower cancer rates.

    Sane person: It’s not free. It requires ~25% more food consumption on behalf of mom for a full year, in addition to all the supplies and doctors visits that are often required. Hospital readmission rates are several times higher in EBF babies, driving up health care costs. And most of all, there is the cost of maternal lost productivity. One can formula feed for under $500 per year. SIDS rates can be lowered more by using a pacifier than breast feeding. Colds and gastro are reduced by less than 10% and in the first year only. Asthma and obesity have been ruled out with better, newer studies. Allergies and eczema are actually higher in EBF babies per better, newer studies. And breast milk lacks some things that formula actually compensates for. The most IQ points shown to be gained from breast feeding are 5-7, which is negligible. A child’s IQ score can vary by over 10 points on any given two days of the week. The cancer effects to mom are riddled with confounders and strongly linked to breast feeding’s ability inhibit ovulation. The BC pill can achieve this. In short, breast feeding is no doubt a huge sacrifice on behalf of the mother with no observational or meaningful gain. If you can do it fairly easily, and want to, then it’s a great choice.

    Lactivist: You’re attacking breast feeding. You’re undermining breast feeding. You’re saying that breast milk and formula are equal.

    Sane person: They’re not equal (identical) substances, but they produce equal outcomes, so…

    Start it all over. It’s nothing but a brick fucking wall. They just CANNOT discuss the facts for what they are.

    • Heidi
      January 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

      I mostly avoid clicking on the comments of her FB page. Nothing a lactivist ever says makes me question what I’ve done as a mother or formula feeder, but ugh, they are sooo dumb, I almost can’t handle it.

    • Gatita
      January 13, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

      My favorite was Brooke saying, “Show me scientific proof that formula is just as good as breastmilk only you’re not allowed to use this list of studies that I’m excluding for arbitrary reasons [lists every well-designed study that demonstrates identical outcomes for BF and FF babies].

      • CSN0116
        January 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

        Yes! The discordant sibling study has flaws, but it is the closest to the nature/nurture design that we can get to, to help sort out if the magic milk is providing benefit, or all the other “stuff.” I think her big beef with it is how they define breast fed vs not breast fed and breastfeeding duration. Well, it’s all recall and observational, so you’re going to have a hard time with any study getting people to accurately remember and honestly report how often they breast fed and until what exact week/month of life, hence the very abrupt categories that the researchers created. Again, a study flaw but nowhere near enough to discredit it. They also don’t believe that any mother would breastfeed one child and not another. It’s appalling so all the respondents are lying.

        …Then they accept at face value studies that do little to nothing to control for environmental and social confounders. Well, of course those studies show huge discrepancies between groups.

        #thatsourbrooke can’t walk and chew gum, no college education that she has ever referenced (and she reveals intimate details of her life), no access to full journal articles via university or place of employment…but an expert at methodology!

        • Roadstergal
          January 13, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

          My general take is that if you need THAT much precision in breastfeeding, it’s not useful. :p

        • Empress of the Iguana People
          January 13, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

          Is she the one who insisted she’d learned to read scientific journals in high school? Or was that another

          • CSN0116
            January 13, 2017 at 5:00 pm #

            Haha I don’t know but sounds like some shit she would say. “Advanced, gifted” high school student…

          • Amazed
            January 14, 2017 at 9:32 am #

            That was her. Or we’re both wrong *shrug*

        • Gatita
          January 13, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

          Also, didn’t someone call CPS on her? An accusation isn’t proof of abuse but still, yikes. Guess the breastfeeding didn’t help prevent that.

          • CSN0116
            January 13, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

            Let’s see, it’s some concoction of:

            1. Abusive ex husband who abused her in front of her 10-year-old daughter

            2. A second baby by a man she won’t identify, but not the ex husband.

            3. Homeless/couch crashing with a male friend (non baby daddy) while pregnant with #2

            4. Has baby in toilet of couch crashing house

            5. Jobless (welfare) but wants to start a vegan food truck business

            6. Says an ex (ex husband?) is a drug addict

            7. Has lived with her brother who insisted she receive therapy

            8. Claims to have been evaluated by numerous psychiatrists but is not mentally ill

            9. False positive cocaine test on baby born in toilet, CPS involved but later “apologized to her”

            10. Enough free time to literally be on FB all. day. long.

            11. Judgmental bitch with more opinions than brains (my add)

          • Gatita
            January 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

            Holy shit!!!! I knew there was baggage but I didn’t realize it was enough to fill an ocean liner. That is frightening.

          • Kerlyssa
            January 14, 2017 at 2:27 am #

            oh my god

          • Who?
            January 14, 2017 at 4:04 am #

            Poor kids. And poor Brooke, tbh, she sounds like she may lack resources of many descriptions.

            Let’s hope that until things stabilise there will be no more children.

          • Daleth
            January 14, 2017 at 11:14 am #

            Oh man. That’s sad. For her and for her babies.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          January 13, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

          no college education that she has ever referenced

          Hey, cut her some slack. She took the SAT just recently,*** so she’s getting there.

          ***That’s my hypothesis, anyway. It explains that period when she went through using really bizarre vocabulary. The best explanation is that she was studying for the SAT at the time.

          • Roadstergal
            January 13, 2017 at 6:11 pm #

            FORMULA is to BREASTMILK as BICYCLE is to…

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            January 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

            a motorized bicycle?

          • Daleth
            January 14, 2017 at 11:13 am #

            FORMULA is to BREASTMILK as BICYCLE is to…
            …a different bicycle.

          • Charybdis
            January 15, 2017 at 9:30 pm #

            Unicycle. More difficult to balance and only ONE person is responsible for making it work.

      • January 14, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

        You know, I have no proof that Brooke has ever read any of the studies we’ve posted.

  17. Amazed
    January 13, 2017 at 11:23 am #

    The reactions to the correlation post did much to convince me that a good deal of lactivists are dumb cows. Why am I saying this? Well, let’s see:

    1) Did they fail to grasp an obvious point and rush intstead with the lactivist war cry, aka bleating, “They didn’t die BECAUSE of breastfeeding!”? They did. So they’re dumb.

    2) Did a good many of them sit down tied to a baby and clearly despising it, hence constantly screaming what martyrs, what heroines they were? They did. So they are milking cows because it was a painful duty for them and not this wonderful feeling breastfeeding is sold out to be.

    Of course, they don’t want to be dumb cows, so they scream that breastfeeding is the bestest, never omitting to recommend themselves as the bestest, mommiest mommies at the expense of formula feeding mothers who they claim not to look down on.

    I am glad that they breastfeed their children – that’s, if these additional few IQ points don’t turn out to be a result of cofounders, I mean. Lactivists’ own IQ doesn’t look all this high and genetics does play a part. Right now, it looks like their kids need every IQ point they can get because they don’t get all this many from their mommiest mommies,

    To finish this post: I meant no offense to cows.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      January 13, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

      The best comment of the (short) year so far!

      Granted, I don’t think anything will ever top the Chia pet comment, but that was last year.

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        January 13, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

        has she really been annoying us that long? Sigh

      • Amazed
        January 13, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

        Thank you kind sir! Does that mean that I’ll get my PCM, finally?

        What was this comment? At the time she barged in, I was in a place with bad internet and couldn’t be bothered to waste it on her.

        • Empress of the Iguana People
          January 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

          It was mine; I was loopy from my cold and lack of sleep and mentioned that I kept misreading her ‘nym as “Chiapet.” Bofa thought it was hysterical

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 13, 2017 at 5:46 pm #

            I still do.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          January 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

          Does that mean that I’ll get my PCM, finally?

          Without a single reference to either an 80s movie or 80s music? Nope.

          • Amazed
            January 14, 2017 at 9:34 am #

            *Goes off sulking*

            But hey! I know! I’ll be an entirely lay midwife! Directly! A DEM! I don’t need your “degree” Pablo! Way too scientific! Nature is all I need! And just FYI, I have a high school degree so I’m probably better than some of your old graduates anyway. HA!

      • BeatriceC
        January 13, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

        I can’t recall the Chia pet comment. Can you refresh my memory please?

    • Gatita
      January 13, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

      To finish this post: I meant no offense to cows.

      Mel will be so relieved!

  18. The Bofa on the Sofa
    January 13, 2017 at 11:16 am #

    Is asserting that all religions are worthy of respect bashing Christianity?

    According to a lot of people, in fact, yes, it is.

    It comes from a position of privilege. When you are used to having privileges, you consider having that special privilege taken away and treated like everyone else means you are being persecuted.

    • Gatita
      January 13, 2017 at 11:27 am #

      Ugh, just to OT rant a bit, is there a more special snowflake than a white, conservative male? They mock safe spaces but have no awareness that the entire country is their safe space and if they have to cede a corner of it to women or POC or whomever, they freak out and tantrum like two-year-olds. Eff these people, seriously.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        January 13, 2017 at 11:30 am #

        Is claiming that women deserve equal rights bashing men?

        See: MRA


        Is prohibiting discimination based on sexual orientation bashing heterosexuality?

        These were supposed to be rhetorical questions to illustrate the point, but the problem is that you will absolutely find people who make those arguments. Gay rights advocates are absolutely called anti-straight.

      • StephanieJR
        January 13, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

        My brother is exactly like this. Fortunately, he’s changed a bit, but he can still be a right bigot about things.

    • KQ Not Logged In
      January 13, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

      Bofa – I hadn’t read your comment when I made mine above, but I think that applies to all of those points.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        January 13, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

        I think you said it better than I did.

  19. Dr Kitty
    January 13, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    It seems to me that there are some people who have to hold onto “BF is magic” because it was their justification for BF despite huge obstacles. If they accept FF is just as good, then they put themselves and their babies through “hell” for minimal real world gains and that pill is just too bitter to swallow.

    I don’t know what Natalie went through, she obviously thought it was worthwhile.

    If someone else *doesn’t* think it was worthwhile, that’s fine too.

    • Roadstergal
      January 13, 2017 at 11:48 am #

      I think she suspects that it wasn’t worthwhile. “If “fed is best” why did I go through hell to breastfeed my son?”

      Maybe she would have been a lot happier formula or combo-feeding. A lot of the people reacting on the SkOB Facebook page certainly act like that. They _have_ to believe BF is a million times better than FF.

      • Amazed
        January 13, 2017 at 11:59 am #

        Wasn’t there a study that found a link between the hardships of getting into a club and the enjoyment you get from being a member?

        I don’t believe for a moment that women parachuting in to scream, “I did it because breast is best!” don’t mean it like, “Breast is best BECAUSE I did it!” The worth of breastfeeding grew along with the efforts to do it.

      • CSN0116
        January 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

        You’re totally right. And it’s why I am the lowest of the low. My position lights them up more than anything else out there. I’m the #selfishcunt / #shitmom who boldly states that I refuse to ever go out of my way to breast feed my kids. That I refuse to invest that amount of time and sacrifice and am happy allowing science and other people to feed my babies. That I understand the “benefits” and will not comply regardless.

        It is people like me who pose the greatest risk to their egos.

        • Amy M
          January 13, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

          I am also in that camp, deciding that my sleep and sanity were more important than my children getting breast milk. My children will be 8 this month, and they are healthy, smart and skinny. We have a good relationship. None of that has anything to do with what they ate in their first year. As far as I’m concerned, I did them no harm, so why NOT get enough sleep and maintain my sanity? My sacrificing myself on the altar of breast feeding would not have benefited my children in any way, because any benefit gained from breast milk is not worth the risk of a depressed mother.

        • guest
          January 13, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

          As I told my husband when pregnant with my first and the discussion of feeding methods came up “I am keeping this kid alive for 9 months, someone else can step in to help after that.” I had no desire to sacrifice my body, my sleep, or my time any more than was necessary. I know that makes me a #shitmom and I don’t care. A common phrase in my house even today is “Mommy is a person, too. Not everything is about you.”

      • Heidi
        January 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

        I pumped what I could for a while, knowing that breast milk isn’t some superfood that was going to protect my child from everything bad ever, and sometimes I look back, and think, geez, why did I do that?! But then I know I would be looking back thinking, “I bet I could have had a full supply if I was more committed to pumping and hadn’t thrown in the towel.” I am at peace with my decision to pump for seven months because never once did I make my baby suffer. He was always well fed regardless of what I wanted or planned to happen. I tried every hack possible to make it work, it was a project for me but I didn’t succeed. I’m not sure I understand why they can’t just be happy that they really did provide something their baby absolutely did need – nourishment.

    • Amazed
      January 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

      The problem is, no one said, “it wasn’t worthwhile for you”. To her, nothing but “breastfeeding is always worthwhile” will do because to her, “not worth it if it’s too great an inconvenience for the mum” clearly means “You were a fool for doing it when you didn’t need to.” She takes generalizations as a personal attack, unless they’re wholeheartedly, 1000000000000000000% support that she did the rightest thing of all.

      • January 13, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

        Sunk cost fallacy is a very real thing. “I did it and I sacrificed for it, so it must be worthwhile” is a very human reaction to having to pay and pay dearly for things. After all, if I suffered and it wasn’t worth it, doesn’t that make me an idiot? No one wants to be an idiot. The more you invest in something, the harder it is to pull out, whether that’s money or sweat or blood and tears.

        • Madtowngirl
          January 13, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

          The best comparison I can think of off the top of my head is getting my Master’s degree. I worked my ass off, and paid a lot of money to get it, and in the end, I didn’t even end up working in that field. I don’t exactly regret getting it, because it’s pretty hard to regret the gaining knowledge, but there are times that I feel like a bit of an idiot for putting myself through all of that for no real reason. Coming to terms with that was tough.

          • Amazed
            January 13, 2017 at 4:11 pm #

            I got two Master’s degrees at the same time. My reasoning: Well, if you can work and work for a Master at the same time, you can work for a Master and work for a Master at the same time.

            You may laugh.

            About halfway into the thing, I was a walking corpse. I literally couldn’t find the time to do the out of class work for ONE of them, let alone two. I worked my ass off but it wasn’t enough to keep me in the top of either program because I needed a SECOND ass for that and I didn’t have it. The result: I wasn’t this impressive in either field. I got lucky that I was able to find a job in one of them immediately and THEN started bettering myself. The second one, I have already forgotten half the things I learned. And still, I defended my choice like a rabid tiger. Or a pack of. I think that was the only way I could pull through. Once I was out of it, I could see how idiotic I had been and the sheer stupidity of the reasoning that had landed me into this situation. The strange thing is, once it was over, I never got the impulse to get defensive over it while it comes to me over much more trivial matters.

            Not sorry that I did it. Still not a wise thing to do.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            January 13, 2017 at 11:51 pm #

            *passes chocolate in sympathy*
            I didn’t try two Master’s programs, just one…while working three jobs. *cringes*
            Let’s just say I finished one semester and then ran screaming, even though I had not only a full scholarship, but a stipend.

        • Amazed
          January 13, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

          I don’t even need to invest in something to defend my choice to do it, just because I did it. It’s ridiculous, my impulse to try and find the miniscule good in something just because at the time it looked like a good idea. I catch myself jumping up defensively all the time in my head. Fortunately, a moment later sound reason usually kicks back in but the impulse is there. Still, I don’t think I made such a fool of myself defending my own mistakes to others with such passion.

          • Roadstergal
            January 13, 2017 at 1:16 pm #

            It’s so hard not to do that! It was one of my goals at a Personal Improvement Program we took last year – to be less invested in The Decision I Made.

            I’m an atheist, but I was raised Quaker, so I sometimes sing Simple Gifts to myself. Aspirational, at least – “When true simplicity is gained/to bow and to bend, I will not be ashamed/to turn, turn, will be our delight/’til by turning, turning we come ’round right.”

          • Amazed
            January 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm #

            To me, severing of the investment comes with saying “It was a stupid thing that I did” to someone. The moment I say it, no matter how hard I kick against it mentally, it all falls back in place. It was a mistake/wrong assessment of the situation/a dumb thing to do. I was an idiot for doing it. Not the end of the world.

            I guess the more you have invested in the wrong/undeeded efforts, the more it might look like the end of the world, actually.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 13, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

            I’ve mentioned that our second guy wouldn’t drink breastmilk from a bottle. Not a drop. My wife almost cried as she poured gallons of pumped milk down the drain (it was too old to donate)

            So you are saying it was all a waste of time? Yep.

          • fiftyfifty1
            January 13, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

            My favorite is:
            “Bittersweet and strange/finding you can change/learning you were wrong”
            From Beauty and the Beast

    • Heidi_storage
      January 13, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

      Reminds me of an otherwise amazing book on babies by Nicholas Day, “Suck, Smile, Touch, Toddle”: The author describes his wife going through a horrific breastfeeding experience, including mastitis, an abscess, the awful pump-feed-supplement schedule, and a really skinny baby. He talks about all of the people who encouraged her to stick with it, lest she start printing out formula coupons, and then describes them as “invaluable.” I, personally, would describe them as “horrifying,” and the whole story says to me that it would probably have been better for her to just give the kid formula.

      What makes this story interesting is that it is a rare exception to the author’s general humor and skepticism about “the right way” to raise a baby. As long as the baby’s getting food and some kind of love and attention, he emphasizes that it will do just fine whether raised by Ugandan, German, Mongolian, or American cultural standards, even though each of those cultures has vastly different and changeable ideas of what “good” parenting looks like. And yet, for the supposed magical powers of breastfeeding, all of that skepticism goes riiight out the window.

    • fiftyfifty1
      January 13, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

      “that pill is just too bitter to swallow”

      Either that or they are just totally miserly and mean individuals.

      I, too, put myself through hell to breastfeed. I suspected that the research was weak and badly compromised by confounders, but because there was no other research, I pushed on “just in case”. When the Belarus PROBIT study and discordant sib studies came out, I was overjoyed. Here were 2 strong studies that showed that formula feeding outcomes are basically indistinguishable from breastfeeding outcomes in developed countries. No other mother need suffer the way I did. I can tell my patients, friends and loved ones who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed that they can switch to formula without any guilt. How great is that!? I bet most normal, reasonable women feel the same way.

    • Lurkerette
      January 13, 2017 at 10:21 pm #

      I think this is exactly it. I can’t pretend to understand it completely as breastfeeding went perfectly for me for two kids, but I can imagine it being very hard, overcoming a lot of setbacks, struggling with pumping and dietary restrictions and supplements.. and hearing all that could have been solved with a generic tub at Target? Yikes.

      • CSN0116
        January 14, 2017 at 9:15 am #

        Generic Target formula, my personal favorite 😉

    • Roadstergal
      January 13, 2017 at 11:49 am #

      100% backwards. That’s our Brooke!

    • StephanieJR
      January 13, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

      Oh god, my brother has said the exact same thing about Straight Pride…

      (Every day is straight pride day!)

    • EbbyBee
      January 13, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

      So she’s saying breastfeeding is analogous to being black or LGBT? That’s just dumb and wrong.

      • Young CC Prof
        January 13, 2017 at 8:14 pm #

        Breastfeeding mothers are a minority, therefore they are an oppressed minority. (In fact, most mothers want to and it is those who succeed who are a PRIVILEGED minority.)

      • corblimeybot
        January 15, 2017 at 8:29 pm #

        It’s mindbogglingly offensive, privileged, covert-bigoted… and so, so Brooke.

    • MaineJen
      January 13, 2017 at 5:01 pm #


  20. Heidi
    January 13, 2017 at 10:49 am #

    So a lactivist admitting breastfeeding can be hell?! But, but I thought it so easy! Looks like Natalie decided it was pointless, not anyone else. Natalie, I’m glad you fed your baby. Feeding your baby is not pointless.

    • J.B.
      January 13, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

      I kind of wish I hadn’t breastfed my second kid. But that has spurred me on to think about my past assumptions of breastfeeding superiority and realize that I was being a bit of a snot and should mind my own business.

      In my defense, I wasn’t out there bashing formula feeding, but felt a little sad for moms who didn’t try to breastfeed. Now I realize that although not as awful it is still annoying and judgemental and I need to question lots of my judgements of things.

      • Heidi
        January 13, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

        A few years ago, I had judgmental thoughts, too. I was at work, and a young mother talked about how she refused to breastfeed because she didn’t want to and she wanted her boobs to remain perky. I found myself judging her because omigod, there are so many benefits! Even then, a part of me knew that was perfectly valid and good reason not to but I still had the thoughts. I cringe when I think back on it. I didn’t say anything mean or negative to her, thankfully!

        • Dr Kitty
          January 13, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

          IME perkiness can be restored with a combined pill…
          I’ve gone up a cup size since starting Qlaira..

          I’m no longer bleeding at all and since I’m horrible about remembering pills I figure I’ll just keep the Nexplanon in and keep taking the pill (when I remember) and in this way prevent both pregnancy and endometriosis flare ups.

          Good news is that I have no obvious ovarian endometriomas or fluid collections at the moment, so we can postpone another laparoscopy and laser for the moment.

          I did have the ” Menstrual Nosebleeds? I’m pretty sure that isn’t endometriosis related” conversation. But I’m pretty sure it is, although I don’t really want biopsies to confirm. The nose bleeds stopped as soon as the spotting and staining from the Nexplanon was controlled by the Qlaira.

          At least I’m not the only one:

          • Heidi
            January 13, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

            Combined pill didn’t increase my cup size. Pregnancy didn’t increase my cup size but then breastfeeding neither increased them but didn’t leave them any saggier. I’m a D/DD (well, I think. I’ve tried that bra measuring stuff and I get different conclusions everytime – anywhere from a D to a G but my D cup bra is good enough for me and I just don’t think they look quite G.) so I wasn’t really looking to grow em any bigger but the lack of getting any bigger may be a clue to why I was an under-producer.

          • Dr Kitty
            January 13, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

            I’m a 28F/G depending on hormones.

            I looked like Lolo Ferrari when my milk came in!

          • Young CC Prof
            January 13, 2017 at 8:15 pm #

            That seems to be true. There is no correlation between breast size and milk production, but no growth during pregnancy is associated with low supply.

          • LeighW
            January 13, 2017 at 9:59 pm #

            Mine got bigger during both pregnancies but it was because of the weight gain not production. They also stayed the same size after losing the baby-weight (that was frustrating).

            I was surprised and put off by some of the comments I got from the nurses during my first pregnancy, especially at my follow up appointments when I said I wasnt breastfeeding.

            “They’re not just playthings for your boyfriend”
            “With those you should be able to feed the whole ward!”

            Ugh. Not something a new mother with zero production wants to hear.

          • Heidi
            January 14, 2017 at 7:40 am #

            How disrespectful! Our breasts are whatever we want them to be. Mine are primarily funbags to me! I guess my husband likes them too. It would’ve been a bonus to me if they made milk but they didn’t and I still want them.

          • Sarah
            January 14, 2017 at 8:14 am #

            Did you complain about the offensive remarks about the size of your breasts?

          • LeighW
            January 15, 2017 at 2:52 am #

            At the time no I didn’t. I was fairly young when my daughter was born and too embarrassed to complain

          • Sarah
            January 15, 2017 at 3:22 am #

            Understandable. Is it too late now?

          • Roadstergal
            January 13, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

            Perkiness has never been a problem for me, but when you fit easily into an A cup, there’s not a lot to droop. :

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            January 13, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

            and at my size, perkiness was passed some time ago. Gravity works on young boobs that are just large.

          • Roadstergal
            January 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

            If I had well-trained mosquitos, I could enhance at will.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            January 13, 2017 at 4:46 pm #


          • Kelly
            January 14, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

            Mine too. I have to have a very good fitting bra to get them off my stomach.

      • cookiebaker
        January 13, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

        I used to be the same way. I fought so hard to breastfeed my first and I failed. The LC I consulted is locally known as the Breastfeeding Nazi and thanks to her influence, breastfeeding became all-important to me for my next 3 kids. I felt smug over my success and judgmental towards women who didn’t succeed or didn’t try. (Thankfully I never spoke my judgmental thoughts to anyone!)

        My rude awakening came with my 5th baby. He couldn’t transfer milk from my breast, despite a great latch, and I couldn’t keep up a supply by pumping alone because I had 4 other kids to care for. So, me, the judgmental breastfeeding mother became a formula feeding mother. Same exact thing happened with my 6th baby, too.

        I’m happy to report I no longer judge. Fed is best.

        • Dr Kitty
          January 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

          Realising that babies are individuals with unique personalities, skills and desires helps too.

          My #1 was exclusively BF, first solids at just under six months, never keen on bottles of EBM, never had a drop of formula, finally weaned off the breast at about 14 months when I had enough. Eats like a bird, still skinny at age 7.

          #2 was a different kettle of fish. Crawling from six months he was active and SO HUNGRY. I EBF but introduced solids from four months, because it was the only way to get him to sleep. Then at 7 months my supply was no longer enough to meet his demands- I was losing weight and we were both hungry and grumpy and so I started introducing formula. Still BF in the morning and at night and for comfort, but formula during the day.
          Finally weaned him off the breast at 14 months.

          At 16 months he’s drinking 750-1000mls of formula or milk daily, as well as three full meals and two snacks, plus water or juice. He has boundless energy and there is NO WAY that I could have kept up with his demands without feeding, pumping or eating 24/7. He’s a BIG boy- not chubby, just solid muscle. At this point just lifting him is a challenge.

          Both of my kids were fed in the way most appropriate to their individual needs.

          Isn’t that what good parenting is about?
          Doing the right thing for your kids, even if it means doing something different for each one?

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