Breastfeeding community roiled by brawl over ideological purity


The lactation community is tearing itself apart over an issue of ideological purity and no one could be happier about it than I am.

Lactivism is a cult, and like most cults, it places a premium on ideological adherence and punishes those who don’t demonstrate appropriate ideological purity.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Lactivists are circulating a petition designed to humiliate and shame Ruth Lawrence, MD, a giant in the field of breastfeeding research.[/pullquote]

Exhibit A: A petition designed to humiliate and shame Ruth Lawrence, MD, a giant in the field of breastfeeding research, signed by over 2000 lactivists.

What did the 90+ year old Dr. Lawrence do to merit such treatment? She dared to speak, along with other prominent breastfeeding researchers, at a conference sponsored by Satan Nestle, more accurately the affiliated Nestle Nutrition Insitute. Quelle horreur!

The Nestle Nutrition Institute held their 90th Nestle Nutrition Institute Workshop in Switzerland from October 30 to November 1, 2017…

Several prominent breastfeeding and human milk researchers spoke at the event, thereby offering their own reputations and credibility to the brand whose egregious infant formula and baby food marketing practices have been heavily documented for decades.

How should the elderly Dr. Lawrence and the other miscreants be humiliated disciplined?

We call for the following:

– Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine to remove Dr. Ruth Lawrence from their Board of Directors

– La Leche League International to remove Dr. Ruth Lawrence and Dr. Paula Meier from the Health Advisory Council

– International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML) to remove Lars Bode (current President of ISRHML) and Sharon Donovan (President elect of ISRHML)

How this will promote breastfeeding? It won’t, but it is just a blatant attempt to enforce ideological purity, a central feature of any cult.

According to Google Dictionary, a cult is a “system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.”

  • Lactivism is a cult because it displays a near religious devotion to breastfeeding, treating it as perfect for all babies, at all times, in all situations.
  • Lactivism is a cult because it frames any criticism of breastfeeding, no matter how minor, as opposition to breastfeeding.
  • Lactivism is a cult that shames those who dare deviate from cult orthodoxy; hence the shaming of women who can’t or don’t breastfeed.
  • Lactivism is a cult because it demands ideological purity.

The demand of ideological purity is critical.

The world is depicted as black and white, with little room for making personal decisions based on a trained conscience. One’s conduct is modeled after the ideology of the group, as taught in its literature. People and organizations are pictured as either good or evil, depending on their relationship to the cult.

Universal tendencies of guilt and shame are used to control individuals … There is great difficulty in understanding the complexities of human morality, since everything is polarized and oversimplified. All things classified as evil are to be avoided, and purity is attainable through immersion into the cult’s ideology.

What has Dr. Lawrence contributed to the field of breastfeeding research? For many years she was the field of breastfeeding research.

At the University of Rochester School of Medicine, with which she has been closely associated since 1949, she is a professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology and a member of the Division of Neonatology. She also is Medical Director of the Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center, which she founded in 1985, and Medical Director of the Finger Lakes Regional Poison and Drug Information Center, which she has guided since 1958-after helping to organize it in 1954, the second such center to open in the country.

Author of Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession , the standard reference work since its 1979 publication, and many articles, chapters and reviews, Lawrence is a founding member and a past president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. As a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics work group on breastfeeding, she participated in the preparation of the Academy’s statement on breastfeeding and human lactation, and is now on the Executive Committee of the Academy’s Section for Breastfeeding.

But apparently none of that matters. She consorted with Satan and must be punished.

Make no mistake, Nestle is Satan in the lactivist cosmology. If it did not exist, it would have had to be invented for the purpose. Yes, Nestle did unconscionable things fifty years ago in Africa. In an attempt to increase market share, they promoted formula (and got women “hooked” on it) knowing that the only water that would be used to make it was contaminated and that many of them could not afford it and therefore eventually diluted it. Many babies died as a result.

But that was fifty years ago. I doubt that anyone responsible for that ethical outrage is even alive today, let alone still working at Nestle. No matter! Nestle has continue to serve as a convenient foil for the breastfeeding industry. It allows lactivists to imagine that formula itself is evil because it is produced by a company — though not only that company — that once allowed unethical and deadly business practices.

The demonization of formula is central to lactivism, as if any food should ever be demonized let alone one that has saved literally millions of lives. If breastfeeding disappeared tomorrow, very few babies would be harmed as a result; if formula disappeared tomorrow, millions would die.

But this incident isn’t merely amusing for those outside the lactivist cult, it is also instructive. There is little more important to the contemporary lactivist movement than the work and dedication of Dr. Ruth Lawrence. She is a pioneer and an intellectual giant within breastfeeding research. I don’t always agree with her, but I have the most profound respect for her.

The fact that lactivists would shame and humiliate her because she didn’t demonstrate sufficient ideological purity tells you that breastfeeding is more important to them than people. It really doesn’t matter to them whom they hurt, even one of their own. We should not be surprised then that they are willing to hurt babies and mothers — even let them die — because of their cult like veneration of breastfeeding.

149 Responses to “Breastfeeding community roiled by brawl over ideological purity”

  1. itry2brational
    November 26, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    “[Feminism] is a cult, and like most cults, it places a premium on ideological adherence and punishes those who don’t demonstrate appropriate ideological purity.”
    Fixed it for ya.

    • Nick Sanders
      November 26, 2017 at 11:22 am #

      Scamper off little troll, no one cares.

      • itry2brational
        November 26, 2017 at 11:40 pm #

        You know I’m right, you’re just too much of a coward to admit it. *shrug*

    • Chi
      November 26, 2017 at 4:11 pm #

      Oh look, it’s back. What’s the matter? Get lonely under your bridge?

      You seem to have an extremely narrow view of the world and feminism. But I’m not going to bother to get into an explanation of intersectionality with someone who isn’t inclined to listen.

      • itry2brational
        November 26, 2017 at 8:13 pm #

        Yeah, that would be as enlightening as some religious fanatic explaining their religious doctrines and how if only you understood you too would be a believer. Honey, you’re talking to a former feminist, I’m exceedingly well-versed in all the various competing doctrines and denominations within feminism. The narrow view is the one from -within- the ideology, not from outside it.

      • itry2brational
        November 26, 2017 at 11:52 pm #

        Coincidentally, this was posted today by a subscription of mine on YouTube and Haidt discusses intersectionality and why it fails in practice. He actually describes the education process to people being taught intersectionality.
        “Intersectionality is like NATO for social justice activists.”

        • Chi
          November 27, 2017 at 2:39 am #

          Seems to me you need to pay more attention to his talks. You’re exactly the kind of self-righteous he describes.

          As with all movements, feminism has its fringe elements, that do not represent what the core values of the movement it. The extreme man-hating feminists don’t represent feminism in the way that the women-hating MRAs don’t represent that movement.

          Contrary to popular belief, feminism is NOT about casting men down and raising ourselves in their place. It’s about leveling the playing field. It’s making sure that women have the SAME opportunities that you no doubt take for granted in your sheltered little life.

          Go away. Seriously. I’m not debating the need for feminism with someone who doesn’t understand the fundamental principle of it.

          • itry2brational
            November 27, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

            So tired and lame that you can’t avoid doing exactly as predicted. Honey, you attempting to educate me on feminism is cute. It’s like a little kid that just discovered Jesus/religion. You dont have the faintest clue the journals ive read espousing your doctrines.
            Like every other religious fanatic incapable of free thought you conflate rejection of your bullshit with ignorance of it. Nobody is ignorant of the principles of treating humans equally, feminism has no monopoly on equal and fair treatment.
            Using extemists as an excuse is pathetic. You trot out your psychos and expect us to give a pass on all the rest. I suppose the thousands marching wearing vagina hats were the weirdos? lol Those women are as lost as you.
            You’re in a cult. Most women reject it. Get out as soon as you can. You can still be “liberal” and want to help people so that you give yourself the warm fuzzies.

          • November 27, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

            Aww, it thinks that philosophy and religion are the same thing, and it thinks that extremists invalidate the entire philosophy.
            Lots and lots of people are ignorant of the principles of treating people fairly. Feminism exists solely because of that reason.

    • MaineJen
      November 27, 2017 at 10:30 am #

      Try harder.

      • Roadstergal
        November 27, 2017 at 11:41 am #

        Find and Replace trolls aren’t putting in the real work. No stars.

      • itry2brational
        November 27, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

        No need to. It’s too easily mocked.

  2. Seola
    November 16, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

    I was mortified and embarrassed for the LLL rep who came into my room. You see, I shouldn’t follow doctors orders. Full cult level status, when they told me that I shouldn’t be treated for my broken pelvic bone (SPD started at 5mo pregnant, 3cm separation with a twist), and delay physical therapy and WALKING, sit around in pain to breastfeed my twins.

    When I attempted to throw her out of my recovery room, she refused to leave, by trying to guilt me over choosing formula, since my pain meds and neuropathic meds DO pass the breastmilk barrier and called me names for not writhing in pain for months (with a potential lifetime risk if I didn’t get proper treatment).

    When that didn’t work, she outright told me that NO meds cross into breastmilk and EVERY pill of EVERY type is safe for baby. I had to call a nurse to physically remove her.

    Meanwhile, experts like this (now) ostracized woman, who are concerned with babies physical health over zealotry of LLL are trying to be silenced so they can continue this incredibly stupid advance that poisoned breastmilk is better than safe formula.

    All four of my babies were formula babies. (First, I went back to work 2 weeks after birth, second I had SPD, third was twins and my milk never came due to the meds I was taking just to barely survive to full term after fetal surgery.) Not one of them has been majorly sick, and all four are in gifted/honors classes.

    And 3 of them would be mentally challenged or worse, dead, if I’d listened to them. I feel sorry for less strong mothers, or less informed, who would believe such crap.

    Edit: And yes, I had to have a nurse PHYSICALLY remove the LLL rep from my room after my twins. She refused to leave, preferring to shout at me. LLL reps were banned from the same speech/room intrusion for a period of a year after my complaint.

    • cw
      November 16, 2017 at 7:56 pm #

      Lmao! My husband took my second kid to their initial pediatrician visit and the lactation consultant was trying to make him schedule an appointment for me after he told her i wasn’t going to bf. I need meds I can’t breastfeed with. “just schedule it and cancel it if she can’t make it”. I lived up a bunch of stairs and was recovering from surgery. ??? Some of these consultants can’t take no for an answer, like they are trying to sell you your own breasts and need a commission.

      • Tigger_the_Wing
        November 18, 2017 at 10:39 am #

        Well, now that everyone already has double glazing, these foot-in-the-door types have to find something else to sell!

      • Seola
        November 22, 2017 at 2:06 am #

        That’s insanity. I swear, you might be on to something with the “commission” part of it. I can’t figure any other way anyone would be so sickeningly overzealous!

  3. yentavegan
    November 16, 2017 at 8:22 am #

    I grew up in a family and culture where NO ONE was breastfed EVER. My mother did not breastfeed me and my grandmother ( who was born in Russia and was the youngest of 10 children) did not breastfeed. I had no one to learn from, no one to model myself after…had it not been for grass root volunteers of La Leche League I would never have had the where with all to breastfeed. And in the scheme of things..milk production came easy for me and I made enough milk to nourish my 5 kids well into toddlerhood-preschool. If we don’t support breastfeeding as a viable parenting choice we will condemn ourselves to complete reliance on Pharmaceuticals for infant nutrition. He who rocks the cradle rules the world.

    • Lilly de Lure
      November 16, 2017 at 8:34 am #

      I’m really happy for you that breastfeeding was a good fit for you and your family and I don’t think anyone here has a problem with supporting breastfeeding as a healthy and viable parenting option – just so long as it is remembered that it is only one of such options rather than the be all and end all of early parenting. I haven’t seen anyone here decrying the drives to prevent women being moved on/harassed when breastfeeding in public for example, or lamenting that pumping rooms etc are being made available. Given this I’m not sure what the point of your post is – no one is suggesting that breastfeeding be made taboo again, just that its not glorified at the expense of other options, or to the detriment of mothers and babies for whom it does not come so easy.

      • yentavegan
        November 16, 2017 at 8:45 am #

        I am warning you all to keep a sharp eye out for Nestle’s and other industries like them. They are looking to muscle their way into untapped markets and deprive the general population of heretofore natural resources…like water or free growing edible plants, or breastmilk..You are all the beneficiaries of La Leche League without even knowing it. If you breastfed or were breastfed somewhere a LLL volunteer had apart in your lactation story. If breastfeeding/milk production was not in your cards, formula in the first world with our unfettered access to clean water and refrigeration was an equal choice. Not so in the rest of the world, where pregnancy and births are not attended to by highly trained doctors with life saving interventions. We are in danger of allowing our future selves to be vassals of the corporate elites.

        • Lilly de Lure
          November 16, 2017 at 8:53 am #

          But if selling third world women’s breast milk to first world women with lactation issues is their goal here isn’t LLL’s (and the lactation industry in general’s) set up of breast milk as “liquid gold” etc more likely to help rather than hinder this? What market would there be for other women’s bodily fluids if breastfeeding wasn’t so heavily marketed by the lactation industry as the ONLY way to responsibly feed a baby?

        • fiftyfifty1
          November 16, 2017 at 8:53 am #

          “If you breastfed or where breastfed somewhere a LLL volunteer had apart in your lactation story. ”

          Weird. Humans (including my family) managed to breastfeed for all of history before 1956 when LLL got invented.

          • yentavegan
            November 16, 2017 at 8:58 am #

            weird…mine did not. we have no collective history of anyone in my mother’s side of the family ever have been breastfed. And when your matriarchs were successful breastfeeders they most assuredly had community support. Mine did not.

          • LaMont
            November 16, 2017 at 9:03 am #

            And without formula, I’d be dead or brain-damaged, as one of the many people whose mother physically could not produce enough. I am not going to admit I should be dead just because corporations aren’t always pure (and that includes LLL).

          • yentavegan
            November 16, 2017 at 9:07 am #

            Nestle’s does not = formula!!! Formula is good and needed and wonderful. Nestle’s is currently partnering with government programs to obtain breastmilk from economically stressed families. What they intend to do with that breastmilk is anyone’s guess. But they are paying parents for the milk. I want to know why??

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 16, 2017 at 9:15 am #

            Have you tried asking them?

          • CSN0116
            November 16, 2017 at 9:19 am #

            IMO, they’re working to make a product more pure and more hypoallergenic to where they can show it is superior to breast milk for premature babies. At that point it is a “medicine” and it can be administered during astronomically pricey NICU stays for hundreds of dollars per ounce, like any other drug. (taken from my post above)

          • Caylynn Donne
            November 16, 2017 at 10:39 am #

            Without formula I wouldn’t be here either. I was adopted as an infant in 1972. Not sure how my adoptive mother could have induced lactation back then to feed me.

            Clearly formula did not harm me. I was valedictorian of both my high school and university classes, and I won an award for academic excellence during my graduate degree. I’m not obese, I don’t have type 2 diabetes, and my only health problems are endometriosis and hypothyroidism, and I’ve never seen those linked to formula consumption, even in all the flawed breastfeeding studies out there.

            My breastfed sister, on the other hand (my parents’ biological child, not adopted), dropped out of college and was only an average student. She’s also obese, has migraines, asthma, and hypothyroidism.

            Of course those are anecdotes, hardly evidence for anything. Yet formula certainly doesn’t appear to have harmed me, and breastfeeding certainly didn’t prevent my sister from developing asthma and obesity.

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 16, 2017 at 10:55 am #

            Me to – my sister was breastfed until she was nearly one but Mum’s supply tanked completely with me so I was formula fed all the way yet she was the martyr to excema and ear infections throughout her childhood.

          • LaMont
            November 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

            Valedictorian of college too? I only got high school. Was barely above-average in college. Shoulda gotten more breastmilk 😉

          • Heidi
            November 16, 2017 at 9:47 am #

            I think my family breastfed because of lack of community support or any kind of support. When your husband is an alcoholic who goes on benders and you have 12 children and nearly no income coming in, and nothing much more than a few farm animals and a garden, it’s lactate or risk your children dying. But, hey, it was all LLL before they even existed…or that great supportive community in the 1930s South. Yeah. . .

          • yentavegan
            November 16, 2017 at 10:27 am #

            So your mother/grandmother knew how to breastfeed and all the ins and outs of milk maintainence on her own? She just winged it?

          • Heidi
            November 16, 2017 at 10:36 am #

            This isn’t about my mother. Yenta, I was primarily formula-fed because my mother, like me, did not make enough milk. There was nothing to maintain. My father’s mother did breastfeed four out of five of her children. She had a hysterectomy with her fifth child and was advised to not breastfeed because of HRT. This was the 60s in a smaller town in TN. There was no internet and there was no LLL meetings to attend. I assume she had an idea of how breastfeeding works from watching my great-grandmother breastfeed a dozen children. That is NOT community support, though. The community looked down on my grandmother’s family. Her father was the town drunk and they were ridiculed for being poor. Again, both my grandmothers breastfed because they couldn’t afford formula and were fortunate enough to produce breast milk in sustaining quantities. The shit my grandmothers put up with and persevered…I’m not letting you take that away from them and hand the credit to LLL or the “community.”

          • Amazed
            November 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

            My mom did. She was a veritable milk factory. Her mom and MIL wanted to help her but there was no need. She did just fine by herself. And in case you’re wondering, she grew up in an environment where no one breastfed uncovered, so the first time she saw breastmilk was when I spit it up.

          • FormerPhysicist
            November 16, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

            What ins and outs? When it works well, breastfeeding takes no more thought than breathing. I didn’t need any “support” and my mom didn’t either. When it doesn’t work easily, then help can be useful. Or sometimes useless.
            The only help I ever needed was how to dry up already. And LLL was useless for that.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 16, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

            Interesting. Don’t we hear how “women have breastfed successfully for all of human history”? But now it’s so hard that they have to have LLL support? I just don’t get it.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 18, 2017 at 11:58 am #

            Well, yeah, probably.
            Let’s go way the heck back, and say that *if* mom and baby didn’t die in childbirth, and *if* they hadn’t been eaten by the local saber-tooth whatsit, then the chances were pretty good that mom was breastfeeding if baby survived. Or a bit later–if you’re out in the Middle Of Freaking Nowhere Western US during pioneer days, you don’t have a community to rely on. Either breastfeeding came fairly easily, or you somehow managed to supplement with (unsanitary) cow’s/goat’s milk ’til the kid could make it, or the kid died. And you absolutely did NOT have the luxury of modern breastpumps, nursing vacations, etc all. You needed to be back up and working ASAP, cos if that cow didn’t get milked/bread didn’t get made/vegetable patch didn’t get weeded/hens didn’t get fed, your kids and husband would go hungry, and his work production would drop, and yes, starvation/losing the farm was a distinct possibility. You’d have the kid, start nursing, hope to God it worked, and then get back out in the fields. (And all that isn’t even touching on the experiences of women who didn’t have those options.)
            I don’t suggest for a second that the answer is to Go Back To The Way Nature Would Have It, cos nature is a nasty bitch. I’m saying that enough of the human population survived, albeit with a seriously horrible mortality rate, to perpetuate the species, without the LLL.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 18, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

            One other thing: I was born in the 1980s. My mother breastfed us, probably in part thanks to the LLL. She also did things like leave us all day to go work political events without leaving us with a bottle of any kind because Formula And Bottles Are Evil and then-two-month-old-me could TOTALLY go 14 hours without eating rather than eat from an Evil Bottle. You’ll pardon me if I’m not getting the warm fuzzies about that solution.
            (Mind you, I’d also like to administer a swift kick to the caregivers who didn’t care enough to get me a freaking bottle over mom’s wishes at that point. When they tell me about that day as an adult, it’s with a measure of horror in their voices–“you just wouldn’t stop crying!” Well, yeah, you try going 14 hours without food, much less as a 2-month-old, you bloody idiots!)

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 19, 2017 at 7:56 am #

            Whoa – how the hell is that not child abuse?

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 25, 2017 at 10:00 pm #

            It was child abuse, plain and simple. So, unfortunately, were a lot of the other things she did to us. The thing is that when an abuser is highly intelligent and articulate, she or he can often persuade other people to go along with an action that in any other circumstance would lead them to say “are you INSANE, let’s see how fast I can call CPS.” Mother was intelligent, articulate, and charismatic, and could therefore persuade otherwise-intelligent and decent people that “I have to go to Political Function, and baby can’t come, and I’ll be gone all day, but we mustn’t feed baby formula cos Breast Is Best!”

          • Sarah
            November 26, 2017 at 3:34 am #

            And may I ask, was she making an active choice not to express milk for you because it’s not good enough if it doesn’t come straight from the tap, or was she just not able to?

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 27, 2017 at 3:53 pm #

            That I don’t know; I’ve never discussed it with her. We haven’t been in contact for years, and I was told this story by a family friend relatively recently. At a guess, probably a combination of limited resources (I find it improbable at best that she had access to a breast pump) coupled with an attitude of breastmilk and breastfeeding being a disgusting necessity. There was likely some worry about nipple confusion, too.
            (Mom had/has a lot of very weird ideas,, most of them based around the notion that the harder you had to work at something, the more virtuous it was to do it that way rather than the equally-acceptable and easier alternative way. She also is convinced that anything having to do with women’s bodies/reproduction/sexuality is shameful and dirty.)

          • Sarah
            November 28, 2017 at 4:27 am #

            I suppose I can see why you’re no longer in touch to discuss it with her…

          • N
            November 17, 2017 at 3:31 am #

            My grandmother in the south of Europe breastfed her babies without LLL support. But they had nothing else, they had to breastfeed and know how to make it work – so community support. My other grandmother in the middle of Europe did not breastfeed. But didn’t have money for formula all the time either. So her babies were fed maizena on a regular basis.
            My mother did not breastfeed us.
            I wanted to breastfeed my babies. My only “community” support was my south european granny, and LLL. Without LLL I would not have done it. And I liked it and it worked fine for us as a family. But without any help, any support… well it is not as if the ability to breastfeed was innate or came instinctively and 100% working on its own. It was something I had to learn.

        • Lilly de Lure
          November 16, 2017 at 9:00 am #

          Surely the answer to that is to do our damnedest to ensure that clean water etc is made available worldwide (and I agree that companies like Nestle certainly do not make that easier) – but that isn’t something LLL appears to be interested in doing.

          As for our debt to LLL aren’t you making rather the same assumptions that the natural birthers do that if it wasn’t for them we’d all be in stirrups having twilight births whether we wanted them or not and so we’d better shut up, listen to them and be grateful? Regardless of their history the main point is surely whether their policies and attitudes are doing harm or good now.

          (edited for clarity)

        • Claire
          November 16, 2017 at 11:38 am #

          I’m honestly with yentavegan here. Nestle is a super evil company with at least one company leader saying clean water is not a human right. I follow many human rights organizations, and Nestle is way up on their shit lists.

          I formula and breastfed my child, and I boycott Nestle in my personal life. They absolutely do want to predate on the most powerless people in the world. It’s not anti formula to be anti Nestle.

          • Sarah
            November 19, 2017 at 9:21 am #

            Absolutely, but I don’t think that means that literally everything anyone might come up with about them is necessarily true. It’s reasonable to ask for evidence of what she’s claiming (if it’s true I’d like to know!) and if it’s true, it’s information she can impart without making daft, obviously inaccurate claims about everyone being LLL beneficiaries.

        • Amazed
          November 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

          I don’t fall to my knees three times a day to say, “Thank you, Mom, for giving birth to me” and I certainly won’t fall to my knees even once to thank LLL for helping my mom breastfeeding me since LLL arrived here well after my arrival. At least Mom did give birth to me.

          I can see why people who believe in LLL would like to ascribe my mom’s breastfeeding success with my brother after almost dying from blood loss and no milk for a very long time. The truth is that the milk just came. LLL has nothing to do with it. Frankly, neither did my mom. His body decided to suddenly produce it.

          USA is just part of the world, you know. We exist outside of it and LLL was not available in all places where babies were breastfed. Sorry but you’re placing too much emphasis on breastfeeding as a “learned” art.

        • Amy
          November 16, 2017 at 11:44 pm #

          “If you breastfed or were breastfed somewhere a LLL volunteer had apart in your lactation story.”

          No and no. My mother was breastfed by HER mother a few years before LLL was even a thing. When I came along, she had a ridiculously easy time breastfeeding me and my sisters into toddlerhood (this was back in the early 80s) and had nothing to do with LLL.

          I had quite a bit of difficulty breastfeeding my first child, and unfortunately since my mom had had it so easy she was no help. But neither was LLL, nor were any of the crunchy mommies in my area, most of whom just told me to try harder and avoid bottles at all costs. My eventual success was due to the nurse/LC at my local hospital, and her encouragement to use a nipple shield (of which the LLL book and all of the approved crunchy gurus disapprove). I never contacted LLL.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          November 17, 2017 at 11:37 pm #

          Oh, I’m definitely the beneficiary of a LLL leader. You know, the one who told me that since I was doing everything right, I must not want my baby, or I’d be producing enough breastmilk for her. That certainly helped both my mental health and my breastmilk production, I must say. Even her information on lactation itself was completely wrong. For example, my breasts never changed during pregnancy, and I hadn’t at that point, a week in, ever experienced engorgement or a feeling of fullness…but see, that’s “normal”, and not at all a concern, and many lactating moms experience that (none I’ve met in real life, but whatever), and it must be that I didn’t want to get pregnant in the first place. (Hardly.)
          The baby that the local LLL leaders insisted was “just fine” after losing over 60 percentiles in weight in a couple of months thanks to a seriously sketchy donor milk situation while they all shouted at me about how I was trying to “sabotage” the baby’s breastmilk intake when I agreed with the worried pediatrician…definitely a beneficiary. The kid was skin and bones. I hope she’s okay now and didn’t suffer any long-term damages.
          My friend who was *charged* by a LLL leader (free community support, my foot) to be told that despite a breast ultrasound demonstrating that she *had no glandular tissue in the first place*, she just hadn’t tried hard enough to feed her baby…oh yes, she certainly benefited from such sound information on both lactation and human biology.
          I fully support a mom who wants to and is able to breastfeed her baby, and wholeheartedly endorse removing barriers to that, but the LLL has jumped right off the deep end with both feet. At this point, “stark raving mad” is the norm in the leaders and communities, not the exception. The good they did in the past is RAPIDLY being diminished by this brutal worship of breastmilk-no-matter-what.

          • NoLongerCrunching
            November 18, 2017 at 8:36 am #

            I believe you. While I had a good experience with LLL, I had a friend who had delayed onset of milk production, and after the leader had gone through her medical history looking for signs of risk factors, she asked her “was this a wanted baby? How do you feel about your baby?”

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 18, 2017 at 11:52 am #

            I can’t decide if it’s nice to know that the LLL leader I met wasn’t an outlier, or dispiriting to know that the “if mom isn’t producing, she must not want her baby” insanity comes from their training. Gonna have to go with a vague “both” on that…ugh.

          • NoLongerCrunching
            November 18, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

            It does NOT come from their training. They try to weed out the boob nazi type by having prospective Leaders do a bias exercise before getting accredited. I learned a lot of good communication skills and compassion from LLL, and here I am now supporting Fed is Best. I think there are others like me, having talked to other former LLL leaders.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 18, 2017 at 10:43 pm #

            Hmmm, interesting! The reason I assumed it came from training is that it sounded like a psych sort of question, and was at the end of what seemed to be a rote list of questions she asked, most of them perfectly reasonable, given the context. (I.e., “Have you gotten engorged?” “Breast changes during pregnancy?” etc.) I also wonder if it’s possible that they’ve changed their training since you went through it?
            I will say–and as to this, no idea if it was common or not–that the leaders in my particular local group were absolutely full of just-plain-not-true information. Like, one informed me that no bottle-fed baby could ever push away a bottle or stop drinking partway through if disinterested, and when I explained that nothing or no one could get DD to eat if she didn’t want to, pulled the “I’m a leader, I know what I’m talking about, and you’re wrong” card.
            And then there was that skin-and-bones baby (“dropping 60 percentiles in a couple of months is normal, don’t let the pediatrician bully you!”), or the mom of micropreemie twins dealing with an infection of her own that didn’t matter to anyone as much as whether she could pump more-more-more…you get the idea. (My comment of “why on earth are you sitting on a hospital bathroom floor to pump two days out from a crash C-section, find a nurse and tell her you need a lactation room, oh, and go eat something and sleep for a few hours while you’re at it, you’ve been through hell and need to recover” was deemed “unsupportive.” Because taking the time to go to a lactation room or, God forbid, eat and sleep would prevent her milk from coming in faster…?)
            It seemed to be a very toxic group as a whole, but again, not sure if this is universal in terms of either the bad info or the toxicity, or group-specific. The local IBCLCs seem to be even further off the charts of nuttiness than most, too, so it may be a local phenomenon.

          • NoLongerCrunching
            November 19, 2017 at 8:12 am #

            Although it’s not part of the training, I do believe this kind of behavior is prevalent. Groups like this attract zealots to begin with, then it can become an echo chamber. In my group, every few months we’d have a person come in with a judgmental vibe, and we’d have to shut it down. I always feel very torn with criticism of LLL, because my group was so welcoming and inclusive, and I credit LLL for helping me become a patient-focused LC, meaning I care only about her goals, not mine, not the hospital’s, not JCHAO’s. But I also believe every nasty thing I hear. It’s not even better among many RN IBCLCs unfortunately.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 25, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

            In all seriousness, good on you for shutting down the crazy when it came along.
            Yeah…again, I can really only speak locally, but I think it says volumes that one friend, mom of several kids and an exclusive breastfeeder, has a standing birth plan consisting solely of “absolutely no IBCLCs are permitted in my room at any time.” I repeat, she ALREADY exclusively breastfeeds, yet she finds the IBCLCs to be patronizing and nasty. To be filed under “ya might have a problem when…”
            Wait, I should give one positive shoutout: when I had DS, I decided while pregnant not to even try breastfeeding again. An IBCLC walked into the recovery room, introduced herself, and wanted to help me with breastfeeding. All I had to say was “thanks, but I tried with my first, and am absolutely not willing to try again.” She immediately said “no problem, congrats on the cute baby, here’s my card if you change your mind or there’s something I can help you with, have a nice day.” I praised her to the freaking skies in my patient satisfaction survey.

        • AnnaPDE
          November 19, 2017 at 2:11 am #

          Um, please stop the “breastfeeding was a lost art” myth creation. No, it had not died out. There are lots of “unbroken” breastfeeding family lines. (Mine being one of them – it just worked for most of us, and the rest could supplement.) The LLL and other BF campaigns are not nearly as important as they like to make themselves look.

        • Sarah
          November 19, 2017 at 9:18 am #

          But you can’t honestly think that’s true wrt LLL? I mean, there are plenty of posters on here who were born before 1956, for a start. Not one of them was breastfed? No chance!

        • D/
          November 26, 2017 at 6:59 pm #

          “You are all the beneficiaries of La Leche League without even knowing it. If you breastfed or were breastfed somewhere a LLL volunteer had apart in your lactation story.”

          Nope, my experience with my eldest was the first human I had ever personally witnessed being breastfed. I was assisted only by my mother who never breastfed me (though she often expressed regret at having not at least tried). It was the blind leading the blind led by the baby. Thank goodness the kid was the smartest of our bunch. I owe LLL nothing.

          I take that back. LLL did make a not-insignificant contribution to my decision to become an IBCLC. For years, random mothers would seek me out after horrified reactions to the particular LLL support in our community which was the only organized breastfeeding help available at the time. I was nothing more than the remembered RN at the local hospital found through desperate “are you the D/ who works in the nursery?” cold calls or later by word of mouth. After so many shared stories, I believe every unbelievable LLL account I hear. I guess technically those particular LLL volunteers *are* a part of the lactation story of every mother I’ve ever helped.

          Having said that, Nestle’s history of predatory-leaning ethics— both past and recent (such as the commentary on human rights to water)— leaves no warm and fuzzy feelings from me toward them.

    • fiftyfifty1
      November 16, 2017 at 8:49 am #

      “He who rocks the cradle rules the world.”

      LOL. I’m pretty sure the hand that rocks the cradle is a “she” and not a “he.” If rocking a cradle conferred power, you can be damn sure that men would be fighting to do it. Instead they shun the task.

      • yentavegan
        November 16, 2017 at 8:51 am #

        The HE in my rephrasing of the adage is NESTLE’S

        • fiftyfifty1
          November 16, 2017 at 8:56 am #

          OK then. So basically you are asserting that women used to rule the world, but now Nestle has stripped them of their power by producing infant formula. And that we women need to take back our power by breastfeeding. Hmmm, I’m not buying it.

          • yentavegan
            November 16, 2017 at 9:01 am #

            No. I am saying as our culture hurls itself into the future and as parenting continues to be delegated and outsourced, breastmilk and breastmilk production will be an exploited natural resource, available to the wealthy ruling class and exploited/stolen from the oppressed.

          • LaMont
            November 16, 2017 at 9:04 am #

            How can something so “natural” and *renewable* be used this way??? And, see how *poor women don’t breastfeed* right now while the wealthy do, i.e. literally the opposite of what you’re alleging? This phenomenon is so far from happening, it’s pure paranoia.

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 16, 2017 at 9:10 am #

            To be fair I think ventavegan is envisioning a future where women in the third world, who do predominantly breastfeed, are forced to sell their milk to Nestle and other companies for money to survive and it is then shipped off to the first world for sale at premium prices to mothers who cannot breastfeed but want their children to be given “the best”. I can kind of see where she’s going but for the life of me I can’t see how glorifying breastmilk the way lactation professionals do is going to help prevent this possibility.

          • yentavegan
            November 16, 2017 at 9:11 am #


          • CSN0116
            November 16, 2017 at 9:16 am #

            You think poor women in Newark are going to start being employed by Nestle as human breast milk producers? You think this will start happening in Newark?

          • yentavegan
            November 16, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

            It is happening now..only women are not being compensated for their breastmilk because they are being tricked into donating it to a shell organization fronting as a milk bank…

          • LaMont
            November 16, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

            If they’re donating, how is it a class thing, exactly? Shouldn’t women with extra milk donate? Now I’m lost.

          • Heidi
            November 16, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

            My guess is she’s referring to something like this, “Will only babies receive my donated milk?

            Nearly all the breast milk donated will go to sick infants in hospitals after being processed into safe standardized donor milk and human breast milk products at Prolacta Bioscience. Following screening, testing, formulation and processing, the specialized milk formulations are sold to hospitals for use in the NICU. A small portion of donated milk may be used for ongoing human breast milk research.”

            Or maybe not. She has me confuzzled.

          • CSN0116
            November 16, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

            Prolacta Bioscience does not compensate for the breast milk they receive, or if they do it’s very little (and they started doing so recently then). The products they sell, which use that breast milk and they rely upon it, go for hundreds of dollars per ounce. Their products are (mostly) only used in hospitals, which to me means that our health care dollars are paying for it despite them getting its main component for (near) free. I can see an ethical issue here, sure.

          • Heidi
            November 16, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

   According to this, a $1 an ounce. If that is enough incentive to get women who can to donate to provide for preemies and research, I see no issue.

          • CSN0116
            November 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm #

            Sweet. The Prolatcta site itself has a ton of info for donors but does not mention money. Apparently the affiliated banks pay. $1 per ounce is at least something. I hear you. Thank you for clarifying.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 16, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

            Sweet. The Prolatcta site itself has a ton of info for donors but does not mention money.

            Of course, if they DID talk about money, the criticism would be is that they are trying to bribe POOR breastfeeding mothers into giving up their milk.

            I can see this as a no-good-answer issue. Those who are critical will be critical regardless of what they do.

          • CSN0116
            November 16, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

            Is it one of these milk banks?


          • Lilly de Lure
            November 16, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

            I think a link to some actual evidence is rather desperately required here. It’s not that I don’t think that Nestle are morally capable of being this nasty, but “morally capable of” and “actually doing” something are two very different kettle of fish. If you’re right and can prove it you can publicise that evidence and let the women know where their donations are going – at the very least embarrassing Nestle publicly, why haven’t you done this if you have evidence?

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 9:12 am #

            Could you say more?

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 16, 2017 at 9:23 am #

            Hang on – is this what you are referring to?



            Because if so, whilst I have no doubt Nestle are considerably more interested in the benefits to their public image than any good the programme may do in preventing obesity extrapolating a masterplan to use poor women as glorified dairy cows for rich ones from it given the information presented here seems something of a stretch (or do I have the wrong project, in which case apologies – could you send a long a link to the right one)?

          • MI Dawn
            November 16, 2017 at 10:01 am #

            And boy, is that article from a biased point of view! Formula causes obesity, breastfeeding is perfect, and Nestles’, in promoting a program to fight childhood obesity, is somehow being evil.

            I’ve worked in Newark for many years. Yes, obesity is a problem. When you don’t have a lot of money, it’s cheaper to buy fattening, processed foods over fresh fruits and vegetables. If you never get them, you don’t develop a taste for them (I’ve seen adults AND children turn them down for burgers, french fries, ice cream). But blaming Nestle for that is ludicious, yentavegan.

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 9:12 am #

            I would like to hear more about this.

          • CSN0116
            November 16, 2017 at 9:11 am #

            Stop glorifying it and it will not be in demand. Nobody will want it if they’re convinced it’s just ordinary.

          • Heidi
            November 16, 2017 at 9:14 am #

            If what she says is true, and I have no idea, my first assumption is they want breast milk to study so they can optimize formula. They got to acquire it somehow.

          • CSN0116
            November 16, 2017 at 9:17 am #

            They’re working to make a product more pure and more hypoallergenic to where they can show it is superior to breast milk for premature babies. At that point it is a “medicine” and it can be administered during astronomically pricey NICU stays for hundreds of dollars per ounce, like any other drug. IMO.

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 16, 2017 at 9:46 am #

            It’s a possibility and there’s not much I would put past Nestle (or any other multinational tbh – Nestle are not uniquely evil in this regard) however I think we need to be a bit careful in extrapolating motives/ masterplans based on so little evidence. God knows there’s enough nastiness corporations get up to that we can prove, if we start publicly extrapolating sinister motives behind absolutely everything they do on that basis (I wouldn’t put it past them – therefore they must be doing it is, to put it mildly, eccentric logic) regardless of the evidence we actually have we run the risk of shredding our own credibility when we make noise about skullduggery that can actually be proven.

          • CSN0116
            November 16, 2017 at 10:37 am #

            I am in support of such a development and products from Prolacta Bioscience show that it’s probably “in the works” for someone (maybe not Nestle). I’m not into the presumed price gouging aspect of it, but overall – if they can concoct stuff that protects against NEC nearly 100% and lets micro preemies thrive, and you need human breast milk to help you learn how to concoct it…go for it.

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 16, 2017 at 10:42 am #

            Yeah – I figured, its always the way with multinationals, they have great ideas for things that would be really helpful and lifesaving, but then use them as an excuse to price gouge (any formula which could compete with breast milk for premies would be fantastic) – but there’s always the money!

          • LaMont
            November 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

            Thankfully, since breastmilk is barely, if at all, better, that’s purely bilking people with more money than sense. If the poor women are being compensated fairly and given safe water for formula, I could see them coming out ahead. It’s idiotic and exploitative, but I don’t see huge damages. Plus, as standards of living rises, and clean food/water and birth control comes to the third world, I don’t see this happening at all. This plays into the idea that without breastmilk, third-worlders are doomed to ill health and poverty, when it’s not even on the radar, issue-wise.

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

            Alas with Nestle (or any other multinational corporation) running the show I would seriously doubt that poor mothers would come out ahead in such an arrangement.

          • maidmarian555
            November 16, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

            It genuinely is a thing that has been happening:


            I believe this particular venture has been prevented since this article but I’d be surprised if it isn’t happening elsewhere too. This was nothing to do with Nestle though (as far as I know).

            By demonising formula, this is sadly a logical conclusion of lactivist dogma. Poor women will be exploited so that wealthy women can feed their children breastmilk as opposed to formula. Which is both horrible and totally unnecessary.

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 16, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

            Thanks for the info – completely agree!

          • Amazed
            November 16, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

            Double post.

          • Amazed
            November 16, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

            Actually, it reminds me of something that always saddens me. Here, blood donations just because are very rare. Lack of awareness and much fearmongering. Long story short, hospitals practice kind of blackmailing that doesn’t deliver on their threat: when someone awaits a planned surgery, IOW, not an emergency, their families are told that the surgery can’t take place until someone donates blood in the name of this particular person. I have yet to hear of a surgery actually being postponed because the patient didn’t have blood donated in their name, but the families are, understandably, scared, so in the vast majority of cases, blood arrives to replenish the too little amounts of blood hospitals have at their disposal. Ugly business all around. So when I went to donate last week, I was met by the usual group of poor men and women offering their blood against money. At the reception desk, first thing I got asked was, Who are you donating for? It never crossed their mind that I might be doing it just because. It’s all so sad – the people outside who have found something to sell, the foregone conclusion that I was there out of need. I’m angry with the system. I’m angry with the blackmail. I’m angry with the people who pay for these blood donations because they’re unwilling to give blood to their loved ones themselves. It’s horrible exploitation all around. And the only way to go around this is to change the perceptions. Inform people better. This far, I’ve seen nothing of the kind, at least not effectively. But radical rejection, like we won’t accept blood donations from anyone until the system cleans its shit are not the way. But yes, I can see how a future like the one yentavegan envisions is possible. The difference is, we still haven’t found a substitute for blood that is at least half as good as formula is in regards to breastmilk. And because of this, we can’t stop promoting the unique qualities of blood. Not the same with breasmilk.

          • fiftyfifty1
            November 16, 2017 at 9:08 am #

            ” as parenting continues to be delegated and outsourced”

            Oh, I see. You may not be Catholic, but sounds like you are 100% behind LLL’s founding mission: return those women to the home raising their babies where they belong.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            November 16, 2017 at 9:18 am #

            Parenting continues to be “delegated and outsourced?” That’s an ugly insult to working mothers.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
            November 16, 2017 at 10:28 am #

            Ummm you do know that in the US at least it’s more the wealthier women who have maternity leave and spouses with great incomes that can afford to stay home and breastfeed exclusively or have an office and time to pump, while it’s the poorer women who have no time off, no breaks long enough to pump and can’t afford to quit work to stay home. Also as someone who went back to work when my daughter was 6 weeks and has raised a healthy , happy, seemingly well adjusted adult(she’s 23) I kind of resent the “delegated and outsourced” crack.

            I am her mother, the fact that other people in her life could be a source of food, comfort and fun sometimes, does NOT change the fact that I am her mother and she has always known that I was her mother, I am the one she wants when she is sick, hurt, scared or when she has great news to share, or is just having a crap day at work.

          • momofone
            November 16, 2017 at 11:58 am #

            Could you give some examples of how “parenting continues to be delegated and outsourced”? Because all I can think of is that you mean because mothers work outside the home, and I really hope I’m wrong.

          • Petticoat Philosopher
            November 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

            That is already pretty much the case. More affluent women generally have more choices about all things related to infant care than poor women. Many poor women do not have the choice to breastfeed because they have to get back to work almost immediately and work long hours to keep a roof over their families’ heads. Though, in America, with no decent paid parental leave, many non-poor women face a similar choice (with less high stakes).

            So lactivism is a waste of time. If lactivists put all that energy into campaigning for parental leave and economic inequality, we might actually make some progress towards a society in which women can choose. But, of course, “choice” is not what most lactivists are about.

          • Petticoat Philosopher
            November 16, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

            Also, parenting has always been “delegated and outsourced.” Historically, children had many caregivers besides their mothers and, in some societies, they still do. The nuclear family with the mother doing all of the care of only her own children is a relatively recent development.

          • Amazed
            November 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

            Parenting has also always been “fit the baby in your life, not shape it around theirs”. My great-grandmothers were among the mothers who carried their babies to the field with them, strapped to their backs. Does someone think that they had the time to jump at every stir because OMG, the baby may start crying! They both sang the praises of childcare and kindergarten which left their daughters free to do one thing alone – work. Because to the vast majority of women all over the world, not working was never an option – and I don’t mean just keeping the house clean, the meals cooked, the kids washed, and yourself primped up, waiting for your husband to return, so you can offer him some sex. Now, that’s an unfair description of a SAHM, is it not? About as fair as saying that working moms delegate their parenting to others. Of course, all these activities were STILL expected of working moms for a long time.

            Funny thing is, just a few days ago I had a conversation with an elderly friend who joked that my regime – a quick breakfast in the morning, whatever I could find at noon, and a normal meal in the evening was a return to old habits. That was the life of women around here just 100 years ago, only they did it while working on the fields while I eat with one hand and type with the other.

            They might have dragged their children with them but that was just in view of their physical survival.

          • Sarah
            November 26, 2017 at 6:44 am #

            Basically, earning money to provide for your children is parenting.

          • Amazed
            November 16, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

            Delegated and outsourced? Listen, you housewifey, my mom doesn’t say that women like you are clinging to their kids as a way to fill their empty lives and feel important. In turn, do her the same courtesy. Who are you to claim that you’re a better parent?

            For the record: being a pampered housewife is a good and valid thing, IMO. Low digs at other women are not.

          • Roadstergal
            November 17, 2017 at 11:27 am #

            “breastmilk production will be an exploited natural resource, available to the wealthy ruling class and exploited/stolen from the oppressed.”

            That is definitely a thing that happened in the past, in the form of wet nurses giving their breastmilk to the children of the affluent at the expense of their own children. The solution to that is not lactation consultants, it’s safe infant formula.

            Even now, the demonization of formula leads affluent women to buy breastmilk. I can see low-income woman being very tempted to sell their milk for the going rate – which is a demand created by the perceived superiority of breastmilk.

          • Heidi
            November 17, 2017 at 11:39 am #

            I’m kind of confused about what yentavegan is actually even saying is happening but at one point, she seemed to imply that Nestle wanted to provide the women whose breast milk they wanted Nestle formula. If that was the case, wouldn’t Nestle have to provide pumps and the really big one, infrastructure to be able to store breast milk safely? Are they really going to go into a developing nation and set them up with expensive breast pumps, electricity, refrigerators, and potable water? That’s kind of a moral conundrum for me because that would actually be a positive thing for those nations and would have the possibility to save many infants’ and childrens’ lives. I mean, I don’t even buy it for a minute that’s what’s happening because I just don’t see how that would be profitable.

    • Petticoat Philosopher
      November 16, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

      It’s a “she” not a “he,” since that expression has always existed as an attempt to convince women that they totally shouldn’t bother participating in the public sphere, since they already have The Most Important Job In The World.

      Also, by the time they’re in preschool, no need for pharmaceutical reliance in any case. You can give kids that age…food!

    • cw
      November 16, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

      My mom got help from LLL too, but it isn’t the same anymore. It’s not community support like it was, it is paid consultations, so they are keeping the info away from women who can’t pay. They also try to get inappropriate candidates to breastfeed, or push too hard and judge, bc it is not a community and their consulting fees are on the line.

  4. yentavegan
    November 15, 2017 at 8:49 pm #

    Nestle desires to have governments subsides their formula to feed infants while purchasing ( at a discount) the breastmilk of women and then re-selling it to wealthier populations. It is their win-win.

    • Nick Sanders
      November 15, 2017 at 10:19 pm #

      You know, if you were talking about pretty much any other company, I’d call you paranoid. But with the shit Nestlé has done in the past…

      • CSN0116
        November 16, 2017 at 9:26 am #

        I hear Yenta …to an extent. I get the argument.

        • Sarah
          November 19, 2017 at 9:43 am #

          I’m definitely willing to give it a hearing. I don’t trust Nestle, but I’d like a bit more in the way of explanation at least. Ideally evidence!

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      November 16, 2017 at 9:13 am #

      Do you have any evidence of that occurring? I’d very much like to see it so I could write about it.

  5. yentavegan
    November 15, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

    Am I the only one who sees the writing on the wall? Nestle’s interest in supporting breastmilk production is motivated by the financial exploitation of poor women. They are currently exploring ways to pay mothers for their milk and then selling it to wealthier clients.

    • AnnaPDE
      November 19, 2017 at 3:11 am #

      Possibly for the long game. For the interim, they’re probably just spending a rounding-error amount of money on something they hope makes them look less evil. Good corporate citizens support science, a bit of charity, etc.

  6. NoLongerCrunching
    November 15, 2017 at 8:31 pm #

    Formula is a lifesaving food. Ruth Lawrence and Paula Meier are respectable, ethical women who have dedicated their lives to infant health. Nestle… sorry, I do think they’re Satan. They’re still doing the same stuff with formula they did in Africa, but in Pakistan. Also, they’re trying to redefine water as a product rather than a human right.

  7. Namaste
    November 15, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

    Totally o/t, but we’ve talked about him on this blog before. The Zimbabwean military officially ousted Robert Mugabe from power today. He is being held under house arrest in Harare. Hopefully today represents a new beginning for the people of Zimbabwe.

  8. Sarah
    November 15, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    Speaking of kicking people out, does anyone else grow increasingly concerned that Robert Mugabe might not be available for that WHO role after all?

    • Emilie Bishop
      November 15, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

      I had the same thought! Crazy world right now…

  9. Roadstergal
    November 15, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

    I decry breastfeeding as a morally bankrupt activity! It says Breast is Best on Nestle-produced formula cans, and everyone knows everything they support is evil!

    • Charybdis
      November 15, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

      Proof that they are in league with the Devil! Right there! On the formula can!

  10. Sheven
    November 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

    I hope they never eat Chiquita bananas. Can’t forget what United Fruit Company did.

  11. fiftyfifty1
    November 15, 2017 at 11:12 am #

    “It really doesn’t matter to them whom they hurt, even one of their own.”

    No, it does matter to cults whom they hurt. They hurt their own on purpose. That’s how they keep them in the fold.

    • Roadstergal
      November 15, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

      That’s an excellent point. Aren’t purity purges (or whatever the official term is) a feature of cults?

    • Amazed
      November 15, 2017 at 4:24 pm #

      Anyone has any idea what Judith Rooks is doing now? She committed a sacrilege with her CPM-attended births mortality.

    • yentavegan
      November 16, 2017 at 2:04 am #

      What a disappointing bunch of lackeys populate this website. Dr. Ruth Lawrence has allowed her gravitas to be co opted by Nestle’s. They are using her as a prop to give the illusion that they care about breastfeeding for breastfeedings sake. Meanwhile you all post snarky anti lactation quips in an effort to impress Dr. Tuteur. Have you no shame?

      • Who?
        November 16, 2017 at 2:28 am #

        A fair chunk of free market capitalism relies on the exploitation of the poor. From junk fashion to the offshoring of professional services, poor folk are doing work for little or no money to help rich folk make money.

        I don’t think Nestle are worse than companies that lock people in firetrap sweatshops.

        • yentavegan
          November 16, 2017 at 6:15 am #

          Listen, I can not save every starfish on the beach…and I call out hypocrisy in the fashion industry when they parade themselves as icons of a progressive community. I stand with my Lactation Community against Nestle. I am embarrassed that someone as esteemed as Dr. Ruth Lawrence allowed her “handlers” to book her for that gig. If I don’t take a stand against obvious conflict of interest I will be guilty of complicity.

          • CSN0116
            November 16, 2017 at 7:33 am #

            What was Dr. Lawrence there to talk about? That’s what I’m most interested in. Why did Nestle even want her?

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 16, 2017 at 7:43 am #

            I found this link to the talk if you’re interested:


            Seems relatively innocuous fare to me – a presentation of the history of breastfeeding and society’s attitudes towards it – nothing you wouldn’t hear from most lactation professionals with an historical bent.

          • yentavegan
            November 16, 2017 at 8:13 am #

            That’s right. Nothing that the attendees didn’t already know. This was strictly a vanity keynote speaker. Not vanity on Dr. Ruth Lawerence’s part, but on the sponsors of the event. She was a feather in their cap and a stick in the eye of the WHO code supporters.

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 16, 2017 at 8:25 am #

            I see your point but again isn’t that what a lot of conferences like this do – they try to get high profile speakers to raise the profile of the event and get more bums on seats. It’s not unheard of for the speakers to have nothing particularly new to say (its depressingly common in fact). I guess I could understand the outrage if she’s suddenly started waxing lyrical about how wonderful the Nestle formula marketing campaigns in the Third World had been for the people there or what an ethical company it was but she didn’t. It just seems standard conference stuff, I’m sure Nestle did well out of it (and out of the publicity of getting her) but I just don’t see the need for the outpouring of outrage for what seems like a typical conference attendance just because Nestle are funding it.

          • NoLongerCrunching
            November 16, 2017 at 10:07 am #

            Exactly. I don’t think (but I don’t KNOW) that it was a good idea to speak there, but damned if I won’t give them her the benefit of the doubt. Ironically, LLL taught me to always assume positive intent when dealing with co-Leaders.

          • fiftyfifty1
            November 16, 2017 at 8:44 am #

            Why do you assume that Dr. Lawrence can’t make her own decisions, that her “handlers” did it?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

            In particular, are we to assume that Lawrence is not familiar with Nestle’s history?

            Heck, as far as I know, she may have been one of those who pointed out their issues in the first place.

            There is no reason to believe that Lawrence doesn’t/didn’t know what she was doing.

            The problem the lactivists are having is that she actually is willing to work with them to resolve issues instead of just dismissing them.

            It’s basically an anti-abortion approach. You can just close your eyes and scream about the evils of abortion, or you can work to try to reduce the number of abortions that take place by doing things like, reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies.

          • Amazed
            November 16, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

            The only answer I can think of is that in yenta’s opinion. Dr Lawrence is senile already and totally depending on others.

          • MI Dawn
            November 16, 2017 at 9:51 am #

            And I am embarrassed by this stand. A company makes a mistake. Does that make them forever evil? Formula can save lives. That’s Dr Amy’s point. Breastfeeding is fine, if the baby is thriving. But you don’t HAVE to breastfeed to nurish your baby.

          • NoLongerCrunching
            November 16, 2017 at 10:04 am #

            I think we OWE it to Ruth Lawrence and Paula Meier to not make assumptions about why they chose to speak at Nestle. I was not able to view the lectures, nor to actually ask them directly, but with all they have both done for babies, women, and breastfeeding, how is it remotely fair to kneejerk slam them like this?!

          • Seola
            November 22, 2017 at 2:08 am #

            You stand with emaciated and dying babies?

            Alright then. Strange stand to take.

      • Lilly de Lure
        November 16, 2017 at 6:38 am #

        Isn’t that true of any corporate sponsor of any scientific forum/event (I doubt pharmaceutical companies sponsor symposiums out of the goodness of their hearts and god knows they aren’t exactly moral exemplars) yet scientists who present at these events are not automatically shunned from the scientific community as pariahs when they speak at such events. Why the difference in Lactation circles?

      • Helen
        November 16, 2017 at 7:02 am #

        Exhibit A, right here.

      • Seola
        November 16, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

        lol, this is the “Russian bot” thing/insult all over again, just instead it’s people like you claiming we’re all on Nestle’s payroll. I just found this site, as I’m doing some research and I’m grateful someone is telling it like it is MEDICALLY, to stop people like you from KILLING BABIES.

      • Amazed
        November 16, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

        Says the LLL worshipper who likes to think that in states that have never heard of your precious community, women breastfed thanks to your gods. Funny thing, irony.

      • NoLongerCrunching
        November 17, 2017 at 10:36 am #

        Lackeys? Please. I have known a lot of wonderful LLL Leaders, and have been one myself. I don’t agree with them speaking at Nestle, but I’m sure they have their reasons, and with all they’ve accomplished for breastfeeding, I’m disgusted by how LLL is treating them. Removal from the ABM?! Ruth Lawrence is responsible for their existence, and literally wrote the book on Breastfeeding Medicine. What’s next, tracking IP addresses of SOB or Fed is Best readers and reporting them to IBLCE?

      • Heidi
        November 17, 2017 at 11:29 am #

        I don’t agree with LLL as an organization personally — I don’t agree with their choice to not let combo feeders volunteer and I found their website personally hurtful. However, I realize it is probably the most prominent organization to help women breastfeed so I can’t blame a person for choosing to volunteer through them. The way I see it, a thoughtful volunteer can help women regardless of the organization. I know you are one of those volunteers who want to actually help women and not gaslight them or guilt them. I think it’s a great way to reach the women who probably need it most, and you may very well have saved babies’ health or even lives through LLL. In the past, I’ve volunteered for an adult literacy/GED program and had no shame accepting money or other donations from corporations who I didn’t agree with because it wasn’t about ideological purity. It was about acquiring funding to help these people get ahead.

        So did Dr. Lawrence actually in any way promote a sinister cause of Nestle’s? If you have proof she is somehow behind these things you mentioned that you’ve yet to verify, please do share. If that’s the case, then sure, I can see the outrage within the lactation community, although I still don’t understand the outrage toward those of us who have no knowledge about Nestle stealing breast milk from the poor to sell to the wealthy.

        BTW, calling fiftyfifty1 a lackey of Dr. Tuteur’s is a bit funny. Fiftyfifty1 has been pretty vocal in the past when she doesn’t agree with Dr. Tuteur, at least if memory serves me right (the Roxane Gay/Milo thing and the Serena Williams one come to mind).

    • Seola
      November 16, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

      That’s how you keep people in. Repeatedly hurt them and insist the only way back from that hurt is to invest more (time, money, life, etc.) back into them to “regain” yourself and your happiness. Only to have it stripped away. Sunk cost fallacy.

  12. kilda
    November 15, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    Makes as much sense as saying Volkswagens are evil because the company was founded by the nazis. No, actually, that still makes more sense than this Nestle is the devil thing.

    • November 15, 2017 at 11:46 am #

      I was thinking the same thing.

    • Dr Kitty
      November 15, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

      It’s like refusing to ride in a ThyssenKrupp elevator because the company manufactured most of the German armaments in WW1&2.

    • Seola
      November 16, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

      They’d really have a cow, if they knew human rights generally began with Hitler himself. As well as highways, mass transit, 40 hour workweeks, vacation time, and licensed daycares (on site, that allowed women to breastfeed at their job).

      Most of those were things began with Hitler’s regime. We (allies) instituted the same conditions because we needed support for the war, and how could Hitler be bad, if he was improving worker’s conditions and upgrading his entire country? So we did it and said “see, we do the same, but we don’t murder people now”.

      He’s a disgusting, vile piece of trash, but his contributions to modern society still exist. (Horrible trade-off of course.)

      So when you claim Nestle is the devil and are willing to take down a woman who is incredibly respected in the field, including helping advance SOUND medical directives in breastfeeding, because she dared show her face, you just look absolutely ridiculous.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        November 17, 2017 at 11:25 pm #

        Exactly. Eisenhower got to the Autobahn and basically said “I NEED ME ONE OF THESE.” Doesn’t mean I won’t use the interstate highway system…

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