Don’t listen to Dr. Amy! Otherwise you might not torture yourself over breastfeeding.


It’s been nearly 20 years since I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, a meningioma. At the time the Gamma Knife (stereotactic radiosurgery, which is radiation not surgery) was relatively new, but as my brain tumor was deep inside my brain it offered an opportunity to avoid potentially destructive brain surgery.

Nonetheless, I sought a second opinion from a prominent neurosurgeon who aggressively recommended surgery, although he warned me that I would almost certainly lose my hearing on that side of my head as well as sensation in my face.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The women and babies for whom I advocate are entitled to expect Dr. Jack Newman to answer the question I posed.[/pullquote]

So I asked him how brain surgery compared with the Gamma Knife for successful outcomes. He told me surgery had an 85% success rate and the Gamma Knife had a 95% success rate.

Then I asked him about the risk of complications. He answered that I would definitely have complications from the surgery (hearing loss, etc.) but that the complication rate for the Gamma Knife was extremely low.

So then I asked whether if I was one of the rare failures of Gamma Knife treatment, would that compromise a surgeon’s ability to remove the tumor. He assured me that it would make no difference.

Finally I asked if the Gamma Knife had a higher success rate, a lower complication rate, and did not prevent using surgery in the case of failure, why hadn’t he recommended the Gamma Knife. He didn’t miss a beat, acknowledging that he didn’t recommend it, because he didn’t have one.

I was reminded of that episode when I was recently deleted and banned from Dr. Jack Newman’s Facebook page for daring to ask a question that he didn’t want to answer:

[C]an you please show us any impact that changing breastfeeding rates have had on term infant mortality or any metrics of major term infant morbidity.

He’s hardly the only lactation professional to delete, ban or block me on social media. Although the phrase “what doctors don’t want you to know” is overused among the alternative health community, the tactic of hiding health information is alive and well in the lactation community.

Dr. Newman is afraid of me because, like the neurosurgeon who didn’t recommend the Gamma Knife because he couldn’t profit from it, he can’t answer a simple question because he won’t profit from the answer. And so it is very, very important to make sure not merely to ignore me, but to prevent others from even hearing my question. Who knows what might happen to the income of lactation professionals if women learn the truth that breastfeeding DOESN’T have the benefits they claim and has risks that they would prefer to ignore?

That’s why you must never, ever listen to Dr. Amy.

As a public service, I’ve gathered some of the most common reasons why you shouldn’t listen to me, complete with the English to English translations.

“Don’t listen to Dr. Amy because she’s biased.”

English to English translation:

Dr. Amy is biased toward presenting complete information. She won’t exclude the mass of data that we feel compelled to conceal.

“Don’t listen to Dr. Amy because she cherry picks the data.”

English to English translation:

Dr. Amy does not merely quote the data, but she breaks it down so you can understand it too. That means that instead of merely accepting what we tell you about breastfeeding, you will be armed with the actual statistics that show that the benefits of breastfeeding term infants in industrialized countries are so trivial that they cannot be detected in large populations.

“Don’t listen to Dr. Amy because she’s crazy.”

Only a crazy person would take the time to present the data, show you where you can find it yourself, and explain how even you can understand and analyze it. That’s dangerous. Listen to us and you won’t have to use your own intelligence and reach your own conclusions. Just accept what we tell you.

“Don’t listen to Dr. Amy because she hates breastfeeding.”

English to English translation:

Ignore the fact that she breastfed her own four children happily and with little difficulty. Don’t listen to Dr. Amy because she hates the fact that the only metrics that breastfeeding has managed to change in large populations is the increased rate of complications, brain injuries and deaths of newborns. Exclusive breastfeeding on discharge is now the leading risk factor for newborn hospital readmission. Those who “love” breastfeeding are willing to lie about; since Dr. Amy is not willing to lie, she must “hate” it.

The women and babies for whom I advocate are entitled to expect Jack Newman to answer the question that I posed. To that end, I have petitioned him on Please sign the petition if you, too, would like to see Dr. Newman answer the question!

In the meantime, keep in mind what’s really going on when someone tells you “Don’t listen to Dr. Amy,” or deletes my questions and bans me for asking. What they’re really telling you is don’t read, don’t learn, don’t think. If you do, you are bound to conclude that they are telling you is false, and they can’t have that, can they?

Ask yourself: Are you brave?

Are you brave enough to read what I say, review the papers that I cite, analyze the data for yourself, and reach your own conclusions?

I’m not afraid of that, but apparently lactation professionals are. That should tell you all you need to know about the purported benefits of breastfeeding.

Just as it was wrong when the neurosurgeon recommended surgery to me because he couldn’t profit from the safer radiation treatment, it’s wrong when lactation professionals claim that breast is best — and delete, ban and block anyone who can demonstrate otherwise — simply because they can’t profit from formula feeding.