Lactation professional Maureen Minchin sets a new standard for immaturity

(Im)maturity - New chalkboard with 3D outlined text

Maureen Minchin agreed to debate me and now she’s trying to get out of it. Of course, I expected that she would back out; I just didn’t expect that she would lie to her followers about it.

Who is Minchin?

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Minchin tries to dodge our debate while concealing that fact from her followers[/pullquote]

She’s a lactation professional (with no training in science or medicine) who has a self-published book on — I’m not kidding — breastfeeding and immunology.

Several months ago, in response to a complaint about her lack of sympathy and concern for women who cannot breastfeed, Minchin produced this contemptuous screed:


… I am sorry that you had such a hard time with your first, and understand your rage, and your decision to go with formula for your second, and I am glad that worked out so well for you. It doesn’t for some other people, and that’s the point: we can’t know ahead of time which children will be badly affected, but some will, in every country, some will die in every country, and all will develop differently from what they would have done if breastfed. That’s just biological fact…

At the time, I challenged Minchin to debate the issue of whether breastfeeding has real, not merely theoretical benefits and she agreed.


Happy to do so 1. when you have read my book in full and 2. when it is convenient. It is absolutely not a priority for me, as your writing to date persuades me that it will be a pointless exercise, but who knows, after reading Milk Matters you may have a little more respect for those who think differently, have more clinical experience of breastfeeding, have spent more time researching the topic, and whose work is admired by many experts around the world.

I never expected her to do it and promptly forgot about it until reminded by my readers. Maureen claimed that the end of May was no longer convenient but she was setting aside June 19-21 for a moderated debate.


On June 11, Maureen sent me a private message informing me that she had drafted “rules” for the debate, and promptly blocked me before I could respond to it.

She also posted to her Facebook page:


I’ll let you read the “rules” for yourself. As you can see, they’re mostly concerned with Maureen protecting herself from criticism.

Since Maureen blocked me from sending private messages and blocked me from posting on her Facebook page, I responded within hours on my page:


Maureen Minchin, I’ve read your proposed rules for debate. You are appropriately concerned with impartiality and I share that concern. It can’t possibly be an impartial debate if you make the rules. We must use existing, impartial debate rules.

The type of debate we have been considering is basically an Oxford style debate with the motion being: The benefits of breastfeeding are real and clinically relevant. You are arguing in favor and I am arguing in opposition.

The rules for Oxford style debate already exist in a variety of forms. Those are the rules we should use. We can negotiate the details like time for response, etc.

If you won’t participate in a debate using impartial rules, please let me know.

Ignoring my response on June 11, Maureen declared to her followers:


And here’s the best part: it appears that Maureen closed the comments so that NO ONE could publicly share my reply! It’s been four days and Maureen is still insisting she hasn’t heard from me.

Of course I never expected that Maureen would actually debate; she fears she’d be humiliated.

But I didn’t expect her to set a new standard for immaturity in the process. I should learn to be more cynical.