Friday, 6 January 2012

How to Win Any Breastfeeding Argument


It’s a touchy subject, this feeding lark. When breastfeeding mothers and formula feeding mothers lock horns, the result bares likeness to a libyan battleground. On internet message boards across the globe, formula feeders are attracted to breastfeeding threads like moths to a flame. One group must offer a disclaimer before they open their mouth; the opposing group is ready with their straw men. Woe betide any breastfeeding mother who openly admits to having preference, knowledge and even *gasp* pride in nursing her child.

What’s more, the melee doesn’t end online. In day to day life the mother in law, the health professional and the random bod on the street jump in on a regular basis. They offer ‘advice’ fuelled by their own prejudice, defensiveness and lack of knowledge. Sometimes the advice is cloaked in the farce of ‘concern’; other times it is tantamount to brazen bullying.

Here’s my timely guide on how to tackle each irritant, one by one.


Formula feeders:

Argument: “Most of our generation were formula-fed and we are all healthy”.

Comeback: This is untrue. The long-term effects of not being breastfed are only beginning to be understood. Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, obesity, allergies, diabetes and academic performance are all starting to be linked with how we were fed as babies. We have more vision problems, intestinal problems, colds and flu, dental problems, heart problems, and cancer than we need to; And we're a few IQ points lower than we would have been if we had been breastfed.

Argument: “My formula-fed kid turned out just fine and went to college and university”.

Comeback: Numerous studies have shown that breastfeeding is associated with significantly higher scores for cognitive development than formula feeding (see for example Horwood LJ and Fergusson DM). A difference of at least 3.16 points has been measurable through 15 years. It is important to realise that a child with a genetic potential for an IQ of 150 will probably not notice a 3.4 point deficit. A child with a potential for an IQ of 100 would benefit from 3.4 points. In other words, breastfeeding allows an infant to reach his/her full potential.

Argument: “My formula-fed kid has never had an allergy but my friend’s breastfed kid has several allergies, really bad eczema, hives, a bad cough and a low IQ so breastfeeding can’t be that protective” [or insert other personal anecdote here].

Comeback:  Anecdotal evidence is not necessarily representative of a “typical” experience. Statistical evidence more accurately determines how typical something is. For example “I know a breastfed baby with eczema” does not disprove the proposition that “breastfeeding significantly reduces a child’s risk of eczema”. A ‘study’ of one, or two, or three or even four, does not negate a collection of studies which look at thousands of cases - as any schoolchild knows, surely? Also, a breastfeeding mother who has a baby with eczema can be virtually certain that her feeding choice did not contribute to the development of eczema. A formula feeding mother cannot be so sure.

Argument: “Why do breastfeeders try to make us feel guilty? It's my choice how I feed my baby”

Comeback: Choice, of course, only exists when options are fully available, including information regarding the consequences of different methods of infant feeding. “The continued denial of the risks of not breastfeeding and the value of breastmilk supposedly to spare women's feelings, is a patronising deception” (Palmer.G). Why is it that advertising formula is just business, but promoting breastfeeding is "pushy"? Mothers should have the opportunity to make an informed choice based on fact rather than anecdote. As parenting blog, An Unschooling Adventure has maintained: “Please mothers. Inform yourselves about the risks of formula. Stop blaming women who promote breastfeeding for trying to make you feel guilty, and target your anger towards the formula companies that have lied to you, or the health professionals that undermined your instincts.” While we're on the topic of 'choice' - a highly cherished value of formula feeders - one burden of having choice is that one must be held accountable for one's choice, a topic I discuss in length in my book 'Breast Intentions'. If you feel guilty of your choice, that is your internal accountability system being triggered. 

Argument: “Breastfeeders that drone on about the benefits of breastfeeding are smug, self-righteous and judgemental.”

Comeback: This is a straw-man argument. It is a misrepresentation of a breastfeeder's position, created by the formula feeder for the express purposes of being knocked down. You see, everybody needs a victory or two for purposes of morale. If real ones are nowhere to be had, the formula feeder will wallop out a straw man.

In reality, the level of assumed smugness/judgeyness depends on the agenda of the person hearing the information not the person giving it. If someone finds criticism in statistics, I would suggest they are feeling defensive about their choices. Medics, the government, scientists and researchers have a duty to tell us what they know, and that is the obvious - that human mothers provide optimal nutrition for human babies. As parents don't we have a duty to engage with such information?

Argument: "I really wish lactivists would stop implying that people who dont breastfeed do so because they think it's less convenient or as some kind of lifestyle choice".

Comeback: From the UK Department of Health Infant Feeding survey (which involves around 8000 mothers and is done every 5 years): "The most common reason for choosing to breastfeed was that breastfeeding was best for the baby’s health, followed by convenience. The most common reason for choosing to bottle-feed was that it allowed others to feed the baby, followed by a dislike of the “idea” of breastfeeding."

Argument: “It’s none of your business how I feed my baby”.

Comeback: To see a whole catalogue of comebacks to this argument, click here.

Argument: “Formula and breastmilk are not THAT different”

Comeback: Are you sure? Click here.

Argument: “Of course formula is safe; They wouldn’t be allowed to sell it otherwise”.

Comeback: fireworks/cigarettes/stuff packed with e-numbers are sold every day. They are potentially dangerous, as is formula (see here).

Argument: “Well at least I won’t have breasts down to my ankles”.

Comeback: So-called ‘saggy’ breasts are a common consequence of pregnancy, not breastfeeding. During pregnancy, your breasts prepare for lactation, even if you have no intention of breastfeeding – and these changes are sometimes permanent. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy, hereditary factors, age or going bra-less can also result in breasts that are less than firm. Breastfeeding is blame-free.

Argument: "I stopped breastfeeding because I wanted more sleep."

Comeback: Some women introduce formula hoping that if they do so their baby will ‘go longer between feeds’ or ‘sleep through’. Sometimes the first few formula feeds may bring that effect as the baby’s stomach is not accustomed to the tougher composition of the milk. Often the quantity of formula will need to be increased to maintain the effect. This can cause stomach stretching and lead to obesity in later childhood. In some cases, adding formula has no effect on the baby’s sleeping habits and for some it can lead to an upset stomach and greater night time disturbance (Moody et al). Breastfeeding mothers get more sleep and their sleep is of higher quality. A breastfed baby can eat as soon as he is hungry. If co sleeping, that means before the baby even starts to cry. A formula-fed baby has to wait for formula to be prepared and warmed, in the meantime getting more and more distressed and agitated as well as waking others in the household. When breastfeeding, even the mother does not need to wake up fully to nurse her baby. Furthermore, the hormones produced during nursing have a relaxing effect, and the mother is likely to sleep even better when she nurses her baby. Studies have shown that parents of infants who were breastfed in the evening and/or at night slept an average of 40-45 minutes more than parents of infants given formula (Doan et al). Parents of infants given formula at night had more sleep disturbance than parents of infants who were exclusively breast-fed at night. If you wanted more sleep, breastfeeding would have been the way to go.

Argument: “My boobs were too small to breastfeed”.

Comeback: Even if a woman is flat as a pancake her breasts will be able to do the job they were intended for. It is a myth that women with big breasts will be ‘better’ at breastfeeding. They may have more fatty tissue inside their breasts, but fat does not have a function as far as breastfeeding is concerned. Anatomically speaking, all lactating breasts perform in the same way. In no way does outward appearance affect the production of milk or a mother’s ability to dispense it.


Argument: “I couldn’t breastfeed because I was returning to work early”.

Comeback: A few weeks of breastfeeding are far better than none at all. Even breastfeeding for a few days has immense benefits. Colostrum provides not only perfect nutrition tailored to the needs of the individual newborn, but also large amounts of living cells which will defend the baby against many harmful agents. Furthermore with dedication and planning most mothers can work out a system for continuing to breastfeed even after they have returned to work.

Argument: “If you looked at a class of primary school children, you wouldn’t be able to tell which were breastfed or formula fed”.

Comeback: If I knew a little more about the children (any allergies, amount of doctors visits in the last 6 months, prevalence of ear infections, obesity, etc) I could make an intelligent guess using statistical likelihood.

Argument: “You have to eat a special diet when breastfeeding because breastmilk doesn’t contain all the vitamins that formula companies add to their milk”.

Comeback: As a breastfeeding mother, I do not need to eat any special foods, neither do I have to avoid certain foods. Unlike formula, all of the vitamins and minerals in my breastmilk are in a form that my baby can easily absorb. This means that even seemingly minute levels of vitamins and minerals in my breastmilk are bioavailable - able to be efficiently utilized by my baby. This is why breastfed babies have less frequent stools as they mature; they literally absorb more of their mother’s milk. Many of the highly concentrated ingredients in manufactured formula are simply excreted from a baby’s body as waste (Rubin. S). As for the assumption that I need a special diet, in the absence of a family history of food allergies, there is no benefit to eliminating foods from my diet.

Argument: "I didn’t breastfeed because I wanted my body back".

Comeback: As Analytical Armadillo has pointed out, "instead of using breasts, we've moved on to hands (and bottles, sterilising, making up, cleaning) So more of a body part swap than actually getting anything back then?"

Argument: "You can’t diet and exercise when breastfeeding".

Comeback: There is no reason why a healthy breastfeeding mother cannot consume a sensible calorie-controlled diet for weight loss. Mothers have breastfed successfully through history when food has not been plentiful. This is because a breastfeeding mother more effectively utilizes the food she ingests (Rubin. S). Furthermore, breastfeeding actually aids the process of weight loss. Over time, breastfeeding mothers tend to lose more weight than mothers who do not breastfeed. Moreover, sensible physical exercise does not harm the quality, quantity or taste of breastmilk. It is perfectly safe to breastfeed immediately after exercise, and regular exercise will not hinder my baby's growth (Reuters).

Argument: "Breastfeeding means that you have little choice over what you can wear".

Comeback: Breastfeeding does not require any specialised clothing. A breastfeeding mother may simply lift her top. A vest can be placed under her top to conceal her stomach if desired. Also wrap dresses, shirts and any top with buttons are other viable options. Formula feeding dictates a mother's wardrobe to a greater extent than breastfeeding. As formula fed babies are more prone to posseting and reflux, their mother's clothing needs to be changed more frequently.

Argument: “Breastfeeding didn’t work the first time so I'm not going to bother this time”.

Comeback: Even if you had trouble breastfeeding your first baby, research shows that you’ll likely produce more milk and have an easier time breastfeeding the second time around (Murkoff. H).

Argument: “Breastfeeding is only best for the baby if it is best for the mum” (otherwise known as: ‘Happy Mum - Happy Baby’).

Comeback: Babies are not automatically happy just because their mothers are which is what this equation implies. A mother who finds breastfeeding inconvenient and so switches to formula could become deliriously happy, and yet her baby, who may develop colic, allergies, and reoccurring illness as a consequence of the formula switch, would be far from happy. Also, look at it from a different angle: babies don't get sad breastmilk when mum is struggling and happy breastmilk when breastfeeding is going well. There is even evidence that breastfed babies whose mums have PND don't have changed EEG (brain wave scans) whereas bottle fed babies whose mums had PND did (they had the same EEGs as adults with depression) so if you do have depression giving up breastfeeding may not make baby happy (Jones. N et al). Furthermore, to state ‘Happy Mum – Happy Baby’ as some sort of 'general truth' is massively undermining and unkind to mothers who choose to continue breastfeeding in the face of pain, fatigue and anxiety. They may experience breastfeeding as not being 'best' for them at all yet continue because they want their baby to avoid disadvantage. Sometimes it's hard for a mother to struggle through in the face of terrible adversity and have other mothers say that she should “give up” because of her physical and mental wellbeing. So whilst “Happy Mum – Happy Baby” sounds supportive and comforting, it is actually a disempowering, negative phrase. We should be empowering mothers to overcome their breastfeeding hurdles.

Argument: “Mothers are inundated with information about breastfeeding. There needs to be more information available about formula feeding”.

Comeback: Yes I agree. While there may be photos of rotten lungs on cigarette packets, and shocking pictures of alcohol-related car accidents on the TV, I've yet to see the risks of formula feeding being portrayed on the tins or TV adverts explaining what those risks actually are. I do think women should be informed - but when people say ‘women should have information about formula feeding’ they tend not to mean ‘risks of formula feeding’. No - this is not permitted. Because that makes women feel bad.


Your mother/mother in law:

Argument: “I couldn’t breastfeed so don't be surprised if you can't”.

Comeback: Luckily, failure isn’t inherited. I may have not had a positive breastfeeding example whilst growing up, but that has made me more determined to reclaim the breastfeeding tradition for the next generation.

Argument: “Is he feeding again?”

Comeback: It’s called demand feeding. It keeps my milk supply strong. Plus, because my breastmilk is so nutritious it is absorbed quickly. What would you prefer? The sounds of a baby happily slurping or the sounds of a baby unhappily crying?

Argument: "I noticed the baby didn't have a dummy so I've bought one".

Comeback: A dummy could cause my baby to confuse their sucking technique as dummies require a different type of sucking to breastfeeding. Also, a dummy would obscure my baby’s hunger cues and thus lead to less time spent at the breast. This will interfere with my establishing a solid milk supply. Moreover, babies who use dummies are more prone to oral thrush which could be transferred to my nipples and make them incredibly sore. Thanks, but we'll pass on the dummy.

Argument: "Don't let your baby fall asleep at the breast. You'll make a rod for your back" 

Comeback: It's very normal and developmentally appropriate for babies to nurse to sleep. "For many babies at the height of exploration or distractibility, nighttime or naptime can often be the ONLY time the baby will nurse well. Allowing him to nurse at these times when he is more focused on nursing and less intent on other things helps ensures that he gets enough milk, that your supply is maintained" (Kellymom).

Argument: “But you’re depriving your husband of the chance to bond with the baby”

Comeback: Babies have a habit of hanging about the house for 20 or more years, so there is plenty of scope for paternal bliss. Besides there’s bathing, massaging, playing, reading to, singing to, babywearing and co sleeping which are far more efficient at enriching the parent-child bond than sticking a plastic bottle and silicone teat in the baby’s mouth.

Argument: “You’re preventing your child from gaining independence if you breastfeed for too long.”

Comeback: Children who breastfeed are generally more independent, and, perhaps more importantly, more secure in their independence.  Forcing a child to stop breastfeeding before he is ready will not necessarily create a more confident child.

Argument: “It will be impossible to get into a routine”.

Comeback: Routine works when it emerges naturally. Schedule feeding is tough on babies whose digestive systems are not set on a four-hourly cycle from day one. A satisfied, contended baby is likely to be less demanding than one whose demands for food are routinely thwarted. A natural feeding pattern will emerge as my baby becomes more settled.  (For evidence of greater insecurity as a result of strict sleep routines, see Higley.E and Dozier. M; for evidence of greater irritability and fussiness as a result of routines, see St James-Roberts et al).

Argument: “You should stop breastfeeding now that your baby has teeth”.

Comeback: “When a baby is latched on to the breast correctly, his lips are flanged and his gums land far back on the areola (the dark area around the nipple). His bottom teeth are covered by his tongue and do not come in contact with the mother's areola at all. For this reason, a baby who is latched on correctly and actively nursing cannot bite” (La Leche League).

Argument: “Once they can talk, they are too old to breastfeed”.

Comeback: There is no evidence to suggest that breastfeeding beyond an arbitrarily determined point is dangerous and unnatural. In our culture we project our own sex and gender hangups on to the child. However the reality is that the emotional and physical benefits of breastfeeding do not diminish as a baby becomes a toddler or preschooler. The World Health Organization and UNICEF strongly encourage breastfeeding through toddlerhood. My milk is still providing my child with essential proteins, nutrients antibodies and other protective substances and will continue to do so for as long as I continue nursing. Some of the immune factors in breastmilk even increase in concentration during the second year (Goldman. A et al). In fact, human biology is geared to a weaning age of between 2 1/2 and 7 years (Dettwyler. K). Also, extensive research on the relationship between cognitive achievement (IQ scores, grades in school) and breastfeeding has shown the greatest gains for those children breastfed the longest (van den Bogaard, C. et al). Furthermore, the reassurance that breastfeeding provides to a child may be more important than ever as my child begins to explore the world and tackle new developmental milestones. Extended breastfeeding serves to lessen temper tantrums and helps a child to quickly fall asleep at naptime. The consistency of the breastfeeding relationship can serve as a stabilizing force within the child’s life.

Argument: "He's crying because you're starving him"

Comeback: To quote Dr Benjamin Spock, "Hunger is not the most common reason for crying".


Health care professionals:

Argument: “It’s good that you’re going to try to breastfeed, but bear in mind that many women can’t”.

Comeback: In many less-developed societies, the idea of being unable to breastfeed does not exist.

Argument: “I want to know exactly how often baby feeds and for how long at each breast”.

Comeback: Asking a woman in rural Africa how often she breastfeeds is like asking someone with an itchy rash how often they scratch. I’d rather not turn something natural into something regimented.

Argument: “I think you ought to top up with formula to give yourself a break”.

Comeback: What, and ruin my baby’s virgin gut (see here) as well as sabotaging my milk supply? No thanks. Besides, how is sterilising bottles and teats, boiling kettles, mixing formula and waiting for it to cool ‘giving myself a break?’

Argument: “Your supply is low so you need to top up with formula”.

Comeback: If my baby’s hunger and thirst are satisfied by other fluids, he will want to suckle less at the breast. This is likely to make my milk supply even worse. If there is a problem with my baby not getting enough milk, pumped breastmilk is a better alternative to formula. Besides, what has makes you think that my supply is low? If you can prove that there truly is a supply problem can you refer me to a reputable lactation specialist and also supply me with a supplemental feeding system?  (Direct your health professional to this article: ‘Look at the Baby, Not the Scale’).

Argument: “One bottle of formula won’t do any harm”


Argument: "There's no such thing as nipple confusion".

Comeback: To get milk from the breast, baby must coordinate tongue and jaw movements in a sucking motion that's unique to breastfeeding. On the otherhand, thanks to gravity, milk flows from a bottle so easily that baby does not have to suck "correctly" to get milk. As hungry babies will take whatever is easiest to fill their tummies, if a flowing bottle that does the chugging for them is offered, many will decide that they don't want to work for their dinner after all. Hence why it's so important to not allow hospital's to push bottle supplement feeding on newborn babies- who are especially vulnerable as they haven't learned how to latch and feed from the breast yet (Informed Parenting). (Direct the health professional to my article here which explains how bottles and dummies can sabotage breastfeeding).

Argument: “There’s no nutritional value in breastfeeding past 6 months”.

Comeback: After six months, breastmilk still contains protein, fat, and other nutritionally vital components. Breastmilk still contains immunologic factors that help protect the baby. In fact, some immune factors in breastmilk that protect the baby against infection increase as the child gets older. If my baby becomes unwell, breastmilk is easily digested and nourishing. Also if my baby becomes a fussy eater, my breastmilk will make an important contribution to his restricted diet – it may become his only decent source of vitamins! As babies cannot digest cow’s milk, if I were to stop breastfeeding now I would have to switch to formula at least until my baby is a year old. Why would I want to have the extra cost and hassle of that?

Argument: “There’s not enough iron in breastmilk”.

Comeback: Iron stores are laid down during pregnancy and are enough to last my baby until he is six months old, when complimentary solids can be introduced (Lim. P). Although the iron content of breastmilk is small, it is absorbed more efficiently because it is helped by the natural form of vitamin C also present in breastmilk. Breastfed babies absorb nearly 50 percent or the iron in breastmilk whereas formula fed babies absorb only about 10 percent of available iron from formula (Rubin. S). Furthermore, unnecessary iron supplementation can lead to diarrhoea and adversely affect a baby’s growth. This is because it stops lactoferrin from being effective as it cannot be ‘mopped up’ and so can be used by the harmful bacteria in the gut to grow and reproduce. This has happened with formula (see the articles in Reuters and Bloomberg).

Argument: “You need to introduce solid foods before 6 months because your baby’s growth has slowed down”.

Comeback: It has been noted that, “by the time they are ready for solids breastfed babies are often gaining less than many of the growth charts say they should” (Lim. P). Up until 6 months breastfeeding provides my baby with a perfect balance of easily digestible proteins, fats and vitamins. If I were to begin feeding my baby solids too early the food would displace a certain volume of nutrient-dense breastmilk from my baby’s diet. Feeding my baby solid food early will not increase my baby’s overall growth. (Direct the health professional to this Le Leche League factsheet).

Argument: "Let's pump to see how much milk you're making."

Comeback: A breastpump cannot be used to gauge the effectiveness of my milk supply. Most mothers do not let down well with the breastpump - it is hard, cold and mechanical, and will give me none of the stimulus that my warm, living baby does. Commonly a mum will spend 30 minutes attached to a breastpump and obtain a measly 3oz for her troubles. Babies obtain much more.

Argument: “You’ve got inverted nipples so you will need to use a nipple shield if you insist on breastfeeding”.

Comeback: Babies do not breastfeed on nipples, they breastfeed on the breast. The shape of my nipples is not important. As far as my baby is concerned, it is highly unlikely that she will ever meet or feed from another pair of breasts and, to her, my breasts are just perfect. Once feeding well, my baby’s sucking action can and will draw out flat and inverted nipples. If I use nipple shields, my baby may not able to compress my areola properly, which can lead to long-term milk production problems and increased nipple soreness and damage (Direct the health professional to this article).

Argument: “Breastfeeding twins will be too difficult to manage. Here's some formula”.

Comeback: Breastfeeding twins is easier than bottle feeding twins. A mother will require four hands to bottlefeed twins simultaneously. Not so with breastfeeding. Also, because twins tend to be born prematurely, they especially benefit from the nutritional composition of breastmilk.

Argument: “Premature babies need to learn to take bottles before they can start breastfeeding”.

Comeback: Premature babies are less stressed by breastfeeding than by bottle feeding.  In fact, weight or gestational age do not matter as much as the baby's readiness to suck, as determined by his making sucking movements.  There is no more reason to give bottles to premature babies than to full term babies.  When supplementation is truly required there are ways to supplement without using artificial nipples.


Ignorant members of the public:

Argument: “You shouldn’t breastfeed in public; you may offend men or arouse them.”

Comeback: Many men are simply curious about female breasts and breastfeeding since society has made it a taboo. It is well known that if you make a taboo available and expose it, then it gradually loses its attractiveness. At a certain time woman's ankle was a fetish - today men are not turned on by seeing women’s ankles. Covering up makes it ‘something forbidden’, which produces feelings of curiosity (Female Intelligence Agency). Besides, men are not primitive animals who become overcome with lust at the sight of women’s skin, no matter what FHM and Nuts may suggest. Such assumptions are an affront to men.

Argument: “You shouldn’t do that in public; children could see.”

Comeback:   Yes children could see. When they go to a zoo, or a farm, or have pets in their homes should their parents make sure they never see animals nursing to avoid scarring them? Mammals nurse their young. Humans are mammals. “Nursing in public is one of the best things a breastfeeding mother can do for society as a whole - not just to give her own child a healthy start, but to give other people's children the opportunity to see mothering and nurturance at the breast as normal, healthy, and enjoyable” (Nursing Freedom).

Argument: “Breastfeeding mothers are exhibitionists; why can’t they just feed their baby before they leave home?”

Comeback: Contrary to what trash Gina Ford makes her living spouting, babies are not aware of the clock. They cannot time their hunger around the convenience of their parents.

Argument: “OK well why can’t they just pump milk and give it in a bottle whilst they’re in public?”

Comeback: Expressing breastmilk is tedious and can reduce supply as well as risking nipple confusion. Also some mothers who have perfectly good breastmilk supplies cannot express much milk, even with the most modern of breastpumps.

Argument: “Yes, breastfeeding is a natural bodily function vital for survival. So is taking a dump. But we don’t rant on about people’s right to do THAT in public.”

Comeback: The fantastic Analytical Armadillo has fashioned an appropriate response here.

Argument: “After a certain point, the breastfeeding relationship is more for the mother than the child.”

Comeback: There's no denying that breastfeeding provides emotional and physical benefits to a mother as well as a child. To continue to nurse an older baby and hate it tends to become martyrdom - a poor basis for any family relationship (Bumgarner. N). Besides, if there weren't anything in the relationship for the child (comfort, nourishment), he simply wouldn't nurse (La Leche League).

Argument: “If you breastfeed for too long, you will give your child breast fixation issues”.

Comeback: There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that children who are breastfed for extended periods develop Oedipus complexes, become gay or develop an abnormal fixation with breasts. If that were the case, then a huge proportion of the world's population would fall into these categories, thereby redefining the parameters of ‘normal’ (Mothers Over 40).


Thus concludes my whistle-stop tour of infant feeding warfare. I hope I have covered the most prevalent arguments that persistently crop up in the life of the breastfeeding mother.

81 comments:

Andrea said...

Thank you! This is an awesome blog post. It's amazing how many of the arguments I have heard.

Happy Homemaker said...

As usual, I totally agree with you! Love it!

Sarah said...

Brilliant! As someone who is breastfeeding an almost 15 month old, i am frequently made to feel like i am weird and have to defend my decision.

aggie said...

Why do most pro breastfeeders associate it with things that are not essential to breastfeeding, thereby alienating others? I have successfully breastfed 2 children beyond 12 months, but didn't co-sleep, did use a dummy and did have a routine for my babies. My routine allowed for developmental age so didn't start at 4 hours. I often feel that some women are put off breastfeeding because other mothers make them feel that in order to "do it properly" they should babywear, co-sleep, nurse whenever baby fusses and do it til the child starts school!

Alpha Parent said...

I've tried to include a range of breastfeeding experiences in this piece. Whilst co-sleeping and avoiding dummy use are not essential to successful breastfeeding, they help a great deal.

Josie Hill said...

Thanks, reading this is giving me confidence to breastfeed for as long as possible.
I only wish more women could read this and I only wish I had had more support with my first baby to carry on breastfeedingafter I got PND. Instead I was told by the doctor that breastfeeding for nearly five months was long enough and I should look after my own mental health. I feel that if I had had more support earlier on from friends, family, health professionals then I may have been able to carry on.
Anyway, I am now happily breastfeeding a 9 week old and loving it, knowing that he is healthy, happy and emotionally close to me. (He always grins half way through a feed as if to day, thanks mum!)

Angie said...

I'm getting ready to take Science of Nutrition and an Anatomy course that will cover reproduction. I expect there to be breastfeeding discussions in one or both of these. Can I use your information - properly cited, of course - if I am to write a paper on this issue? Thank you for such a well-written article!

buffyanne said...

Wow! How incredibly insulting to those of us who struggled and fought to continue breastfeeding and simply couldn't.

It truly makes me sad to how narrow-minded you are. Apparently my daughter will be uneducated, unhealthy and apparently unloved, as I could only breastfeed for three months.

What's truly unfortunate, I really wish that all women can and will breastfeed. On the same token, I also wish that breastfeeding women can be as compassionate towards formula-feeding mothers as we are expected to be toward you.

sherri said...

awesome! thanks for posting this. hopefully this will give mums the ammo they need to fight this battle.

birthing411.com said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this article! I shared it on my FB Page to keep spreading the word!

I just recently heard this warning from a nanny who experienced this with one of her clients, "Don't nurse your son till he's 2 or you'll end up with a codependent relationship!"--Don't worry, I told her what B.S. that assumption was.

Still nursing my 15 month old (while pregnant) and won't stop till he wants to!

Jessica E said...

Very in-depth and well-written. This was a wonderful article. I recently wrote something a bit similar about this, but it was more about breastfeeding in public. I would love it if read my article too. Let me know if you are interested in reading it and I will give you the link!

Jessica

Vanessa said...

Wow. I guess the fact that I had to discontinue breastfeeding in order have cancer treatment when my son was 2.5 months old means that he will be unhealthy and stupid.

You really need to get over yourself.

Patti said...

I believe the article addressed particular questions, not an over-all plan for bf. Schedule worked for you, might not for another mom. Should she then be made to switch to formula to "regulate" her child's schedule? The idea is that you fit the bf to the child however suits you both best. Of my five, I have co-slept, not co-slept; worn, not worn. They are all soooo different. Even amongst the 5, I cannot find enough similarities to compare them any more than I could compare snowflakes :)

Patti said...

After seeing the "Today Show" poll on Facebook about breastfeeding on Sesame Street, I just couldn't resist sharing the link to this blog. Some of the comments were exactly the arguments presented in this well-written article. Thanks for covering so many topics that come up! At one point or another, I have had to listen to possible every one of these same arguments :)It is especially hard when it is your first, but my husband was sooo supportive and often stood up for me.

kimheartsofia said...

words cannot describe how much I love this..

To those women who say that they couldn't carry on so how dare anyone say anything good about breastfeeding, let me quote this very article...

" A few weeks of breastfeeding are far better than none at all. Even breastfeeding for a few days has immense benefits. Colostrum provides not only perfect nutrition tailored to the needs of the individual newborn, but also large amounts of living cells which will defend the baby against many harmful agents."

So Vannessa and buffyanne, you did good for your babies, and you contributed to their high IQs and good health.

kimheartsofia said...

I'm sorry, but where have formula feeding mothers ever been expected to be respectful towards those who breastfeed? Have you ever seen a debate on the matter? BFers are expected to never ever make FFers feel guilty EVER, yet FFers can compare breastfeeding to defacating in public? How is that compassionate?
Breastfeeding women are never allowed to have pride in their accomplishments without being accused of victimising other women.

Holly said...

Great article.

I did not manage to breastfeed my first child past the first few weeks; I pretty much fell at one of the first hurdles.

I am still breastfeeding my second child (now 13 months).

I did not read this and hear "My oldest child will be unhealthy and stupid" or whatever anybody else took this to mean. It always baffles me what little grasp the average member of the general public seems to have of statistics.

I did not find one piece of this article offensive - and I can get very defensive over my kids if a situation really calls for it. But this didn't. People read what they want to read, and as long as people continue stating the facts about breastfeeding, there will always be people taking offence from it because they haven't dealt with their own guilt.

And to all those here who very clearly do have guilt for not breastfeeding much or at all and as a result find themselves getting so very defensive when somebody spends time stating facts like this: if you tried your best, or had to give up because of something out of your control, then you have nothing to feel guilty for. I know, I went through a guilt-and-grieving process over the loss of breastfeeding my first child and I know guilt is natural. But breastfeeding alone does not a good mother make, and there is no need to defend your actions because you tried your very best, which is all we can ever do as parents.

The Realist Girl said...

I think it's a shame that some people take pride in being smug about this around mothers like me who wanted nothing more than to breastfeed, but couldn't for whatever reason. I don't see how this article does anything but that. It's really offensive, IMO. You are a better mother and my kids are doomed to be dumber and sicker than yours. That's really a poor way to get a point across, unless that's exactly the point your were trying to make.

IrishRose said...

As a mommy of five that BF until self weaning at three yrs old......I couldn't care less what anyone thinks. My children are happy and healthy as am I.... but it is nice to reconfirm research. Thanks for the Post. Awesome!

Till Next Time.... said...

Facts are facts. Sometimes it's hard to read but it's reality... it's better to just deal with it and move on...It seems like the people who got offended are the ones who don't want to hear the truth because it emotionally hurts them... Sometimes truth hurts and there is nothing you can do about it but just turn a page and keep going. Great article.... Loved its straight forward approach :-)

Kathryn E said...

I agree with Holly 100%. Great article!

justamum said...

Excellent article a lot of brilliant information. I do not mean to cause offense, but I wonder if the way it was presented could have be in a less argumentative manner.

I had twins 10 years ago, my tiny daughter was unable to latch, we spent 3 weeks and 2 days in hospital but were unsuccessful. My son however although we had difficulties in the beginning was able to feed successfully. It broke my heart to be a bottle feeder. I expressed almost full time for the first 4 months (she sometimes had formula in afternoon or evening as my supply would drop then). I also would give formula if out and about as it travels better and I hated throwing away ebm. Then after knocking over a bottle of ebm in the middle of the night, and crying I made the decision just do one ebm feed a day from 4 months up to 6 months. Funnily, at 8 months my daughter would come and blow raspberries on me while her brother feed. Then one day she had a little suck and became a bf until 2 1/2 :-) Interestingly enough my bf son is chubby and my formula fed daughter is slender.

Anyway the reason I share all this is because I did both bottle and breast I find it interesting that bf mothers are so angry in the advocacy of bfing. I remember being angrily attacked in a mothers room where I was bfing my son and formula feeding my daughter. Asking me shy I favouritised one over the other, when I attempted to explain that they were premmie and my daughter was much smaller she sarcastically advised " what only one was premmie?". now I don't know her story perhaps she was suffering pnd and I was her victim. But I tell you I was left shaken by the experience. I am currently bfing my 8 month old son. I know breast is best and I am fortunate that I can feed him. I feed in public, I even have taken him into work and feed him during meetings. I haven't encountered any criticism for bfing, I have for formula feeding. At the end of the day we wre all mothers trying to do our best, education And support is the way to go. Not fighting and hurting. I mean no criticism, and hope you understand what I'm getting at than you for your thorough research.

I have an 8 month old son who I exclusively breast feed

Lisa said...

Argument: “Most of our generation were formula-fed and we are all healthy”.

Comeback: This is untrue. The long-term effects of not being breastfed are only beginning to be understood. Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, obesity, allergies, diabetes and academic performance are all starting to be linked with how we were fed as babies. We have more vision problems, intestinal problems, colds and flu, dental problems, heart problems, and cancer than we need to; And we're a few IQ points lower than we would have been if we had been breastfed.

My Comeback: Have you actually looked at these study you pretend to know? Most of them are flawed and even state that other confounding factors maybe influencing the results. I would also like to point out that breastfeeding rates in the last 20 years have considerable increased (especially in places like Australia) yet so have these issues. If breastfeeding protects against these issues than shouldn’t have we seen a decrease in Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, obesity, allergies, diabetes as we have seen an increase in breastfeeding rates?
Children from the lowest social classes are most likely to eat a poor diet full of processed food
least likely to regularly eat fresh fruit and vegetables most likely to be obese and least likely to be breastfed.
There is a very clear correlation between poor diets in childhood and low family income and education.
There is also a very clear correlation in developed counties between social class and likely hood (and length) of breastfeeding.

Argument: “My formula-fed kid turned out just fine and went to college and university”.

Comeback: Numerous studies have shown that breastfeeding is associated with significantly higher scores for cognitive development than formula feeding (see for example Horwood LJ and Fergusson DM). A difference of at least 3.16 points has been measurable through 15 years. It is important to realise that a child with a genetic potential for an IQ of 150 will probably not notice a 3.4 point deficit. A child with a potential for an IQ of 100 would benefit from 3.4 points. In other words, breastfeeding allows an infant to reach his/her full potential.

My comeback: again, based on flawed studies. These studies didn’t take into account other factors – some as important as parental IQ. Genetics, academic education and other circumstances throughout a child’s 15 years has much more to do with their IQ then how they were fed for the first year of their life.

Argument: “My formula-fed kid has never had an allergy but my friend’s breastfed kid has several allergies, really bad eczema, hives, a bad cough and a low IQ so breastfeeding can’t be that protective” [or insert other personal anecdote here].

Comeback: Anecdotal evidence is not necessarily representative of a “typical” experience. Statistical evidence more accurately determines how typical something is. For example “I know a breastfed baby with eczema” does not disprove the proposition that “breastfeeding significantly reduces a child’s risk of eczema”. A ‘study’ of one, or two, or three or even four, does not negate a collection of studies which look at thousands of cases - as any schoolchild knows, surely? Also, a breastfeeding mother who has a baby with eczema can be virtually certain that her feeding choice did not contribute to the development of eczema. A formula feeding mother cannot be so sure.

My comeback: Colleration does not prove causation – surely any school child knows that. Many of these studies are just a bunch of Anecdotal evidence put together to find the result that the person who commissioned the study wants. I am sure that I could conduct a study which shows that breastfed babies are at more risk of whatever I wanted if that’s what I wanted to prove.

Lisa said...

Argument: "I really wish lactivists would stop implying that people who dont breastfeed do so because they think it's less convenient or as some kind of lifestyle choice".

Comeback: From the UK Department of Health Infant Feeding survey (which involves around 8000 mothers and is done every 5 years): "The most common reason for choosing to breastfeed was that breastfeeding was best for the baby’s health, followed by convenience. The most common reason for choosing to bottle-feed was that it allowed others to feed the baby, followed by a dislike of the “idea” of breastfeeding."

My Comeback: It is this sort of complete misrepresentation of the facts that piss me off. This study which was conducted in 2000 looked into 9492 women’s feeding experiences and their situations. 6834 of those women initiated breastfeeding (those rates are now higher) 2658 of those women didn’t initiate breastfeeding and choose to bottle feed from birth. Out of those 2658 women only 520 ‘diliked the ‘idea’ of breastfeeding.

Beside the fact that the way you put that makes it sound (wrongly) like most women who choose to bottle feed are lazy or don’t like the idea of breastfeeding when in reality most women choose to bottle feed after trying (often really, really hard) to breastfeed and it not working for them for a HUGE range of different reasons (I note that study also said the 90% of women who gave up within 6 weeks would have liked to have breastfed longer) having only 520 women who dislike the idea of breastfeeding out of nearly 10 000 is such a small number I don’t understand the drama about lactivists screaming all the time about these women who dislike breastfeeding. Seriously is 500 in every 10 000 really worth all that time/effort and bulling? Disliking the idea of breastfeeding can also mean many things. Women who are very self conscious, who have body image issues or who have been sexual abused may not like the idea of breastfeeding. Also women who have HIV or other diseases may also not like the idea of breastfeeding (rightly so) For such a small number – who knows why they didn’t like the idea of breastfeeding. This study also showed that low social economics, low income and young aged women were more likely to initiate breastfeeding. Therefore most of these 520 women who did not like the idea of breastfeeding are most likely to be in that group, which could also be a reason for there response.

If you truly want to inform women – don’t feed them bullshit.

Argument: “It’s none of your business how I feed my baby”.

Comeback: To see a whole catalogue of comebacks to this argument, click here.
Yeah – I have seen all that crap based on the flawed studies.

Argument: “Formula and breastmilk are not THAT different”

Comeback: Are you sure? Click here.

My comeback: A really nice piece of propaganda. I am no scientist or nutritionist but my formula tin lists more ingredients then that........

Lisa said...

Argument: “Of course formula is safe; They wouldn’t be allowed to sell it otherwise”.

Comeback: fireworks/cigarettes/stuff packed with e-numbers are sold every day. They are potentially dangerous, as is formula (see here).

My comeback: As is breastmilk/breastfeeding.

Argument: “Well at least I won’t have breasts down to my ankles”.

Comeback: So-called ‘saggy’ breasts are a common consequence of pregnancy, not breastfeeding. During pregnancy, your breasts prepare for lactation, even if you have no intention of breastfeeding – and these changes are sometimes permanent. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy, hereditary factors, age or going bra-less can also result in breasts that are less than firm. Breastfeeding is blame-free.
My comeback: Agreed – that is just stupid. I have never seen anyone say it.....

Argument: "I stopped breastfeeding because I wanted more sleep."

Comeback: Some women introduce formula hoping that if they do so their baby will ‘go longer between feeds’ or ‘sleep through’. Sometimes the first few formula feeds may bring that effect as the baby’s stomach is not accustomed to the tougher composition of the milk. Often the quantity of formula will need to be increased to maintain the effect. This can cause stomach stretching and lead to obesity in later childhood. In some cases, adding formula has no effect on the baby’s sleeping habits and for some it can lead to an upset stomach and greater night time disturbance (Moody et al). Breastfeeding mothers get more sleep and their sleep is of higher quality. A breastfed baby can eat as soon as he is hungry. If co sleeping, that means before the baby even starts to cry. A formula-fed baby has to wait for formula to be prepared and warmed, in the meantime getting more and more distressed and agitated as well as waking others in the household. When breastfeeding, even the mother does not need to wake up fully to nurse her baby. Furthermore, the hormones produced during nursing have a relaxing effect, and the mother is likely to sleep even better when she nurses her baby. Studies have shown that parents of infants who were breastfed in the evening and/or at night slept an average of 40-45 minutes more than parents of infants given formula (Doan et al). Parents of infants given formula at night had more sleep disturbance than parents of infants who were exclusively breast-fed at night. If you wanted more sleep, breastfeeding would have been the way to go.

My comeback: I got more sleep cause my husband did the night feedings.......

Argument: “My boobs were too small to breastfeed”.

Comeback: Even if a woman is flat as a pancake her breasts will be able to do the job they were intended for. It is a myth that women with big breasts will be ‘better’ at breastfeeding. They may have more fatty tissue inside their breasts, but fat does not have a function as far as breastfeeding is concerned. Anatomically speaking, all lactating breasts perform in the same way. In no way does outward appearance affect the production of milk or a mother’s ability to dispense it.

My comeback: Unless you have IGT or hypoplastic breasts.

Lisa said...

Argument: “I couldn’t breastfeed because I was returning to work early”.

Comeback: A few weeks of breastfeeding are far better than none at all. Even breastfeeding for a few days has immense benefits. Colostrum provides not only perfect nutrition tailored to the needs of the individual newborn, but also large amounts of living cells which will defend the baby against many harmful agents. Furthermore with dedication and planning most mothers can work out a system for continuing to breastfeed even after they have returned to work.

My Comback: Yes – that is true and more needs to be done to accommodate pumping mums in the work place. Sometimes though even the most well planned and dedicated work mum can’t continue breastfeeding due to working circumstances and if it is a choice between breastfeeding and living in a cardboard box cause of job loss I know which I would choose.

Argument: “If you looked at a class of primary school children, you wouldn’t be able to tell which were breastfed or formula fed”.

Comeback: If I knew a little more about the children (any allergies, amount of doctors visits in the last 6 months, prevalence of ear infections, obesity, etc) I could make an intelligent guess using statistical likelihood.

My Comback: Bullshit – I would like you to try. That would be a laugh. As I said.... flawed studies.....

Argument: “You have to eat a special diet when breastfeeding because breastmilk doesn’t contain all the vitamins that formula companies add to their milk”.

Comeback: As a breastfeeding mother, I do not need to eat any special foods, neither do I have to avoid certain foods. Unlike formula, all of the vitamins and minerals in my breastmilk are in a form that my baby can easily absorb. This means that even seemingly minute levels of vitamins and minerals in my breastmilk are bioavailable - able to be efficiently utilized by my baby. This is why breastfed babies have less frequent stools as they mature; they literally absorb more of their mother’s milk. Many of the highly concentrated ingredients in manufactured formula are simply excreted from a baby’s body as waste (Rubin. S). As for the assumption that I need a special diet, in the absence of a family history of food allergies, there is no benefit to eliminating foods from my diet.
My Comeback: Unless your baby is allergic to dairy, or other things. Also even the AAP recommend a breastfeeding mother consume vitamin D supplements.




Argument: "I didn’t breastfeed because I wanted my body back".

Comeback: As Analytical Armadillo has pointed out, "instead of using breasts, we've moved on to hands (and bottles, sterilising, making up, cleaning) So more of a body part swap than actually getting anything back then?"
My comeback: OK????
Argument: "You can’t diet and exercise when breastfeeding".

Comeback: There is no reason why a healthy breastfeeding mother cannot consume a sensible calorie-controlled diet for weight loss. Mothers have breastfed successfully through history when food has not been plentiful. This is because a breastfeeding mother more effectively utilizes the food she ingests (Rubin. S). Furthermore, breastfeeding actually aids the process of weight loss. Over time, breastfeeding mothers tend to lose more weight than mothers who do not breastfeed. Moreover, sensible physical exercise does not harm the quality, quantity or taste of breastmilk. It is perfectly safe to breastfeed immediately after exercise.

My Comeback: There are studies which indicate that breastfeeding mother loose less weight then formula feeding mothers – but since those studies are also flawed it would be hypocritical of me to list them.

Lisa said...

Argument: "Breastfeeding means that you have little choice over what you can wear".

Comeback: Breastfeeding does not require any specialised clothing. A breastfeeding mother may simply lift her top. A vest can be placed under her top to conceal her stomach if desired. Also wrap dresses, shirts and any top with buttons are other viable options. Formula feeding dictates a mother's wardrobe to a greater extent than breastfeeding. As formula fed babies are more prone to posseting and reflux, their mother's clothing needs to be changed more frequently.

My comeback: Lol at formula fed babies are more prone to posseting and reflux, their mother's clothing needs to be changed more frequently. Again – the reason that some formula feed babies are formula fed are due to digestion and reflux problems. If you baby is more prone to these problems you are going to be vomited on no matter how you feed them. Since all formula feeding mothers are lazy they probably would sit around in week old clothes anyway.... ;) This is getting alittle desperate – isn’t it??


Argument: “Breastfeeding didn’t work the first time so I'm not going to bother this time”.

Comeback: Even if you had trouble breastfeeding your first baby, research shows that you’ll likely produce more milk and have an easier time breastfeeding the second time around (Murkoff. H).
My comeback: Depending on the circumstances on why breastfeeding didn’t work the first time. If a mum couldn’t breastfeed the first time because of a breast lump making it difficult to breastfeed which turned out to be cancer and she had to have her breasts removed then breastfeeding the second time will probably be more difficult – for example....

Lisa said...

Argument: “Breastfeeding is only best for the baby if it is best for the mum” (otherwise known as: ‘Happy Mum - Happy Baby’).

Comeback: Babies are not automatically happy just because their mothers are which is what this equation implies. A mother who finds breastfeeding inconvenient and so switches to formula could become deliriously happy, and yet her baby, who may develop colic, allergies, and reoccurring illness as a consequence of the formula switch, would be far from happy. Also, look at it from a different angle: babies don't get sad breastmilk when mum is struggling and happy breastmilk when breastfeeding is going well. There is even evidence that breastfed babies whose mums have PND don't have changed EEG (brain wave scans) whereas bottle fed babies whose mums had PND did (they had the same EEGs as adults with depression) so if you do have depression giving up breastfeeding may not make baby happy (Jones. N et al). Furthermore, to state ‘Happy Mum – Happy Baby’ as some sort of 'general truth' is massively undermining and unkind to mothers who choose to continue breastfeeding in the face of pain, fatigue and anxiety. They may experience breastfeeding as not being 'best' for them at all yet continue because they want their baby to avoid disadvantage. Sometimes it's hard for a mother to struggle through in the face of terrible adversity and have other mothers say that she should “give up” because of her physical and mental wellbeing. So whilst “Happy Mum – Happy Baby” sounds supportive and comforting, it is actually a disempowering, negative phrase. We should be empowering mothers to overcome their breastfeeding hurdles.

My Comeback: We should be empowering mothers to do what is truly best for them and their families. I suffered PND with my first because of not being able to breastfed (my baby ended up in hospital due to dehydration – and still I continued to try and breastfeed cause I wanted what was ‘best’ for him. Maybe someone should have told me it was ‘best’ for him to be fed – and to not die.) A mother who starts resenting her baby, herself, who is at the point of wanting to kill her and her child (it happens) because of breastfeeding should not be told to ‘keep going’ and she should be given proper medical advice on her own personal circumstances – that advice might be to “give up” because of her physical and mental wellbeing. A mothers physical and mental well being IS more important to her baby then breastmilk. There is a reason that they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first.......

Argument: “Mothers are inundated with information about breastfeeding. There needs to be more information available about formula feeding”.

Comeback: Yes I agree. While there may be photos of rotten lungs on cigarette packets, and shocking pictures of alcohol-related car accidents on the TV, I've yet to see the risks of formula feeding being portrayed on the tins or TV adverts explaining what those risks actually are. I do think women should be informed - but when people say ‘women should have information about formula feeding’ they tend not to mean ‘risks of formula feeding’. No - this is not permitted. Because that makes women feel bad.

My comeback: No – what makes a women feel bad is when she can’t even get information on what formula is best, how to safely prepare a bottle cause no one really knows and how to lovingly feed her baby a bottle to her baby when she has no other choice. Cigarettes have never been life saving. They serve no purpose. Formula does.
As I have said – the ‘risks’ are disputable so forcing mothers to be guilted into breastfeeding using false ‘facts’ would be a shame.

Women shouldn’t be guilted into breastfeeding – it can be a beautiful, wonderful thing that doesn’t need to be promoted by stupid anti-formula campaigns.


I don’t need to win (I have already won with 3 healthy, beautiful and intelligent babies) and really if all you care about is ‘wining’ then you are already a loser.......

Devina said...

Nursing mom of a 2 week old, 3 year old and 5 year old! Great post!

Siobhan said...

Amazing responses Lisa. Thank you xx

Christy said...

Buffyanne, since when are ff mom's EVER compassionate to breastfeeding mom's. What i see time and time and time again are defensive mom's instead. Maybe you should practice your own advice about showing compassion. I just brought my newborn home last night, after 8 days in NICU, collapsed lung, chest tube, breathing tube, low oxygen levels, her first apgar was a 2, because she was not breathing....she's currently nursing as I type this.

BzeeMom said...

So I guess you don't need the comebacks to all these questions then... Why bother reading??? This article was meant for breast feeding moms who encounter all these arguments, and most times not so politely stated, and feel pressured to stop breast feeding. I guess that was not your problem; or maybe lack of information on one of these was precisely your problem... You would do better to redirect your anger to those who failed to inform you/help you, or those who derailed your efforts, instead of us who are merely trying to help each other.

Brooke Becker said...

I love this! I seem to get the most criticism from the healthy things I do for baby - natural birth, breast feeding, etc.

MrsGiff said...

I wanted to breast feed after hearing all the benefits it could give my baby, and tried for weeks. At one month I stopped trying to exclusively bf and mixed fed till 4 months. I remember crying on my baby's head trying to feed and tried so many different techniques etc to make it work for us both. In the end worried I was going to get pnd my health visitor suggested that I stop feeling guilty and pressurised into bf and give formula. It was the best decision for me! I have to say I continued to feel guilty and defensive whenever I gave a bottle in public. For me I felt pressure from both sides of the debate, but the ff side argues ease, dad feeding etc. what I consider softer issues, bf arguments told me if I didn't bf I would be more likely to get cancer, my baby's speech would be slower, hearing could be affected, intelligence, health, I was going against government guidelines as well as the others, I felt awful - no wonder I cried when I stopped bf - I was told I was damaging my child! As far as I can see breast feeding is great and should be encouraged but not to the detriment of mother's wellbeing.

JoeANDHannah said...

OK. I am a big BF advocate (former LLL leader, talk WIC BF classes, BF three kids), but that "droopy breasts are from pregnancy, not BF" is BS. Pregnancy does a number on everyone, but it is patently absurd to think that my A-cups that ballooned to B-cups for two year time periods on 3 separate occasions didn't lead to the deflated balloons I have now. It is a bad reason not to breastfeed, and if you are that concerned, you can get a boob job when you are done with your baby days, but breastfeeding MOS DEF contributes to some floppy breasts.

Laura said...

I assume dummy is a british word for what I know as a "pacifier". I'm breast feeding child number #4 (2 and 3 were twins) and we did use a pacifier with no interference at all to breastfeeding. In many ways it made breastfeeding a lot easier. We also had zero nipple confusion and when I did need to pump milk and bottlefeed because I'd be away it made it simple (that happened twice in my oldest daughter's first year, slightly more often with my twins and already a few times with my 5 month old). All of my children have been breastfed well beyond a year. (30+ months with my first and 23 months with my twins, they'd have gone longer, but I learned I was pregnant and nursing twins and pregnancy was too risky for an already high risk pregnancy).

Angie said...

This was great information and definitely made me a little more sympathetic to my breastfeeding friends. Unfortunately, for us, breastfeeding won't be an option because we are adopting. I wish I could, but, alas, it is not to be so. We are, however, hoping to have the birth mother pump for the first few weeks so we can provide the benefits of the breastmilk.

I also feel that judgment one way or another is a waste of good kharma. I would hope that die-hard breastfeeders will be understandnig and sympathetic to our particular situation just as I am not going to presume to tell anyone else how to feed their child.

Tangents said...

I busted my tail to provide at the highest, 50% breast milk to my daughter for 9 mos. We had a tongue tie clipped that the pedi and hospital LC didn't even notice. I took domperidone, mother's milk herbs, gatorade, oatmeal, brewer's yeast and drank a ton of water. I had mastitis two times and clogged ducts too often to count. I hired an IBCLC to come to my home three times, at $100 a pop. I retained 30 lbs on my frame and the gatorade increased my blood pressure to an above normal number, even so I continued because it was more important to me to keep my supply up than to tend to my own health at the time. I rented a hospital grade breast pump for the entire time at $60 a month, and I pumped after every feeding, each pump session lasting 30-45 mins. I would nurse her, then bottle feed her, then pump every time she ate. I also am a biology major and fully understand the benefits, etc. I am a HUGE proponent of breast feeding & definitely recommend it when asked, share my struggles and my accomplishments, and express how wonderful the bond was. However, I found this article to be patronizing, condescending, pushy and not at all helpful.

We are all sisters in this world and we should support each other. YES breast is best. However, formula is not exactly last place, it's extremely close to breast milk, differing only in the live cells that formula does not carry, and in how the breast milk components change over time. We do not have any business talking to other mothers in the manner which you have suggested with this post. If someone asks our opinion, we should kindly respond. But to take such a superior stance, this is reprehensible. Your response re: the reason people don't breastfeed was particularly insulting. And remember, I worked my BUTT off to breast feed, more than a lot of people have or would do.

I have found that those nursing mamas who have been the pushiest about their choices have often been the ones with the least obstacles to pass while doing it. We need to treat our sisters better than this. I hope you'll take a closer look at what you posted and consider whether these answers are helpful and supportive or just flouting that one choice is better than the other and makes for a better mother accordingly.

Chavelamomela said...

The information in this article is fantastic, though it's definitely snarky in the delivery.

You touched upon many of the common questions about breastfeeding. Here's another question/misunderstanding about breastfeeding that could be added to your list:

-I need to take medications for my own health. Is that safe while breastfeeding? (similar to:) "It seems like I have to eat perfectly if I am going to breastfeed. If I am eating poorly, Maybe it would be better for my baby to get formula?" (similar to:)"I like to party. If I am breastfeeding, I will have to limit my alcohol intake. I'd rather bottlefeed and not have the worry."

Can you address these?

Cyn said...

I agree.

Cyn said...

Amen!

mackerboo said...

What is interesting to me, is that it does not really seem as though you are interested in mother's making informed choices, as you claim. Instead, you have developed a post specifically designed to "win any argument" and in the process undermine women who are informed, but for their own personal and health reasons have chosen to formula feed. You don't want women to make their own choices, you want them to make the choice that you have deemed the most healthy, the most appropriate. My issue is not that mother's choose to breastfeed (I want each family to make the best choice for them), but that there is now a culture of women who attack other women for their choices--all while espousing the logic of feminism and choice. We should be supporting each other, helping each other learn about all of our options, and making decisions with our doctors. But you don't leave any room for that here, you just claim that it is "fact" that breastfeeding is better than formula and therefore there should be no excuse that mothers should breastfeed--but that ignores a whole slew of social, scientific, and material conditions that impact a mother's decision to breastfeed or not.


Finally, I just have to say, as I have said to others before--I wish that women who play the blame and shame game using scientific studies and expert discourses would get more informed about how science and medicine are not always as objective as they can be, and that there are far more factors at stake in the findings of a scientific study then just that it proves a "fact" to be true. For example, every single one of the scientific studies you have cited here are correlative--this means that these studies are not controlled, and therefore, cannot actually claim a scientific CAUSAL link between breastfeeding and the health benefits you have mentioned. They can certainly point out a significant correlation, but they cannot extrapolate breastfeeding as a factor from all of the other healthy choices and factors that might have contributed to some babies being less at risk for certain things than others.

You claim, rather reductively I think, that personal anecdotes are not sufficient evidence in the face of scientific studies. I find this ridiculous, because the women's health movement in this country, which began blossoming with the Boston Women's Health Collective, was built on the notion that women need to take control of their health decisions away from expert medical and scientific discourses attempting to tell them what to do with their bodies. Everyday experience of real women, facing real issues, and making their own informed choices is the most powerful evidence we have to fight against powerful scientific and industry discourses that have a vested interest in controlling women's bodies. But it seems as though you, in your breastfeeding crusade, have lost site of this. To me, your coercive rhetoric, forceful attitude towards this subject makes you just as much of a culprit in the struggle for women to control their bodies as the propaganda machines formed by the formula companies.

mackerboo said...

Interesting that you claim this is all in the service of responding to nasty comments to you, when most of the"arguments" set forth in the post here (that the FFers would make) are things that have nothing to do with BFers. For example “Breastfeeding didn’t work the first time so I'm not going to bother this time”. -- Thats a FFers right to make that comment, its not attacking someone who BFs. This entire post isnt just about BFers defending themselves, its about justifying your choices by finding ways to force those choices on others. In this sense, this post justifies, I think, all those comments made by FFers that lactivists shame and blame them.

Heather said...

These comments just go to prove what you mentioned in your opening paragraph. Or that people lack reading comprehension, or even that they're too defensive to notice that this entire post is about how to respond to people saying ridiculous things about a woman's choice to breastfeed.

Alpha Parent said...

Indeed Heather. Rest assured I will be responding to the comments when I get a spare moment. Some of them can even be incorporated into the article.

Whitney said...

BOOM! You are the man! Quoting studies that can be skewed whichever way the researcher wants doesn't prove a DAMN thing to anyone. Obviously BFing is healthier than FFing, but articles like this are not the way to convey that.

Biatch.

Manndhb said...

I agree! I loved this article. I a currently breastfeeding my 19 month old and will enjoy giving a more informed response to why I am still breastfeeding!

Marc Jeffreys said...

as a scientist I can say this article is grade A+ pure bs. The only benefit of breast milk that actually withstands statistical analysis is ear infection and the effect goes away after 6 months. IQ, long term health, diabetes, etc--not one study would ever pass a real scientific test . WHy, because the marginal results seen in some studies are plagued by confounding effects such economic status, daycare attendance, and most importantly, first vs third world countries, where in the first few months of life exposure to untreated water can be fatal and antibodies pass through the milk do help initially. The bottle-fed gene ration has emerged as the most successful generation of human history: computer revolution, the medical revolution, the scientific revolution (DNA, human genome, cloning, etc) and continued the tradition of strong works of art and literature. In addition, it also managed to increase the average lifespan. The rates of obesity have nothing to do with formula (please) but everything to do with fast living, fast food restaurants and high continued stress. The writer of this article is ignorant but not innocent. In her arrogance she has also offended many women that have done absolutely nothing wrong but care for their children the best way they could.

Marc Jeffreys said...

does the silly author of this article knows that autism rates have increased almost completely in parallel with the increase in breastfeeding rates in the US? should we then conclude that breastfeeding causes autism?

problem with people like you is that you do not understand that the stats in these studies are laughable and the groups subdivided until one yields a statistically significant value because they can't publish it otherwise....

a scientist...

Hedvig said...

Ugh,please let some humour into your lives..seriously, is it that hard to understand that breastfeeding women have to put up with ALL of these comments every day? it has NOTHING to do with formula feeding, life is hard for all of us.

Christa P said...

I was an ardent breastfeeding advocate. I nursed my first two for 2 years each (tandem pregnancy/infant nursing as well) and loved it.

My 3rd pregnancy ended up being a triplet pregnancy. I assured myself that I could do it. I ended up with severe HELLP, attached to tons of meds & needing blood transfusions to survive. The HOSPITAL still encouraged me to breastfeed. Over the 8 days I was hospitalized I got more and more depressed and angry. I couldn't do it, and I was resentful toward my babies for making me fail.

I wanted to do it so badly, but the day I said SCREW THIS! Was the best day ever. It allowed me to throw in the towel and actually start bonding with my babies.

I am STILL riddled with guilt. What Lactivists need to understand is that sometimes it's NOT the best choice....even if it's biologically the best choice always.

Ender's Mom said...

Ooooohhh...you're a scientist! In that case, you know you should be posting your sources. So let's see some peer-reviewed journal articles that back your claims. Additionally, the logic you use to dismiss breastfeeding is faulty. You're claiming that formula didn't play a part in rising obesity rates...but did play a part in "the most successful generation of human history". There are many factors that play a part in any of these things and correlation does not necessarily mean causation in either case. That being said - breastfeeding rocks! It's the healthiest food for babies and I'm so happy I've been able to breastfeed my little one for as long as I have (six months so far).

CShenny said...

I'm about to embark on the adventures of parenthood, and although I'm sure that I would personally be more comfortable bottle feeding, I understand that the majority of scientific evidence points towards breastfeeding being most beneficial to the child (even though, as a formula fed child out of an immediate and extended family of formula fed college graduates with bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees with extremely healthy BMIs and bills of health, I believe that quite a bit of the information used in FF vs. BF debates is just skewed to support the argument of choice).

My family is comprised of mostly formula feeders, while my husband's family is comprised of mostly breast feeders. Both families are extremely passionate about their choices, and I have been caught in the middle of these debates many times. I was interested in reading this article to become more informed on the choice that my husband and I have made for feeding our daughter-to-be.

Instead of reading this article and finding a source of support from another breastfeeders, along more information to support my choice, I really just felt sad that the information had to be presented in such a snarky manner. Instead of moms trying to "win" arguments over feeding methods, I believe that it is just more important to support each other in this amazing job of motherhood. Instead of looking at a mother breastfeeding, or bottle feeding, in public and judging how she is nourishing her child, I think that giving that mother a smile and maybe an encouraging word, would go a LONG way in gaining acceptance for BOTH sides of the feeding debate.

Nield Family said...

I am astonished at this: here is my story:

There are some people out there - me for example who wanted nothing more than to breastfeed my baby. I went to classes, read books, looked online for tips, bought all kinds of things, and in the end I had to stop when she was about 2.5 months old.

3 weeks before I was born we discovered a lump in one of my breasts and after a couple tests it was decided that they would need to take it out in order to see if it was cancer or not (by the way I was 21 at the time). So after a long labor and a 4th degree tear, I went to sleep that night to go into a surgery the next day. The day following the surgery the area they cut into for the surgery had hemorrhaged, and after talking to the doctors - because I was still wanting to breast feed but it was causing me so much pain they figured the best thing to do was to go back into surgery and make sure everything was ok and clean it out and such.

The day after that I needed a blood transfusion - one of the nurses said I had lost the color in my ears. At this point I had been in the hospital for a total of 5 days, and for the first week after I went home I could barely walk on my own, and I couldn't even pick my daughter up I was so weak, my mom or my husband had to hand her to me. Not to mention other aliments I was going through at the time. Never the less - kept breastfeeding.

Fast forward 2.5 months - I was not healing well at all. I still had many issues and my breast especially because I had been breastfeeding this whole time was not healing well. The doctor said all the nutrients were going to my daughter and if I continued to breastfeed I might not heal for a very long time. ( I had tired to go to the gym at this time, right before the doctors visit and 30 seconds on an elliptical was horrific pain that had me in bed for a day or two). I was also having trouble walking, and had a sore throat for months from the surgeries.

So I stopped, so I could heal so I could take better care me so I could take better care of my baby. Don't think for a second that my daughter is low weight or unhealthy and gets sick a lot. She has always been and still is (3.5 years later) in the higher percentiles and rarely gets sick. I had a friend who only breastfed and her daughter got sick much more than mine did. And also don't think that we have any less of a relationship or are not as close because we didn't continue to breastfeed.

If I ever have another child I will defiantly try again to breastfeed. Just please remember to include something in it for the moms who really tried but couldn't for some reason. I have actually had people tell me I am such a bad mom for stopping so early in my daughters life, until I tell them my story. Then they apologize.

Not that this article was written bad but it made me feel guilty for having to stop and not being able to give my daughter what I really wanted to give her.

Any comeback for this argument?

Shannon said...

I wish blogger had a "like" button for blog comments, because your comment would get one! Thanks for that!

Blog author- she's right. Scientific research does not equal fact. Breastfeeding "arguments" are not rock solid evidence of its superiority over formula. And arguments, winning? This is exactly why the "Mommy Wars" are going on. There are plenty of fully informed (not duped by the formula companies as you'd like to think) women who formula feed. And unlike another of your posts, NO, it is NOT your business how they feed their babies.

Shannon said...

amen, tangents!

Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shannon said...

Wow, Lisa, thanks for all your arguments! I couldn't agree more!!

Erica said...

Actually, you can breastfeed your adopted baby =) You can take herbs and medications and eat foods that promote lactation, and then begin pumping every few hours. You should be able to induce lactation and nurse! I'm not sure of the particulars, but if you find a really good lactation consultant, they should be able to help you! Congratulations!

Brenna Forrey said...

You forgot the "cover up" comments. They drive me nuts, especially since I find nursing uncovered to be even more discreet than nursing covered. I have found that people respond as uncomfortably to a blanket thrown over the shoulder as if they saw a fully bared breast.

As to the "you don't have to whip it out" comment, I have a friend who randomly asks if I'm breastfeeding whenever we're hanging out because he knows babies have to eat a lot, but he can never tell when it happens. So much for having to fully bare a breast in order to nurse without a cover.

My snarky comeback: While we're on the topic, I have to let you know that your eating in front of me is quite offensive. Here's a blanket to put over your head so I don't have to see it. I know it's stuffy, hot, and unpleasant under there, but it's really disgusting to see you chewing. My feelings about the matter are more important than your comfort. You understand, I'm sure.

turtlelady777 said...

How about you get over yourself. No one said that there arn't very good reasons to quit bfing. Formula is there for a reason and should be used as a last resort. You need to use it. You shouldn't feel guilty for that.So dont put your anger at having to quit on us. It is a hard decision and I am sorry you have to. But this is what the artical is all about ppl who feel guilty jumping on us for trying to educate women who are struggling with untruths about Bfing

Julia McAllister said...

I am a formula feeding Mom who STRONGLY supports breastfeeding. How can that be?

Because I didn't have the choice.

My first son was born with grade 4 laryngomalacia. By the time we figured out what was wrong with him (he would not eat), my supply was gone (he was 4 months old)- and he had to be NG tube fed after his surgery.

My second child was born with a heart condition, as well as Trisomy 21. I wanted to breastfeed so badly, it has been all I ever dreamed of for those first few months, just to work at getting that bond.. But he was intubated and having heart surgery. I pumped, but after the second round of mastitis, and my pumping not accomplishing very much, I stopped so I could be with him at the hospital. He had breastmilk for the first two months, and I was happy he did for a while, but so sad it couldn't have lasted longer.

After he recovered from his first surgery, I hoped that I could re-lactate and try again. Unfortunately, he had a severe oral aversion and wouldn't take a binky.

I was so heartbroken that it didn't work out. It made me sick, physically and emotionally. But it didn't.

I advocate for breastfeeding, pumping, and I know it is what is better for our little ones... If it is possible.

Unfortunately, it wasn't for my two kiddos. The first kiddo is healthy as an ox now and 2 years old, eating well and healthy.

Gabe is still recovering from his 3rd heart surgery, but the truth is, I did the best I could.

And that's what being a Mom is about.

The facts are great, but the way they are positioned in this article is almost insulting. Like you are poisoning your child by letting them have formula. No, formula is not 'the best' option. But it is not unethical to use it, the way you made it seem.

I highly recommend adding a little bit of compassion and mature understanding to the article (though I share the view points and the belief that it is better, there is a way to argue without putting people down, and you haven't accomplished that here).

td4 said...

I am pro bf and successfully bf my son through many hurdles (very low milk, mastitis, dr pressures) for 6 months. So yes it is nice to have a few comments up the sleeve when my husbands uncle tells me my next child is to small and needs formula :-/ . BUT this article is offensive, and attacking, to ff. To compare formula to cigarettes and alcohol and talk about the 'risks' is a very purposeful insult. No one denies there are benefits to breastmilk, but to say there should be warnings on formula is like saying there should be warnings on rice because it is not brocolli. I do agree many mothers who soley breastfeed speak as if there child is already outperforming the rest of the world.

Trueblue969 said...

I'm 31 and it's amazing that FF mothers are getting so angry at this...

A generation ago FF mothers looked down their nose at my poor BF mother who could not or would not give her child "good formula". They looked at her like she was taking part in some sort of child abuse.

Hooray for my mother. Natural is better, that's not even arguable anymore.

Katie said...

I am a mom who breast feeds and lives it. However, I think this was offputting and smug as shit.

Steph said...

Well aren't you just a bitter, defensive woman who can't handle her own guilty feelings! Why are you on a breastfeeding blog? And why would you discount the benefits of breastmilk/risks of formula? You are a sad woman. You're so entitled, you'll seek any negative information about breastfeeding to help you cope with your guilt, and in so doing, try to sway other mothers from giving their babies the best nutrition. What a despicable, disgusting thing to do. Go to a formula blog where there won't be facts that hurt your feelings.

Steph said...

If those women are fully informed and not duped by the formula companies, then they are selfish. Anyone who is aware of the risks of formula and *chooses* to feed it to their baby anyway, does not have the baby's best interests in mind.
Furthermore, did you even read the post about why it's everyone's business? Apparently not, because there is no way you could argue with it. Are you really that self-cemtered, to think that your choices only affect you? How sad.

frugalmuslimahmama said...

Please add in the health professionals bit all the misconceptions about jaundice meaning the baby is not getting enough breastmilk and needs formula to flush it out. While there may be a few cases like this the majority of cases of jaundice in a breastfed baby are not due to poor intake. In both mine and my husband's family, jaundice is a hereditary problem and giving formula either makes no difference or in some cases can even prolong the jaundice further by kicking in a rebound effect.

Katie said...

Actually, the increase in Autism is linked to women waiting longer in life to have children.
http://articles.cnn.com/2010-02-08/health/autism.mother.age.risks_1_autism-risk-autism-research-autism-rates?_s=PM:HEALTH

Brianna Blackburn said...

It was the best decision for YOU! Wow- selfish .

melonieanne said...

So many comments so many points...missed. I think that her "snarky" responses are no more "snarky" than the common comments that are given to breastfeeding moms. It almost requires a sort of " Yes, I know what I'm doing". It's hard to know what to say when people feel the need to express to you all the reasons why you SHOULDN'T be breastfeeding at all/anymore/whatever. When you hear the same ANTI-BFing comments (emphasis on anti) time and time again, it makes you feel as if you have to defend yourself, so here is some ammunition. It's nice to feel that if people chose to deny your personal choice as a good one and make it their business (baffling), that you can at least provide them with some supporting information to attempt to make your case (doesn't that suck?). The comments above are evidence of this need. No one is attacking mothers...comments in the article clearly state that some is better than none and no one said to ban formula. If you want to be pissed off by the comments, fine; don't BF your baby, but let me BF mine without the scrutiny. I BF'ed my first for only 2 weeks, my second for 6 weeks and my 3 & 4th are 13 mo old, happily bf'ing twins. If wish that this article made women feel more confident GOING FORWARD. Why waste time talking about what you did when you couldn't BF in the past. That's not what this is about. This is about women who are scrutinized and misinformed and want to feel empowered by facts in an unnecessary battle between bf'ers and ff'ers. Don't BF your kid if you can't, if you don't want to, if they can't, whatever it is...that's your choice. If you think the article is crap, move on. Feel good about your personal choices. When I think about all the reasons I didn't bf my first two longer, I feel sad. I feel like I was misinformed and bullied. I don't feel that way anymore and I truly hope that if nothing else, women feel more empowered by information. That's how I became better at bf'ing...not a better mother. I am the same mom to all of my children, I am just a more informed mother now than I was then.

Ashley said...

This is one of the most judgmental, smug article I have seen on the topic. Seriously, shut the hell up.

Sara said...

I agree, Lisa. Thank you. It was the same for me and my son...I believed I was producing milk even if the breast pump said differently. A month later, my son dropped way below the 1st percentile and started experiencing various health issues. Even my lactation consultant pushed for formula at this point, and I was so wracked with guilt and feelings of failure, I had to go into therapy. I tried herbal supplements, domperidone, and rented a hospital-grade breast pump and nothing worked to increase my supply. I conceded to formula at the 8 month mark after months of pumping every hour and half, sore nipples, spending $200/month on domperidone and other supplements, and waking up 4-5 times a night to nurse only to get up the next morning to go to my fulltime job and take care of my two other children. I had made peace with my decision until I read this article which made me feel like crap. Why am I at a breastfeeding blog? Because I stumbled upon it. But believe me, now that I feel like I'm a terrible mother whose children are eventually going to be unhealthy and stupid, I wish I hadn't.

stephany money said...

Actually, alphaparent did specifically say there was no good reason not to breast feed. An incredibly narrow minded and offensive comment to make. She also had a rebuttal for the "argument" (more like ff defense) that no one should tell a woman how to feed her baby. She literally came up with a reason why we can and should tell women how to feed. I see that as no different than telling a women she doesn't have the right to contraceptives or abortion.

Mrs.Haggie810 said...

How ignorant to compare feeding options to contraceptives or abortilon! I DON'T think a woman should have the right to end a LIFE that is not hers unless there are extenuating circumstances...that's MURDER...and I don't think bfing or ffing should be a CHOICE...BFing is the way babies are SUPPOSED to be fed and they should only NOT be fed that way if there is a medical reason that they can't...not because mom thinks breastfeeding if gross, or that boobs are for sex, or because mom wants to be able to drink again which are seriously the MAJORITY of the excuses I get from mom's who FF.

Emma Cracknell said...

All these comments! Wow! Such diverse thoughts and feelings. And here I am thinking that this article was just a few handy things to say to someone who challenged a mother's breastfeeding relationship with her child. Nothing more. Unless you're a mother who is being challenged, then surely this article will be of no interest to you? It's interesting how strongly some people feel about feeding babies the biologically normal way. Understandably there is need for healthy debate, although I'm not sure how toying with the health of children globally is debateable?

Courtney Ferren said...

Uh...Wow...I actually LOL'd and almost woke my daughter. You sound very bitter about breastfeeding, I think that's the underlying issue here. Do you know the number of ingrediants in breastmilk? Do you know what they are? The reason they are asked to supplement Vitamin D is because the human body has a hard time absorbing Vitamin D and you can never get too much of it, especially in the Winter! Even as adults we're told to intake extra Vitamin D, breastfeeding or not. Oh, and you get more sleep because your husband wakes up at night? What does that have to do with anything? What about bottle feeding Mother's whose husbands are deployed or work midnights? The whole point is that this is a factual generalization, whereas you are using it as something personal. Get. Over. Yourself. And yes, of course about the IGT or hypoplastic breasts but why even bring that up? All you did was bring up some of the 2% of women who literally cannot produce milk due to physical issues. The fact she was stating was for breastfeeders like me (AA Cup) who are still able to produce more than enough for their children. Where are you getting YOUR facts from? Breastfeeding burns up to 1000 extra calories a day (usually around 670 for the average feeder but sometimes much more)! That's why breastfeeders lose weight FASTER than formula feeding Mother's and healthily. I was 95lbs pre pregnancy, gained 45 lbs and am now 83lbs. I am healthy as a horse. Breastfeeding caused me to lose 10lbs of my original weight, but the Doctor's all say I'm healthy. And guess what! I'm still producing loads of milk for my 10 month old daughter. Wait. Wait. Wait. Formula fed babies are formula fed due to digestion and reflux problems? Uhm. What? Breastfeeding greatly reduces the chances of acid reflux and digestive issues. And I don't know where you get the lazy insult from, after the first three months breastfeeding has proven to be the 'lazier' way to feed your child. Trust me. It is. It took me 10 minutes to prepare a bottle for my nephew but if it were my daughter I would have been done feeding her in that time!! Talk about laziness on my behalf ;)

Did you honestly just end your speel by saying "guilted into breastfeeding"? You should never feel guilted into breastfeeding, you should feel BLESSED if you are of that 98% that CAN and if you're not, why not get donated milk? Nothing wrong with that! Then we are all equal, nobody is better than the other.

You sound extremely resentful for being a formula feeder or else you wouldn't have taken all that time and effort to bash all these points. There is something personal you have to deal with there. Also, please show me the "facts" of your "flawed studies" I would love to see them!

c006c002-daa2-11e3-b67f-000bcdca4d7a said...

Um many women who supplement with formula do so because they have a real medical condition that prevents them from providing enough milk for their babies. My twins were literally starving even though they were fed almost constantly the first 8 weeks because I was given so much guilt and misinformation by people like you. Now they are healthy happy beautiful children because I supplement. Why would anyone choose the massive expense of formula over breastfeeding? I just don't see this massive group of women who don't feed out of vanity or misinformation. All you are doing is abusing the unfortunate.

Kelli Keith said...

Lol it's hilarious about the few people that feel "insulted by this article". It proves your point exactly - “Please mothers. Inform yourselves about the risks of formula. Stop blaming women who promote breastfeeding for trying to make you feel guilty, and target your anger towards the formula companies that have lied to you, or the health professionals that undermined your instincts.”

Seph Frankis Henri said...

You forgot one of the most important arguments. I had three members of my family who were medically unable to breastfeed for three different reasons. The reasons were not outwardly apparent (i.e. the breasts and nipples were intact), so soi-disant "lactivists" felt free to criticize them. Quite frankly, their constituent medical histories are none of these people's business and they do not owe anyone an explanation. Next time someone gives you one of the above explanations, stop and ask yourself whether that is the real reason and whether it is any of your business to begin with.

sharminator said...

Thank you Lisa, for taking the time to argue against each of these 'comebacks' and show the absolute frailty in each of them. The more I read this article, the more and more my mouth dropped open in disbelief. Are you seriously making this issue into a petty argument to be won or lost? This article has taken the serious issue of how a mother chooses to feed her baby and reduced it to a list of 'comebacks' that are fit for the nether regions of the YouTube comment section. As an adoptive mother whose only choice was to bottlefeed, I find this article incredibly shallow, DEEPLY shaming lacking ANY good scientific backing and only adding unneeded divisiveness between mothers who are just trying to do their best in nourishing their babies. If I were weaker minded, I would have walked away from this article with nothing but fear for all the harm I am causing my adopted child for bottle feeding them. And its just. not true. I'm kind of shocked you're putting this out there. This is a shaming. mean spirited article and I'm sad I stumbled across it. Mothers, do the best you can, and let's try to stop judging each other and support each other as best we can. Geez.

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