July 3, 2013 1

I’m a Breastfeeding Activist Who Hates the Word Lactivist

By in activism, breastfeeding

Would you take advice from someone like this? Image via eVo photo/Flickr

You know how breastmilk is awesome? Amazing? Disease-curing magic stuff? Yeah. Me too. It’s like finding a new religion — suddenly you see the light! You have this knowledge that you want to share with EVERYONE and you think it’s so perfectly logical that everyone should agree with you, since hey, it’s the truth, right? So you tell everyone you can, and are dismayed when people don’t agree.

Well, lactivism can be a lot like that — like being a born-again religious person. The problem is, it can be just as problematic, and set terrible perceptions for others of the more calm people who share without shoving things down peoples’ throats.

I started out on CafeMom in a group called “Breastfeeding Moms Against Formula (except for medical use).” We eventually got so sick of people coming in who formula fed who got offended that we made a private group just called “Moms Against Formula.” Yeah, seriously. We were mostly new moms, who were breastfeeding, and so insanely gung-ho about it that we really lacked tolerance, and especially understanding, of formula use.

Before you hate me, let me continue… I had one friend who herself was an LLL Leader, breastfed two kids… who suddenly could not nurse her third for a multiple of reasons, from the child’s physical problems, to her own mental health. She was losing it, spending way too much money on donor milk, and even I tried to bust my ass to pump so she could have milk. Eventually, she came to her senses and got formula for him. And wanna know something? Not a single one of us judged her, the ladies from the “Moms Against Formula” group. She was our friend, who was dangerously struggling and killing herself, her family, her sanity, and her bank account trying to never touch formula.

I had another friend who was trying to work fulltime, nurse twins exclusively and pump, who at one point told me she’d been lying to me for two months about having to supplement with formula because she was so upset. Rather than try to troubleshoot with her the millions of things she already knew and had already tried, guess what? I felt like crap about myself. I felt terrible that a friend of mine was so ashamed of herself, and also concerned about my reaction, that she didn’t want to tell me the truth. She’s my friend, I know she tried hard, I’d never judge her!

I even had a friend who lived with me when she had a baby who chose to HIDE formula from me. What kind of awful person was I that people didn’t even want me to know when they were formula-feeding, for fear of how I’d react? I was a Born-Again Lactivist, that’s what.

Those events, plus my increased involvement with people like Amy West and the Best for Babes Organization, made me realize I was a big part of the problem. I was the bitch who was making women feel like crap, who was creating these idiotic “Mommy Wars” and also, just a terrible advocate and friend. What I learned from my friends was compassion. They all had unique stories about why they couldn’t nurse for a month, a year, exclusively, etc. and I didn’t judge them because I knew their stories. But I realized I don’t NEED to know everyone’s personal lives and reasons and efforts to have compassion for them. I just needed to be a good activist, NOT a Lactivist, and extend that compassion to everyone I spoke with. It doesn’t matter their reasons, whether they fell victim to many of society’s Booby Traps, like a misinformed mother in law or doctor, or a crappy pediatrician, or whatever, who was I to judge? If they wanted help, I’d help. If they didn’t, it’s none of my business!

I once believed I couldn’t be a good breastfeeding activist unless I pushed and pushed and explained all the things someone could do or should have done or where they were wrong — until I finally realized all that did was make people shy away from getting future help. Just like I talk about with car seats and trying to help people, if you’re horrible to someone, they may shut down to any help in the future. Or maybe they already had someone be horrible to them about the topic and they don’t want to even talk about it anymore for fear of getting burned. It’s not my life, it’s not my baby, it’s not my story — it’s theirs.

Now, if we can just help some people who are still so set that they’re being “helpful” by being pushy just calm down and extend compassion and realize the real fight isn’t with individual women, but with society and all the roadblocks women have in place, maybe we can make real progress. After all, breastfeeding really is, honestly, very very important. But for now, I’m just going to keep apologizing for all the people who are currently exhibiting the Fervor of the Born-Again.

I’m sorry folks, we’re not all like that, and we often outgrow it and get back to our senses.

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September 19, 2012 6

Your Car Seat Install Is Probably Wrong — Yes, Even If You’re Using the LATCH

By in car seats, education, news & politics, safety

It’s Child Passenger Safety Week, which means, SURPRISE! We’re talking about car seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made lots of awesome graphics that show one scary fact: Most people think their car seats are used correctly… but they’re wrong. And in this case, wrong can mean deadly wrong.

The Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system that has become standard on car seats is supposed to be an easier method for installation than the belts (though neither are safer than the other), but a new study by AAA has found that unfortunately even with the simplified system, 3 out of 4 people are still using the LATCH wrong. In fact, in a IIHS survey, only 13% of volunteer parents were able to correctly install the seat using LATCH! Yikes!

Picture credit: Emma Douglas, CPST

So, here are the top 3 mistakes people make with the LATCH:

Using LATCH where you’re not supposed to.
A problem a lot of us have with many cars is that despite the middle being safest, very few vehicles actually allow the LATCH to be used in the middle position. In fact, AAA reports that of 2010-2011 model cars, only 7 of the top selling 98 vehicles allowed it! So as always, make sure you read your manual. Not just the car seat’s, but your car’s too!  If your car doesn’t allow it, use the belt for a center install if you can, or have a Safe Kids Certified Technician show you how.

Using the LATCH and the seatbelt.
It’s one or the other people. Never use both. It doesn’t make it safer — in fact, using both the seatbelt and the LATCH can distribute crash forces unevenly on the seat and risk more injury to your kiddo.

Using the wrong belt path.
Make sure you look carefully at your seat, and the manual, to make sure you’re using the REAR-facing belt path when the seat is rear-facing, and the FORWARD-facing belt path when it’s forward facing. They make a big difference in the safety of your installation. Make sure when you switch from rear-facing to forward-facing that you make any necessary changes to not only your installation, but the seat itself, such as flipping a recline block or only using certain harness slots.

Another scary thing they found? Parents, well-intentioned parents, are using things such as zip-ties, bungee cords, plywood and even shoelaces to secure car seats. Look… just because it’s tied down doesn’t make it safe. Not only is your rigged system likely to break, but if it comes loose, it poses a hazard not only to your baby, but to every single person in the car. Use the LATCH or car’s seat belt ONLY. Never come up with your own system. There are many private and government programs in place to help you get a safe car seat if you need one. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when it comes to protecting your child’s life.

But again, it really comes down to this… READ your car seat manual. Not just the page that shows the installation you’re doing, but the whole thing. There are tips and rules throughout it, and you don’t want to miss important steps, because that’s how kids end up getting hurt. Also, even if you think your installation is perfect, take your seat to a Safe Kids Certified Technician and have them check it out. It’s a quick check, it’s free, and it could mean the difference between life and death for your child!

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September 14, 2012 2

The Problem with Mainstream Media and Breastfeeding

By in breastfeeding, celebrities & pop culture, mom stuff, natural parenting

The honest articles like this are out there... they're just not nearly popular enough. (Pathways to Family Wellness)

Breastfeeding advocates can’t help it — when we see that a popular show or magazine is looking to discuss full-term (or extended, as they always say… or extreme) breastfeeding, we can’t help but get our hopes up a little, hoping it goes well and is beneficial to the cause. But we also wince, cringe, and hold our breath… and generally are let down by sensationalism.

My appearance on Good Morning America was pretty awesome. The reporter I spoke to and his crew were very kind, pleasant, the discussion wasn’t pushy attempts to trap me. It went well. Now, this wasn’t about breastfeeding, but coffee as an ADD/ADHD med, but still. I knew they’d have experts talking against me. The cutting room floor must look like a dump, though, for basically everything I said was left there, and the edited in commentary was purposefully designed to then use my soundbites to attempt to make me sound uneducated. I wasn’t surprised though, and fortunately, I got almost nothing but support for my side.

Later, I received phone calls from two other networks, wanting to speak to me about breastfeeding. Both times, I was asked plenty of questions about my life outside breastfeeding, with the goal obviously being to see if I was just “extreme” or unusual all around. Both times I was turned down for not being extreme enough. Recently, a talk show doing a segment on “Extreme Parenting” talked to me as well, and I was asked questions about if I used doctors or home remedies, if I homeschooled, vaccinated, if other people felt I was weird… and again turned down for not being “controversial” enough. They spoke to friends of mine as well, and one was told they didn’t want experts or anyone educated, and another was told there wasn’t enough controversy in her life for the show.

Hang on a sec… I thought you were looking for someone who breastfed, media? Who breastfed a toddler? Myself and these women all fit the bill. Let’s just be honest and say what these shows wanted was not an accurate portrayal of the common nursing mom — they want someone who can’t stand up for themselves, who looks like an extremist in every aspect of their lives, so that they can continue the false notion that “normal people” don’t nurse toddlers. This is a big problem.

Even shows designed to be fair, to come off like they’re really truly about helping people, have done this, and are mentioned (without names) above. If you saw Dr. Sears on The View, you saw how he tried to be polite and respectful, and they just talked over him, interrupted him, and laughed, being incredibly rude and not giving him a chance to finish a single sentence, much less actually answer their questions or god forbid, educate them. Then there is this woman’s experience with the Dr. Phil show recently. They made damn sure she was put in a position where it was guaranteed to be dramatic and negative towards her. It makes advocacy and education so much harder that all media wants to show when it comes to full-term nursing is people they feel like they can paint to be very unrelatable to the average mom. They don’t want you to know that the bank teller in her nice business clothes and pretty curled hair could be nursing a 4 year old. They want you to think it’s the hippie with dreads protesting Monsanto outside the grocery store is the only type of person who could possibly be nursing a toddler, or *gasp* a preschooler. It’s this perpetuated myth that keeps so many full-term nursers in the closet about it — society has made a point to paint us as outcasts or weirdos if we decide to follow the biological norm and let our kids self-wean.

Jamie Grumet, the mom from the TIME magazine cover, was so dismayed with the photo they chose, and the angle which they painted her story as well. I’m sure you all remember the incredibly aggressive headline “Are You Mom Enough?” that is guaranteed to make people think, in conjunction with the almost combative photo they chose, that women think they’re better than you for breastfeeding longer. She fortunately has landed a new cover of Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, that took beautiful photos of a close, bonded family, and talked about what life for Jamie is REALLY like. They even quoted anthropologists and medical professionals who discussed how it’s a perfectly normal thing to do.

But of course, that’s not what gets the ratings.

How, as advocates, educators, and even just normal moms, can we fight against the mainstream media’s fascination with painting us all like psychos? Like bullies, or women with major superiority complexes? Obviously, we have to make sure we’re not those things, but beyond that, how do you show your true colors through the excessive amounts of toxic lies that society keeps painting you with? That’s what we’ve got to figure out.

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July 30, 2012 1

Mayor Bloomberg is Taking Away Bottles — Say What? Here’s What It’s Really About

By in birth, breastfeeding, diet & nutrition, health & medicine

Yikes. After the announcement came out that Mayor Bloomberg had plans for a proposal to make changes to how formula is offered in hospitals came out, some amazing headlines popped up:

Should Baby Formula Be Hidden In Hospitals To Force Moms To Breastfeed? Mayor Bloomberg Says Yes


Bloomberg Implements Program to Make New Mothers Breast Feed

New York Mayor Bloomberg wants to HIDE baby formula in hospitals to put pressure on new mothers to breastfeed

Bloomberg’s Locking Up Formula Shows “My Body, My Choice” a Myth

Wet Nurse Bloomberg Wants Hospitals To Lock Up Formula To Encourage Breast Feeding

With headlines like that, it’s no wonder that people are freaking out, talking about how mothers have a right to choose what they feed their babies, and getting angry. I’ve seen a lot of discussions going around about this initiative. A New York Post article states:

With each bottle a mother requests and receives, she’ll also get a talking-to. Staffers will explain why she should offer the breast instead.

Lectures? With every single bottle? Wouldn’t that be awful?  I agree, getting a lecture every time your baby wanted to eat would be tiresome and disrespectful of the mother’s choice.

So, let’s look at the reality of this proposition, first off, addressing the concern above.

What do we tell our staff to do when mothers (families) request infant formula?
While breastfeeding is healthier for both mothers and babies, staff must respect a mother’s infant feeding choice. Educating mothers and families about breastfeeding and providing encouragement and support, both prenatally and after birth, is the best way to ensure breastfeeding success in your hospital.
While in the hospital your staff can:
• Assess if breastfeeding is going well and encourage the mother to keep trying.
• Provide education and support to mothers who are experiencing difficulties.
• If the mother still insists on receiving formula, document it in the chart along with the
reason and distribute only the amount of formula needed for the feeding.
• Train staff in breastfeeding support (CLC, IBCLC) who can be available to assist new
mothers at all times regardless of day, night or weekends.

Huh. See, let’s look at that carefully. Unlike all the articles saying “a lecture with each bottle”, the proposition says nothing of the sort, and in fact says you must respect a mother’s choice, and that for those who want to breastfeeding, they should be encouraged and have help provided at all times. It’s also worth pointing out that it is specifically addressed that “free formula” means formula for a mother who has no medical indications that she she is unable to breastfeed. So moms with medical issues? It’s okay hun, they did think about you and see your formula as a necessary medical cost, not a freebie. It does say, “When the decision to supplement is not medically indicated, efforts to educate the mother should be documented as well by the nursing and/or medical staff.” So yes, they may say something to you if you choose to use formula, but by no means is it indicated anywhere that you should receive a lecture with each bottle.

As medical professionals, it should be expected that they are required to make at least one statement about a topic that is health-related for you and your newborn. After all, while you may find it irritating and came to your decision in an educated fashion, there are some moms out there who still believe things like colostrum isn’t good for the baby/isn’t enough for the baby, or that because their mother is unable to breastfeed, they will be too. If it helps one mom who thought she couldn’t breastfeed be able to, it’s worth them saying a small something to everyone, since you never know who that mother who only chose formula because she thought she had no choice will be.

A big concern that lead to this decision as well was this:

Babies born in New York City are far more likely to receive supplementation in the first 2 days of life than in 56 out of 64 United States jurisdictions. This may help explain why, while 90% of NYC mothers initiate breastfeeding at birth, over 50% stop breastfeeding exclusively within the first week.

While breastfeeding rates do drop quickly, New York City especially has a very big problem right now in their hospitals, and they’re looking to fix it.

If you’ve only exclusively formula fed before, you may not be aware that breastfeeding moms are given a sheet of paper where they are required to track how long the baby nurses for on each side, marking times, which breast, when they started and stopped, and are supposed to keep this list up the entire time they’re there. In fact, I was given a sheet I was supposed to take home and fill out for three MORE days to bring back (I didn’t). This is simply a way of tracking feeds for both formula and breastfed babies, and noting reasons for bottles given, so they can see if it’s because a mother asked, or because it was needed. It would be a good way to see which hospitals are having more success with breastfeeding initiation and support as well.

If you’re a breastfeeding mom, there’s a big concern with giving birth in a hospital… often, nurses and doctors are known to try to push you to use formula. Nurses are also known to sometimes feed your baby while you’re sleeping, or if they’re in the nursery, without your permission. One bottle of formula can interfere with 2-3 breastfeeding sessions immediately, and when your supply is so sensitive with a newborn, that can cause some major problems. This proposition makes sure that breastfed babies are NEVER given bottles unless the mother, specifically, asks for one, and in that case, they make sure that if your reason is you’re struggling, that they try to provide you with often much-needed encouragement and support and help from professionals.

But if you choose to formula feed, this doesn’t stop you one bit.

This proposal also includes rule such as:

[A mother] has a right to:

a. Have the baby not receive any bottle feeding or pacifiers.
b. Have someone trained to help with breastfeeding, provide information and assist
when needed.
c. Know about and refuse any drugs that may dry up milk.
d. Have the baby in the room with her 24 hours a day.
e. Breastfeed the baby at any time day or night.

Believe it or not, these are huge problems breastfeeding moms are facing right now. A friend of mine desperately needed help from the on-call lactation consultant, but never saw her until they’d filled out her discharge papers and she was getting ready to leave, already feeling defeated and upset. Making sure we prevent things that harm a mother’s breastfeeding relationship in the first days, first hours after birth is incredibly important. Please note these also cover glucose water, plain water and formula. Sometimes nurses think it’s okay to give a breastfed baby glucose water if mom is sleeping because hey, it’s not formula, right? But that form of supplementation is also a big problem.

One comment stuck out to me from some of the articles I read:

“They make formula for a reason, and the FDA makes sure it’s safe,” said Roxanne Schmidt, whose 14-month-old twins were fed with formula from birth. “Locking it up is just wrong.”

Thing is, vaccines and other medications like the acetiminophen you’re often given for pain after birth is also FDA-approved. And it’s also locked up. One of the biggest PROS here to formula feeding mommies to this is that if they are tracking formula given to your baby, and there is a recall of that formula for any reason, they will be able to notify YOU so you can make sure your infant wasn’t harmed. Wouldn’t you be happy to be able to know without a doubt that the recalled batch of formula wasn’t the one you gave your baby in the hospital? That’s a major safety precaution we DON’T take right now.

There’s too much for me to cover here, but those were some of the major concerns I saw going around as I read comments. Before engaging in further debates, I hope people take the time to read the FAQs that have been assembled by the New York City government. This isn’t anything designed to punish or stress out moms who choose formula. It’s a way to help women who want to breastfeed be able to do so successfully, and get the help they need, while also making sure formula is tracked like it should be, so they have better information about your baby’s intake, and what it is they were fed, just like they do anything else given to any patient.

Oh, and it also says you should be able to take home free formula from them too — as long as you ask for it.


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June 28, 2012 6

Gerber’s Newest Marketing Insult — You’ve Gone and Done it Now

By in boycott, breastfeeding

You know, usually I aim to be articulate, to support opinions with facts, to try to explain things in a helpful manner. I like pointing moms towards good information, and helping explain the source of some mislead opinions and so on.

But this morning, I’m just really not feeling it.

It’s no surprise that I can’t hear “Nestle” without something in me going GRRRRR! And Gerber, sadly, is owned by Nestle. So when I saw this following press release, my head damn near exploded:

Gerber® Good Start® Soothe formula, the first and only routine infant formula with the probiotic L. reuteri. L. reuteri has been clinically shown to reduce crying time by 50 percent in colicky breastfed infants.

You’ve… you’ve got to be effing kidding me. If you’re familiar with Daily Momtra at all, you know I spent a lot of time trying to explain how marketing is sneaky, underhanded sabotage, misleading moms into feeling certain ways. But this? You can’t get more blatantly open about it than this. Might as well come out and say, “Does your breastfed baby cry? Yeah? This formula will make it stop.” And of course, then you can stop breastfeeding too.

I’m just amazed at the audacity. Not to mention the fact that probiotics generally need to be refrigerated to stay “alive” and normal preparation of formula would kill it. But it’s okay, they’re coming out with probiotic drops too, for formula or breastfed babies. You know, because they care. I imagine these particular products are especially going to be targeted at breastfeeding moms, more than their usual tripe.

Yes, I know probiotics are awesome and can help with digestive issues, we take them regularly here ourselves, but to market a formula and say that it helps breastfed infants? Give me a freaking break. I know some of my lovely, intelligent friends here in the breastfeeding community will come out with very good, scientific responses to this, and I’m going to gladly share those, link them here, and be grateful for them, but right now I’m just going to roll my eyes and mutter cusswords under my breath.

Please moms, don’t fall for this crap. Don’t let your friends either.



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June 27, 2012 2

“Busting Out” Documentary About Breasts Gives Some Great Insight into Where America’s Gone Wrong with Breastfeeding

By in breastfeeding, mom stuff, news & politics, review

image via StirItUp

In my universe, breasts are pretty normal. Not only have I nursed our kids for a non-consecutive total of over 60 months, but I spend a lot of my time looking at or talking about breasts. Between my friends and blogs I follow, chances are you don’t have to scroll very far on my Facebook page to see someone’s breast. Then add in my Twitter conversations, and it’s no surprise my husband constantly mocks me for always having a breast on my screen. So of course, he chuckled and rolled his eyes when he found me in the living room and immediately, there’s large, bare breasts on the television. I turned on the documentary “Busting Out”, a film about the history and politics of our odd obsession with breasts, and how it impacts us as a culture.

Filmmakers Francine Strickwerda and Laurel Spellman Smith put together a pretty impressive short summary of our shifts in breast-obsession here in the US over a period of time. It was interesting to see the discussion about how “most desired size” has been something that has regularly shifted, from very small, nubile barely-pubescent breasts, to very large and curvaceous ones. But always, the interest in this country is the breast.

Surprisingly, or maybe only surprising to me as an American, they successfully show that breast-obsession in a sexual light is much less common than we’d think. We all know different cultures have different body parts they find attractive or sensual, and even our own has over time shifted to allow people to show much more of their bodies without it being inherently sexual. But where for one culture it may be necks, another ankles, another the butt, ours has been one that stares at boobs. Heck, I’ve been guilty of being distracted from an interesting conversation by seeing a very nice pair of breasts prominently displayed on a woman. But anyway…

One of breastfeeding activism’s favorite anthropologists, Kathy Dettwyler, speaks on the film about breastfeeding and the ramifications that our attitude about breasts has had on our breastfeeding rates and normalcy.

I want you guys to watch it (it’s only an hour and on Netflix Watch Instantly!), so I don’t want to spoil everything discussed, but I will give a little warning. Filmmaker Francine Strickwerda lost her own mother to breast cancer, and they speak to children of a woman who fought breast cancer and has won. Their older daughter speaks frankly about her feelings going through it, displaying much wisdom past her years, but it’s a tear-jerker part of the documentary. Keep some tissues handy.

Here’s the preview:


If you’ve seen this, or if you go watch it now, let me know what you think. Do you think our choice of sexualized body parts has a major influence on our breastfeeding rates?

Do you struggle with feelings about your breasts as part of your identity as a woman?

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June 23, 2012 13

6 Things People Need to Stop Saying About Infant Formula Marketing

By in activism, breastfeeding, mom stuff

Think they don't try to trick you? Think again.

I was reading some old posts over at Just West of Crunchy yesterday, and came across her fabulous 10 Things Breastfeeding Advocates Should Stop Saying article, and it really got me thinking about things. While discussing breastfeeding with breastfeeding advocates, I really hate feeling like they’re defending formula marketing. Now, I don’t mean the women who are honest about the fact that some people do need to use formula, that donor milk can be too costly or difficult to obtain for some families — no, those are honest advocates. I’m talking about the people who swear up and down that getting formula freebies has nothing to do with low breastfeeding rates, and that by taking those away, we’re not allowing mothers to make their own choices, or that those mothers must just be “stupid” or “weak” or “weren’t really dedicated to breastfeeding anyway.” Those people. So, I decided I’d do my own list of things I wish would stop coming up in every damn conversation about the dangers of formula freebies.

1. If a mom is dedicated to breastfeeding, it won’t matter if she gets samples.

How I wish this were true. However, it’s not, it’s SO not. Not to mention, it’s pretty unfair. Consider the study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics on June 4th that said that while 85% of moms intend to breastfeed for at least three months, only 32.4% actually meet that goal. Obviously, just being determined to breastfeed exclusively isn’t working for moms right now. Even the first couple days have proven critical to breastfeeding success — a time often fraught with worry and many, many suggestions for formula use, for jaundice, weight gain, worry about milk coming in slowly, so “mom can sleep” and so on. Pressure to use formula starts right off the bat. Worse is when the hospital has formula freebies everywhere and hands this new mother ready-to-use formula bottles amidst all this pressure. Postpartum is a difficult, emotional time, and moms worry about their baby’s health more than anything. Without people standing around telling them their baby is breastfeeding well, that jaundice doesn’t mean a need for formula, that their milk can take up to a week to come in, all that pressure especially from medical professionals to use the formula sitting right there does make a difference, no matter how dedicated you started out.

2. People don’t really buy into marketing.

Oh really? So that’s why people spend millions on ads? Why a single 30-second slot on a TV show for a commercial can cost thousands of dollars? Why would sponsors pay us bloggers for ad spots on our blogs? Because it doesn’t work? Try again. Marketing is a very effective tool. Especially when formula companies get in with medical companies. For most moms, if your OB hands you a bag of information and in it is a pamphlet on breastfeeding, you’re not going to flip it over, see “Abbott Laboratories” or “Mead Johnson Nutrition” and instantly think, “That’s Similac and Enfamil! This is going in the trash!” No, instead, they read through it, and they think it looks like helpful breastfeeding information. It’s supposed to. And when it starts talking about how their formula is so good for your baby, the closest to breastmilk, reduces colic, makes your life easier… well, there’s a reason people choose the brands they do. We even have a comment in an article here on our own page where a mom swears her chosen formula is closest to breastmilk, so says her research. The only things she could have read that would have suggested that? Marketing propaganda.

3. Their breastfeeding information isn’t really that bad.

Okay, sure. So, let’s look at this supposedly helpful looking pamphlets I just mentioned. Get an IBCLC or even an educated advocate to look over the information, and they’ll start seeing things here and there that are intentionally misleading, or even depressing. For example, Similac says:

“To keep a steady milk supply in each breast, it’s important to switch breasts during feedings. Begin feeding on the breast that was not used last. After five or 10 minutes, try burping your baby, and then offer the second breast for as long as he wants.”

However, that’s BAD advice. La Leche League says:

“Limiting baby’s nursing on each side to only five or ten minutes can be counterproductive when viewed in terms of the change in milk composition. For some mothers, nursing on both breasts at each feeding is important in terms of keeping up milk production and relieving engorgement, but the baby should be finished with the first breast before being switched to the other side.”

There are many sentences like that, where it sounds like good advice, but actually if followed can end up causing you supply problems, latching problems, etc. There’s even lots of depressing language such as “Based on your milk supply, pumping opportunities and energy levels, you may decide to supplement your breast milk with infant formula. Most women do.” or “Being a working mom is two hard jobs in one. For this reason among others, many women decide that formula-feeding is the way to go. You can feel confident in choosing an infant formula that is closest to breast milk, with all the nutrients your baby needs to support her health and development during the first year.” Look at that. They say right there that basically, you shouldn’t really expect yourself to be able to breastfeeding exclusively if you return to work, since most women don’t anyway. But no worries, they’ve got your back!

This stuff is intentional. They know that moms are very vulnerable when it comes to worries about their health of their children. So when your OB hands you those pamphlets and those freebies, you better believe that the language in there is designed to convince you that it’s okay not to breastfeed even if you really want to, you probably will fail anyway, and then you have those samples right there. Add in a nurse telling you your baby isn’t pooping enough or that your colostrum isn’t enough, and moms who give in aren’t WEAK. They are victims of sabotage, or as Best for Babes puts it, Booby Traps.

4. You’re forcing moms to breastfeed!

This one baffles me. Whenever we talk about taking away the freebies, women get angry and insist that we’re being mean to those who choose to formula feed. Let’s make this very clear: WE ARE NOT. What we are saying is that women who want to breastfeed should not be given breastfeeding information  from a company whose goal is to sabotage them, nor should they be given free formula. It’d be like your psychologist handing you anti-depressants, telling you therapy probably won’t work. Formulas (and anti-depressants) are still there for people who want or need it, but it shouldn’t be handed out like candy as it undermines your goals. If you WANT formula freebies, then by all means, sign up for them! But when breastfeeding moms return home from the hospital to find a full-sized can on their doorstep because their OB or the maternity clothing store they visited sold their information, it’s just not okay. So no, we’re not “forcing” anyone to breastfeed (and that sentence suggests without free formula, you would breastfeed… isn’t that a good thing?). You’re free to make your own choices. You should be free to get samples IF YOU WANT THEM, but also free to not have formula anywhere near you if you didn’t request it, knowingly. A friend of mine was filling out the new patient information at an OB’s office, and tucked inside all those forms was a sign-up list for a formula company. She almost didn’t realize what it was, because it looked so similar to all the other papers she was robotically signing. Again, sabotage.

5. You don’t have to use the formula, you know.

Sure. Just like if you’re on a very strict diet, you don’t HAVE to eat the huge dessert buffet I’ve set up on your kitchen table right in front of your face, while I quietly whisper in your ear, “You’re going to fail this diet. It’s okay to be fat, so many other people are. You really can’t resist this chocolate. No one will fault you if you eat it. You can just eat a piece… or two… or three… and it’s okay…” Establishing breastfeeding can be incredibly difficult. Even if you’re still rolling your eyes, muttering point #4, consider these study results:

Women who didn’t receive the free samples were 3.5 times more likely to be breastfeeding exclusively after 2 weeks, said Breastfeeding in Toronto, Promoting Supportive Environments, released Tuesday.

The study, conducted in 2007 and 2008, found that of 1,500 first-time mothers surveyed, 39 per cent were given formula at hospital discharge. As a result, many of these women stopped breastfeeding sooner than those women who weren’t given formula.

So… what were you saying?

6. The word “sabotage” is hyperbolic.

In this case, it’s really not. Take, for example, the fact that some of these companies have products aimed to help breastfeeding moms, such as “Breastfeeding Nutritional Drinks” or vitamin supplements… that when you purchase or sign up for a freebie, sends along free formula, puts you on their mailing list where you get constantly messages about weaning and how only formula gives you freedom. They don’t target breastfeeding moms because they want you to breastfeed — they target you because they want you to see them as a company that cares about you so then you will continue to turn to them when you turn to formula, a goal they constantly try to encourage you to meet.


So, I’m sure I’m forgetting some points, which I’ll be kindly reminded of in argumentative comments, but the truth is, they pay the money they do and create the programs they do for one purpose — to get mothers to use formula. How do you use formula? By NOT breastfeeding. So of course they try very hard to slip in there and address women who breastfeed. After all, the MAJORITY of women start out intending to! So when you start from the very beginning and slip your name and information in there, when a woman starts facing doubt, better yet doubt you’ve helped perpetuate, and they’ve got your calling card in their pocket or their kitchen cabinet, they know where you’re going to turn.

But we need moms to believe this. We need people to stop trying to play Big Bad and say “Whatever, they couldn’t affect ME!” and instead realize that you only have the privilege of saying that because you’re already aware of their tactics AND likely already confident in your breastfeeding ability. You’re also NOT the majority, nor the average first time mom. Instead of denying YOU could be affected, help protect those who can be, and regularly are, by not denying that formula companies really are good at the sick, sad job they have.

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May 11, 2012 1

Breastmilk Is Only Necessary For a 6 Months, A Year, Or Whatever Random Age I Can Think Of

By in breastfeeding

Have you heard that argument? People saying that breastmilk is only really needed for 6 months, or a year, or 2 years, or something random? I’ve even heard of doctors saying, “After 6 months, there’s really no difference between breastmilk and quality formula.”

Well, here’s a little news flash:



That’s right. Something that is incredibly healthy for you never STOPS being incredibly healthy. Whether you’re 6 months, 6 years, or 60 years old, breastmilk is still an amazing substance that is full of antibodies, nutrients, and lots of great things we still can’t reproduce and may never be able to.


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May 10, 2012 3

Time Magazine’s Breastfeeding Cover Brings Out the Haters

By in breastfeeding, natural parenting

Time magazine is going to start a mommy war. And they’re just getting in on what the blogs have already been brewing for a long, long time now. The subject of extended breastfeeding and attachment parenting. Along with Dr. William Sears.

I love the image. A beautiful mom nursing her 3-year-old son.

I hate what it’s going to bring out — the claws in the moms who want to attack anything about breastfeeding or attachment parenting. Mainly because people don’t even need to read the article to get ticked off. It says “Are You Mom Enough?” And any mother who didn’t breastfeed or not breastfeed as long as the mom on the cover is going to feel as if breastfeeders think a woman isn’t “mom enough” if she didn’t or doesn’t do the same. Wow, Time. Way to make moms doing the best they can feel terrible. We don’t need a magazine to feel the guilt we all feel — even attachment parents. The title on the cover should make everyone angry. It’s meant to infuriate. To enrage. And it angers me.

The kid is 3 by the way though he looks older.

And that, my friends, is what sells magazines. But that is not a message that serves us well as mothers — mothers who should be helping each other, not hating on each other.

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April 26, 2012 2

Breastfeeding Awesomeness Or Holy Nipples Batman?!

By in breastfeeding

When I first saw this photo, I’ll admit my eyes went straight for the breasts. Those nipples. Perfect breastfeeding nipples. What a sweet sculpture. A smooch from baby who most likely just finished a meal.

I mean, why else would mama’s shirt be half on?

Because of all the breastfeeding haterade I read on a daily basis, I guess I can see why some people may think this is just too dang much. Where is her hooter hider? So much for discrete! How did she get such gorgeous and perfectly muscular arms?

But the reality is that it’s just a breast. It’s not and shouldn’t be a huge deal. This is the new “old” bottle nipple, people. It’s just where the milk comes from and we can’t change that. No matter how much we wish breastmilk could magically squirt out of our thumbs, it’s just doesn’t. Besides, thumbmilk sounds really weird.

Do you love this statue like I do? Or is it just too much?

Image from ssh on Flickr

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