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What's So Wrong With Formula?

A colleague with a new baby e-mailed this week lamenting the difficulties of breastfeeding. Governments and researchers drill the point home that breast is best with such fervor that many pregnant moms I know cringe at the thought of giving their babies formula.

But breastfeeding is not an art learned from a book and a class before you have a baby. And it definitely doesn't come naturally to some of us. Even with two lactation consultants (one at the hospital and one at my pediatrician's office) trying to show me how to latch elder son on in those early days, I didn't master the whole feeding thing for a full three months. Three months of pain from bad latching. Three months of living with Lansinoh. Three months of wondering how other people managed to make this work. Not to mention the on and off infections. Then, once I did get the hang of it, my son's stool was stringed slightly with blood. Turned out he was sensitive to something in my diet. Months of experimentation finally revealed the problem, but all in all, the process was not an easy one.

Thankfully, son number two was more of a natural -- or maybe I'd finally gotten the hang of it. But even he makes me wonder about whether my milk really helped his health and development. He's had all the same ear troubles I had as a kid -- only they started when he was 1 month old. The only cure: ear tubes.

And so, with those experiences in my past, I felt compelled to tell this new mom that it's okay to give the baby formula. Plenty of babies survive just fine with the man-made nourishment. They grow up and they're no different than their breast-fed friends.

Why is it that so many people seem to make breast-feeding an all or nothing choice? And why do moms who can't nurse for whatever reason feel so guilty, as though they are depriving their children of something? The most important thing for babies is happy parents. And a parent who's frustrated by nursing is not calm and relaxed.

By Stacey Garfinkle |  March 27, 2007; 7:24 AM ET  | Category:  Babies
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Comments


Let the flamewars begin.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 27, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I was very lucky that DD latched on right away. I nursed and pumped till she was 19 months old and she weekend and evening nursed till 2 years old. Although I do think breast milk is best, it is the difference between an A and A+. Not enough to make any one agonize if they have problems. I do think women beat themselves up about this. And the reality is that there has been whole generations of relatively healthy people brought up on formula exclusive. Formula is not poison. And women should not view it that way. I do wish more women would give nursing a try. It may be hard at first but the emotional rewards were worth it to me. But if it is not working for you, ditch the pump and be happy with your healthy formula fed baby. The emotional state of mind is more important then a few less ear infections. DD did not get sick till 13 months old. I do think that is because of nursing. But hey a few ear infections versus every day he** with the pump, seems like a reasonable trade off for some.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 7:39 AM | Report abuse

"I do think women beat themselves up about this."

And women beat up other women about this, too.

Posted by: RT | March 27, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Breastfeeding is normal feeding for a baby! Not 'best" or A+. Formula feeding puts a baby at risk for health problems, as a baby and as the child/adult he/she will grow into. Not breastfeeding puts the mother at health risks too!

From the AAP:

"Extensive research, especially in recent years, documents diverse and compelling advantages to infants, mothers, families, and society from breastfeeding and the use of human milk for infant feeding. These include health, nutritional, immunologic, developmental, psychological, social, economic, and environmental benefits.

Human milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding and is species-specific; all substitute feeding options differ markedly from it. The breastfed infant is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short- and long-term outcomes.

Epidemiologic research shows that human milk and breastfeeding of infants provide advantages with regard to general health, growth, and development, while significantly decreasing risk for a large number of acute and chronic diseases. Research in the United States, Canada, Europe, and other developed countries, among predominantly middle-class populations, provides strong evidence that human milk feeding decreases the incidence and/or severity of diarrhea, lower respiratory infection, otitis media, bacteremia, bacterial meningitis, botulism, urinary tract infection,and necrotizing enterocolitis. There are a number of studies that show a possible protective effect of human milk feeding against sudden infant death syndrome, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, lymphoma, allergic diseases, and other chronic digestive diseases. Breastfeeding has also been related to possible enhancement of cognitive development.
There are also a number of studies that indicate possible health benefits for mothers. It has long been acknowledged that breastfeeding increases levels of oxytocin, resulting in less postpartum bleeding and more rapid uterine involution. Lactational amenorrhea causes less menstrual blood loss over the months after delivery. Recent research demonstrates that lactating women have an earlier return to prepregnant weight, delayed resumption of ovulation with increased child spacing, improved bone remineralization postpartum with reduction in hip fractures in the postmenopausal period, and reduced risk of ovarian cancer, and premenopausal breast cancer."

Posted by: Kate K Mackenzie | March 27, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Everyone should do what is best for themselves. Period.

It may be that "breast is best" statistically overall but that does not mean that a child will not thrive on formula. I know several children breastfed for nearly a year and who are sick ALL the time (ear problems, viruses, allergies, etc.) In contrast, I know several bottle fed children who are all healthy. All of these children are bright kids.

It is my PERSONAL belief that the benefits of breastfeeding are over-stated and the pressure put on women to do it unreasonable (and the resulting judgments intolerable). No one will ever convince me that breastfeeding will make the difference between a child who is a super-immune nobel laureate and one who is not.

It is also my personal opinion that breastfeeding is not the only way to bond with your child and that you can bond just as much through bottle feeding (holding baby close, looking into baby's eyes . . .) I don't want to get too terribly anecdotal so I'll refrain from further stories and just leave it at that.

All this being said, I do not care one way or the other whether someone else chooses to breastfeed or not. (Nor should anyone else, in my opinion, since it is really no one else's business). You like it and believe in it as the only way to nourish your child? Great. You feel as I do? That's great too. Do what is right for you and your child.

Posted by: JS | March 27, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Can't believe I get to comment early on this one.

When DD was born at Andrews AFB almost 11 years ago, I thought the idea of nursing was a little gross and unsavory. I read about the benefits to the child, and thought I would give it a shot but kept the free formula samples to have on hand in case it didn't work. Andrews had an amazing lactation consultant from Jamacia who showed me how to hold DD and helped her to latch on. No significant problems, and she nursed (NO formula) until 15 months. I have had two more children, and neither of them ever touched a bottle, going straight to sippy cups.

Study after study has proven that breastmilk is better than formula. I think it is improper to frame the question as "what's wrong with formula." There is nothing wrong with formula. It is a safe and healthy alternative. However, formula IS a substitute, an alternative, a second-best choice. I am sure that this topic discussion will include dozens, if not hundreds, of anecdotes of bright, happy formula-fed babies. In the aggregate, scientific studies have proven time and again that the healthiest alternative is breastmilk.

I have known awesome mothers who sacrificed a ton so their children could have breastmilk, the way Stacy did. A former classmate pumped every day for her preemie's hospital bottles. After the child left the hospital, she couldn't learn to latch on and continued to need a bottle, so my friend continued to pump for more than a year! That exclusively breastmilked (if not breastfed) very premature baby has excellent health. What an amazing gift. I wish that, instead of possibly instigating a judgment-laden festival of finger pointing, Stacy had framed the discussion as, "tell us what sacrifices you made so that your child could benefit from breastmilk."

Posted by: Mom in South Carolina | March 27, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I was born in an era where breastfeeding was socially frowned upon (the 50s). My mother did not breastfeed me. None of my friends, or their friends and relatives, were breastfed. Yet, we grew up healthy, normal, kids, went to college, some of us obtained Ph.D.s, and most of us are successful at our chosen path. The breastfeeding police should stop harassing women.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I remember before my daughter was born a friend of mine asked if I was going to breastfeed her - I think I responded that while I wasn't really crazy about the idea, I was willing to give it a shot because "I mean, duh, I can read."

Everyone seems to agree that breastmilk is the "perfect" food for babies, and that there are health benefits to nursing. What I'm not seeing is that there are any "detriments" to not nursing.

I think it's just part of our time - the uber-health-conscious keeping-up-with-the-Joneses wanting-to-be-the-best at everything that makes people feel so horrible about not nursing their children if they don't want to or aren't able to.

(We managed to keep it up for about 7-8 months although my supply took a major hit when I got sick a couple times after returning to work. For the record, I was thrilled to have nursed for as long as I did and was not at all disappointed when I had to throw in the towel and start with the formula full-time, although we had been supplementing with it for several months prior as my supply had been dropping).

I think people need to just back off (particularly other moms - gosh, they can make you feel so crummy) and realize that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Posted by: Vienna mom | March 27, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

My daughter would not have survived her first year without formula, because I had low milk supply. We thought she just wanted to nurse all the time, around the clock. Then, the first and second lactation consultants thought my milk was late to come in due to an emergency c-section with general anesthesia. We finally figured out with the third LC that I just didn't produce much milk, probably due to insufficient glandular tissue. Lovely. By that time, we had agonized for weeks about why our daughter had lost a lot of weight, then plateaued and was not gaining ANY weight with constant nursing and light supplementation, which was what the first two LCs recommended.

In spite of the struggle, I still hauled a hospital-grade pump to work every day for five months and managed to partially BF until my daughter was over 8 months old. She got about 25 percent breastmilk on a good day, probably. I was lucky to have an office with a door and time to pump.

It was incredibly stressful and disappointing for me not to be able to provide enough breastmilk for my daughter. And I do think she would have probably had fewer ear infections and other illnesses had she been 100 percent breast-fed, so I have a lot of guilt and feelings of inadequacy.

When people get all high and mighty about breastfeeding, they should remember that not everyone CHOOSES to use formula. Sometimes that choice is made for them, either because they cannot physically BF, need to take medication that precludes it, or have a job that absolutely will not accommodate pumping.

As with most health messages, we stress that breastfeeding is the best, but do nothing to provide assistance to nursing mothers. We could afford to pay hundreds to the lactation consultants and rent the expensive pump--neither of which was covered by insurance. Many families are struggling just to buy diapers for their newborn.

Posted by: restonmom | March 27, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I think women, especially those "well educated" in the DC area are very competitive and have made breastfeeding the hallmark of the optimal mother.

It's a serious blow to the self esteem of a mother who can't pass breastfeeding 101, despite the pain and effort on top of the exhaustion. And then if you mix in the words "failure to thrive", what you get is one seriously depressed mother.

Well, there is this stuff called formula. It could be the cure.

I thought these words were interesting:
"a parent who's frustrated by nursing
is not calm and relaxed.",
because I always thought it was the other way around:
"A mother who is not calm and relaxed will be frustrated by nursing."


Posted by: Father of 4 | March 27, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

The problem with giving other people advice on the nursing v. FF debate is that there's a very fine line between being supportive and undermining.

I, too, had a very hard time with nursing for the first 15 weeks of DD's life. During that time, well-meaning friends and family kept advising me just to formula feed. To me, those comments sounded more like "you're a nutcase for nursing" than "hey, do whatever's best for you." People who offered support and comiseration without opinions were much more helpful.

Posted by: NewSAHM | March 27, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I have worked with lactation advisors in the developing countries and usually the problem with formula is in the water used to mix formula, not formula itself. Poor water can transmit various diseases. Poluted water will have a negative affect on a baby. However, in the US, this is not much of an issue. Most public water is clean. If filtered and then boiled, the water is top quality. Also, one can used bottled water. In developing countries and most likely in this one, one negative aspect of breast feeding is the nutrition of the parent. Parents pass on nutrients to their babies through breast milk. If parents don't eat a good, nutritious, and balance diet, than breast milk will adversely affect the growth of the baby. Also, it takes some days to weeks to create sufficient breast milk. In some cases, these first crucial days are important for the health of the child, and feeding them adequately and accelerating their growth increases their chance of survival. Formula can provide the nutrition for accelerated growth.

Both methods have positives and negatives. I have found that hospitals tend to push breast feeding, and the lactation consultants are very outspoken to their dislike of formula. This should not be the case.

Posted by: A Mom | March 27, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I have two healthy boys who were both formula fed by choice. I make no apologies about it. Neither one have had ear infections and are actually sick less often then a friend's breastfed kid. I don't care if women choose to breastfeed. It is a personal choice. Why do the breastfeeding police care? At the end of the day, it comes down to good parenting as to how well the child does in school, not whether they were BF or not.

Posted by: not again.... | March 27, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I was formula-fed out of necessity (my sister and I were adopted) and we both turned out 100% fine. Never sick, no allergies, etc. I'm sure there are plenty of formula kids out there who can say the same, just as I'm sure there are plenty of breast-fed kids who are similar. I say whatever works for you and your child/family...and leave the guilt trips out of it either way.

Posted by: Breast-fed | March 27, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Ditto to NewSAHM. Even the introduction to this post seems to be of the "formula is the solution" school, which is wearing. Not because no child should ever receive formula, but because breastfeeding rates in this country are shockingly low, and telling frustrated mothers *who*want*to*nurse* that there's nothing wrong with formula is a cop-out. If someone says, "Staying at home with the kids is tough," or "I feel stretched really thin by working while raising children," do you tell them to do something else?

Posted by: JobMom | March 27, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

My wife, Frieda is a Lactation Consultant with 25+ years of practical experience. She has no doubt in her mind that, in aggregate, BF is best feeding. But the main issue for her is that the baby is thriving. Failure to thrive is obviously the worst outcome and certainly there are women who cannot produce enough milk and babies who are lactose intolerant. Sometimes it does take some time and many consultations to figure the whole BF issue out.

She strongly believes that BF is the "Gold Standard" and encourages women to BF but has no issue if the mother is not able to do so for any reason.

BTW, both Frieda and I were bottle fed and we seem to be OK.

Posted by: Fred | March 27, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Finally someone said it. and i cant THANK YOU ENOUGH for it.

As a mother of a 3 month old, its been such an uphill path thanks to the breast-feeding police, most of them well meaning people no doubt but a pain in the a** nonetheless.

From the minute i came out of sedation to take her in my arms, the might of the hospital's nurses, the gynec, the paediatrician, landed on me. It took me and her 2/3 days to learn how to do it - she was a premie, too small, couldnt latch properly, got tired sucking and fell asleep hungry - yet the second i asked for formula, i was made to feel like i was asking for crack.

It got so much that even my m-i-l was psyched about my not wanting to do it for some vague, beauty-related (and thus placing self above baby...ultimately demeaning for any mom) reason.

I exclusively breast fed her til one day i realised she was just too thin and always hungry. My mom opined i had to give her The Bottle ...Im ashamed to admit i debated this with her a 100 times, 90 of them defensively and rudely.

Despite the obvious being just too obvious, i still felt like scum when i had to supplement my milk with The Bottle. A mention of this to the ped earned yet more censure instead of the counselling and advice on correct amounts and feeding-times that i wanted.

Now she's on the bottle and my milk and doing good.

So bully to all those who rush first time moms like me - breathless battling the day's emergencies - into adding yet another thing to stress and obsess about at such a delicate time.

Posted by: lkukrety | March 27, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

"I have found that hospitals tend to push breast feeding, and the lactation consultants are very outspoken to their dislike of formula. This should not be the case."

Then you'd love the hospital where I gave birth. Despite the lip service paid to breastfeding in my prenatal classes, they turned out to be extremely pro-formula. I was told I was starving DD when my milk hadn't come in 18 hours post-birth, made me wait hours for a pump and two days to even see the lactation consultant, and they loaded us down with formula as we left, "just in case." I was also told that I'd probably never be able to breastfeed because (I kid you not), my nipples weren't big enough.

Is it any wonder that most of the women I know who gave birth there were formula feeding, in whole or in part, within weeks of giving birth?

Posted by: NewSAHM | March 27, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with the poster from 8:14...this came up in a conversation among my friends recently and we realized that (for various reasons) none of us were breastfed 30-odd years ago when we were born. We seem to have all turned into healthy, functioning adults and show no signs of deprivation.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

My mom breastfed me and also breastfed my sisters. She was a working mom (in the 70's) but she thought it was important. My grandmother did not believe in breast feeding yet my mom and her siblings are healthy. My sisters and I are all healthy and normal.

My husband was not breastfed nor was his brother. My mother-in-law, who was a pediatric nurse (in the 60's and 70's) did not choose to or could not. I have not asked her why she went that route. My husband is extremely healthy and is in great shape for being almost 36 years old.

I would try to breastfeed if we were to decide to and then could get pregnant. But it is not because I think I would have a sickly baby if I did not breast feed. In fact, the idea that non breast fed equals a life of illness is so stupid that it does not even deserve the time I spent writing this.

Yes, I think it is somewhat "selfish" to not try REALLY hard to generate and then feed YOUR offspring breast milk. It was not selfish years ago when moms had less info about the benefits and genuinely thought that formula was awesome. But this issue is one that has raged for many years and different people have different attitudes.

People enjoy finding fault in others and then illustrating why they are "better". We do it with finances, emotional health, careers, etc. Why is anyone surprised that mothers are beating other mothers up because of choices that have been made??

Posted by: TE | March 27, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

"I was also told that I'd probably never be able to breastfeed because (I kid you not), my nipples weren't big enough."

Wow! that is a new one on me! (I know more about BF than any man outside a nurse or dr. should know about BF) I will have to ask Frieda about this one.

Posted by: Fred | March 27, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Ditto what restonmom and some of the others have said, that not all people using formula wanted to be. I am glad that I breastfed my daughter, but from the beginning, I have battled low milk supply. I simply was not making as much milk as she needed, and not for lack of trying (constant nursing, pumping after feeding, etc.) I finally came to the realization that while breastmilk was better than formula, adding formula was VASTLY better than letting my daughter go hungry. Because I'd so thoroughly "drunk the koolaid" that breast is best and anything else = bad mom, it was devastating to have to give her formula (in retrospect, more so than it should have been.) But once we started supplementing her a little, she got stronger and able to nurse more effectively, and we both started thriving.

Nine months on, I pump at work and we nurse morning and night. My baby gets every drop I make. If I don't pump enough, I fill in the rest with formula. And that is what is best for US.

Posted by: Fairfax mom | March 27, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I breastfed both my kids for over a year but I had a lot of problems with my daughter (my first) and almost gave up. What saved me was that many, many moms had told me it would be hard. I was under no illusions that it was going to be this easy, natural thing. Moms need to be given the real story (just like expectations about "perfect marriages" or "perfect children"). Breastfeeding is a big commitment. You really have to want to do it. You cannot go into thinking, well if I like it and it works, ok. Because it's too easy to give up. I do believe they are health benefits and I got a lot of satisfaction from it (after all the difficulties). I really miss it now. I think if women knew what they were getting into, they might stick with it. But, like many other issues I do think women beat up on themselves (and other women) too much on this issue. If it's not good for a mom and her child, then let her do something else - live and let live!

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | March 27, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I am very curious about the links between breast feeding and breast cancer. I have read and seen several posters in my pediatricians office stating that breast feeding decreases a woman's risk of breast cancer and that the more years a woman spends breastfeeding the more her chances of developing cancer decrease. One of the pediatricians implied that this was why there was so little breast cancer in communities that exclusively breastfeed. When I inquired what communities she went on about tribal communities. Which are so differnt form our own that I was not sure that other factors may come into play.

I have trouble discerning in this debate what is real and what is propaganda on both sides. So any medical types out there know the truth on this particular point.

Posted by: Tessa | March 27, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Isn't this whole discussion just a rehash of three or four discussions held on "On Balance" in the last six months?

Posted by: catmommy | March 27, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Personally I think it is pretty disgusting and prefer people not do it in public. It causes uterine contractions, which in effect is an orgasm, so when you're feeding your baby in public you're having orgasms along with it. I'd prefer not to see that. I don't know and I don't care if I was breastfed or not. We never discussed such things in the family. I do know a co-worker who was uptight and neurotic as hell to begin with and said her infant son fought and struggled with breastfeeding. So, she just filled a bottle with formula and he was perfectly OK with that. I wish people would stop telling other people what to do. It's your kid, your breasts, and your life. Get over it.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I've been following the breastfeeding debate with interest because my first baby is due in another 2 months, and I've decided that my goal is to get through 2 weeks. I want my son to get those first big doses of antibodies and stuff - beyond that point, I'll try to remember that the point is to get him fed whatever way is best for both of us. I'm another formula success story (soy formula no less) because my mom ended up in the hospital for a while after I was born and couldn't feed me herself. I like the A vs. A+ analogy - yes, breastmilk is babies' natural food, but humans can survive and thrive on different diets. We're not naturally vegetarians either, but vegetarians and vegans exist and do extremely well. All any mom can do is her best to get her child fed while not killing herself either physically or emotionally.

Posted by: SPC | March 27, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

PLEASE PEOPLE!!!! Most mothers these days are well equipped to make these decisions without consulting anyone. Why can't we let them without judging them?

Formula is much better quality these days then back in the day. Yes, I agree that breastmilk is the perfect food for our babies, but formula is not going to kill them.

Posted by: cj | March 27, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

The argument that "that's the way we did it in the 60's/70's and you all turned out fine" is one that gets to me because it is illogical. To say that everybody was bottle-fed back then, we all turned out fine, what's the big deal is to ignore that the people it didn't turn out fine for maybe aren't around anymore. Or they don't realize how their lives would have been changed if something different had occurred. For example, the configuration of crib railings has been changed. I personally slept in an old-fashioned crib and never got my head caught in the slats. Because I survived, does that mean that change was unnecessary?

What about car seats? We didn't have them in the 1970's, and we all survived, right? Well, what about the many children who were killed in car accidents but would have lived had they been in car seats. They aren't here to plead their case.

Actually, I have heard this kind of thinking from my mil a bit and it hits a nerve. Would you want your heart attack or cancer treated with the methods/knowledge that were available in 1975? We should welcome and embrace advancement in science and learning, not pooh-pooh them, saying well, it worked for me.

Posted by: Mom in South Carolina | March 27, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

This has fascinated me, because I didn't even know this debate existed until recently (I'm due in a month). Besides the fact that being pregnant seems akin to wearing a t-shirt that says "tell me what you think" I don't get why individuals outside the medical community feel comfortable asking women about their feeding methods and then commenting on them either way. I know that it's better for parents not to be obese (especially for moms not to be obese before they get pregnant), but I would never imagine commenting on the fact that they should lose weight or model a healthier lifestyle for their children. Same with being married to the child's father, having a stable home, etc. We all know these things have been broadly proven to be "better" for children, but they don't seem to solicit the comments (and fervor) that feeding a child does.
Also, the wierd thing is that every time I ask someone who has very strong supporting feelings towards BFing, what the NNT (number needed to treat) is for some of the benefits of nursing is, I either get blank stares, or comments like that doesn't really matter...In fact, for one example, the AAP notes that there isn't a big enough study to prove that BFing lowers childhood cancer rates (which is a wierd thing people seem to keep telling me), that you have to aggregate the numbers of a few studies and do a meta-analysis(as Fred noted earlier). And then, after the studies' results have been aggregated, they estimate it takes 9000 women to BF to "potentially" prevent ONE case of leukemia. When the numbers are broken down like that, I can certainly understand some women would say "I don't want to risk one in 9 million, much less one in 9000 chance for my kid to get sick" which is completely understandable, but I think people are getting clubbed over the head with statistics they might not understand. It just strikes me we're in the throes of a pendulum swing with regards to this, way at the other end of the formula feeding era, and it strikes me as odd the self-righteousness that comes across with this topic. With so many other factors that can contribute to a child's long term well being, why are we so focused on this?

Posted by: Interesting | March 27, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I was not breastfed...and now, as a grown man, am obsessed with breasts. I think it's because I was denied the breast as a child. Well, I'm off to Camelot...

Posted by: BigOnes | March 27, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

"...disgusting and prefer people not do it in public." Well, the next time I am breastfeeding I will be sure to announce the fact so that you can move yourself to someplace else. And where did you get the whole like a whole orgasm thing? Unbelievable.

Posted by: NC Mom | March 27, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I don't know. I was bottle fed along with my brother and sister. We are two lawyers and a doctor and all of us are great athletes. Back when I was little (late 60s, early 70s) parents bottle fed, and I would wager that most adults now over 30 probably were bottle fed. So this breast feeding movement is a little overblown, in my opinion. My wife breast fed all three of our children and she really enjoyed it--largly because it was easy for her. I agree with the author, though. The most important thing you can do as a parent to a new baby is to enjoy your baby. That will produce benefits for baby and parents that far outweigh those that a baby will gain from breast milk alone.

So women, take it from a man who has never breast fed. Give it a good try. It is cheaper than formula, and can be easier (no bottles, etc). It can also be a good way for mother and baby to bond. But if it doesn't work, stop, bottle feed, ENJOY YOUR BABY, and don't look back or apologize to anyone.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I didn't try breastfeeding because I didn't want to. I needed to be able to get back on a "regular" schedule pretty quickly after my daughter was born. Formula was great for us--my husband could feed her at night or I could, and as a result my husband and I both got regular sleep by going the formula route.

My daughter has been quite healthy for her entire 6 years. I do not see any ill effects from choosing to give her formula.

My OB and pediatrician respected my decision because it was mine to make--not theirs.

Posted by: wdc | March 27, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

to 9:01. Well, having an orgasm while breastfeeding certainly seems much more enjoyable to sore and bleeding nipples, infections and exhaustion. I guess with this statement many more women will be willing to BF.

I certainly never got to experience an orgasm while I was trying to BF. Boy did I miss the boat on that one!!!

Posted by: cj | March 27, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Stacey, I don't believe that anyone should "harass" anyone about breastfeeding, but what the government is doing is trying to combat previous decades' efforts to eradicate breastfeeding.

However, your statement, "They grow up and they're no different than their breast-fed friends", is wrong. The point of the breastfeeding campaign is that many studies have shown that there are differences between formula and breastfeeding in terms of the kids. Does that mean that EVERY kid who breastfeeds is better off than EVERY kid who has formula? Of course not. Studies examine AVERAGES (and variability, for you stats gurus). What that means is that, as a group, breastfed kids score better on some measures than formula-fed kids (e.g. a variety of health measures). It doesn't mean anything about one individual vs. another.

So, the fact is, Stacey, there ARE differences between the two groups. Please don't give such blatantly wrong information.

Posted by: Ryan | March 27, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Personally I think it is pretty disgusting and prefer people not do it in public. It causes uterine contractions, which in effect is an orgasm, so when you're feeding your baby in public you're having orgasms along with it. I'd prefer not to see that. I don't know and I don't care if I was breastfed or not. We never discussed such things in the family. I do know a co-worker who was uptight and neurotic as hell to begin with and said her infant son fought and struggled with breastfeeding. So, she just filled a bottle with formula and he was perfectly OK with that. I wish people would stop telling other people what to do. It's your kid, your breasts, and your life. Get over it.

Posted by: | March 27, 2007 09:01 AM

You MUST be joking!! Yes, in the beginning, there are uterine contractions when you breastfeed which helps the uterus return to its normal size. Not an orgasm.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous 9:01 writes, "It [BF] causes uterine contractions, which in effect is an orgasm"

I had the opposite happen to me. Everytime I had an orgasm after my baby was born, it triggered the letdown response and my milk poured out even though my baby wasn't latched. The more sex, the more milk. Maybe TMI, but I've never read about this anywhere and thought it was worth mentioning.

Posted by: Enough Milk Already | March 27, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I am very pro-breastfeeding and I work in the medical community. Obesity has grown in our society with the concurrent use of formula. There's the proof that we need more breastfeeding. Breastfed babies are markedly leaner as children and much less likely to become overweight or obese as adults.

I'm shocked at how many Moms will insist on feeding their children organic baby food, but will settle on chemicals in a bottle instead of breastmilk.

Posted by: indymom | March 27, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

To those who say the breastfeeding police should stop harassing women--the pharmaceutical companies who market formula should stop aggressively marketing to women in health-care settings, particularly those in hospitals who have just given birth. The power and money these companies have far outweighs the influence of breastfeeding advocates.

Ultimately, choice to breastfeed or formula feed is the parents'. As far as well-educated DC area mothers go, my pediatrician who had come here from another part of the country was very surprised at the low bf rates in the pediatric practice she joined (and this practice did retain a lactation consultant's services for those who needed help).

The United States did not adopt the WHO discussed below.

From a peer-reviewed journal on Pubmed:

"For example, in 2000 the Department of Health and Human Services put out a Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding as the basis for organizing its breastfeeding promotion activities. It acknowledged:

The marketing of infant formula negatively affects breastfeeding ... The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and a subsequent WHO resolution delineates guidelines for formula marketing to ensure that it does not interfere with the establishment of lactation. The International Code stipulates the responsibilities of manufacturing industries regarding their role in promoting breastfeeding and appropriate infant feeding practices [47], p17]."


http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1481608

Posted by: Usually a lurker | March 27, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Ryan, one of the important to thing to note is that a lot of the positive attributes of BF is only showing correlations not causation. For example, slightly higher IQs with BF children versus FF. But the theory is more educated mothers/parents choose BF has a feeding option. So the slightly higher IQs can be explained by genetics more then BF in itself makes you smarter. Again, except for some immunities, they have not found a causal link to most of the claimed attributes of BFs. Just wanted to clarify that I did BF and found it wonderful. But I don't think women should spend needless time worrying about it, if they don't find it tolerable. You should try it but if it doesn't work, don't sweat it.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

"It causes uterine contractions, which in effect is an orgasm, so when you're feeding your baby in public you're having orgasms along with it."

If this were true, I'd still be breastfeeding my 5-yr-old.

Posted by: Laura | March 27, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The World Health Organization pushes breastfeeding (I can't use BF, it sounds so vulgar) in Third World countries is that women do not have ready access to prepared formula and they don't have much else to do but sit around all day like sows and suckle their young. We are a modern and wealthy country. Therefore, we have access to prepared formula, we have jobs to hold down and lives to live. We can't just sit on our butts for hours on end with a kid latched on (another term I find vulger).

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

"When people get all high and mighty about breastfeeding, they should remember that not everyone CHOOSES to use formula. Sometimes that choice is made for them, either because they cannot physically BF, need to take medication that precludes it, or have a job that absolutely will not accommodate pumping."

Thank you so much for this! I have a 3 year old and am pregnant again. I was all set to BF with my son, but he was a preemie, had jaundice, and wouldn't latch on. In addition, I had extremely low supply--like I pumped 8 times a day and had --at the end of the day--1/4 oz! 3 weeks after giving birth, I was rushed to the hospital with bleeding due to placental remnants left in me--turns out my body still thought it was pregnant.

However, in those 3 weeks, my self esteem had taken an incredible bruising, partially due to spending time in the NICU surrounded by "Breast is Best" posters. I will be forever grateful to the one lactation consultant who gave me permission to forgive myself--saying that the 2 hours a day I was hooked up to the breastpump were 2 hours I wasn't holding my son. And I remain bitter about the hateful people who told me how much harm I was doing to my son by formula feeding.

I heard a kindergarten teacher say that she could never tell who was breastfeed, but she could tell who was read to at home.

Yes, I plan to TRY to BF my second, but I refuse to let myself be beat up again if it doesn't work.

Posted by: anon | March 27, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

this debate was going on 28 years ago when i had my first child (BF) and it will likely go on 28 years from now when my granddaughter (BF) has her first child (which would be cool since I'd be a young-ish great grandma! but i digress...)
i BF my kids, even #2 who had a cleft lip and palate--that is, i pumped out the breast milk for 10 weeks until he was big enough for his first surgery. immediately following the surgery, my milk dried up. i couldn't go any further but felt i'd given him the best i could for 10 weeks and that was better than nothing.
i had no experience with BF before my first child but formula wasn't an option...it was too expensive and we didn't have the $$ for it. i learned with babies 1 and 2, you can do almost anything you want or have to do, if you want and have to enough. sore nipples, obnoxious people in your face telling you that you shouldn't BF or pump, breast infections...i heard it all. it didn't matter. i did what was best for our family.
as adamant as i was about breastfeeding my children, i think the same respect for the individual decision should be accorded those who choose to formula feed. it's really no one elses business.

Posted by: methinks | March 27, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Indy Mom- I think obesity in society is more related to fast food than breastfeeding. I have 3 exclusively breastfed children. The 2 that were born overseas and less exposed to McD's are thin as a rail, and the one born here and fed fast food(my fault, I know, but I had 3 kids in 4.5 years and I was tired and went the easy route) had a terrible chubby period. All my kids have hayfever, which was inevitable, because both my husband and I both have it. My oldest son needed tubes in his ears, which was because of poorly formed eustatian tubes. He never had ear infections, just fluid in his ears that never drained. I found breastfeeding easy, and was a great supporter until I called a friend after her baby was born. I went on and on about how she should be BFing, and she let me. About a half hour later, a mutual friend called to let me know what my friend couldn't tell me herself, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in her last trimester and was physically unable to BF any more. I never lectured ANYONE about breastfeeding again.

Posted by: SParks | March 27, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Rule number one is Feed the Baby. By whatever means necessary. Breastfeeding, formula, supplementing, eye dropper, doesn't matter. Feed the baby. When you've mastered rule number one, you can go on to rule number two, which is Don't Drop the Baby.

Posted by: disinterested observer | March 27, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

To Ryan: How do these studies that you refer to isolate breast vs formula from the thousands of other factors (both genetic and environmental) that contribute to a child's development and overall health? For any study to disregard everything except this one factor and make a judgement that vilifies a whole group of mothers who formula feed either by choice or by circumstances is just wrong.

My son will be 1 year old tomorrow and he has been on formula since he was three weeks old. He's extremely healthy and hitting developmental milestones by the book. I, on the other hand, spent four days in the hospital and needed surgery to treat a severe case of mastitis because of the problems we had with breastfeeding early on. The option to nurse was taken out of my hands, and in the long run we were both better off -- my son got not only the nutrition he needed, but also a healthy (and much happier) mother. Don't make me feel like a criminal because of it.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Pumps alone are a viable option, if actual breastfeeding is uncomfortable. I did it for three kids.

Also no one has pointed out yet that formula is EXPENSIVE, while breastmilk is free.

Posted by: TkPk | March 27, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Just a reminder (even for you folks "in the medical community") that "concurrence" does not equal CAUSATION. (This is with regards to "Obesity has grown in our society with the concurrent use of formula.")
The previous posters who noted the distinction between high IQ parents choosing to BF and IQ of child (rather than the act of BFing itself) and the importance of NNT - number needed to treat - make very salient points. The science is certainly there, this isn't a case of global warming/no global warming, but I'm not sure the science is clear enough to be used as a tool to bludgeon people.

Posted by: Dr. Science | March 27, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

The key word in all of this is choice. In some poorer countries and in the animal world there is no choice. If a mother does not produce sufficient milk or cannot nurse the infant dies, human or animal. The fact is there are pleanty of women who simply cannot nurse and formula was developed to help pwith this issue so that those infants can eat and are not left to die. What is so wrong with that? We have scientifically created a way to keep kids healthy if a mom can't or because of work issues or personal choice can't nurse. Would anyone say we shouldn't use a cancer drug that can cure cancer because it is not natural? It is helping people survive....that is what formula does. In our society science is always used to do things to counteract nature.

Posted by: HappyDad | March 27, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Both my kids were formula fed and did just fine. But as they got older the boys did hear all this hoopla about breastfeeding being the better option and thought I had denied them... WOW. What a bad Mom since society was dictating I'd picked the worse option for them. How you feed your child is a personal choice. And no one should be made to feel bad about picking one option over another as long as the kid was not harmed. I personally never regretted not breastfeeding. However, the mother of their new half-sibling apparently is breast feeding, so I guess all these feelings of how bad of a mother I was to my kids for formula feeding them will resurface. Geezzzzzzzzz.

Posted by: C.W. | March 27, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Agreed that this debate is tired. Yes, it is better to nurse your baby than to give your baby formula - but as foamgnome said, just a little better. And having a happy mom is best - better than formula, and if mom can't do it or doesn't want to, then baby will be unhappy.

I nursed both my kids about 13-15 months. Child no. 1 never gets sick. Really doesn't at all. Started preschool/day care at 2 1/2 and brought home all the colds, but never got sick himself. In the hospital with him, my dr. gave him formula cause his blood sugar was low and that was the best thing that happened - I was GUNG HO that I was going to nurse - but then I thought: hey, it's fine if he gets some formula, I'm going to nurse also (so he got formula once in a while - not even weekly - I never bought it, only used the samples from the hospital and dr).

With no. 2, he got more breastmilk than no. 1, even though I went back to work when he was about 6 months old. I pumped and pumped. And pumped. It was exhausting, but I was committed (or maybe, should have been?). But he gets sick - a lot, at least from my perspective, but is probably normal.

It really depends on the kids - and yes, on average, nursing is better. But no kids are the 'average' child. If your kid is one who will get ear infections, maybe the child would get one or two more because they weren't nursed, but who knows? There's no real control group for ONE CHILD.

My mom, who had baby nurses for our first years, told my sister that she gave us formula cause she didn't want to be 'tied to the baby.' But we were born in an era where the dr. was king and knew best, and moms were told that formula was better than breastmilk (because the formula companies told them so!). My sister had no interest, so she convinced herself she couldn't do it. What are you going to do? That's her decision...

I found, though, after a month or two, maybe, that it was SO MUCH EASIER to nurse, since I just had to grab a bag and go. Never had to mix anything, or bring ice packs, or worry about if there was enough food or how long I was going out with the baby - I always had enough. I could always find a place to nurse the baby (and no one ever complained to me. sometimes people would be talking to me and not even know there was a baby there or think he was asleep until he moved or something).
But that was what worked FOR ME. I have been very supportive of friends and relatives who wanted to nurse (since they can't go to mom or MIL for advice - since neither typically have nursed) but when they couldn't, it was up to them to stop, and no judging here. It's like smoking - everyone KNOWS it's bad for you, so if you tell someone: hey, it's bad for you - it's like calling them an idiot.
Same with nursing (not that I'm calling formula the same as smoking, not by a longshot! - it's just an example! Really!) - everyone has read the same studies and articles - and if they choose to use formula, then it makes NO SENSE to tell them YET AGAIN anything regarding what is good for the kid - they know what is best for them.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

has it occurred to anyone that maybe one of the reasons that many of the countries in the world have lower obesity and greater logevity than we do despite less access to quality healthcare is that most of them breastfeed their children?

Very few women are physically unable to breastfeed, many are unwilling. It is a comittment and lots of moms are unwilling to make it. Just like on balance - do whatever makes you happy and all world happiness will flow from you. Baloney!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Not a mom yet - hubby and I still trying to decide if a baby fits into our lives (we have some circumstances that could make having a child more difficult than it should be).

At any rate, if I have a child, I know I will try to breast feed. I say try because a friend of ours recently only got 6 weeks in with her child before he refused the breast (for what appear to be some TMI reasons). She had fully intended to breast feed for at least 6 months but it just didn't happen.

But my Mom raised my sibs and I on formula in the late 60's and early 70's. Partially because it was the style, more because my mother's pregnancies were all difficult (on her and us) and breast feeding wasn't recommended. And guess what? We're all (basically) healthy, well-adjusted, successful, happy people.

So formula feeding is not the end of the world for your child. A drain on your bank account perhaps, but not the end of the world. ;)

Posted by: Chasmosaur | March 27, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

People quote study after study about how unhealthy formula is. Guess what? I was a formula fed baby and I am just fine. I am 30 years old now. I didn't have ear infections as a kid, I have never been hospitalized, I have never taken medication on a regular basis. I am thin, and by all accounts extremely healthy. And so is my 27 year old brother. I think that it's all in the genes. If you are going to be healthy, you're healthy, if not, then you're not. Formula feeding in infancy has NOTHING to do with it. SO please, moms, if that was your choice, DO NOT feel guilty.

Posted by: Emmy | March 27, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Everyone who was formula fed is fine - except those who arent. Everyone thinks they are fine. Same with car seats and helmets: "I never used a car seat and I'm fine" - true except for the dead ones, they are pretty quiet.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

9:42: In regards to all statistical studies, you can build statistical models that can isolate certain factors (such as BF versus FF) and see if it contributes to different outcomes. Like this y=person gets breast cancer=BF as child + genetics+ income +... (any number of variables) + error term. Then you can see which affects the rate of getting breast cancer. This is probably more math then you wanted. The trick with all of these studies is building the correct model. I have not read the in depth methodology of most of these studies but the quick and dirty look shows some correlation but no causation based on BF. The only ones that show a direct causation is the transfer of immunities from mother to child. So to answer your question, you can isolate the BF vs FF and see if mathematically it affects certain outcomes. But you are also right that there may be thousands of different variables that affect the model and it would be difficult to include all of them in the model.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

My daughter was born slightly tongue-tied, and she had problems with latching on. I remember sitting in bed trying to nurse her a few days after she was born with cracked and bleeding nipples, and I had tears streaming down my face because it hurt so much. But the nurses, lactation consultants, doctors, and my own family (including my husband) would not let me give up. The lactation consultant told me that I should pump and (get this) finger-feed her using a syringe so she wouldn't get "nipple confusion" for a bottle. Each feeding that way took an hour or more and I HATED pumping. Finally when she was around a month old, I switched to formula. Instantly, feeding her became something I looked forward to instead of dreading it. She was happier and less frustrated and so was I. I only wish I had done so sooner...her first month I was completely miserable. I'm just lucky that I didn't spiral completely into PPD.

My sister-in-law, who has hypothalicemia (severe anemia) wasn't able to produce much breastmilk at all after her son was born. Still, she continued to try to breastfeed until her 9.5 lb. baby boy weighed less than 8 lbs. She finally switched to formula and her son is doing much better.

Sometimes the "breastfeeding police" can do more harm than good.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

And yes, from what I have read, supposedly women who nurse have lower probability of breast cancer. BUT, from what I understand, it's more of the number of times you ovulate that is a causation - i.e., if you are pregnant a lot, but don't nurse, you will have a lower incidence of breast cancer. AND, what they don't say with many of these studies - if you go on the pill, you will also NOT OVULATE, so your incidence of breast cancer will be lower.
But I don't think most people are like me, who at the end, only nursed in the mornings (because I was lazy - baby was tired, baby was hungry, couldn't wait for food - mom nursed and held baby in bed for a while longer rather than preparing breakfast) - I did not get my period until several weeks after the last time I nursed (even when nursing once a day). Whereas I know this was not true for many people I know - who got pregnant when they were nursing (impossible for me).
I know - TMI TMI TMI!!!

AND - from what I have read, being on the pill actually can increase your risk of ovarian cancer, which is what mom died from, so what's a woman to do???

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"And why do moms who can't nurse for whatever reason feel so guilty, as though they are depriving their children of something? "

Well the child is deprived of quite a lot-- BUT why do the mothers feel guilty? Why aren't they ANGRY?
Why don't health insurance companies pay for lactation consultants?
Why aren't new mothers allowed to stay in the hospital until her baby is nursing well?
Why aren't doctors giving out information about how important breastfeeding is? Breastfeeding is a health issue, not a life style choice.
Why don't mothers get a real, protected maternity leave from work (6 months) like other countries?

Why aren't we angry at not getting the support we and our children need?

Posted by: kate -- a mom of two | March 27, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

It may be worthwhile to note that the benefits of breastfeeding were not just nutritional, but also in time and effort.

There was a bit of a learning curve and some physical discomfort, but I managed to breastfeed my son. We have now weaned him to a bottle, and I am realizing how much more difficult it is to bottle feed than breastfeed.

While we were breastfeeding, my son's food was always with me, always the right temperature, and always immediately available. Bottle feeding requires so much equipment and so many variables that it's really quite a hassle.

Posted by: c | March 27, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Kate:

My insurance company (and most) paid for a lactation consultant. One came to my room (after both kids were born) in the hospital - and I was able to go back to the hospital a week or two after kid was born (or more, can't remember) for a consultation - I did not pay for it, so I'm assuming the hospital did. And I could have kept going back. So yes, most insurance companies pay for a lactation consultant. Fred - can you weigh in?

The hospital I went to is very gung ho for nursing, tho.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

What about moms of multiples? They get the crazy pressure to breastfeed that every other mom gets, but are faced with needing to produce twice as much milk (at least) and spend twice as much time breastfeeding. It's not even possible for some of them.

Posted by: Kate | March 27, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

kate: no kidding! One definitely produces the milk they need, so with multiples, technically, your supply is supposed to increase. Of course, disclaimer for those who don't make enough milk.
AND - of course, it is SO MUCH more exhausting with more than one. I can't even imagine.

I did think I wanted twins the second time around, but after having my baby, I was thinking: what was I thinking? Am I insane? I can hardly handle one more!!!

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Posted by: | March 27, 2007 09:42 AM, how in the world did I make you feel like a criminal? What could I have said to do that?

You know what gets me about this debate? People get upset at the truth. I wrote that no one should be harassed about breastfeeding. I also wrote that Stacey made incorrect statements. At no point did I say that NOT breastfeeding was criminal. Some of you need to get a grip on reality.

Foamgnome, there is more evidence than you realize. While a true experiment would be difficult to do, we know more than correlations. We have mechanisms -- i.e. we know HOW it is that breastmilk could confer health benefits on kids that formula could not (e.g. variety of antibodies in the breastmilk). So, please don't make the evidence some sort of purely subjective thing. I agree that correlational studies are always weaker than experiments, but in humans, we often must take them. When you have many, many, many correlational studies that take into account many, many, many variables and that all point in the same direction, scientists find this to be about as good as it gets.

So, I stand by the studies. Plus, the logic of breastfeeding certainly helps as well. Again, however, I would not condemn people who choose not to breastfeed, but I do think it is important that everyone be told the truth (and the full truth) and that everyone be given as much support as possible for breastfeeding. Our society has worked incredibly hard to stamp it out and we need to do everything we can to be supportive of it and reverse the anti-BF sentiment out there.

Posted by: Ryan | March 27, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

The amount of milk obtained using a breastpump is not an indicator of supply. When my daughter's pediatrician saw the breastpump in my hospital room, she said, "Who put THIS in here?" She could see that the pump was causing me stress and interfering with my daughter and me learning the process.

I don't think that parents who choose formula are harming their children. I do think that women are not always given good support at the hospital. It takes time and effort for hospital staff to help with the mechanics of breastfeeding. They don't really have that much time to give to a mother having trouble. I really credit our pediatrician for coming up with some practical solutions like giving a little formula after a bf session. This kept the baby's strength up and ensured that she wouldn't become dehydrated. In the first few days home, we scaled back the formula to nothing as we both got the hang of bf. Some LCs would say NEVER to give formula. Giving a little at the beginning turned out to be a practical solution that worked, and I nursed my DD for well over a year.

In the past, women learned breastfeeding from mothers or other female relatives with experience. Our generation is less likely to have older relatives with experienced breastfeeding nearby.

Many working women end up using a combination of breastfeeding and formula. With my first baby, I was not able to get any kind of adequate amount of milk by pumping. If I had been working, I would have used formula. For some reason (maybe I was more relaxed), with my second child I was able to get a lot of milk with the pump.

So, no, I don't think it says anything negative about parents when they decide to feed formula. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Our culture and medical setup do make it too likely that some women will not perservere. Of course, some women have terrible difficulties and for them the difficulties outweigh the benefits. I just think that women aren't prepared for the early difficulties and sometimes don't get proper support in the hospital. I'm sure that there are some great lactation consultants out there (Fred's wife, I'm sure!). Sadly, the two I've encountered in hospitals weren't that helpful to me.

Posted by: Usually a lurker | March 27, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Ryan, OK, I am a statistician and I am not a Dr. But I can tell you that correlation is not causation. And you can say that things move in that direction. And there is probably merit to that but medically you can't prove that it in deed is the reason for it just because it is highly correlated. That is just a mathematical fact. I am not saying that BF does NOT do those things. I am saying they can't prove that it does MOST of those things. Again, except for the passing of immunities, none of these studies PROVE that BF is the reason for the other positive attributes.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I really don't understand the black and white mentality of the BF zealots. The U.S.A. has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world for a reason. The availability of quality alternative means of feeding. I'm not saying that it is the ONLY reason, but I would wager that it's up there. Failure to thrive is the most preventable affliction in the U.S. Is breastfeeding best under good conditions? (good conditions being that mom's milk supply and quality is good, baby doesn't have an allergy/lactose intolerance, etc., baby is able to latch properly) Sure. I don't think anyone can reasonably debate that. The antibodies passed from Mom to baby are very helpful in warding off a lot of nuisance infections. That has been proven. However, anything beyond that such as prevention of SIDS and some of the more ridiculous claims I've seen and heard are purely suggestive and without hard scientific fact. My point is, we should be concentrating on FEEDING the child, which will allow it to grow/thrive and be able to produce its own defenses. The means by which the child is fed are, by and large, irrelevant until substantially proven otherwise.

Posted by: Purcellville | March 27, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm from a family of 9 -- some of us were BF-ed and some were not. You could never guess which were, and which were not based upon our academic achievement, emotional well-being, physical health, or BMI. And I question whether some of the benefits of BF-ing apply to expressed breastmilk served in bottles -- for example, the baby does not get benefit of the physical act of nursing, and the baby is exposed to any chemicals leached from the bottle (which, given what we now know about hormone-imitating chemicals that leach from plastics, could be a contributing factor to obesity in bottle-fed babies). That said, I have made tremendous efforts to BF my baby (who not quick to the breast as a newborn), including daily pumping at work. It's one of those marginal benefits I am trying to give my child -- like buying the organic babyfood.

Posted by: newmom | March 27, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Moms feel guilty BECAUSE OTHER MOMS MAKE THEM. I am not a mom but watched a good friend go through this when her baby was breast-feeding; her milk was low and she was so stressed about it (because she had read all kinds of these types of uber-pro-breast-feeding comments on urbanbaby.com and the like). I really did feel it was counterproductive to her mental health and to the mom-baby connection.

I actually read a woman write on a blog once with regard to this topic that there is NO SUCH THING as low milk production, that nature made sure every woman had exactly enough milk for her baby and any woman who said she was having that problem was lying. Are you kidding me?!? Of course, what La Leche League zealots like these maybe don't comprehend is that way back in the day - and in some places in the developing world, probably still - if a woman couldn't produce enough milk, which DID happen, then she'd turn to a fellow breast-feeding sister or cousin who had more than enough. Too bad that spirit doesn't hold up in modern times; instead some women apparently prefer to bash each other and act smug if they have enough milk and someone else is having trouble.

Posted by: gmg | March 27, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

foamgnome, or others with knowledge in the stats or medical field, are the effects of other dietary issues determined to the cause of illnesses or only correlated? Like all the news on transfats in food and how it is realted to coronary disease.

I ask because I think in the end BF and FF are questions of nutrition which means moderation and balance. You need to balance potential positive and/or negative effects on health, which includes stress levels. And make the best decision for your family. And each family is likely to make different decisions. I've read that the average family eats take out much more often than my family. Based on our time commitments and our nutritional goals we cook most nights and to balance our time commitments with our nutritional goals we eat take out occasionally.

Most people on this blog (and the on balance ones on the same topic) seem to be informed and striving to take a balanced approach based on the needs of their family. I am more concerned about the families that aren't engaged in the discussion who appear (and we never really know what is happening in other families) not to be informed and make decisions of convenience or ignorance.

While I don't want the probreastfeeding movement to add to the guilt of the modern family, I hope that it will reduce the number of families who make uninformed decisions.

Posted by: mamamimi | March 27, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Women should know that it's totally OK to both breast feed and supplement with formula (or visa versa) and later, solid foods. You do whatever works for you and baby.

Breast feeding is like tango--it takes two. Sometimes mama's boobs and baby's latch just don't work together optimally.

I had problems early on with my first and child. At first I pumped like crazy but that was stressing both me and my child out when I was home alone. So I used a supplemental feeder to encourage my son to nurse more aggressively (this involves a gravity feed of formula thorugh tiny little tubes taped to one's nipples--very sexy, but it worked). Later, I dumped the supplemental feeder, and would nurse then give him formula in a bottle

As my son grew, I wound up doing everything==formula, solids AND breastfeeding. I'm glad I was able to continue breastfeeding--for the comfort and the antibodies that my body could provide him.

At about 22 months of age, due to a head cold and teething pain, my son stopped nursing cold turkey. I considered this an act of God for which I was grateful, despite the fact that my breasts immediately became engorged.

So I agree with those above who say the most important thing is that you and your baby thrive and enjoy each other.....there's no "right" solution. Everyone finds their own way through it.
Muddle On!


Posted by: PhillyMama | March 27, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Again Ryan, I did say except for passing antibodies, none of the rest has proven causation. So I am not doubting that one. I am doubting the other supposed positive outcomes (lower rates of obesity, lower rate of Breast cancer, higher IQs, lower rates of other diseases). Of course things like lower rates of stomach virus, diaherra etc... is due to the passing of antibodies. Again, I agree that has been confirmed (proven causation). I agree that women need more support for BF and frankly you are preaching to the choir. I choose to BF. But I choose to knowing that the only proven benefit is the passing of antibodies.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

It amazes me how we can opt for anything OTHER than breastmilk for our babies! Formula is an inferior subsitute. Did you know that breastmilk provides antibodies for the baby's immune system? Did you know that it evens provides protection against HIV??? These are scientifically proven. Mothers who choose 'organic' formula over breastmilk are even more ridiculous in their mindset. Did you know that cow farmers always make sure that calves get their mothers' milk right after birth? It's proven best for their growth and development. Meanwhile, humans choose to give cow milk, soy milk, etc to their babies.
Those who cannot produce enough milk should of course supplement, but they are definitely a minority. Everyone else should realize their selfishness and give their baby the best thing out there- exactly what nature intended.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The pill does NOT increase your risk of ovarian cancer. In fact, it is a standard recommendation or preventative treatment for women with an increased risk of getting OC. Check out the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance or the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation for more information.

Posted by: To Altmom | March 27, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

To JS:
Everyone should not do what is best for themselves, but rather what is best for their BABY. That's the problem right there...

Posted by: To JS | March 27, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Concerning size of nipples being a problem with bfing, a friend of mine has to use an "adaptor" (I am not making this up) in order to bf on account of having too small nipples. It works for her, might not for someone else. I agree with disinterested observer...Rule #1: Feed the baby. End of discussion.

Posted by: librarylady | March 27, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, 10:19 - I had read that a while ago...

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

How is saying women should breastfeed any different than saying we should eat 5 fruits and veggies a day?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

mamamimi: I am not sure I understand your question. I think you are asking does nutrition contribute to certain illnesses? I am not a bio statistician and no very little about dietary effects. But my off handed guess is yes they probably do. The problem with most of these studies is getting a large enough sample and resources to conduct them. Except for medical clinical trials, it is hard to look back and do these studies. Meaning most of these studies are more observational studies versus a controlled study. I mean who the heck is going to agree to eat tons of trans fat for 30 years, just to see if they might have an increased risk of ovarian cancer. So most of these studies show mere corellations versus true causation. I do think that there could be more done in the field of biostatistics to isolate factors and show their true impact on diseases. But I imagine it is a matter of money and a lack of statisitical knowledge and good data. It is simply hard to find a large enough data base to look at some of these issues.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Foamgnome, I believe there were several studies in England that controlled for the want-to-breastfeed factor by finding a group of women who intended to breastfeed but were unable to for medical reasons (for example, after birth they had to go on certain medications that prevented breastfeeding). I'll try to dig them up if I can, today.

I had both my kids in DC-area hospitals. One hospital (an Inova hospital) was extremely unfriendly to breastfeeding. They took my daughter away for long periods of time though we wanted her to room in (and we're pretty sure they gave her formula since she was never hungry when she came back), and when I hauled my postpartum butt out of bed to go to the "breastfeeding class" the lactation consultant refused to watch my baby latch on and instead gave me some pamphlets and talked only about all of her products I should buy. It still makes me angry to think about it.

The other hospital (not Inova) was incredible in their awareness of and support for breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding support should start in the hospital. This is one of the main ways that breastfeeding can become easier-- working out latching-on problems BEFORE there is pain for the mother.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 27, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Restonmom, you wrote: "And I do think she would have probably had fewer ear infections and other illnesses had she been 100 percent breast-fed, so I have a lot of guilt and feelings of inadequacy."

I know it doesn't mean much coming from a stranger, but please don't feel too guilty! I breastfed my first son exclusively for 7 months... he had a number of ear infections and had pink eye a few times, too! I was all, "Hey, where's that immunity he's supposed to have?!"

With my second child, I've had to supplement with formula due to my supply issues (maybe 1/4 of his "meals" are formula rather than breastmilk). I don't want to jinx anything, but so far, he's had fewer illnesses than his big brother (knock on wood).

Posted by: yet another lawyer | March 27, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Why is everyone so quick to condemn La Leche (and I have no affiliation-never even attended a meeting) and to let pharmaceutical companies promoting formula (their product!) off the hook?

Those companies are buying the neonatal nursing staff lunch regularly in most hospitals. One paid the City of New York $1 million (in the 70s) for the privilege of exclusive formula distribution in public hospitals. You think La Leche has an agenda!?! When I said no thank you to formula samples in the cute little bag, the LPN refused to take no for an answer. I left the bunny bag in the room.

Posted by: Usually a lurker | March 27, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Foamgnome, since you're not a statistician or a doctor, don't you think it's a little weird that you're arguing with me about this?

Anyway, since you desperately want an experiment, I thought I'd go to Pubmed and look up studies on breastfeeding.

The second article that popped up was (drumroll, please) an EXPERIMENT on breastmilk in which babies were randomly divided into two groups: those receiving breastmilk and those receiving formula. The babies were then evaluated during adolescence (yes, it was even a long-term study) and various atherosclerosis measures were taken.

The results: Adolescents who had received breastmilk as babies had lower LDL/HDL ratios, lower ApoB to ApoA-1 ratios, and lower CRP concentrations. All of these are indicators of atherosclerosis and indicate that breastmilk reduces the likelihood of atherosclerosis in the long-term.

The article is by Singhal et al. (2004) from Lancet, in case you would like to read more about it.

Now, I could waste my entire day finding more experiments and more data for you, foamgnome, but I hope that one will suffice.

Posted by: Ryan | March 27, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I was happy enough to have the bag and the samples from the hospital. Between what we got in the hospital and what I got from the pediatrician, I only bought formula once or twice.

So it worked out well!

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

It does NOT cause orgasms! Uterine contractions with breastfeeding feel like cramps. Orgasms are not uterine contractions, they're contractions of the vaginal wall.

Posted by: TO 9:01 | March 27, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

ryan,

I think it is a well established fact that foamgnome is a statistician. What she said is she is not a *bio*statistician.

And, what she is saying is basically true - since it's hard to isolate the causes.

But there is a study out there that says that babies who are nursed are less likely to die in their first year, due to *any* causes, even accidents.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Ryan, I am not a doctor. I am a statistician.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Hey, maybe we can merge the two disussions going on today - this one and OnBalance about daycare. Perhaps the BF SAHM's can slam the bottle-fed daycare-kids WOHM; or WOHM but still BF-ing can rationaize that their daycare kids wont' be the 'disruptive' ones. SAHM bottle feeding? What loser, right?? Enough already!!!!

Posted by: another thought | March 27, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"So yes, most insurance companies pay for a lactation consultant. Fred - can you weigh in? The hospital I went to is very gung ho for nursing, tho."

Frieda works for the state health dept so she primarily sees WIC mothers. She does have "outreach" hours available for any interested mother. She has been on the staff of the local hospital so she has worked with private patients. But her pay came directly from the hospital, I do not know how the hospital handled billing for her work. I do know that some LC are in private practice but know nothing of their billing mechanism.

As for an individual hospital being very pro or blasé about BF, I think it has a lot to do with the attitudes of the OB's and the pediatricians on staff. Both OB's where we live (yes, a very small town) are very supportive as well as the pediatricians. The hospital where our 3 of 4 children were born was so-so about BF. The hospital that Frieda interviewed at, after the hurricane, was very supportive and was actively looking for a new LC for its staff. But we were not there long enough to accept the job.

Here is my BIG POINT. Don't wait to talk to a LC after birth. Start a conversation with one well before your last trimester. Frieda regularly sees women from the first trimester.


Posted by: Fred | March 27, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Ryan,
I just tried to google that article and could not find the full article. You needed a journal subscription to read the full article. So if you could post the link, I would appreciate it. Again, I did not say that BF was not correlated to a number of different things. I said that medically they have not proven that it was the cause of anything other then the transfer of antibodies. But what you wrote here:
. The babies were then evaluated during adolescence (yes, it was even a long-term study) and various atherosclerosis measures were taken.

The results: Adolescents who had received breastmilk as babies had lower LDL/HDL ratios, lower ApoB to ApoA-1 ratios, and lower CRP concentrations. All of these are indicators of atherosclerosis and indicate that breastmilk reduces the likelihood of atherosclerosis in the long-term

may only show correlations. It doesn't show causation. I explained statistically how they can isolate certain factors and tell you that it is what is actually making a contributing factor. I won't know if that study actually proved causation, till I read the methodology section of the report. But Ryan, you are still missing the point of a correlation and proven causation. We can show any number of correlations and not show that BF was what caused that event to happen.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Fred,

yes, my hospital had a breastfeeding class - three hours, I think - that we took one Saturday AM.

I think I had personally done enough research that I didn't need it - but it was helpful for many reasons.

Also, every other class I went to there (either childbirth, or other parenting classes) you could tell that BFing was very important there.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Ryan, to put it simply.
The results: Adolescents who had received breastmilk as babies had lower LDL/HDL ratios, lower ApoB to ApoA-1 ratios, and lower CRP concentrations. All of these are indicators of atherosclerosis and indicate that breastmilk reduces the likelihood of atherosclerosis in the long-term

May have been caused because people who BF tend to have healthier diets, exercise more, (ie live healthier lifestyles to begin with). Therefore their children tend to have healthier lifestyles etc... I doubt the article can actually prove that BF does all these things. Simply because it would be difficult to isolate all the factors involved.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I remember talking to my son's pediatrician about switching to formula entirely. We had dealt with one problem after another in breastfeeding. The doctor waved his hands in front of my face and said I was obsolved of all guilt and to go forward and give him formula. Bless that man.

Posted by: soccermom | March 27, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

No, foamgnome, an EXPERIMENT is what demonstrates causation. As a statistician, you must know the difference between an experiment and a correlational study, right?

The study I cited was an EXPERIMENT. They used an independent variable (breastmilk vs. formula) that they were able to control and had a dependent variable (in this case, measures of atherosclerosis).

I'm sorry that you have never learned what an experiment is and how it is different from a correlational study, but the fact remains that any other scientists on here like me know the difference and know that an experiment is exactly the one kind of study that CAN demonstrate causation.

By the way, I can't get you the full article because you need to have a subscription, as most biomedical journals require. I can look at it because I'm a scientist at a medical university and we have a university subscription.

Posted by: Ryan | March 27, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I am so glad you wrote this column! I just don't understand what is really behind the government's motivation to tell women that breast feeding is best and to make women who use formula feel guilty. First of all, it is not "best" under any and all circumstances. Breast milk carries everything the mother has and passes it on to baby. That means if mom is sick, nervous, upset, tired, etc. her milk might turn sour and poor baby. In today's world, mom has enough to do without adding this factor to baby's health. If all women just laid in bed all day and were served by maids and cooks and other people to take care of everything, and mom ate only the very best foods that make good milk, then maybe mom's milk would be really good for baby. Otherwise, no way. This is why in China, if a woman (or a family) wanted baby to get really good milk, they hired a nurse-maid who was treated like royalty and didn't do anything except nurse the baby. Breast feeding in the poor undeveloped countries of Africa is very, very unhealthy for baby because moms are so ill-nourished. Formula is so healthy and sanitary and unless baby is allergic to something in formula, then it's definitely better. Anyway, the American way of life is not conducive to breast feeding unless a mom has about three months at home without anything else to do or any other kids to take care of or a husband to fuss over. Women need to tell others to bugger off and do what you can do and what's easiest and best for you and your family. The baby will be healthier and happier if you're not in pain or fretting aout a lack of milk or anxious about what you're eating. Besides, babies who are breast fed for more than three months get so attached to mom that dads are second choice and forget about baby sitters. So think big picture, moms, and don't let the government and all these advocacy groups push you into this. I'm not saying that some women are perfect for breast feeding and have no problems at all and love it. That's your choice. But if you're not, don't feel guilty. Your baby will probably be more healthier and happier in the long run.

Posted by: Mimi | March 27, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

"not to be informed and make decisions of convenience or ignorance"

Like using disposable diapers?

What a bunch of smug, self-righteous hypocrites!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to disappoint you, 10:55, but I used cloth.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 27, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

No, just because you run a clinical trial doesn't mean that proves causation. Again, you need to mathematically isolate the factor to determine causation. Being an clinical trial does not prove it. It is the statistical model that proves it. I can't tell in that study because I can't read the article. Like you said, you need a subscription. If the article does as you say it does, then yes, in this case it does prove causation. But how would anyone know that without reading the methodology section of the article. So I will add that to my list of proven (shows causation) to my BF argument. But how the heck can you expect anyone to sort through this with causation studies linked around BF. Especially if we can't read the article.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Mimi wrote:
"Breast feeding in the poor undeveloped countries of Africa is very, very unhealthy for baby because moms are so ill-nourished. Formula is so healthy and sanitary and unless baby is allergic to something in formula, then it's definitely better."

What an ill-informed statement. In Africa thousands of babies died after Nestle distributed free formula to mothers.
After the samples ran out, mothers tried to stretch the powder by mixing too dilute solution and feeding their babies. Thousands died of dysentery because the water used to mix the powder was not potable for babies. The only benefit of feeding a baby in a developing country formula is if the mother is HIV positive.

Posted by: Usually a lurker | March 27, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

In my experience (my own and that of several friends), NOBODY picks formula over breastfeeding because of a lack of information. They "choose" it because it is the only choice they have, dictated by their own health, their baby's health, constraints of a job, or other family obligations. Therefore, breastfeeding zealots who quote (questionable) study after (questionable) study does amount to harassing. We all know the studies, thanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Concerning size of nipples being a problem with bfing, a friend of mine has to use an "adaptor" (I am not making this up) in order to bf on account of having too small nipples."

Women who have flat or inverted nipples can sucessfully BF using breast shells. This may well be the adaptor referred to. Frieda has never seen a case of too small nipple-itis. There are techniques and/or medical devices that can help.


Posted by: Fred | March 27, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Mimi,
You are SO off base. Nothing makes mom's milk *sour.* In fact, if mom is sick it is MUCH better for baby to be nursed, because the baby then gets the antibodies that the mom is making and although the baby is exposed to the cold (or whatever) the baby typically is getting antibodies and doesn't get sick.
Happened to us quite a bit with our sons. Where I'd get sick but the kids wouldn't...

Do you work for the formula companies?

My kids love their dad, and, as I have said before, I nursed them each for 13-15 months. Second one was home with babysitter from 6 months and couldn't adore her more.
You are the one spreading propaganda, not the feds - they are just trying to get information out there, because most women have a mom and MIL who are telling them how wonderful formula is, not to mention the formula companies.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I've posted before on On Balance on this topic and it is one I have become passionate about. My story: I talked to all of my doctors - ob, perinatologist, pediatrician, regular doctor about this decision. All of my doctors told me it was my decision and none ever uttered the horrible words "Breast is Best." We talked a bit about different studies, anecdotes, etc and then weighed pros and cons for my family. All were perfectly comfortable with our decision to choose formula. Fast forward to me with new baby being asked constantly by friends, relatives and people I barely know asking me if I'm breastfeeding. I had no idea it was going to be such a big topic and that it was everyone's business. I felt a bit ambushed by the attention to my breasts and the 'Oh, hmmm' responses I often received when I answered honestly that my baby was on formula. Fast forward again to my return to work when I started reading Mommy blogs ... that is when I found out what a Terrible Mom I was for not breastfeeding, and I started to lose it from all the backlash, opionated people and lack of studies that made sense. One conversation that really changed me was with a good friend who had delivered her baby 2 weeks before mine. She sent me tons of info about nursing, never once asking if I would be nursing - just making the assumption that I would. When we spoke on the phone and I gently explained to her that I was not, she listened to my reasons (why did I feel I had to defend my choice, ugh) and she responded... "Well, I still think breast is best, but ... " Needless to say, that friendship has not been the same.
One more piece of the story and then I'll sign off... at a baby basics class the instructor gave out diaper bags from a formula company. She told us to go home and throw out all the formula, but to use the bag, and then repeat after her 5 times "Breast is best." My husband and I sat in shock. In retrospect, we wish we had asked everyone to donate the formula they were going to go home and throw away to us... the Not Best parents in the room.
To sum it all up, we become so vulnerable after we have babies - we obviously want to do only what is best and we are constantly bombarded with messages about what is right, what is wrong... all the black and whites, that you realized a little too late there just aren't black and whites when it comes to raising kids. I've learned not to go by Always and Nevers and a year later I try to ignore the "breast is besters." But thinking back on the first six months of my baby's life I am saddened by the effect they had on me.
Needless to say, my daughter is thriving. Has had less ear infections than a friend who nursed for a year, blah blah blah. She's happy and healthy, I'm happy and healthy (albeit a bit tired!). A happy mommy makes a happy baby and if your nipples are bleeding and your baby is losing weight and you're crying and frustrated all the time - I question if your breasts are really best.
Out.

Posted by: Bad Mom | March 27, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Ryan,

Foamgnome is correct. There is absolutely NO WAY to account for all variables and have the ONLY differences between two sets of people be that one set was given breastmilk and the other set was given formula.
You can't account for every other possibility and ONLY point to how they were fed as infants.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Only in America would we be upset about the medical community sharing information about what is best for us because we don't like it. Do you feel guilty about not exercsing because the gov't encourages that? Should they not encourage people to exercise and eat right? Only in America would mother's reject a vaccine that will prevent cancer because her daughter might have sex. What is wrong with you people?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Ryan, an experiment does not prove causation. An experiment can help isolate factors to build your statistical model. Just out of curiosity, what kind of scientist are you? There are many flawed clinical trials out there. Again, the number one rule of statistics is causation does not prove correlation. Number two rule of thumb, is your results are only as good as your data. Most studies (medical or non medical) are reaped with data problems. You should know that if you are a research statistician.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I meant to stay research scientist.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Amen Mimi! Thank you!

Posted by: Bethesda | March 27, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

BadMom and others tormented by the militant BF crowd:

How about telling people it's none of their business how you feed your child? Why try to justify your decision? You know what's best for your family, so there is no need to be defensive about it. You have absolutely no explaining to do to anyone.

There are always people like that out there, whether you are talking about parenting, school, work, etc. Some people think they know what's best for everyone, and you just can't let it get to you.

Some people need to be told to mind their own business and have a nice day. I don't put it that nicely when I have to send that message, but you get the idea.

Posted by: catmommy | March 27, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I guess I had it easy. I breastfed for 6 years(3 kids, 2 yrs each), and never had cracked or bleeding nipples. As noted above, breast milk doesn't sour, but foods can cause it to cause gassy babies. Broccoli seemed to be the worst offender, much to my chagrin. Funny, my kids still don't like broccoli. I was a SAHM, and money was tight, so formula was not really an option. It was a long time ago(my kids are 20,19 and 16), but I don't remember getting anything from the hospital but a pacifier. Of course, my kids were born in military hospitals, so maybe it's different. I do know that I got a lot of coupons in the mail from formula companies after my 3rd one(the only one born in the states).

Posted by: SParks | March 27, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

My OB recommended, when registering on the formula sites for free formula (kinda like registering for a free crack hit), to fill it out that I was going to exclusively breastfeed - in that way, I would get more formula from them.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"Bad Mom," I am really sorry that people have been judgmental with you. It must feel terrible. Sounds like you made the right decision for everyone in your family.

I think parents can't really win-- someone is always judging their decisions. I got flak for choosing to breastfeed-- that it's gross, not modern, will make my boobs flabby, I'm wasting my time, etc. You'd be surprised at the rude things friends and family will say to nursing moms (actually, you probably wouldn't!). This increased as my kids got a little older (they stopped nursing at 14 months and 19 months). Then I got the "they'll be nursing in college" insults-disguised-as-jokes.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 27, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey indymom - you are an idiot

Posted by: ECV | March 27, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting that the formerly breastfeeding obsessed mothers in my neighborhood are now content to feed their offspring sodium filled, low nutrient junk food because "they'll only eat kid food like chicken fingers" or "they won't eat any vegetables". Whatever "advantage" these kids got in their first year of life has been more than canceled out by their subsequent poor diets. It's not just about feeding, but responsible parenting in general.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"and if your nipples are bleeding and your baby is losing weight and you're crying and frustrated all the time - I question if your breasts are really best"

I would question why you are not seeking medical advice. These are all problems that can be worked out.

Posted by: Fred | March 27, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Why is this flash-point question even here? I have a 7-month old who has been exclusively breast-fed from the beginning. I had a dreamy time from the start. I read all the materials, knew breast was best, went to La Leche (NOT a bunch of hairy legged wackos). But, I'm pragmatic and was ready to go the formula route if I had to. This is such a flaming question, almost as bad as the abortion question, that I no longer read the lines of argument that spew forth. I do think there needs to be more nuanced information for women who are aiming for that one-year mark, because breastfeeding changes over time and if you aren't expecting the changes then you may stop early thinking your supply has stopped, or the baby isn't getting enough. Here is THE BEST website for those questions wwww.kellymom.com.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Everyone should not do what is best for themselves, but rather what is best for their BABY. That's the problem right there...

Posted by: To JS | March 27, 2007 10:21 AM

And, I and many others would argue that having a happy mother is what is best for the baby. You don't agree, fine. But that is a matter of opinion, not a fact.

Please retreat to your black and white world where you are always right. Thanks.

Posted by: JS | March 27, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Actually, foamgnome, an experiment is the best way to examine causation. Why? Because you have a randomized grouping of the subjects into their respective treatment groups. The problem with correlational studies is that you can't randomly assign subjects to different groups. So, as you do all the time, you have to start factoring out a variety of variables.

The advantage of an experiment is that you have control over the independent variable and you can randomly assign subjects to the experimental or control group. By randomization, you eliminate any pre-existing differences. By controlling who gets what treatment, you isolate the variable of interest. That is, the only difference between group A and group B is the treatment you get. Therefore, if you have a difference in outcomes, the only possible cause is the difference in the independent variable.

I realize that, as a stastician, you probably deal with mountains of data that are just collected from a variety of subjects and that is why you have to build your statistical models by factoring out various variables. In the sciences, however, true experiments are, by far, the most common studies conducted.

Here's a link that gives a brief explanation of scientific methodology: http://www.alleydog.com/101notes/methods.html
It's brief, but I don't have time to scour the internet for longer explanations for you.

By the way, I have a Ph.D. in biology.

Posted by: Ryan | March 27, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Ryan, I have no doubt that running controlled experiments is the best way to examine causation. What I said it does not prove causation. I said that it helps to isolate factors, in order to better build a statistical model. I totally agree that controlled experiments is the best possible way (that we know of now) to help isolate those factors (ie. helps to examine causation). But your post said it proves causation. And that is not true. Again, it is all predicated that you have the right statistical model. Again, statisticians and scientist will often argue about what is the correct model. The problem with science is they often try to find the model that works for them. While statisticians spend too much time deciding on the theoretical model to use. I agree in this day and age, with the resources that we have, controlled experiments are the "best" possible way to determine causation. But they are always predicated on the fact, we may simply be looking at the wrong model. And when your talking about nutritrion and the many factors affecting health, it is highly unlikely that we included all the necessary factors. OK, truce?

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The advantage of an experiment is that you have control over the independent variable and you can randomly assign subjects to the experimental or control group. By randomization, you eliminate any pre-existing differences. By controlling who gets what treatment, you isolate the variable of interest. That is, the only difference between group A and group B is the treatment you get. Therefore, if you have a difference in outcomes, the only possible cause is the difference in the independent variable.

this is generally the whole problem with clinical trials. You generally do not get a truly randomized sample. Due to budget constraints and subjects willing to participate. But I agree, that it is as random as humanely possible. Again if you look at most studies, you will find a huge amount of trial and data problems. So results are generally skeptical at best. You know as well as I know, that there is no such thing as a perfect experiment.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

went to La Leche (NOT a bunch of hairy legged wackos)

but did they make granola and drive Subarus?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Re: Scientific Studies

I'm sure anyone wanting to prove a point can come up with some type of statistical or other "proof."

I don't even waste my time listening to the results of the latest "study" or "clinical trial."

Take aspirin, don't take aspirin. Oral contraceptives increase/decrease the risk of cancer. Fatty foods are bad/good for you. Being slightly overweight is terrible/not that big of a deal. Take this miracle drug/join a class action lawsuit against its manufacturer. Drink wine/don't drink at all. BF/formula feed.

I would never have any job satisfaction doing this kind of work because half of it at least is horse puckey.

Posted by: catmommy | March 27, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Okay, so we are posting stories about those breast-fed babies who were sick all time and thin and dehydrated. My niece-in-law had her first child as a teenager and the baby was allergic to all the formulas and they couldn't keep them down and she ended up in the hospital for dehydration. Never once did anyone suggest she try breastfeeding her.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure anyone wanting to prove a point can come up with some type of statistical or other "proof."

that is the the statisticians dirty little secret. You can always find a model that will prove what you want with a certain select data. But I do believe most scientists and statisticians are truly interested in the truth. And are not intentionally swayed by their own opinions.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Child Care Health Dev. 2007 Jan;33(1):110
Effect of breast feeding on intelligence in children: prospective study, sibling pairs analysis, and meta-analysis.Reading R.

I read the full article cited above. In contrast to previous studies, it finds that breastfeeding has no significant effect on intelligence. Previous studies claimed to control for the IQ of the mother, but this study uses a better control: it compares siblings of the same mother, where one sibling was breastfed and the other was not. No difference between their IQs.

Where are all the media reports about this article???

I have to say that after reading various research articles about the data for breastfeeding I am highly cynical about the claims made by the pro-breastfeeding groups. I think that there is a lot of conflating correlation with causation. When the data are analysed more carefully, or better data are accumulated, the answer may come out opposite to what it appeared before!

I participate in a parenting discussion board and I see breastfeeding moms on there disregarding their doctors' advice to add formula, even when the baby is jaundiced. I have read the research on juandice and the consequences of severe jaundice dwarf the consequences of formula supplementation. I see this kind of behavior as an outcome of the breastfeeding nazis' public condemnation of formula. Amazing.

Posted by: m | March 27, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Well, these are Dallasite La Leche women, so you have to factor that in. No, really, I go there because they know how to breastfeed, and that is the one thing they have in common with many variations after that.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey Bad Mom,

You're really not a bad mom. I have two children. Tried breastfeeding both of them. I'm not even going to say that it didn't work (even though it didn't) -- I am going to say though that I couldn't stand breastfeeding.

Not surprisingly, I felt like crap whenever I "admitted" to anyone that there was formula in that bottle. It's amazing how intolerant some people can be.

The problem deep at the root of this and so many other of the "mommy" topics on blogs like these is that women have a propensity to be nasty and condesending to other women. It's how we make ourselves feel good about the choices we make in our lives.

On any number of topics, you'll find women spewing the virtues of doing -- whatever the topic is, fill in the blank -- the right way. The educated way. The enlightened way. The way "they" say to do it in all of the expert books.

We don't want to do it the "wrong" way. The way the uneducated do it. The way the poor people do it. The way somebody's grandma told you to do it.

We always want to act better than that. We always want to show other women that we are better than them at everything we do.

So when we have our children's birthday party invitations printed, we put "no gifts please," to prove that we are above such materialism and don't need others to buy our children gifts. When we talk about children's entertainment we always have to let others know that "we don't watch television at our house," to make sure they understand that only boobs would allow such a thing. And it goes on and on and on.

There are, of course, two granddaddy topics in this fanatical land of mommy perfection -- breastfeeding and your decision to work or stay home. Quite frankly, both of these topics now bore me to tears. I didn't breastfeed well and I work outside the home. I guess I'm just a bad mother.

Posted by: JGO | March 27, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"went to La Leche (NOT a bunch of hairy legged wackos)

but did they make granola and drive Subarus?"

And were they the most homely & shapeless females on the planet? Yikes!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Der G, Batty GD, Deary IJ. Related Articles, Links
Effect of breast feeding on intelligence in children: prospective study, sibling pairs analysis, and meta-analysis.
BMJ. 2006 Nov 4;333(7575):945. Epub 2006 Oct 4.

Zhou SJ, Baghurst P, Gibson RA, Makrides M. Related Articles, Links
Home environment, not duration of breast-feeding, predicts intelligence quotient of children at four years.
Nutrition. 2007 Mar;23(3):236-241. Epub 2007 Feb 22.


Two additional studies supporting the conclusion I just described.

Posted by: m | March 27, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I think we need to own our decisions and stop worrying so much about other people... and try not to offer too much unsolicited advice. While I believe that breastmilk is better than formula, I still didn't do it past the first few months with my first child due to circumstances in which I considered it impractical. And that was my decision. I didn't worry about what other people thought about it. Now if someone wants to use formula, that's fine. But I don't think they should expect health professionals to stop promoting breastfeeding as the "best" choice because it happens to be contrary to what they want to do (or have to do). A mother needs to make the best decision she can based on HER circumstances. But she can't look to always be validated by others.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | March 27, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

went to La Leche (NOT a bunch of hairy legged wackos)

but did they make granola and drive Subarus?"

And were they the most homely & shapeless females on the planet? Yikes!


How did they every get pg?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

My wife breastfed our first son, but could never do more than maybe 20 ounces a day. Many Many women are physically incapable of producing 100% of their children's nutritional needs. Anyone who thinks breastfeeding issues can be cured with supplements and oatmeal isn't a doctor. We introduced formula when we introduced the bottle and were going at least 25% formula for months. I knew a mom about 5 ft 3 who had a giant baby. If she didn't have formula to fall back on, what would she do?

Posted by: DCer | March 27, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Librarylady,

Yeah, I had the "adaptor" -- it's technically called a nipple shield. We ended up using it for a few weeks, then DD weaned herself off it. like the SNS, the syringe, and all of the other feeding "helpers" we used, it was a pain in the rear to use, and I was very glad to see the end of it.

I second (or third?) the idea that, in some cases, nursing is administratively much easier than formula feeding. We can go around and around forever about the health benefits of nursing, but it's undeniably convenient for some moms, once you get over the hard part.

Posted by: NewSAHM | March 27, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, I'm glad I no longer live in DC. I'd forgotten how careful one must be in casual speech lest you offend someone even when your intentions are obviously different.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Something seems to be missed in the debate. It's not breast OR bottle. Breast milk supplemented by formula is a workable solution. Baby gets the antibodies and trace minerals, but it's not the struggle strictly breast feeding can be. In our case, it was the only solution.

We have twins and my wife struggled with her milk. It was slow coming in and never a strong supply. A was insistent, but very easily upset when milk wasn't coming. B would suck for all he was worth, which would last for a long time since there wasn't much milk. I broke on the 4th day and tried making some formula for them. Thank goodness! Once A had a little formula in his belly, he began nursing more calmly.

We generally kept to a mixture of breast milk and formula, with the fraction of formula increasing as they grew. We eventually shifted to formula after about 4 months and gradually began introducing solids at the appropriate time.

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | March 27, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

DCer. Size of Mom, size of baby, size of breasts have Zero to do with ability of Mom to produce enough milk. I am a 5'3" mom with maybe size B breasts, and a baby who one week after birth has always been in 75%+ of weight. I have an over-supply. www.kellymom.com

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why there is any debate between breast feeding and formula feeding. In my mind, the real issue here is "jerks who think that they know what is best for someone else's kids" vs. "enlightened people who know what is none of their business."

Ask yourself which group you fall into.

Posted by: Bob | March 27, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The World Health Organization's infant feeding recommendation

As stated in the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding (A55/15, paragraph 10):

Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed(1) for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health(2). Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding from birth is possible except for a few medical conditions, and unrestricted exclusive breastfeeding results in ample milk production.

Much more can be found at:
http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/

Posted by: Fred | March 27, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I was a breastfeeding WOHM and SAHM. The first time I commuted 90 miles a day with my hospital grade pump and had an office where I could use it.

I "reverse cycle" nursed (at night) and was basically a lunatic. But because I was young (27), it worked out for me.

Years later, I had my second child and she nursed as well.

I was glad I could do it, but I found not much support either from the LaLeche League meeting I attended only once (they put down WOHMs) or anyone else. I felt very much alone at the time, but I did it anyway.

Most of the women I knew in my suburb used formula. There was no mention of breastfeeding, particularly long-term breastfeeding, which I did.

My only major objection to bottle feeding is when I see a baby with a propped bottle or force fed when they're really no longer hungry.

There's something sad about it (when it's not absolutely necessary -- and the parents could easily hold the child).

Posted by: Kate (NY) | March 27, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

So many people citing so many studies with no understanding.

Check out some real analysis of the siutation: here and learn that the demonstrated benefits are pretty limited and can easily be offset in certain circumstances by increased stress on the mother or other factors.

Either way, it is quite clear that the marginal difference between breast feeding and formula feeding is hardly a battle worth fighting for and you are better off saving your energy to keep your kid from goping to Club Libby Lu parties...

Posted by: aa | March 27, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Reverse cycler. For me the hardest part about breastfeeding was the trust factor. Trusting your body to make enough and trusting your baby to get enough. When the baby would go all day without nursing--who wouldn't worry, only to find they were making up for it at night (works best if you co-sleep, Nursing Mom's REAL reason for a family bed). It's most unscientific and unmeasureable, but so is sleeping with your baby who during the night presses her little warm body up against yours and nurses so contentedly and fully that she rolls over away from you and sighs and drifts off to sleep and you do too.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I think most women hear all the horror stories about sore nipples, inadequate supplies and just expect trouble when BFing. At the first sign of trouble they quit, especially if their mothers and family members start to urge them to use formula. I know so many friends whose mom's had children in the sixties and seventies and see BFing as undesirable.
My daughter was born C-section because of pre-ecplampsia and breach presentation. After her birth, she developed breathing problems and spent a week in neo-natal intensive care. I made the doctors release me so I could go to the children's hospital with her. I was DETERMINED to breast feed. SHe was hooked up to all kinds of alarmed monitors so even though I held her and tried to feed her, I had problems because of the c-section pain and the stupid alarms that went off contantly. The hospital had a nice big milk machine which I could use to pump, so that's what I did, pump and gave it to her in a bottle. When I could take her home, I was determined that she would breat feed. It took a week or so for it to get efficient, but we did it. I had to return to my job 28 days after my c-section (I was military), and I continued to breat feed at night and let the babysitter give her formula in the day. I never pumped because I could'nt make the darn thing work but amazingly enough my body got into a routine were my milk would increase in the evening and on weekends. At 5 months, my daughter refused to take the bottle from the babysitter and would nurse only at night. From that time until she began solid foods, she nursed at night while we slept. I realize mine is an extreme case
but I share this to make the point that nursing can work if you are determined. I do not look down on anyone that doesn't breast feed, but I'm always a bit skeptical when they say they "can't".

Posted by: heresathought | March 27, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"I do not look down on anyone that doesn't breast feed, but I'm always a bit skeptical when they say they "can't"."

Newsflash!! It's none of your business!! Drop the martyr act!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"Co-sleeping"?? "Family Bed"??

Talk about a way to warp your kids and ruin your marriage! There really are some lunatics out today!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your support, friends, and the shared anecdotes. I really think you're right that it does come down to People Who Know They Are Right and Have to Tell Everyone about it. It's true that it happens in every subculture, on every subtopoic, but I thnk it hits home a bit more when it comes to parenting, since it can become such a vulnerable (hmm... hormones?) time. One of my favorites ... I told a story to aforementioned friend with same age baby about how my daughter would cross heck or high water to get to play with a cell phone or remote control. Friend replied by saying that her daughter would do the same for a cell phone, but not a remote control as they do not let the baby watch tv, therefore, the baby does not know what a reomte control is. Ugh. (This was after checking the ingredients on our can of Gerber Puffs to see how much sugar they have.)
Clearly, we prop our formula fed, daycare inflicted child in front of the Sopranos every day while we serve her high sugar non-Organic peanuts and we spend her college savings on our company's March Madness brackets.
But I digress...

Posted by: Bad Mom | March 27, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

went to La Leche (NOT a bunch of hairy legged wackos)

"but did they make granola and drive Subarus?"

And were they the most homely & shapeless females on the planet? Yikes!


How did they every get pg?"

Husbands put bags over the Nursing Nazis' heads or turned out the lights while fantasizing....

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"I'm always a bit skeptical when they say they "can't"."
Posted by: heresathought | March 27, 2007 12:18 PM

Well, I can guarantee you that it is none of your business.

Posted by: Bob | March 27, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Huh! Talk about hipocracy. One day its okay to critize mothers who let their children play dress-up at Club Libby Lu. Did none of you watch The Brady Bunch, remember the short dresses we wore in the 70's, or wear your mother's blue eyeshadow? In the 70's and 80's we could get Bonnie Bell makeup for kids. Do any of you let your sons wear football jerseys when they're not playing football. It's called dress-up play!

The next day, its okay to criticize mothers who believe that they are making their children as healthy as possible by breastfeeding if they can. (Which, by the way, is what formula companies as well as the medical establishment agress is the case - breastfeeding is medically superior to formula feeding in most cases.)

Mothers who let themselves feel guilty because of what others mothers think are not confident in their own decisions and should obviously not read this blog, which seems to be written by a confused mother herself.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Husbands put bags over the Nursing Nazis' heads or turned out the lights while fantasizing....

About? don't tell me ANS

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"Husbands put bags over the Nursing Nazis' heads or turned out the lights while fantasizing....

About? don't tell me ANS"

Anything but the dogs that they are trapped in loveless marriages with! Good grief, don't these women ever look in the mirror? Can't they comb their hair and ditch the sweats once in a while?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"I'm always a bit skeptical when they say they "can't"."
Posted by: heresathought | March 27, 2007 12:18 PM

Well, I can guarantee you that it is none of your business.


Posted by: Bob | March 27, 2007 12:32 PM

Some people make it your business when "they" talk about it.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Anything but the dogs that they are trapped in loveless marriages with! Good grief, don't these women ever look in the mirror? Can't they comb their hair and ditch the sweats once in a while?

You are much too kind.


Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Many co-sleeping arrangments start with Mom's who are breast feeding and realize the convenience of not having to wake themselves or the baby fully to feed to baby during the night. It's not an "agenda" they are trying to implement, it's about ease and getting a full night's sleep. I don't think my 7-month old daughter is warped or my 14-year marriage is in danger because Mom, Dad and baby get a full nigh't sleep.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I tried breastfeeding and it just didn't work for me so my 17-month old was formula fed. so far she doesn't seem to be the worse for it. what really bugged me was one of my OBs (i went to a practice with rotating docs). she was a nursing nazi..that was clear but I really wrote her off when she told me that she was continuing to nurse her FOUR YEAR OLD. i'm sorry but that's just weird and icky.

Posted by: Sophie's Mom | March 27, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I think it's just so easy for people to feel attacked and defensive on just about any issue related to parenting. just look at what we've seen here today: Moms who refuse to breastfeed are selfish, those who can't nurse are deluded, those who do breastfeed are pigs who sit around all day or fanatics who will risk their babies' lives to nurse, co-sleepers are freaks, etc. etc.

At a certain point, we just need to stop caring what other people think of our choices. Wasn't it Eleanor Roosevelt that said nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent? So stop consenting!

Posted by: NewSAHM | March 27, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I can think of only one drawback that resulted from my wife breastfeeding all our babies. The children bonded with their mother so much better and there was nothing I could do about that. But anyway, It's probably a good thing.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 27, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Anything but the dogs that they are trapped in loveless marriages with! Good grief, don't these women ever look in the mirror? Can't they comb their hair and ditch the sweats once in a while?


Posted by: | March 27, 2007 12:38 PM


Sounds like you are married to one!

Posted by: to:12.38 | March 27, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I nursed all my kids for more than a year, which was regarded as weird. My youngest nursed until he was 3, mostly for comfort there at the end. He was the only one of the 3 that didn't have a comfort item. He justed used me ;-). I got a lot of comments from family about nursing that long, but I ignored them. The only thing I did that my kids still complain about was not letting them watch the Simpsons.

Posted by: SParks | March 27, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

What if doctors called for a study using twins (or other multiple births) to determine the benefits of breastfeeding? It may be hard to find parents who are willing to feed one child one way and the other child differently. However, it could be for a worthy cause: to settle this debate forever! Identical twins are the closest that you can come in an effort to remove other differences, environmental and genetic make-up. But all multiple births could provide useful information in this debate.

My opinion: do what is in the best interest of the family.

Posted by: just a thought | March 27, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"but did they make granola and drive Subarus?"

"And were they the most homely & shapeless females on the planet? Yikes!"

Better a Subaru than an SUV. When did SUVs get to be such symbols of femininity? These fall under the truck class of vehicles. When I was growing up only farm women (because they had a practical use for a truck) and butch women drove trucks. And while the Subaru doesn't get the mileage of a Honda Civic, it's relatively efficient for an AWD.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm with JGO -- have the self respect and self confidence to be satisfied with your parenting decisions, whatever they are. Why care what other people think if you know you're doing the best you can with the situation you're presented with -- and that doesn't always mean you're doing the best -- you have to cut yourself some breaks. An hour of tv when you have a migraine won't doom your child to a mediocre college, a happy meal when you too tired to go to the grocery store doesn't automatically translate into diabetes. If anything, hearing snotty comments from others about your parenting decisions is an easy way to weed out the people you don't want to spend time with -- consider it a gift.

I note with amusement that even when people post to say go easy on the mothers who use formula they go on to note that they've successfully breast fed for X months and pumped and don't know who Dr. Brown is and their kid doesn't watch TV and are bilingual and prefers oil over watercolor . . . . It just shows that people still feel the need to explain and defend their decisions. I know that while I've made plenty of parenting mistakes and will make plenty more in the big scheme of things I've don't the best I can. Which means I get to stop worrying and obsessing and actually enjoy being a parent. So you can guess whether I've breastfed or not or whether I work outside the home -- I don't really care what anyone thinks because based on how my kids are doing today I'm ok with my decisions.

Posted by: Mom of 3 under 4 | March 27, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

LOL. Actually, most of the Moms in my Dallas La Leche League drive SUV's or trucks!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not sure the science is clear enough to be used as a tool to bludgeon people"

Ah, if only that were so.

Not parent, not pregnant, but already thinking about those issues, especially with a MIL who's militantly pro-breast-feeding and after that window of time was a pretty absent parent (or so her children say.)

I've got medical issues that might make it difficult or impossible to BF; if she or anyone else began trying to preach to me about BF I'd probably end up telling them I wouldn't ask exactly what they were doing with their breasts if they'd refrain from asking what I was doing with mine.

And Ryan, an "EXPERIMENT" (your emphasis) of that type doesn't prove causation unless these adolescents were kept in the same environment, fed the exact same foods, medicated in the exact same way and exercised the same amount as one another in the many years since BF.

I would love to see the lab setup where they've been harboring human young for 15 years in order to prove the superiority of breast-feeding.

Posted by: wenholdra | March 27, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I found a lot of helpful info at kellymom.com too. She links to Jack Newman's website drjacknewman.com. He's a Canadian pediatrician and is certified by the AAP. He explains a technique called breast compression which I found extremely helpful. I don't know why it doesn't seem to be taught in the U.S. (at least not back when I was breastfeeding).

Fred, if you're reading--does your wife have an opinion on the quality of bf help women receive in American hospitals (or at least in your immediate geographic area)?

Posted by: Usually a lurker | March 27, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The scientific literature is actually ambivalent as to which is best, breast milk or formula. All scientifically valid studies conducted in the last 15 years show very, very little to no advantage of one over the other. In addition, scientific studies have also shown that the "medical" advantages of breastfeeding are basically decreased substantially by 2 weeks after birth and virtually nonexistent after 6 weeks. After that point the advantages are mostly economical and psychological, both of which are mostly benefits for the mom not baby. As for formula use being concurrent with obesity ... a child's lifelong metabolic rate is largely determined by their diet from the ages of 7-9. Don't see how that ties formula to obesity. Think obesity can also be attributed to fast food, sodas, etc. Most women's breastmilk actually contains more sugar than formula. I make no judgements on any mom for her choice of nutrition for her child, but if you're going to try and make a scientific argument for one over the other, please get it right. As for the AAP's statement on breastfeeding being best, why do so many physicians push the high-priced formulas on their patients? Remember, in many doctor's offices you can't tell the difference between a drug rep and a formula rep.

Posted by: Scientific mother of 3 | March 27, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

for 12:23 poster - It's not my perception that I'm a "martyr". I'm was just sharing my story in overcoming obstacles that were thrown in my way.

for Bob at 12:32 - Never said it was my business. In fact, I couldn't care less who breast feeds or who doesn't - unless it's my daughter and her future children. Even then, I won't have the final say. I'm just convinced that it's the best thing for children and families should give it powerful consideration.

Posted by: heresathought | March 27, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

If breastfeeding is possible, it's better nutrition for the child, and some "sit still" time for mom.

But if it's not possible, practical or a viable option, it's a perfectly fine option.

Once upon a time, mothers died with far more regularity during or shortly after childbirth. Plenty of kids were put on substitutes (goat's milk, for example).

But yeah, if you can at least give 'em a good first dose of colostrum, that really gives them a bit of a boost for a little while.

In the end, almost all of them get toilet-trained, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that stats.org article was inflammatory-- does not seem like a neutral analysis to me.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 27, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

to 12:26 -- Not only co-sleeping, but these people actually bathe and shower with their own kids. Jeez. How warped can that be? Let's see how many say it's OK be be naked with your kids. Any 'Let's Get Naked' Nazis out there?

How about the cotton washable diaper set? You're a BAAAADDDD mother if you don't use washable cotton diapers and wash and fold them yourself. Diaper service is for wussies, and poop-filled Pampers are filling up our landfills and leeching into water supplies. Let the flaming begin.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"All scientifically valid studies conducted in the last 15 years show very, very little to no advantage of one over the other."

Really? Where's the evidence of that?

Posted by: Evidence? | March 27, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"Remember, in many doctor's offices you can't tell the difference between a drug rep and a formula rep."

That's because formula is manufactured by drug companies. Hey, if you want to feed formula, fine. I just think people should be aware of how the pharmaceutical companies are pushing it through our medical care providers. I also think medical providers have an obligation to provide information and support to encourage breastfeeding. To me, there's a conflict of interest when medical offices accept free lunches and pass along goody bags from corporations whose motivation is profit.

Posted by: Usually a lurker | March 27, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

wenholdra, that's the advantage of a randomized study. You don't have to do anything else to the participants. You don't have to have them in the exact same environments. The randomization process ensures (as much as possible) that there are no differences between the two groups. That is why a randomized experiment is considered the gold standard of studies (well, if you've got people, a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized experiment is the gold standard -- but I'm sure you knew that). Again, due to the randomization, the only difference between the two groups is the one controlled difference -- the treatment. Now, of course, there is always the possibility that the randomization led (randomly, of course) to two groups that are not essentially the same. This is why we, in science, always report the p values of our stats, acknowledging that nothing is known for certain and that the possibility that the findings were due to random chance always exists. But, of course, I'm sure already knew that.

Foamgnome, thanks for coming around to agreeing that a controlled, randomized experiment is the best study that can be done for examining cause and effect, although resorting to philosophy (a la David Hume) to continue claiming that you're right is a little silly. We all know that nothing (and since I know you've read Hume, I mean NOTHING) can be proven. As you also know so well, science is about reducing uncertainty. Next time, it would just be simpler if you made your philosophical argument from the start instead of engaging in so many disingenuous arguments about the proper controls, statistical models, etc.

Nonetheless, foamgnome, if you would like to engage in such philosophical arguments, you might as well admit that you know nothing because, as Karl Popper explained, the scientific method is the best way of acquiring knowledge. And, as you have admitted, true experiments are the best, yet still flawed, way of determining cause and effect. Therefore, logically, you (and I) know absolutely nothing.

So, this has been a fun discussion, but really, you should avoid resorting to such silly philosophical arguments just to avoid admitting you were wrong.

Posted by: Ryan | March 27, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The issue really is complex.

Foamgnome, I was a math major although I don't work in a math-related field right now. So I get your point that you can't really prove any more than correlation. But when study upon study finds correlations between several different health issues and breast-feeding, doesn't common sense suggest that the breast-feeding actually is the causation of some of these positive health outcomes? To me it does.

Facts are facts and I am personally convinced that it is a fact that *generally* - emphasis on that word - breastfeeding is healthier for the average infant. With that said, I didn't exclusively breast-feed either of my children. Both were preemies and we almost lost our second. After I did all of the research I could, consulted with pediatricians and lactation consultants and neonatologists, the consensus seemed to be that it would be better for MY child if I supplemented the breastmilk I was making (by pumping 6-8 times a day) with a specific formula and to ONLY bottlefeed for the first few months.

My point is that it is OK to admit that breastfeeding is generally better and yet still make a different decision for your child. I think it is a shame that we can't talk about this with some subtletly and nuance as well as compassion and understanding for people's unique situations.

Posted by: Carol | March 27, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Just want to say that I have three kids ranging from age 3 to 14. I nursed all three for about 18 months each, but I wasn't preachy about it to other people. I did it because I was a very sickly child, still have many health problems, and I don't know that it had anything to do with my being formula-fed (although I know that today's formula is vastly improved); but I wanted to give my children every chance possible to grow up allergy-free and free of weak immune systems. Infant formula is not bad, and in fact, for some people and in some situations is can be preferable. But for normal kids and moms who don't seem to have any problems doing it, breastfeeding is natural and therefore must be better in many cases. My three kids are so much healthier than I was, and two of them have never even been on antibiotics. The third one has only been on them once. I don't know for sure if the fact that they nursed is the reason for their good health, but it probably didn't hurt. My husband is very healthy, so it could be that they inherited his immune system. The biggest difference that I noticed at the time I was nursing them, is that they didn't have nearly as many stomach/gastrointestinal distresses as the babies of friends who were completely formula fed. The mom milk seems to have a natural laxative effect, and none of my kids ever had any problems with constipation until they stopped nursing.
All that being said, I would offer up to people what benefits I noticed that my own kids got from nursing IF people ask my advice, but in general, I would not preach to anyone. The nursing movement is just like anything else around here -- over-the-top former professionals channeling their energy into the "uber-mommy" mode. Every mom has to do what works for her and her baby/babies regarding nursing, and nobody else has the right to pass judgment on such a thing, whether it's giving a mom who's nursing on a park bench grief for doing it in public or giving a mom grief for choosing not to nurse.

Posted by: ArlMomof3 | March 27, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Ryan,

Foamgnome won, you lost. And your claim to have a PHD doesn't make you look good, in fact, it makes people who have PHDs look bad.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

LOL. Actually, most of the Moms in my Dallas La Leche League drive SUV's or trucks!

Posted by: | March 27, 2007 12:57 PM

That's a Texas thing more than a La Leche thing!

Frieda drives a SUV (a compact one). She has lots of breast pumps to carry. I don't think that more than 1 person could get into her vehicle due to the volume of BF stuff she has in there.

Posted by: Fred | March 27, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey, usually a lurker - I didn't say "unsanitary water" mixed with powder formula was healthier than breast feeding; I said "formula" was healthier than breast feeding in Africa. Are you stupid or what? It's not the formula - it's the putrid water!!!! Doh! There is such a thing as pre-mixed formula in sanitized bottles ready to drink, no need to mix yourself, pop off the top, pop on a nipple.

Hey, atlmom - Read what Father of 4 says - He says - *I can think of only one drawback that resulted from my wife breastfeeding all our babies. The children bonded with their mother so much better and there was nothing I could do about that.* It has nothing to do with how they feel about dad later on; it has to do with while they are still drinking milk - they only want mom because of the breast, not any one else, including dad or baby sitters.

atlmom is so ignorant she doesn't understand that the antibodies that are passed on are those that the mother already has because she was already sick. If she's sick, then she doesn't have those antibodies to pass on!!!! Doh!!!! Of course, milk can go sour - did your baby ever get diarrhea for no obvious reason? That's probably one reason!!!!

I don't work for anyone!!!

Posted by: Mimi | March 27, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I hardly think you can argue against public breastfeeding because of a persons POSSIBLE internal private state of orgasm. How ridiculous.

And I'm with the obvious- educate yourself on the options and do what works best for you. If a mom can't make a real choice about THIS, on the very first days on a childs life without having a guilt complex for it, how on earth do they expect to be a stable confident mother for the next few decades?

And yes, people who publicly look down on non-BFers are rude.

Posted by: Liz D | March 27, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Mimi, you do the breastfeeding cause a great service with your moronic comments. Thanks!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"Fred, if you're reading--does your wife have an opinion on the quality of bf help women receive in American hospitals (or at least in your immediate geographic area)?"

I dunno. Everything has been such a mess since the hurricane. It still is. A lot of people here are just barely getting by day by day. Frieda did not work for 11 months as we were displaced. All the health depts and hospitals are struggling, the ones that actually reopened. Life is just a big mess down here.

Posted by: Fred | March 27, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't work for anyone!!!

Too arrogant to take direction. Nothing like a little NPD in the mix.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

OK, I don't think Ryan still gets the point that even a controlled experiment can not take into account all factors. I only agreed that it is the best possible way but that it in no way can prove causation. But I will let the argument end there because Ryan believes he is right and nothing can change that.

Carol, yes if you see correlation after correlation, you might come to that conclusion. But some of the claims with correlations would not lead me to believe that at all. Like BF correlated to less accidents. Think about it. Do you really believe that BF will cause your child not to fall off the bed? So I think besides the ones that relate to actual medical findings, you really can't say it is better. Just take them all with a grain of salt.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I count myself lucky having our children at Alexandria Hospital. The Lac. Consults. there were amazing. They helped my for hours, trying everything to get breastfeeding to work because I wanted it to work. But in the end it never did and they just said to me that sometimes it doesn't work and there is no shame in it. I thank my stars everytime I think about it that I was fortunate to have people who were willing to help me, then able to tell me that it wasn't working. I pumped for an hour every 2-4 hours, achieved about 3 ozs each time. There was a lot of "supplementing" with formula. My kids are fine. It would have been nice, but it wasn't meant to be and the world moves on.

Posted by: Burke Mom | March 27, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Mimi: you are incorrect. One produces antibodies in their body the moment they are exposed.
Typically, one gets the cold 7-10 days later. So the baby is getting the antibodies WHEN MOM IS EXPOSED. So they may not get sick. But the baby can't produce the antibodies in the same way as mom can because they are young and their little immune systems aren't typically up to the task. That's where mom can help out. And yes, EVEN WHEN YOU ARE SICK you are passing on antibodies. Your body is producing them until you get better...

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Right, Foamgnome. Because when the length of women's skirts goes up, so does the stock market. Causation? Correlation?
And when the AFC (or is it NFC? I can't ever get that straight) wins the super bowl, the stock market declines. Causation? Correlation? Coincidence?

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Better a Subaru than an SUV. When did SUVs get to be such symbols of femininity? These fall under the truck class of vehicles

Well, then what about a Volvo?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I can tell you that at Inova Fairfax, they were perfectly accepting and accommodating to those who were and were not breastfeeding.

They ask for permission (I think you may actually have to sign something) if they should feed formula.

They have lactation consultants available.

They rent out pumps and supplies.

But best of all, they were totally nonjudgmental and extremely helpful with however your baby was to be fed. It's been a while, but I don't remembering them ever pressuring us either way. There were no breast milk lunatics and there were no thugs from Nestle shoving formula down babies' throats.

They rightly made no big deal out of it and just tried to be helpful.

Posted by: Bob | March 27, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I nursed both children, but I suffered tremendously (cracked and bleeding, mastitis, etc.) trying to learn with my first, and I'm honestly not sure why I continued, except that I had already decided to stay home instead of return to work. I look back now and think I was deranged and definitely suffering from ppd, but I was unable to give myself permission to quit. I felt like if I gave up, it would be a huge failing as a mom. I'm glad now that I continued because it became much easier and it ended up working well for me and my family, but I would not fault anyone for wanting to use formula part-time or all the time for any reason. I think parents should make the decision for themselves. It is such a loaded issue. It is really upsetting to be around people who are extremists on either side of this issue, because it's not as if we're not already questioning many of our parenting decisions all day long, every day!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 27, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

My experience is very similar to Restonmom's, with whom I agree. Except I didn't go to a lactation consultant outside of the hospital. I spoke with one on the phone. My son had lost a significant amount of weight, so we supplemented, and I pumped for several months so he received some breastmilk. Things were pretty much the same three years later with my daughter, except she did gain some weight. But she was on my breast all day. And she wasn't gentle. I was persistent, but, unlike my mother and sister, I just wasn't producing enough milk. Yet, some was better than none, so I eventually got over the guilt about part-time breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding may be the best option (in most cases), but not the only option.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | March 27, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Now this is a funny statemetn from Carol:
"Facts are facts and I am personally convinced that it is a fact "

If it is a fact Carol then you don't need to be personally convinced - if you take care to say that maybe it is not really a fct but just something you think to be true.

And luckily in this case we do have statistics that show it is in no way fact that "breastfeeding is healthier for the average infant" it is conjecture at best.

Posted by: aa | March 27, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I think with most women, they don't have other women in their lives who have nursed (mom/aunt/whoever) so they typically don't get a lot of family support for the decision.
They try to do it, and it is painful and difficult, the baby doesn't know what it's doing, mom doesn't know what she's doing. Most women don't know that it is VERY VERY hard in the beginning, and it DOES get easier (for most people). Most women just don't have that kind of support - or they don't know many people near them and don't have those kind of friends who can help out.

It takes time to learn, and you're SO tired and you SO want the baby to know what it's doing, that it becomes SO frustrating. And there are so many messages out there about how easy it is to just give up and give the baby formula.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Burke Mom, you had a very different experience at Alexandria Hospital than I had.

Although I was listed as a nursing mom, I did not get a *single* visit from a lactation consultant, and when I asked the nurses for help they handed me a sheet on suggested poses. It was extremely frustrating. This was at the end of 2001, so I'm hoping times have changed since then. I had a completely miserable experience all the way around at Alexandria hospital.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 27, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Mimi. Do you think Nestle was shipping in pre-mixed formula? Shipping liquids is expensive. Read the history. They shipped in POWDER. The mothers did not have access to clean water.

The mothers also were not provided with a lifetime supply. They tried to stretch the powder by diluting it too much. Babies did starve. Nestle did not provide this formula out of the goodness of their hearts. They wanted to get mothers to use their product. They didn't care if the mothers would be able to use it safely or whether aid organizations had the funds and people in place to ensure that enough formula was ultimately provided and properly used. If they got some extra purchase orders, happy day!

Posted by: Usually a lurker | March 27, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"I said "formula" was healthier than breast feeding in Africa. Are you stupid or what? It's not the formula - it's the putrid water!!!! Doh! There is such a thing as pre-mixed formula in sanitized bottles ready to drink, no need to mix yourself, pop off the top, pop on a nipple."

What??? Poor moms in Africa are much more likely to have access to decent nutrition than pre-mixed formula in sanitized bottles. This is the silliest thing I've ever heard.

Posted by: To Mimi | March 27, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Ryan - are you a man or a woman? If you are a man - MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS! It is not your choice to make. It is the mother's choice to make whether to BF or FF. In the end, you just look like some weirdo who is obsessed about women who choose to FF. Now - how is that healthy for a child? What if you have a daughter who turns out, cannot BF due to medical problems, will you condemn her too? Shouldn't you be more worried about who wins the Final Four then this tired debate?

Posted by: good grief | March 27, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Better a Subaru than an SUV. When did SUVs get to be such symbols of femininity? These fall under the truck class of vehicles

Well, then what about a Volvo?

The Volvo and other crossovers are not considered trucks. Expeditions, Suburbans, Explorers. . .these are trucks.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

atlmom, I find the antibody thing really interesting. I got strep throat when my son was 6 weeks old and went racing to the pediatrician in a deathly panic, because I know how bad some of those things can get when they're really little. He basically said no biggie, little bitties that are being breastfed almost never get strep whem mom does, because they're getting the antibodies from you (including a little of the penicillin that passes through the breastmilk). I have no idea if this was actually right, and I watched the little guy like a hawk for the slightest hint of a problem for the next two weeks, but he ended up completely fine, despite basically being attached to me 24/7. Who knew?

Posted by: Laura | March 27, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"They try to do it, and it is painful and difficult, the baby doesn't know what it's doing, mom doesn't know what she's doing. Most women don't know that it is VERY VERY hard in the beginning, and it DOES get easier (for most people"

Wow, this was not my experience. i found it to be easy, nothing difficult about it. However, I knew that I would only nurse for a short time. I was definitely returning to work after 4 months. While I had no problem with 'natural' breast-feeding, I had absolutely no interest in pumping.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion on this subject, but no one is entitled to be rude to another because their opinion differs. Do you go into fast food restaurants and tell parents that they are feeding their children junk?

OTOH, if you are formula feeding and someone asks if you are nursing, don't get automatically offended. Sometimes, a question is just a question. However, if the person goes on to tell you that you are wrong, you owe them no explanation, and you owe it to yourself not to feel guilty over their extreme bad manners.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, then what about a Volvo?

The Volvo and other crossovers are not considered trucks

Let me restate my question, should a granola making, harried legged wacko tossed hair sweats wearing shapless La Lacher drive a Subaru or a Volvo--outside of Texas of course?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

to 2:28. I'm glad for you - but for most people it is difficult. I don't know what you're trying to say with the rest of your post, though, I have said many times that I have nursed my two kids for over a year each, one time as a SAHM one time as a WOHM and pumping.

So I'm unclear why you seem to want to attack me.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

atlmom, I think she was only responding to you in the first paragraph, and to the rest of us in the next two.

Am I the only one who caught flak for nursing? From relatives or friends or anything? I felt that I would probably have gotten less hassle if I had decided to formula-feed.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 27, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

So I'm unclear why you seem to want to attack me.

atlmom,

No attack intended. I just wanted to point out that some people don't want to BF even if they are having absolutely no trouble at all.

The last 2 paragraphs I wrote were just my comments on the subject in general and were not a reply to your post. Sorry if it seemed to be directed to you.

Posted by: 2:28 | March 27, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Neighbor: My mother was not very supportive about nursing past one year. Neither was my pediatrician. But I trusted my own instincts and realized DD loved the nursing relationship and would give it up when she was ready.

I also had a really different experience in Inova Alexandria. Lactation specialist stopped by and said maybe two words to me. I did not find her helpful at all.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

No, neighbor, you are NOT alone. My MIL thought (and probably still thinks) I am insane. She seemed almost gleeful when her daughter had a c-section (like her) and decided not to BF (like her).
I was staying with the in laws after DS #1 was born cause our house was being renovated, and I always went to another room (especially when FIL, who was SO uncomfortable was there) to nurse in their home. Not so in my own home, but DS #1 was a dream (never pulled off blanket, always nursed peacefully) - not so with #2 and nursing....

My mom wasn't around when DS was born, but did tell my sister that it was too much of a hassle for her, she didn't want to be 'tied' to the baby like that.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

to 2:28 - sorry then for the misinterpretation.

I was more trying to explain that for those who are having difficulty, they typically have no where to turn - and it is easier at the moment whenyou are exhausted and hormonal to go for the formula. I bet most people don't know that they can call their OB/pediatrician/lactation consultant and maybe don't have the numbers handy and don't know what to say - or think that they *should* just know everything, etc. So as a society, no, we aren't doing the best in educating people about their choices and how they can BF if they want the help....

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"I pumped for an hour every 2-4 hours, achieved about 3 ozs each time."

See, this is where LCs and nurses can be a tremendous help if they're properly educated. If you were still in the hospital and getting that much from pumping, you were doing great! It takes very little milk to nourish a newborn in the first few days, but many health professionals don't seem to understand that. The nurses at my hospital and pediatrician had me tied up in knots about my "poor supply" for weeks, until I got an independent LC, who thought they were nuts (DD was gaining weight just fine by that point).

That said, you know your situation better than I, and it's not at all my intention to be judgmental. I hope I'm not coming off that way.

Posted by: NewSAHM | March 27, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

And - when I said, after DS was about 1-2 weeks old, that I was pumping 1 oz - my pediatrician looked and me with surprise and told me how great that was and how much that was - since most moms can't pump that much at first - and, as NewSAHM said - they don't need so much (cause, indeed, I was nursing at the same time).

And it was a *godsend* when the LC told me to nurse 10-15 minutes on each side then take the kid off - and be done with it - that the kid was getting about 90% in the first 5 minutes and doing more was of comfort, but not so great for mom (who needed rest).

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Laura,

My nanny had strep last month. I wasn't feeling well, finally went to get the test - thinking - I've been exposed a zillion times, I'm always tested, NEVER get it. But this time - was different. So I got strep. But neither sons nor DH got it. I found that completely amazing...

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

When I decided to breastfeed my baby my Mom surprised me by telling me that she breastfed me for five months (this was 1970, until it seemed she lost her milk. Most likely her milk finally just adjusted to the demand and she thought she lost it, but didn't have this information, as I do now)and she was an advocate of it and was sorry our society wasn't more supportive. My turn to surprise her when I told her all my friends, with one unsurprising exception, in their early to mid 30's had breastfed their babies. I had supportive and experienced friends, SILs, Mom, Husband and La Leche. It all helped.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

When my mom had my brother, she was advised to give him one bottle a day, in addition to breastfeeding. This was so he would be used to the bottle and not reject it when she went back to work. With me, she did not do this, and had a hell of a time getting me to take the bottle later on. Did anyone else get advise like this? Get your baby used to the bottle and the breast from the beginning (even if the bottle has breastmilk in it)?

I'm interested in people posting that they got advice to not give a bottle so the baby wouldn't get confused, that seems weird.

Posted by: Kathrina | March 27, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The most important thing to remember in this fuitless and ridiculous disagreement is perspective. There are thousands of decisions you will make on behalf of your kids and all will have positive and negative impact - of all those decisions and all the impact you will have whether you breastfed of formula-fed your infant is a relatively minor one.

Better to expend your energy and capacity for meaningful research on decisions that will have far larger impacts down the road.

Posted by: aa | March 27, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

kathrina,

I've heard this many times - basically, at some point, if the baby is hungry, they will eat. My baby was definitely not fond of the bottle, when i went back to work, but finally ate. And really didn't like the formula and knew the difference, in a bottle.

But again, they're hungry enough - they eat.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Atlmom. Oh Lord. I couldn't handle the constant nursing prior to my milk coming in, so I put a pacifier in her mouth. As soon as she was getting milk she didn't want it and we didn't have nipple confusion. She didn't get it back until 8 weeks and breastfeeding was established. Hmmm, the 15-minute thing never worked for us, she has almost always finished in 7-minutes or less. One size doesn't fit all. I still take her to La Leche with her pacifier, and there are other babies there with the same.

Posted by: Texan | March 27, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

My pediatrician recommended introducing one bottle a day after 6 weeks. DD never got confused. I pumped out a bottle and gave it to her once a day.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 27, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Well, texan, I didn't really know what I was doing - and DS was still sucking, so I thought - oh, he's still eating. But, he wasn't. Over time, it was five minutes a side and then done - but in the beginning, it could be 30 or more minutes a side - just for the sucking.

Once he found his thumb, he *did* become more efficient in the eating thing. I guess he didn't need me as much....

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

We were told that nothing should go in DD's mouth but my breast for at least the first three weeks (we used an sns, finger feeding and syringes to feed her the formula we were told she needed).

When it came time to give DD a bottle, it took a lot of trial and error to find a nipple that she'd take willingly. She didn't like the big ones that were supposed to mimic the breast, but she did great with a narrow nipple.

Posted by: NewSAHM | March 27, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes, recommended introduction period for a bottle is 6-8 weeks to prevent nipple confusion, and to allow the babies nursing demands to establish your milk supply. Then don't wait much later or you will never get them to take a bottle, even with breastmilk. Getting them to accept that bottle is difficult and there are many tricks www.kellymom.com. My daughter wolfs her bottles some days and could care less others.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

We didn't give a pacifier - newsahm - but what do you do when they start sucking their thumb or another finger? Cut it off ?


;)

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Talk about "not knowing what you are doing." I destroyed all my winter gowns by cutting two "nursing slits" in the front. When I would walk across the room, it was like "Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead." I learned that all I needed was a warm pajama top I could pull up. I ripped up the gowns for rags, and my DD had a great time playing with them this Spring.

Posted by: Texan | March 27, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

She didn't suck her hands at all, until she was three months old. We probably wouldn't have cut her finger off, anyway. Just wrapped it in a bandage to keep it out of her mouth. (kidding, kidding.)

Posted by: NewSAHM | March 27, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Anything unnatural is bad for baby. Period. Formula leads to childhood obesity. Formula is full of preservatives. Formula is NOT natural.

Its THAT simple.

Posted by: Long Beach, CA | March 27, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

long beach, I suppose that there are tons of things you eat that isn't natural. Most of what I eat isn't natural. So why don't you just attack those who fomula feed so that they feel like horrible parents. Why? What could you possibly be trying to accomplish?

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Anything unnatural is bad for baby. Period.

Well...pinworms are natural. But laundry detergent is not. I would bet that toothpaste is unnatural too. What about synthetic fibers--do you wear your seatbelt in a car? Those aren't made out of 100% cotton you know!

Life is all about compromises.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

C-sections are unnatural too. Nature obviously intended for women to die in childbirth, but noooooo, silly humans have to interfere with destiny.

Posted by: To Long Beach | March 27, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

On the related topic: Why do so many moms expect there to be teachers, very good teachers on BFing? If you're interested in learning, you should find a good teacher like you'd find any good teacher. Getting upset that one isn't just provided to you automatically is a bit too "entitled" for my tastes.

Posted by: Liz D | March 27, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

My baby is formula fed and is thriving. In fact, my milk didn't come in fast enough to feed my fat child, 9lbs, 2.61 oz, 19.8 ins. Oh and I am 5'1".

All of the crap I was fed ahead of time that my baby wouldn't be hungry after birth, blah blah, blah, was just that, crap. She was hungry from the first minute she was born and every 1.5 hours after for the first month. Formula was the only thing we could give her as she wasn't getting enough from me. Most babies only eat 15 ml when first born. Well mine ate 45 ml and was up to 60 ml four days later when we left the hospital.

Oh, did I mention that I kicked the Lactation Consultant out of my room as well as the other nurses who told me I was feeding my kid too much. All of my worries were laid to rest when we paged the pediatrician who told them all to shut up and to let me take care of my child.

So, nyah!

Posted by: another bad mother | March 27, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh and adding that computers aren't very natural either so Long Beach is already exposing the baby to bad stuff.

Posted by: Liz D | March 27, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Liz D: actually, throughout history, it has been the moms, aunts, cousins, etc, who have been the teachers. But the past generation was told that BF was unnatural, not as good as formula, it tied you to the baby, all sorts of things, and then few people nursed their children.

So now moms need to go and ask for help. When they are tired. When they are hormonal. When they think that this is the most natural thing in the world, they should be able to just know how.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Liz D, if I or my insurance company is paying for a lactation consultant in a hospital I expect the LC to do her job. Is that too much to ask?

Posted by: Neighbor | March 27, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I've been following this thread all day (don't tell my boss) and posted twice. And now, six hours later, I'm thoroughly disgusted by the childish behavior of everyone on here, including myself. We're insulting each other's personal choices, poking fun, calling each other names, and all in the name of raising perfect kids with all the best advantages in life. In the end, has one person's mind been changed by anything that's been said here? I highly doubt it. How about feeding our kids what works for us and them, and making a goal of raising them with nice, tolerant parents who accept different viewpoints?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Ryan - are you a man or a woman? If you are a man - MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS

Please clarifiy - should men be concerned and actively involved in the health and well being of their children or not?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I think its better to BF, but only very slightly. If it was significantly better we would be able to tell who was BF and who was not. Generations were raised on formula - including my husband and his siblings -- all HS valendictorians and successful people at work and with family. I started to BF my twins, but by the time I left the hospital, they were exclusively on formula. I just physically couldn't handle it. 4 years later, I still feel guilty about it and I wish I didn't. That's the annoying part. I think we just all want the best for our kids.

Posted by: TwinsMom | March 27, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, TwinsMom - if only others here felt that way. I agree with you ( we all just want best for our kids ) - however, some others here seem to know what's best for everyone else's kids as well. Me, I have a hard enough time figuring out what's right for my family, I don't have time to worry about everyone else's.

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"Anything unnatural is bad for baby. Period. Formula leads to childhood obesity. Formula is full of preservatives. Formula is NOT natural.

Its THAT simple."

Funny people, really. Human beings are natural, things human being creates are product of their nature therefor formula is in fact natural - or at least as natural as evreything else we use.

And if we ant to use a more traditional view of natural/unnatural well then your statement is total crap. We did not extend our lif expectancy into the 70s and 80s by relyign on 'nature' now did we?

Posted by: aa | March 27, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Interesting to read all the comments that "we didn't have car seats in the 1970's", or "mothers weren't urged to nurse in the 1970's". My 1970's babies were nursed and always in car seats, so the message must not have gotten to everyone, but it was out there.

I haven't seen it mentioned yet that some mothers decide not to nurse, and then find out that the baby is allergic to a formula component, or has acid reflux, or other issues. They usually don't find out until it is really too late to go back to breast-feeding, and then the baby winds up on VERY expensive special formula. So if you can, it's worth trying.

It is difficult at first, and it's too bad people get discouraged and quit around the two-week point, because after the first month or so it is very rewarding. If you didn't do it, you won't miss it, though.

Posted by: Oldmom | March 27, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Cancer is natural - I think LongBeach should take his/her theory to Tony Snow and see if he agrees with him/her.....

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I think that breastmilk is just as wonderful a source of nutrition as Ms. Mackenzie at states at 8:09am and that breastfeeding is best. I also think that once upon a not so distant time, before good formula existed, babies who had trouble latching, who were given up for adoption, who's mother's died in childbirth, etc. were more sickly than their counterparts or just outright DIED. We should all be thankful that formula was developed to fill in for those situations where a mother can not effectively breastfeed. If mother or baby is having significant trouble with breastfeeding, shall we euthanize the child (much like some wackos advocate for the poor polar bear cub abandoned by his mother in a German zoo). Let's get a grip people and stop being so self-riteous about something that may be natural but isn't necessarily the rule.

Posted by: Belgie | March 27, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

My two sons were fed formula and have suffered no ill effects. My wife on the other hand made several frustrating attempts to breast feed and broke down in tears because she could not get it to work. I watched helplessly as this beautiful, strong, intelligent, confident woman mercilessly berated herself for this "failure" as a new mother. It took years for her to realize that her healthy sons were proof that she had not failed them.

We choose to view the breastfeeding campaign as money wasted on bullying tactics by the government. Formula worked for us and no amount of peer pressure will convince us otherwise.

Posted by: Ohio Dad | March 27, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I agree with all the posters who have said that parents should do what is best for them and that the most important thing is to make sure that baby gets enough to eat. I have a 4 mo son and he is mostly breastfed.
We do supplement with a bottle or two of formula a day. We had a really hard time breastfeeding at the beginning and for his first 4 weeks, my life was pretty much exclusively about feeding him. Then when I went back to work, my milk supply dropped.
I am so glad that I decided to stick with breastfeeding because my son and I really enjoy it, even though it has caused me a lot of stress at times, especially those first 4 weeks when your hormones are already going nuts. But I realized that the reason I was feeling stressed was not because it has been hard work to breast feed. I had made a conscious choice to breastfeed because that is what I think is best for my baby, so I was willing to work at it. I was stressed because I felt like a failure for not being a perfect, exclusively breastfeeding mom. Now that I have realized that supplementing with formula does not mean that I am a failure as a mom, I have stopped obsessing about how much milk I pump at work and I don't obsessively pump when I am at home. Instead, I nurse my son when I am home and enjoy our time together. And we are both happier because of it.

Posted by: Newmom | March 27, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

It's days like this, after reading a looong string of comments like this, that I'm glad I already hate other people. Saves me the trouble of changing my mind.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Breast feeding is better. If you can do it, you should. but the following should be kept in mind so we can all keep our sanity:

- There are millions of smart healthy children/adults that were bottle-fed.

- There are a lot of women who cannot breast feed for a variety of reasons. It's not a choice for them.

- By stressing the benefits of breast feeding, we're putting too much guilt on women who can't breast feed. Stop beating them up. Having a baby is stressful enough.

- There is 0 evidence that both breast feeding and supplementing with a bottle is not as good as just breast feeding.

Posted by: Cliff | March 27, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Bottle-fed both of my babies by choice from birth. Don't regret it and don't feel guilty about it. My kids have had 1/4 of the illnesses of any of my friend's breastfed babies. Neither of them has ever had an ear infection (I kid you not!).

C'mon mommies..lighten up.

I make my choice, you make yours. You do what's right for you and your child and your home.

Posted by: Heather | March 27, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing wrong with using formula in developed countries where the water supply is tightly monitored. In developing countries, mothers breastfeed because 1) they could not afford formula anyway; 2) they know that the water needed to dilute the formula is tainted; 3) they have themselves developed antibodies against all kinds of diseases, and they pass on these antibodies to their children. In countries like the USA, the push for breast feeding does not make any sense, both from an alimentary and disease-prevention point of view. This is a country that has very high hygiene standards, where mothers have been vaccinated against many diseases in their childhood, and who have never been exposed to the kind of viruses and / or bacteria that mothers in less fortunate societies fought successfully. Ergo, they do not have the antibodies to pass along. Moreover, considering the atrocious dietary habits of most Americans -- lots of starch, fat, excess of animal proteins, and sugar -- I doubt very much that they are passing along anything really nutritious to their babies. Finally, pedriatic care is excellent and widely available in this country, which is clearly not the case in developing countries. Lactation specialists, and women in general, should stop terrorizing and browbeating new mothers and make them feel guilty if they either cannot or will not breastfeed their infants. In the US, you can raise perfectly healthy, normal, kids on formula. So, leave the new mothers alone. They'll do what is right for their child anyway. And remember, we are not living in a developing country!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I've never had a doctor or nurse push bottle feeding over breast feeding. If it is true that pharmaceutical companies are marketing bottle feeding as better than breast feeding and encouraging women to bottle feed, they are not very successful. Every marketing piece or packaging for formula I've seen says breast feeding is better. I think it's silly to blame the pharmaceutical companies.

Posted by: Diane | March 27, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Here's the problem I have...The people that do formula feed never mention when their kids are sick, have allergies, ear infections, etc. You only read on here the people that DIDN'T get these things. I can tell you, I was formula fed and I had ear infections my whole life requiring tubes, I have allergies and asthma.

You have a higher RISK of getting these things by not breastfeeding..it doesn't mean that forumla feeding automatically CAUSES these things to happen. Do you people not understand the difference?

I've been breastfeeding my son for 5 months now and it was very hard at the beginning. I have no problem with people not breastfeeding, what do I care what other people do? But what bugs me is when I hear people say "Well I was breastfed and I didn't get ear infections." It reminds me of when I hear people say "Well I was never put in a car seat as a kid and I'm ok." It just sounds plain stupid to me.

Posted by: Kristin | March 27, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

My best friend breastfed her son until he was about one year old. The kid had so many ear infections between the age of 8 months and two that his parents were considering some kind of surgery... In their case, breastfeeding was clearly not a panacea.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Fred - I knew you'd be on here!

Posted by: CMAC | March 27, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

The idea that your breast milk will be of poor quality if your diet is of poor quality is absurd. You don't lactate glazed donuts, you lactate a fluid that is perfectly designed to feed a baby human. Nature designed this to take care of the baby first, then Mom second. Mom will suffer from a poor diet before the baby will. All you need is adequate fluid and adequate caloric intake. You may not believe that breastmilk is nutritionally better than formula (although it is) but there is absolutely no way you can say that is less than formula nutritionally and expect anyone with any good information on the topic to take you seriously.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I meant to say "Well I was forumla fed and I didn't get ear infections." not "Well I was breastfed and I didn't get ear infections."

Posted by: Kristin | March 27, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I know a family where they raised their kids on really bad foods - lots of saturated fat, etc. But the kids were healthy. So I guess that all of the research showing the eating fruits and veggies are good for you is false, just like the BF studies.

Posted by: lack of nutrition | March 27, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

You people are really hung up. I know what happened with Nestle and what is wrong with the conclusion that breastfeeding is better for poor women than formula is to conclude that it's the formula. It's not the formula - it's as you say - the putrid water. If the humanitarian agencies would provide the ready to drink pre-sterilized bottles of formula to poor women, they'd have the best available nutrition for their babies. How good breast milk is for the baby is dependent on whether or not the mother gets good nutritious food. So in Africa, where (of if) they do not get nutritious food and if the water is putrid, the ready made formula is the best. Just because there was one incident where Nestle's was a corrupt supplier and people died does not mean that formula isn't a healthier choice when mothers are poorly fed. What do you think Doctors without Borders or other humanitarian aid organizations give those poor babies and children who are in refugee camps in Africa? Something that is like thickened formula if they can swallow heavier than liquids and super nutritious formula if they can't. My original point was that breast milk is not ALWAYS better than formula. It depends on the physical, mental and emotional state of the mother. Wherever there is a health crisis for women, the breast milk is not good. Here in America incidentally, if women eat only junk food, do you think their breast milk is nutritious, if they are obese? You people are so defensive you refuse to understand that it all depends!!!!!! My original post explains it quite clearly and stupid people have taken it over the side implying something other than the basic premise. If a mother is well fed, calm, happy, pampered, indulged, not rushing around or being hassled, her milk will probably be really good. Even if all of this is true, some women just don't make enough milk for their baby and it's not their fault. What's wrong with this BS about breast feeding is it makes women feel even more guilty and useless, then they have even more anxiety and it's even harder to have good milk. So I'm telling you jerks to lay off and I'm telling women to tell others to lay off. You do whatever is best for you, your husband, and your baby. Not what all these jerks are trying to tell you to do. Get out of other people's lives!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

You people are really hung up. I know what happened with Nestle and what is wrong with the conclusion that breastfeeding is better for poor women than formula is to conclude that it's the formula. It's not the formula - it's as you say - the putrid water. If the humanitarian agencies would provide the ready to drink pre-sterilized bottles of formula to poor women, they'd have the best available nutrition for their babies. How good breast milk is for the baby is dependent on whether or not the mother gets good nutritious food. So in Africa, where (of if) they do not get nutritious food and if the water is putrid, the ready made formula is the best. Just because there was one incident where Nestle's was a corrupt supplier and people died does not mean that formula isn't a healthier choice when mothers are poorly fed. What do you think Doctors without Borders or other humanitarian aid organizations give those poor babies and children who are in refugee camps in Africa? Something that is like thickened formula if they can swallow heavier than liquids and super nutritious formula if they can't. My original point was that breast milk is not ALWAYS better than formula. It depends on the physical, mental and emotional state of the mother. Wherever there is a health crisis for women, the breast milk is not good. Here in America incidentally, if women eat only junk food, do you think their breast milk is nutritious, if they are obese? You people are so defensive you refuse to understand that it all depends!!!!!! My original post explains it quite clearly and stupid people have taken it over the side implying something other than the basic premise. If a mother is well fed, calm, happy, pampered, indulged, not rushing around or being hassled, her milk will probably be really good. Even if all of this is true, some women just don't make enough milk for their baby and it's not their fault. What's wrong with this BS about breast feeding is it makes women feel even more guilty and useless, then they have even more anxiety and it's even harder to have good milk. So I'm telling you jerks to lay off and I'm telling women to tell others to lay off. You do whatever is best for you, your husband, and your baby. Not what all these jerks are trying to tell you to do. Get out of other people's lives!!!!

Posted by: Mimi | March 27, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

to 5:19

WHY should the humanitarian agencies supply really expensive ready to eat formula when the moms are already making breast milk? Why replace something that already exists ? Then they could use all that money for something else?????

Posted by: atlmom | March 27, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Who are the breastfeeding police? This is largely a debate among upper middle class, educated white women. Ask poor young African American mothers whether they had a lactation consultant in their hospital rooms or pediatricians' offices and the great majority of them will stare at you blankly. And that's a problem. It's annoying to read women whining about having choices to feed their babies anyway they want and access to information about their babies' health and development. So many people lack such choices and information.

I have 2 babies. I have nursed the first one for almost two years including during 9 months of pregnancy and along with my newborn (tandem nursing). I think it's wonderful, and my healthy strong babies love it. My DD has never had an ear infection. She didn't have any infections until she was 15 months old and my milk was drying in the middle of my pregnancy. I expect the same good health for DS. I learned to breastfeed without incident and I would happily teach a willing mom. I think many women with lots of options tell themselves that breastfeeding is too hard and demanding. Well, it's actually the best part of raising a baby in my opinion. And you know what, raising a kid is hard and demanding, period.

Posted by: Monique W | March 27, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Yikes, I am shocked that this is such a hot button issue. I'm even more shocked that women who aren't breast feeding feel guilty about it. See, this is the down side to the internet...information overload and analysis paralysis. As a grandmommy who has seen both sides of this equation, my advice would be to do whatever works for you. You will not be hurting your baby unless, perhaps, you throw him down a flight of stairs or stick a hot poker in his eye. Of course I jest but you get the point.

Posted by: pvh1 | March 27, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I presume you all read about the pet food that was found to be contaminated recently.

You may not be aware that back in the 1970's there was a soy formula company that accidentally left a critical ingredient out of their formula for a while. I don't recall if any babies died but I know some were left retarded/brain-damaged and there were lawsuits. Could it happen again? Just something to think about......

Posted by: oldmom | March 27, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"Every marketing piece or packaging for formula I've seen says breast feeding is better. I think it's silly to blame the pharmaceutical companies."

That's called lip service.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"So I'm telling you jerks to lay off and I'm telling women to tell others to lay off. You do whatever is best for you, your husband, and your baby. Not what all these jerks are trying to tell you to do. Get out of other people's lives!!!!"

Right. And I'm telling Enfamil to stay the heck out of my hospital room and to stop buying overworked nurses in hospital birthing centers lunch so that they're favorably disposed to pushing formula on mothers who may be having trouble with nursing and exhausted. The pharmaceuticals wouldn't spend the money if they didn't think it would get them new customers.

Posted by: Usually a lurker | March 27, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

We are a Similac family, through and through.

Posted by: Enfamil Is the Devil | March 27, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Every kid is different and every mother is different, so take my experiences for what they're worth, which may not be much. But here they are:
My kids never accepted formula. They never accepted bottles. Now, I'm sure if they had been just famished, if I had been dead or something and formula was their only possible source of food, the situation would be different. But in the case of my kids, once they latched on it was breast milk or nothing, and in fact breast milk straight from the breast or nothing.
Although I'm very pro-breastfeeding (BF kids well into toddlerhood and in fact beyond), I'm not necessarily anti-formula. But formula was just not an option here. Had nothing to do with my personal views about it.
I know that some other breastfeeding mothers have been able to slip in a bottle of formula here or there, and of course bottles of pumped milk at various times of the day, but that wasn't possible for me. You know what they say, you can lead a horse to water. . .
Did this make child care challenging for me? You betcha. I'm a working mom, I had extremely limited maternity leave (like two weeks per kid) so until the babies were onto solids, they were with me 24/7, on the job or wherever. Some pluses and some minuses to that approach, believe me.

Posted by: anonymous | March 27, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Stacey is a whiner!

Posted by: Will | March 27, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh, one more thing: Just as they absolutely rejected bottles, my kids as babies absolutely rejected pacifiers. Never, never used pacifiers, though they were offered them frequently. I have nothing against pacifiers, but as a soothing tool they were useless to me (to my chagrin, I might add).
Bottles of formula and even bottles of pumped milk were equally useless to me (also a bit to my chagrin).

Posted by: anonymous | March 27, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Enfamil is owned by Bristol-Myers Squibb.


From a 2000 NY Times article:
"Of the $13.9 billion that the drug companies spent promoting their products last year, 87 percent, or about $12 billion, was aimed at doctors and the small group of nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants who can prescribe some medications, about one million prescribers all told.

''The pharmaceutical industry has the best market research system of any industry in the world,'' said Mickey C. Smith, a professor of pharmaceutical marketing at the University of Mississippi. ''They know more about their business than people who sell coffee or toilet paper or laundry detergent because they truly have a very small group of decision makers, most of whom still are physicians.'' "

Posted by: Enfamil might be the devil | March 27, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Someone asked earlier, Why promote breastfeeding in a developed country like the US?
Here are a few reasons not previously discussed:
-- It's better for the mother. She'll lose pregnancy weight quicker and, more importantly, significantly reduce breast-cancer risks.
-- It's much more economical. Maybe not a big concern for the wealthy, but for low-income families,eliminating the formula expense is a big deal.
Also, to the claim that water quality is not an issue in the US -- I beg to differ. Just look at the situation in New Orleans post-Katrina. Breastfed babies could eat, but formula-fed babies were SOL.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

A few comments on breast milk

1. Milk does not "sour" if a woman if stressed, nervous, upset or otherwise distressed. Amount generally well-nourished mothers, milk composition tends to remain stable even when they do not eat well.

2. Even mothers from developing countries who are mildly malnourished do still produce an adequate supply of good quality milk.

3. Certain drugs do pass into the milk but the concentration is so small as to be harmless. There are certain drugs that do effect the baby (radioactive compounds for instance) and breastfeeding should be discontinued. A physician should always be consultant about drug use (prescription and non-prescription) during pregnancy and lactation.

Above from "The Breastfeeding Answer Book" by Nancy Mohrbacher and Julie Stock

4. "Human milk, in addition to its numerous nutrients that make it an ideal food source for the growing term infant, is a bioactive fluid that evolves from colostrum to mature milk as the infant matures." from Carol L. Wagner MD in "Human Milk and Lactation"

In other words, the milk changes to better nourish the infant thru the first months of life.

Posted by: Fred | March 27, 2007 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Some people will continue to deny the results of scientific studies no matter how much evidence is placed before them because they do not want to admit that they took the easy way out or because they simply do not want to admit that they were not educated or supported enough to succeed. And, success isn't defined as an "all or nothing" situation. Success is defined individually based on each person's circumstances.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 8:33 PM | Report abuse

that last post is quite delusional - the scientific evidence points to inconclusive benefits yet he rcontinues to deny it.

And of course add the assumption that bottle feeding is the easy way out - well just another lunatic

Posted by: aa | March 27, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Re. correlation and causality: I can think of many, many correlations between a crowing rooster and the sun coming up. You could do experiment after experiment that would show that immediately upon the rooster crowing, the sun comes up. However, that does not mean the rooster causes it.

Posted by: StudentMom | March 28, 2007 12:46 AM | Report abuse

"They ask for permission (I think you may actually have to sign something) if they should feed formula."

Bob, I gave birth a few months ago at Inova Fairfax and you do not need to sign anything. I was pretty drugged up, so I don't remember if they verbally asked me about formula, but I know for a fact that I signed nothing.

Posted by: StudentMom | March 28, 2007 12:50 AM | Report abuse

On the one hand, we have every major medical organization in the world espousing the benefits of breastfeeding. On the other, we have aa, an anonymous poster asserting that results are inconclusive without offering any evidence.

Who should I believe?

Posted by: to aa | March 28, 2007 6:15 AM | Report abuse

Anything in the mother's body can have dangerous effects on the baby. ANy of you remember thalidomide? Any of you know about fetal alcohol syndrome? How many of you smoke? How many take over the counter drugs? How many recall the Tylenol poisoning about 20 years ago? Now we have rat poison in pet foods. Ever hear of crack-addicted babies? Ever see a mother nursing a baby while she sucked down a beer at the same time? Anything produced by anybody can be contaminated or dangerous. Get over yourselves. Make your own damned decisions about your life, your babies, your health, your jobs. The sign of a real loser is they take advice from complete strangers (and boy, do we have STRANGERS on this blog).

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

But I did provide proof - an actual analysis of all the studies those health organizations use to justify thier positions - which clearly shows the benefits to be marginal at best:
http://www.stats.org/stories/breast_feed_nyt_jun_20_06.htm

Posted by: aa | March 28, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Way back up there, there were comments criticizing breastfeeding mothers as fat, shapeless, unattractive, etc.
I'm wondering, where the heck does that come from?
Breastfeeding is, for most new moms, absolutely the quickest way to lose the pregnancy weight. It's not a sure-fire thing, but for many nursing mothers, the pounds just melt away during that period of intense breastfeeding. I know that when I was nursing my kids as infants and toddlers, that was the one time in my life when I could be very slim with no effort whatsoever. For once in my life, I had a flat belly while eating any amount of ice cream or other fattening food that I wanted.
In fact, when my first child grew older and had substantially curtailed her breastfeeding, I joked often about how the only way I could get back into peak fitness was to have another baby.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"Ever see a mother nursing a baby while she sucked down a beer at the same time?"

In the seventies they used to recommend drinking a beer or a glass of wine while nursing. It was supposed to help you relax and help the let-down reflex. I guess that advice is outdated!

Posted by: Oldmom | March 28, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Which is safer - an "educated" mother deciding if breastfeeding is safe for her and her baby based on what prescription (or other) drugs she is taking and the lifestyle she is living - or a mother who blindly trusts formula companies who use milk produced by cows or soy grown on farms and then synthesized into some concoction in a plant. There is far more risk of contamination in the second scenario. The above post talks about the poisons. Has anyone ever seen how many formula recalls have occured over the last several years? Infant formula is ripe for someone who really wants to taint something worse than petfood and cause a stir.

Also, again do people not realize that most dairy cows are given *drugs* - antibiotics and growth hormones??? Yet, we worry about what goes into a mother.

Why do so many people worry about milk produced by a human mother but are fine feeding themselves and their babies semisynthetic substances made from milk produced in the breasts of animals who are pumped with antibiotics and hormones and are fed plant matter treated with pesticides?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Liz D, if I or my insurance company is paying for a lactation consultant in a hospital I expect the LC to do her job. Is that too much to ask?

Posted by: Neighbor
****
Do you say that when you go to find a doctor? Or a cooking teacher? Or a college professor?

Yes, you deserve a great LC- but you can't expect one to just be handed to you, or be upset when the one who is given to you isn't great when you didn't take the time to get a good one. You have to research, interview, find one who you like, AND meets your standards.

Posted by: Liz D | March 28, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Liz D, when I have a college professor assigned to me in a required class, I do get upset if she refuses to do her job.

I would equate that to an LC who is assigned to me at the hospital who does not do her job. I was disappointed I got no help from her, and angry that an incompetent LC might dissuade other moms from giving BF'ing a try. I did NOT have a choice about LC's in the hospital.

Separately, if I had nursing problems, I would have sought out a good LC AFTER the hospital time (again, no choice while at the hospital). But it's not "entitlement" to complain about someone that you have been assigned to, and paid, not doing her job.

I'm confused about the controversy here. Liz D, are you advocating for lazy LC's in hospitals?? What exactly is your point?

Posted by: Neighbor | March 29, 2007 6:56 AM | Report abuse

Yes, when I am assigned a professor in a required course, and he/she does not do her job, I would be upset.

I get *no choice* over which LC I get in the hospital. But yet my insurance and my fees help pay for her salary.

Of course, I would look up a good LC after getting out of the hospital if I need it.

Are you excusing the LC for being lazy and not doing her job? And the hospital for continuing to employ her when she's not meeting even minimum standards?

I don't get what your complaint is here.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 29, 2007 7:23 AM | Report abuse

That analysis was of only a few studies, and by people who 1)by their inflammatory writing, clearly have an agenda; 2)Are not doctors or scientists. Not what I would call proof.

Posted by: to aa | March 29, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Moms, do whatever you want. For me, I'd always heard breast was best, so after much trouble with my first child we finally figured it all out (by the time she was 5 months old!). I supplemented with formula and she's happy and healthy. The second kid took to the breast with no problems.

STOP the discussion already. Until they figure out that formula is poison or breastmilk cures cancer, I think we can all just unclench about this.

If you are a new mom agonizing over this and you are reading this, do me a favor - turn off the computer, breastfeed the kid a bit, top em off with formula and then both of you HAVE A NAP!!! Rest is the key to solve so many milk related problems.

Posted by: Kris | March 29, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

to to aa - Shows what little you know and how incapable you are of analyzing information.

1. There only agenda is correcting the misuse of data in different media, look around their site and you will see that breast feeding is only one of the many analysis they ahve done on a wide range of issues.

2. The authors of that piece are most certainly scientists - did you even look at their name and titles? One is a Mathematician at George MAson, one a Pharmacologist at the University of Pennsylvania and one a Biostatistician at Amherst. Sound like qualified professionals to me.

3. The studies they looked at were the ones that those making the false claims cited as their source - certainly a reasonable place to begin. If you know of some other study that they missed I am sure they would be happy to analyze it for you but my hunch you aren't concerned with honest analytics here sicne you can't seem to spot them.

Posted by: aa | March 29, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"Rest is the key to solve so many milk related problems."
Amen to that. Even though I consider myself a champion breastfeeder, I initially had trouble with each of my babies. Turns out that much of the trouble was related to my own fatigue. A good night's rest really did wonders to help matters. (In one case, my doc ordered an extra day in the hospital for me and the baby.)
Which brings me to another point - I have a theory that some of this American dependence on formula, what I consider to be an unfortunate over-dependence, and the unfortunate lack of confidence in or respect for breastfeeding in America -- has at least something to do with the in-and-out nature of our hospital births. I think new moms often get shoved out of the hospital too early, when they're still way too tired and overwhelmed to properly care for themselves and their babies at home. Personally, I think new mothers deserve a week's hospital stay, not just a couple of days. But, of course, such a plan doesn't fit into our bottom-line-worshipping health-care system.

Posted by: anonymous | March 29, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

You know, I am really glad I am finally over my intense guilt for not making it through the first few weeks of breastfeeding, because reading this post just a couple months ago would have caused several days of feeling really down on myself.

I will freely admit now that I did wimp out a little and probably could have breastfed successfully if I had 100% set my mind to it. But there were many factors that made me decide to formula feed after the first couple weeks:
1. pregnancy for me was not a wonderful experience-it was nine months of feeling physically, emotionally and mentally beaten down. I was sick the first half, the docs kept telling me that the foods I could keep down weren't good enough, etc., etc. I was so overjoyed by the prospect of getting this kid out of me and being done being pregnant already...
2. then I had a c-section and a difficult recovery from that. Thank God for modern medicine in this since both my baby and I would have died in childbirth a century ago, but... I couldn't shower myself for a couple weeks-I needed people to help me out of my bed and into the bathroom. Heck, I couldn't even bend down to get my underwear back up on my own for a couple weeks!
3. We had to run out at the last minute and rent a pump-for almost $100 for 10 days, NOT covered by insurance. Not all insurances cover pump rental and visits to LCs (who are NOT free-they were only free to me in the hospital for the couple days we were there after our baby was born)
4. "They" said breastfeeding hurt, but they didn't tell me that my child would MUTILATE me. Oh, and this was even after several of the LCs in the hospital said there was nothing wrong with how we were doing it. The mutilation was so bad that it just added to the drama when someone was helping me shower because when the water hit me the wrong way, I screamed in agony.
5. I bawled whenever my child looked at me hungry AND the whole time I was feeding her.

Add all this up and I was absolutely positive that I was headed straight to the looney bin if I had to breastfeed one second longer. It is one of the ironies of life that mothers have to make so many really tough calls at a time when hormones are raging through their bodies and they are trying to come to grips with the huge thing that has just happened in their lives. I wish I could have made it past that stage and started breastfeeding at about 6 weeks, when things had calmed down and I was feeling more like myself. But NO-you have to do it (or pump) from the beginning or you never have a decent supply. Sure, you can pump exclusively, but that is easier said than done, since you have to hook up to that machine and then clean it, etc, all while trying to care for your baby PLUS remember to AND find time to nourish yourself.

I was completely blindsided by being a new parent and I did what was right for us at the time. I make no apologies about that, but I have learned some lessons from baby #1 that I can use if and when we have baby #2. I know a lot more about breastfeeding in general and I NOW know about all the resources out there for help (try seeking those out when you are a crazed, sleep deprived new mom who cries half the time). I will go into breastfeeding baby #2 with the supplies I need to succeed-and I'm not just talking about a pump and some pads! Also, I will know ahead of time what resources I might need-sure, I knew all the lingo this time around, but I had no idea exactly how hard it might be and the dollar figures stomping around in my head for pump rental and lactation consultant visits NOT covered by insurance nearly paralyzed me!

Just based on my experience, I can think of a few things that might increase breastfeeding rates in this country-
-Provide ALL mothers with free (or at the very least covered by insurance) lactation services-LCs AND pumps and supplies
-Provide longer maternity leave so that women don't have to rush back to work
-INSIST that every company provide a dedicated area for mothers to pump. I work in a small office and work in a cubicle-I was told "Oh, well, I guess you could use either a vacant office or a utiliy closet" NO THANK YOU! Who needs the stress of figuring out where they are going to set up every couple hours? The only women in my office who have successfully pumped had their own office and could close their doors.

For many months, the mommy guilt on this issue was intense. And then I started thinking that my daughter was detached from me because I saw how my cousin's breastfed baby was with her-NO ONE could feed or comfort her but mommy. I beat myself up mentally for a long time, but over the last few months, I have grown more confident in my own parenting and realized that no matter how many "wrong" decisions I might have made over the past year, my daughter is an extremely happy child, very social and very healthy.

Oh, and for the record, my cousin is an unhappy mommy and her kid is sick ALL the time even after a year of being nursed...

So, anyway, call me a bad mommy because I chose to formula feed my daughter-I refuse to beat myself up anymore. It's just not worth it-I do the best I possibly can, and that is all anyone can ask.

Posted by: BadMommy#2 | March 29, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous sadi-
"what I consider to be an unfortunate over-dependence"
Why is unfortuante? This is once again silly demagougery - humans have suceeded as a species by leveraging our environment to move usbeyond nautral limitations - formula is a perfectly adquate and for some highyl efficient repalcement for breastfeeding and its use is not unfortunate at all.

Posted by: aa | March 29, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Why "unfortunate"? Many reasons have been mentioned before:
-- some women who want very, very, very much to breastfeed wind up not doing so because of inadequate assistance or other obstacles;
-- breastfeeding is, in most cases, better for the mother's health;
-- breastfeeding is, in most cases, cheaper than using formula, a seriously big deal for less-wealthy families;
-- breastfeeding is, in most cases, more healthful for babies (I know you, aa, disagree, but the overwhelming medical consensus is that breast milk is better than formula; just like the overwhelming scientific consensus is that global warming is real. But I digress).
The "unfortunate over-dependence" is my opinion, as I stated. You're entitled to your opinion, too.
Sometimes formula is the only viable option, of course. But even in many of those cases, it's not the mothers' preference. And it's unfortunate that they cannot make good on their Plan A.

Posted by: anonymous | March 29, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

aa, the article you cited was refuting the argument that formula was like smoking. They did NOT say it was inconclusive or "marginal at best."

"Not nursing is a small risk, the real question is what it costs (or benefits) you."

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 8:42 PM | Report abuse

to 8:42:
Actually, the NYT article was the catalyst for the review not what it was refuting - it did in fact conclude that the benefits demosntrated are marginal as in:
"There is, in this paper, a weak association between nursing and a reduced risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). "

And

"In this article, the researchers found that "There were no significant differences in rates of respiratory illness," which contradicts the AAP's claim that there were decreased upper and lower-respiratory illnesses for nursed babies. The article adds that "Morbidity rates did not differ significantly between groups in the second year of life." So whatever protective effects nursing has don't seem to prevent illness in Year Two."

And

"Over the course of the study, the same number of breast-feeders and formula-feeders were hospitalized, all for pneumonia."

And

"It makes such claims as breast-fed babies "appear to be at a lower risk for autoimmune diseases like... juvenile diabetes." And yet it turns out that this question is only now being asked in a large multinational study. So, in fact, no benefit has hitherto been shown."

When it says it is a 'samll risk' that does mean it is marginal difference (as in there is a small risk of electrocution every time I stroke a key...)

Posted by: aa | March 30, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

You say:
"Why "unfortunate"? Many reasons have been mentioned before:
-- some women who want very, very, very much to breastfeed wind up not doing so because of inadequate assistance or other obstacles;"

I say some women who very, very, very much don't want to breastfeed are made to feel inadequate because of the insistence that they do

You say:
"-- breastfeeding is, in most cases, better for the mother's health;"
I say - what study demonstrates that because I haven't seen it.

You say:

"-- breastfeeding is, in most cases, cheaper than using formula, a seriously big deal for less-wealthy families;"

And this is absolutely true - but of course it is also true that less-welathy families are more likely to need the income that canbe lossed by the time required for breast feeding. It is interesting to note that people in the WIC program have a lower breatfeeding rate than those who are eligble for WIC but not particiapting - in otehr words it is likely that woman take the economics into account when making the decision for themselves.

"-- breastfeeding is, in most cases, more healthful for babies (I know you, aa, disagree, but the overwhelming medical consensus is that breast milk is better than formula; just like the overwhelming scientific consensus is that global warming is real. But I digress)."

But this is just untrue - it is not the overwhelming medical consensus and unlike global warming the studies and models do not support the claim. It may be popular wisdom but is is not true and that is the truly unfortuante part - that people continue to insist that it is.

Posted by: aa | March 30, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

This is way late but I had to say for posterity that anyone that thinks a UTERINE contraction is pleasurable hasn't had one! They hurt like labour! Yeesh. :-)

Posted by: Shandra | April 3, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm 52. I had my first child at 22. He was born at 28 weeks and spent his first 3 months of life in the neonatal nursery 100 miles away from our rural home. I pumped my breasts for 3 months and tried nursing him but he was so sick and the doctors were concerned he was not gaining weight. He was given a special formula and special preemie soft bottle nipples ( I can't remember the name) and he started to thrive. He's 29 now and a college graduate, husband and father. My second son was born 3 years after the first. I was all gung ho to nurse him. I did everything according to "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" and still was not successful! About 3 weeks after his birth I was sitting in the rocking chair trying to nurse and both of us were crying. My husband of few words walked in and said to me it doesn't matter HOW you feed a baby just feed it! I sent him to town for formula and bottles and never looked back. When #3 son arrived I didn't even think about breastfeeding. He was a Similac baby from day one and my BEST baby! I have 4 grandbabies now and 2 were bottle babies and 2 were/are breast babies. It was their moms' decisions and I respect it...............I'm just thankful I'm not the one getting up in the middle of the night anymore!!! Breast or bottle? Who cares? Just feed the kid.

Posted by: Grandma of 4 | April 6, 2007 12:59 AM | Report abuse

I know I'm going to get flamed for this, but I have noticed that a lot of the women who give up trying to breastfeed because of the pain or because it's just, they think, too physically hard tend to be not so physically fit. If you've willed your way through some difficult marathons or up and down some tough mountains, the initial pain and bother of breastfeeding isn't necessarily such a big deal.
I know this is a gross generalization, and I know that lots of women cannot breastfeed for a variety of reasons way beyond their control, but surely being physically fit and tough pre-baby pays off when it comes to the physical demands of motherhood, including the demands of breastfeeding.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

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