Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to Support Breastfeeding without Demonizing Formula

The most positive changes made in the world are not against something but for it.

It can be very tempting to further the normalization of breastfeeding by demonizing formula, or worse, by demonizing formula-feeding mothers.  It calls to you.  The information's right there, and, if you breastfeed, it makes you feel better about yourself and better about your struggles and your hard work to bring it up.  I remember!  It's so tempting to respond to the Similac recall with "Serves you right, you should have breastfed" or "Boobs don't have bugs, this is mom's fault."  Formula sucks.  The educated, informed women who read this stuff already know that.  Most of us tried to breastfeed, and we hate that we're giving our babies crap. 

Attacking formula-feeding mothers is incredibly detrimental in a number of ways, but the biggest one is that you potentially lose very strong allies by doing so.  Me, for example.  My nursing in public post has now been read by over 30,000 people in a month (squee!).  That's good for breastfeeding. We all need formula-feeding moms on the side of babies and boobs.



Some of the strongest advocates in the intactivist movement are mothers who circumcised their first children.  Marilyn Fayre Milos, for example.  Some of the strongest advocates for gentle discipline are those who chose corporal punishment first.  Some of the strongest proponents of natural birth are those who experienced an over-medicated labor or an "unnecessarian".  Many cloth diapering mothers chose cloth because their babies' bottoms reacted badly to disposables.

Many lactivists have never fed their babies an ounce of formula, and some (certainly not all) really seem to enjoy making that fact very known.  They should be proud, but sometimes comments cross the line.  Formula-feeding mothers are referred to as "lazy", "selfish", "lame", "stupid", "irresponsible" and worse.  I'm not pulling this from my own imagination; I am a member of many natural parenting groups and have seen all of these accusations in the last month.  I am not an advocate for formula-feeding, any more than I am an advocate for cesareans.  I believe that supporting breastfeeding means supporting breastfeeding.  No more, and certainly no less.

So, if you want to be a lactivist without pissing off us lazy, irresponsible mothers who didn't try hard enough (ha-ha-ha-ha-ha), what else can you do? 

How to Support Breastfeeding 
Without Being a Boob

Support nursing in public



What you can do: If you are a breastfeeding mother, unashamedly nurse in public.  If you can't, thank or at least smile at women who are.  Tell the nursing mama that she's welcome to nurse in your living room if she wants to, and she doesn't have to cover up if she doesn't want to.  If someone brings up the topic of breastfeeding in public, make your views known, don't stay silent.  If you see a nursing mother being asked to leave a public place, come to her aid and fight the flight attendant for her.  Support laws that protect nursing mothers.


Support longer, paid maternity leave

Compared to the rest of the developed world, the USA has an embarrassing maternity leave policy.   There is no paid maternity leave on a national level.  FMLA guarantees 12 weeks of time off every 2 years, without pay, but only if you work for a company with more than 50 employees (in the same state) and have worked there for at least a year.   Unpaid.   If you work for a small company, just got a new job, or (gasp) have another baby less than 2 years after your last, you're likely out of a job, permanently, if you take leave at all.

Some states extend temporary disability benefits for 6-8 weeks, at a paltry 60% of base earnings, with a low cap.  Other states provide nothing.  A well-off family can budget for this time, but eventually, the savings run low.  A single mother who works at a small company has no real choice - either she goes on welfare or goes back to work.  A two-income family, living paycheck-to-paycheck may have no choice at all.

Conversely, Norway and Sweden offer 13-16 months of paid maternity leave at 100% of base earnings.  The rest of Europe averages between 16 and 26 weeks (6 months), also paid at 100%.   Maternity leave in most of these countries is compulsory - you can't go back to work 3 weeks after your baby is born, even if you "want" to.

There is a direct correlation between the length of maternity leave and breastfeeding success. 
  • University of California: "A maternity leave of < or =6 weeks or 6 to 12 weeks after delivery was associated, respectively, with a fourfold and twofold higher odds of failure to establish breastfeeding and an increased probability of cessation after successful establishment"
  • University of Melbourne: "Mothers who returned to work full-time within three months of birth were twice as likely to have stopped breastfeeding by the time their baby was six months, than those who were not employed.  Mothers who returned to work full time between three and six months of birth were three times as likely to have stopped breastfeeding by the time their baby was six months than non-employed women."

When Canada extended maternity leave from 6 months to one year, they saw a large increase in infants who were successfully and exclusively breastfed.

What you can do: Contact your congressional representatives - both senators and representative.  Contact your local state representatives and senators.  Let them know that you support paid parental leave and extension of FMLA to include all employers and employees, and to extend to at least 52 weeks.


Support certified lactation consultants

 Poor medical advice for breastfeeding is pervasive through the system.  Certified lactation consultants can save a breastfeeding relationship.  Unfortunately, they are expensive to hire, and their services are not usually covered by medical insurance. 

A lactation consultant can take a mother from the brink of quitting to a healthy, happy nursing relationship.  She can save damaged, bleeding, painful nipples.  She can fix bad latches and bad positioning, she can un-advise against bad advice.  She can make magic happen - if she is given the opportunity.

The average visit to a lactation consultant costs $250-$300 - and while it's certainly cheaper than a year's worth of formula, to the low-income mother on unpaid maternity leave, it might as well be a million bucks.  After all, formula is covered by WIC.  LCs are a luxury that many women cannot afford.

Further, they're not that easy to find.  Sure, if you're part of the AP community, you know the names of a few off the top of your head - but where would the average mother get this information?  I hadn't heard of lactation consultants until I started to really research...and not all mothers research.

What you can do:  Call your insurance company and ask if they cover lactation consultants.  If they don't, ask why not, and ask how you can complain in writing.  Make sure your pregnant friends know the names of LCs in their area.  Provide a list of LCs to your local hospitals, visiting nurses associations, YMCAs and OB offices.  Post the date and times of local LLL meetings on community bulletin boards and in supermarkets.  Provide that information to teen mother support groups.  If you are a LC, consider donating some of your time or offering low-cost services, even on a group basis to low-income mothers.


Support gentle birth

Getting a good start at breastfeeding is so very important.  Maternity leave, lactation consultants, and pediatrician support only work if a mother begins her breastfeeding relationship right.  Baby-friendly hospitals are a start.  Baby-friendly hospitals aim to have a 100% breastfeeding rate, and they educate staff appropriately.

1 - Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2 - Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3 - Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4 - Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5 - Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6 - Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
7 - Practice “rooming in”-- allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8 - Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9 - Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
10 - Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic


I'm going to add on steps 11-20:

11 - Limit interventions in labor to those that are truly medically necessary for the health of mother and baby.
12 - Do not circumcise baby boys or girls for non-medical reasons. 
13 - Encourage mothers and babies to attempt the "breast crawl" after delivery.
14 - Teach baby-wearing
15 - Provide safe co-sleeping guidelines
16 - Arrange for lactation consultant follow-up home visits after discharge.
17 - Provide midwifery care for lower risk births.
18 - Provide prescriptions for breast pumps to be covered as durable medical equipment by insurance
19 - Encourage immediate and prolonged skin-to-skin contact, as well as a gentle post-birth environment.
20 - Skip the hospital  If you are low-risk, try to give birth at home.

What you can do: If you gave birth naturally or gently, tell your birth story.  Support home birth.  Support midwifery.  Contact your local hospital and ask if they have been certified "baby-friendly" by the WHO.  If not, ask why not.  Drop off breastfeeding information at your local maternity ward and at your OB's office.   Support the right to genital integrity and openly oppose routine infant circumcision


Support the re-education of medical professionals

The worst breastfeeding advice I have ever heard came out of the mouths of medical professionals. 
  • "Only feed for 10 minutes on each side, any more is unnecessary." 
  • "Only nurse every 3-4 hours, any more and he's using you as a pacifier."
  • "We have to give her formula until your milk comes in."
  • "You can't have a glass of wine if you're nursing."
  • "Pregnant women's milk is not good for older babies.  You need to wean."
  • "After 6 months, there is no nutritional value to mother's milk; it's just for comfort."
  • "One bottle of formula won't hurt anything."
  • "Breast milk doesn't have enough vitamins.  You need to give your baby vitamins unless you formula-feed."
  • "You can't breastfeed if you take_____ medicine" (without checking if it is actually true)
  • "Your baby isn't growing fast enough.  You need to supplement with formula."
Sometimes, there is a real, medical reason to stop breastfeeding or supplement with formula.  That is rare - but the majority of women trust their doctor over their own gut feeling or their own research.  Medical professionals need to be educated on the facts.  More breastfeeding relationships have been ruined by pediatricians, nurses and obstetricians than all the free cans of formula in the world.   One bottle of formula *does* harm a nursing relationship.  Nursing on-demand really means on demand!  It is so hard to question your child's doctors.

Every new breastfeeding mother I know has worried, "how do I know my baby is getting enough food?" especially because all newborns seem hungry all the time.  One statement from a doctor about low percentiles or supplementation can be the beginning of the end of a healthy relationship.  Doctors need to be educated about alternative ways to increase supply if there really is a problem - and need to realize that formula should be the last resort, not the first reaction.

What you can do: Talk to your pediatrician about breastfeeding.  Invite local pediatricians to attend LLL meetings.  Encourage your local hospital to adopt baby-friendly policies.  Make sure every pregnant woman knows how to find accurate information.  Bookmark KellyMom.com on her computer.  While you're at it, send the link to your pediatrician.   Write to the AAP whenever you hear a doctor saying something untrue about breastfeeding, to encourage further training.


Support nursing rooms in workplaces, schools, and public buildings
Nursing rooms are common in Malaysia. 

Not all women are comfortable nursing in public.  Nursing rooms are a wonderful amenity that should be as available as bathrooms.  Many laws (but not all states) require that nursing mothers be provided a clean, safe and comfortable place to pump in the workplace....but this is rarely true.  Most moms end up pumping in bathrooms, spare conference rooms, supply closets or cars. 

Schools are especially key - not just for the teachers, but also for the students.  Breastfeeding rates among teen mothers are appalling.  Not all mothers are happily married stay-at-home mommies.... in fact, most aren't.  Supporting nursing and pumping means supporting it in high schools, Walmart break rooms, and your local fast food joint.

What you can do:  If you work, ask your HR department about space for nursing mothers.  Contact your local high school and encourage the school to set aside a room for mothers to pump or nurse.  Ask at your local government building.


Support breast milk donation

There are real, undeniable, and unavoidable reasons that breastfeeding may not be possible, including but not limited to:
  • Death or incapacity of the mother
  • Inability of the mother to produce sufficient milk, due to PCOS, insufficient glandular tissue, mastectomy, etc.
  • Adoption of a child (before re-lactation or if it is not possible)
  • Medical conditions that require unsafe medication to manage

    Babies should be able to drink human milk, even if their mothers can't provide that milk to them. 

    Unfortunately, "official" milk banks are extremely selective and extremely expensive.  I contacted two when I had to stop breastfeeding, and I was told that milk was reserved for sick babies, and that even if they had some, the price for the milk was $3.50 an ounce and not covered by insurance.  For a baby who eats 32 ounces a day, that is simply impossible - and we are a well-off family.

    Between then and now, a new organization has come onto the forefront, Eats on Feets, which will connect nursing mothers with women like me, who need donated milk for our babies.  It's still in its infancy, and private milk donation has a long way to go toward being socially acceptable again, but it is a place to begin.  Right now, there is less milk than women who need it.  

    What you can do:  Donate any extra milk you have.  Support Eats on Feets.  Talk about breast milk donation, and challenge gut reactions that it's "icky."  If your local EoF is active and has milk available, reach out and let folks know it's there for the taking.




    Support media exposure of breastfeeding


    1977, Buffy explains breastfeeding to Big Bird.

    Bottles are everywhere.  Every time you see a baby on TV, you see a bottle.  Children's cartoons are filled with bottles, but nursing is taboo.  This is an echo on nursing in public, and all the same reasons apply.  Normalizing breastfeeding means that it has to make its way onto television.

    What you can do:  Contact PBS and ask them to run another special on television.  Every time you see a baby bottle on TV, comment online at the station and on facebook/twitter.  If you do see nursing on TV, send a compliment (I sent one to the director of  "Four Christmases", which was the first movie I've ever seen with casual nursing and lots of breastfeeding mentions without being a movie about babies) 




    Oppose Unethical Marketing of Formula
    Haha, exception proves the rule, right?



    Yes, the whole point of this article is not to demonize formula or formula-feeding moms. Demonize the mainstream formula companies as much as you want.  Go for it.  Thanks to these jerks, babies all over the world die, and I fed my kid bugs, while they profit massively.

    Formula companies advertise *everywhere*.  Boobs don't get glossy ads in Parents' magazine.  Formula companies are regulated in what they can say, but boy, do they squeeze close to that edge!  "Closer than ever to breast milk" is such a misleading statement.  I can make Coca-Cola "closer" to breast milk by adding DHA and probiotics.  It doesn't make it close.  Obviously, Similac is a better choice for your baby than Coke.  BUT, the difference between formula and breast milk is as far the difference between formula and soda.  

    Especially abhorrant are the advertisements in developing countries, where a lack of access to clean drinking water makes formula truly life-threatening.  If you don't have clean water, breast milk is vital to the survival of babies, yet companies like Nestle see opportunities for "new marketshare" and plaster with this messaging.

    Even the "Breast is Best" campaign is tainted by formula marketing.  It insinuates that perfect moms breastfeed, but who's perfect anyway?  Breast isn't just best - it's NORMAL.  It's what babies should eat, absent extenuating circumstances.  Ads plastered on TV, in magazines, in doctors' offices and in hospitals make formula seem like the normal choice.  Breast milk isn't a "nice option" like organic foods or designer baby clothes.  It's necessary, normal, and appropriate.  It's how babies were made to be fed.  It's how moms were made.

    What you can do Boycott Nestle.  If you subscribe to any magazines that advertise formula, write to them and ask for "fair and balanced" advertising that encourages a one-to-one ratio of breastfeeding and formula references in their publication - or better yet, ask that they not advertise formula at all.  If you see coupons or advertising at your doctors' office, ask your doctor why they are advertising formula.



    So, are you ready?  This is the harder road, but it's the one that makes a difference.  Invite your formula-feeding friends (if you have any) to join you in a fight for mothers' and babies' rights.  There's a lot of us, and we can actually make something happen....if we don't spend our time pointing at each other.

    31 comments:

    1. Hey great post! I wrote about a similar topic just a few weeks ago on my blog- about how an environment of guilt regarding formula feeding mothers is NOT the way to go in promoting natural feeding methods and breastfeeding. Though I am a huge lactivist and am very vocal in pointing out the risks of formula feeding and irresponsibility of formula manufacturers, I see absolutely NO merit in putting down moms who formula feed. It doesn't do a thing to promote breastfeeding- in fact quite the opposite, as you've so eloquently pointed out!

      I also wanted to mention that WIC offices do offer IBCLC services to clients in a lot of US counties I was a breastfeeding peer counselor, web I lives in Texas, and we had two IBCLCs available to WIC moms, as well as a hotline where they could get in tough with our IBCLCs in Austin. Not every county has a program as big as outs was, but most counties do have an IBCLC or at least a trained peer breastfeeding ccounselor to help breastfeeding moms.

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    2. Oh my goodness check out all those typos. Damned iPhone. So sorry. Hope you can make out what I was TRYING to say in that second paragraph.

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    3. What a fantastic post! You've hit so many points, and put out such solid information. I think I love you!

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    4. Your posts are always so well researched and articulate :)

      As a Canadian I enjoy reading about the breastfeeding and birthing climate in other places. So thank you for keeping me abreast (heehee) of the situation.

      If you have time, I wrote a few posts about the "Breast is Best" campaign in Nova Scotia that might interest you.

      http://www.blog.halifaxbirth.com/2010/03/12/the-breast-is-best-campaign-is-it-working/

      http://www.blog.halifaxbirth.com/2010/10/14/guilt-and-breastfeeding/

      http://www.blog.halifaxbirth.com/2010/10/29/a-mother-friendly-breastfeeding-strategy/

      Happy Christmas

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    5. Great post. You might enjoy reading research the California WIC did about how to get society to support breastfeeding more. www.bmsg.org/pdfs/BMSG_Issue_18.pdf

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    6. Ashley, BF Peer CounselorDecember 19, 2010 at 5:18 PM

      I love this post. I would like to add that most WIC offices have a Lactation Consultant or a designated Breastfeeding Expert now. There are some that have more than one, and can also have Breastfeeding Peer Counselors to aid, as well. WIC has been known for a long time as being the "formula giveaway office", but they have really come a long way, especially recently, to push for breastfeeding. WIC participants have access to free breastfeeding education and lactation consultation, but since it cannot be printed on a check to take the store, it seems to have no (monetary) value to the majority. Please help to spread the word that WIC serves to provide assistance with the best nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children, and breastfeeding is definitely at the top of that list now.

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    7. This post came just in time. I was feeling guilty about 'giving up' breastfeeding and then failing at relactating. Even though I FF, I like to remain very supportive of BFing and would love to use my experiences to help educate others.

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    8. I wish I was where you gals all are.. our WIC office told me regularly that my son needed formula.. Jaundice.. then low weight gain.. and on and on.. because he wasn't gaining according to the "charts". I was handed several free cans of formula by my WIC "educator". She told me to nurse until he was full and then force feed him some formula to wash out the jaundice and help him gain weight .. I refused! every time. I felt absolutely NO NO NO support in breastfeeding. :( Now that he is over a year old I am still feeling repressed in the breastfeeding. He was given whole milk and told to give that to him instead of breastmilk to beef him up... ok.. Let's give him chocolate and potato chips too. ::( *sigh*... VERY envious of you all with the excellent WIC programs and breastfeeding support~! :( I even noticed the other day that there were NO breastfeeding photos, literature or promotional materials in the lobby. Individual educators may place such items in THEIR office but not in the lobby :(

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    9. It's great that WIC offices around the country are starting to support breastfeeding more. I hope it happens everywhere! I know that in my home state, it's not great. I hope those areas help the rest of the country catch up. :)

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    10. Great post. Thanks for the information about Nestle, I'll be talking to my husband about making that switch.

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    11. Several states ran the WIC numbers re: costs surrounding BF babies & FF babies. That's why WIC has started reconnecting to the old ways. They'll also pay for a pump if you BF for a certain period of time

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    12. I *love* this post! I've shared it on the Mom's Breastaurant wall. And I'm going to chat with a friend who assists school districts with issues to see if pumping rooms for STUDENTS has ever even been considered. It had not occurred to me, and I'm glad to see it brought up :)

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    13. Awesome post. I just wanted to tell you that I *AM* one of those mothers who lived it first and am now an advocate for things I didn't do (except circumcision...I did NOT do that to my son...though I'm very much an intactavist.) I both breastfed and formula fed from the get-go, I used disposable diapers, and I had an unecessarean (after a very highly medically managed hospital birth.) I am now a doula, a breastfeeding counselor, a homebirth midwifery student, and a nurse. My experienced have changed my life for the better (although I could have done without the PTSD from my son's birth.) Next time I will have a HBAC, cloth diaper, exclusively breastfeed, and most definitely NOT circumcise. In addition, I will strive to help ALL women be more informed and educate themselves.

      THanks for the post, it is awesome.

      www.sweetlittlebundlesbirthservices.com

      www.facebook.com/sweetlittlebundlesbirthservices

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    14. Great post! Thank you for this!

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    15. Wonderful stuff, thank you!
      Did you know that the people who organise the Nestlé boycott also work to make formula safer? They campaign, inform the public, and attend national and international high-level meetings (UN etc) where the rules are discussed, about ingredients, health claims and so on. You can find out more about this vital work at:

      www.babymilkaction.org
      and
      www.ibfan.org
      or on the Facebook pages:
      www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4868284577
      and
      www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4978994961

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    16. Love the post. Will be using it for the next Sunday Surf, and you can count me in as a follower.
      I did find it a little strange to suggest nursing moms can nurse in your living room. That should be a given. If you are close enough to someone to *be* in their living room, then why on earth shouldn't you nurse there?

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    17. @mamapoekie, I completely agree - but you'd be surprised how many mothers feel like they should excuse themselves and head to a spare bedroom when visiting friends. It's a simple place to start.

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    18. FMLA is 12 weeks, not 13 weeks.

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    19. Even before I got pregnant I had decided to breast feed my children until at least 1 or they weaned themselves. I had seen my mom do it with both of my sisters and had no questions or any reserve about doing it. I didn't even worry about latching, I just knew I could do it. Unfortunately a month after my daughter was born I had the depo shot. No one told me I would lose all my milk which is what happened. I stubbornly kept trying and trying and trying only to have my daughter scream 24/7 and be only 9 lbs. at 4 months. I didn't want to do formula. Thank God I was finally told my milk was gone and I needed to. The difference in my daughter is night and day. At first I was heart broken and blamed myself all the time. But my daughter is 10 months now, happy healthy, smart and finally at a normal size. My husband is military so I did have access to LC's and such for free. I pumped and pumped but got nothing. I wish I could have still breast fed. Formula is not cheap and there have been months where we have cut it close. They have a breast feeding support group on base even but I quit going to that once I started formula because I felt like an outcast and an all out enemy to these women. I only felt worse after the meetings not better. I fully support breast feeding, in public or not. But I also now understand that some women need to do formula. I will admit that once we switched my stress level went down. I was able to sleep because my husband could help out more. Even my husband told me that while he was sorry that I couldn't breast feed he had been jealous because he didn't get as much time with our daughter. With out next child I won't get the depo shot, and I will breast feed as long as my child wants. I will do it in public if need be and if I am at my house I will only be partially covered.

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    20. @Anonymous, thanks, I fixed the typo. 12 weeks is correct.

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    21. Great article. So many moms who are not able to breast feed catch hell from what my best friend now calls the LactoNazis. I managed to breast feed my first for 10 months (plus 2 months EBM) and I'm hoping to go at least as long with my second. However, there are lots of reasons breast feeding may not work and no one should be made to inadequate if it is not doable.

      I was a bit discouraged by your statement "One bottle of formula *does* harm a nursing relationship." As a pediatric sub specialist who sees lots of failure to thrive babies I feel very strongly that supplementation is sometimes necessary. Failure to thrive is not a reason to not breast feed. It is a reason to supplement - whether by bottle or by nursing supplementer, cup, syringe or bottle. I jokingly tell parents that formula and breast milk can happily co-exist in a baby. If they want to continue to breast feed they should. If they choose not to, they should stand tall and be proud of the choices they make.

      I also am surprised by the deominization of bottles. As a mommy who went back to work I learned the hard way that if you wait too long to start bottles it can be a big problem.

      And lastly... breast feeding babies do need vitamin D supplements. Unless you live somewhere warm and sunny and can leave your naked baby outside or by an open window for a hour every day.

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    22. I agree - failure to thrive is absolutely a reason to supplement, ideally with donated milk. I am in favor of happy, living babies. Breast milk is less important than the overall health of the infant or the mother. We shouldn't need to say that, but we do...you're absolutely right.

      My concern is that formula not be a "gut" reaction, but that attempts be made to increase a mother's supply before resorting to supplementation, which can lead to lower supply, leading to lower production, more supplementation, etc. I know a lot of women who started with 1-2oz of supplemental formula per day, and day by day, the supply continued to drop until the baby was exclusively formula-fed, despite their desire to breastfeed.

      My comments about "just one bottle" come from this and similar research: http://www.health-e-learning.com/articles/JustOneBottle.pdf

      Re: bottles - I don't have a problem with bottles. I feed my son with a bottle and have since he was 6 weeks old. Transitioning from breast to bottle can indeed be challenging; my "demonization" comes from the dangers of introducing one too soon, or linking babies with bottles more than breasts in popular culture.

      As for vitamin D, research has shown that 17-18 minutes per day of sun exposure is adequate for the average breastfed baby. Alternatively, if this level of vitamin D is not sustainable, the mother can supplement (as I do, for unrelated reasons), and the baby gets sufficient vitamin D from her.
      http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/vitamin-d.html

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    23. I love, love, love the helpful advice in the second part of this article :) but... the people who make hurtful and unthinking comments like those at the start _aren't'_ actually lactivists - they're just bullies :(

      Great piece though :)

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    24. I found the article rather antagonistic and tarred a lot of women with the same brush, it is as bad as calling formula feeding mothers 'lazy, irrisponsible' and so on.

      I didn't find it a positive article, I found it offensive. I have personally been attacked by ffers for sharing information that should help them make an informed choice, something which is severely lacking in the UK, people use formula without knowing the true facts! Companies are playing russian roulette with infants lives and putting them at very real risks. Where do you draw the line? Do you give parents the ability to make a truely informed choice or do you let them sit in the dark?
      I as a parent want to know that my child is at a 50% increased risk of SIDS if I were to use formula to feed them! I want to know that infant formula, the stuf designed for small babies, not 6 months plus contains 16% more aluminium than what is LEGALLY allowed in the UK water supply! Because of some of the contents in formula (that really shouldn't be there) it should be classed as a poison because that is exactly what excess aluminium and manganese are in the human body!
      It NEEDS making much much safer than what it is! I'm not calling formula feeding mums anything but midinformed because they are because NO ONE AT ALL IS WILLING to tell them thr truth just in case you offend them.
      Nursing in public, boycotting bad practice and so on isn't going to encourage women to feed, Giving them the ability and the power to make an informed choice from reading the truth about infant feeding and getting the formula companies to become a more strickly regulated body will do much better. Education is the key, not slagging off ffers or bfers!

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    25. I just don't think the title is appropriate, regardless of who wrote it, it just makes breastfeeding mum's and advocates/lactivists look like a bunch of preachy, heartless and insensitive women.

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    26. I'm sorry you feel that way. I disagree, obviously - I consider myself a lactivist, so calling lactivists names would be fairly counterproductive.

      As I commented to someone offline, formula is inferior to breast milk. Formula-feeding mothers, however, are NOT inferior to nursing mothers. That's the important distinction. I am all for informed choice, and that includes understanding the risks of formula to babies. It is important, however, not to alienate your audience.

      For example, it can be equally tempting to call parents who have circumcised their babies "mutilators", "torturers" or "abusers". Whether or not you believe this to be true, it doesn't generally further the cause. It's a tough line to walk; as intactivists, we should certainly highlight that circumcision causes infant deaths. We should also spend at least equal time (or in my opinion, more time) discussing the positive benefits of having genital integrity. See what I mean?

      As for nursing in public, boycotting, supporting and so on, yes, it absolutely WILL increase breastfeeding rates. Fear is a powerful motivator, no doubt - but it works only short-term. The normalization of breastfeeding is key to increasing breastfeeding rates.

      Anyway, I certainly didn't intend to slight breastfeeding moms. I was one, and I intend to be one again.

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    27. I don't see it as formula feeders are lazy, irrisponsible and so, I put all that blame to the people who peddle it, the companies who work so hard to lie and mislead mothers and parents.
      like someone keeps saying to me, we do what is best at the time with the information we have at the time, whether that be totally innacurate and full of lies and deceat or not. If we aren't shown the full picture, an accurate picture and have the truth hidden from us we can not and do not make informed choices.
      This is why I believe education is so powerful. I have nursed my 2 in public since the day they were born and unfortunatly for me, I have had more negative than positive reactions so no, I do not believe NIP will change peoples attitudes, especially those mothers who see no difference in formula and human milk.
      I personally do not demonise formula feeding mothers, but I will no sit back and let people believe formula is just as good, or ok for babies because it is not.

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    28. I like this article a lot. I have a great number of strong opinions on how my son should be raised but I know from experience that alienating other people will not make them see all the facts more clearly, it just makes them angry and defensive.

      Sometimes stating the facts WILL make people upset, and the only thing I think you can do in that case is clarify that you're trying to give them all the information because you want them to succeed, and if they ask you to stop, respect that. Respect will go a lot father than proving that you're right and they are wrong.

      We don't all have access to resources, good examples, or accurate information and that's a shame. This article does an excellent job of clarifying how we can give those resources, examples and that accurate information to the women who need it without creating an aura of superiority that may result in resentment.

      Being a lactivist isn't about being right, for me. It's about helping other women that have struggled and failed because of whatever circumstances so that they can overcome and succeed, whatever that means for them. And yes, it also means trying to provide human milk for all babies, but we should never lose sight of the ultimate goal: Helping babies AND women.

      Also, while I'm writing a novel here, I should note an experience I recently had. I attended church with a college friend of mine and she asked me to nurse in a classroom before the main meeting so that I wouldn't alienate the other people attending (all unmarried students). I let her know that my son would probably need to nurse again but complied with her wishes to make her feel more comfortable anyway.

      We weren't far into the meeting when my son needed to nurse again. I allowed him to nurse as much as he wanted throughout the next two hours, and a few days later when I saw my friend again she told me she realized she was being foolish and rude to ask me to not nurse in front of other people. She personally would not be comfortable doing it, but she saw that when I treated nursing in public as normal, nobody else made a fuss either.

      At least one person has been enlightened by my willingness to nurse in front of others, and that's more than I ever expected.

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    31. Good and another post from you admin :)

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