I’m Tired of Lactivists

Image by sdminor81

This one’s going to be a now-rare, good-old-fashioned rant.  Because I mean it: I’m tired of lactivists.

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe in breastfeeding as much as the next girl.  Maybe, in some cases, more.  After all, I’m currently tri-andem nursing my 4-year-old, 2.5-year-old, and 7-month-old.  Yes.  My 4-year-old is still breastfeeding.  So obviously I believe in breastfeeding, extended breastfeeding, child-led weaning, and all that stuff.

And I absolutely intend to support women who want to breastfeed, and I wish far more women had support.  I strongly dislike the way society treats breastfeeding mothers, as if it’s sexual and deviant.  I think it’s important to stand up for mother’s rights and stop all this nonsense that is the breastfeeding debate (should you/shouldn’t you, is public okay, at what age “should” you stop, and so on).  So you could say in general I fall on the side of the lactivists.


A lot of lactivists are so stuck in their way of thinking that they just don’t see reality anymore.  They don’t see the “other side” at all.  That means the women struggling…who really can’t breastfeed.  The women who emotionally don’t want to do it.  The women who are approaching all this confusing territory of motherhood and breastfeeding for the first time and are desperately seeking help…only to basically be told that they just don’t get it and have a tirade of “facts” thrown at them.  How is this helpful?

Unsupportive Support

The Leaky Boob has done a whole series on this.  I won’t reiterate everything she’s said.  I will share my own anecdote.

As I said, I’ve been a breastfeeding mom for more than four consecutive years.  I’ve read many books, published journal articles, I have nursed three babies, and have those 4 years of practical, real-world experience — which includes tandem and triandem nursing, three newborns and infants, two toddlers, and breastfeeding through two pregnancies.  Suffice to say that I’ve heard it all and seen most of it first-hand too.

One night we were struggling, though.  I’d been sick for a few days and had hardly eaten anything.  My milk supply was way down.  My baby was frustrated, and when he’s frustrated, he refuses to even try, despite that he is starving.  I was faced with a conundrum: screaming, refusing-to-sleep baby who was hungry…and I couldn’t magically make my milk supply go back up within the next 10 minutes to satisfy him.  What to do?

So, perhaps stupidly, I put the question to my Facebook page.  “What would you do?”

What followed was…amazing.

“Don’t you understand supply and demand?  You can’t supplement him or you’ll lose your supply.  It’s a slippery slope, once you start you can’t stop.  Just keep putting him back to the breast, it’s never really empty.  Supplements are inferior.  If you have to, get donor milk, nothing else will do.  It just doesn’t work that way, he just needs to nurse more often in order to tell your body to make more milk.”  It went on like this for awhile, with some tirades in the middle on how awful commercial formula was.

Meanwhile, in real life, I still had a hungry, overtired, fussy baby who needed to be fed and would not nurse.  I knew it was because I’d been sick.  I knew once I got to feeling better and eating more that my supply would go back up.  I knew that supplementing him once wouldn’t lead to the end of our breastfeeding relationship.  I had no access to donor milk at 9 PM at night when I needed something right now.  But the “advice” I got was anything but practical: it was the same sort of lactivist nonsense that is thrown at any woman who asks a question like mine.

If you’re wondering, I offered him a bottle of diluted raw milk.  He took about an ounce.  That was the only time I gave him anything and we resumed exclusive nursing with no problems the next day.

Sure, there are women who ask questions that need to be answered that way.  For example, women whose babies are going through growth spurts may behave that way, and supplementing isn’t the answer there (usually).  What works for us is to get into a bath together and nurse; the water relaxes both of us so that baby is willing to try harder and the milk lets down faster.  Now, that’s a practical piece of advice!  May not work for every woman, but it at least takes into consideration that a mother is frustrated and so is her baby.

Suppressing Information

More recently, someone asked about the fat content of breastmilk, and did it vary based on what you food you ate.  Several pumping moms offered their observations that, yes, their milk did have more fat when they ate more fat.  This was a helpful conversation for a mom who was curious.

But then one mom said — and several moms “liked” — that we ought not to talk about this, because the idea that breastmilk can change based on what you eat could discourage moms with a poor diet from breastfeeding at all!  And we wouldn’t want to discourage them…would we?

Deliberately leaving out information about breastfeeding is no solution to the problem of low breastfeeding rates.  If we don’t tell women there’s an adjustment period and that you can feel decidedly sore, and maybe even in pain sometimes, they’ll be shocked and upset when and if they experience it.

Yes, there’s some pain involved when you first start.  And no, that doesn’t mean “you’re not doing it right.”  Some babies need to be taught to latch properly and may be *almost* right, but not quite.  Your breasts may not be accustomed to use and may become chapped and feel tender at latch-on and between feedings.  This pain will not last, and if it does, then yes, something’s wrong.  (If you still feel any pain after a month, get some help.)  I was very sore and aching for a month after my first baby was born, mostly between feedings.  I remember that as soon as the pain finally faded, it was time to feed her again.  I hated wearing a bra or clothing at all because it compressed my breasts and made the ache worse.  But after a month it was gone and never came back.

This is called honesty.  And we need to use it, and then help moms deal with it.  How will they know what is normal pain and what isn’t?  And can you imagine a mother being told “No, of course it doesn’t hurt!” then starting to breastfeed and finding out it does?  What will she say?  Will she quit because she wasn’t prepared for that?  Will she seek help, only to be told, “Then you’re doing it wrong?”  How does that help her?

Instead, it would be a better idea to say, “Yes, expect some pain at first.  Try using lanolin or coconut oil on your nipples.  Don’t wear a bra if you can avoid it.  Try cool washcloths or breast gel pads to soothe it.  This won’t last.”  She’s prepared for the reality…and has tools in her arsenal to deal with it.

With the quality of milk comment, here’s what I have to say about that:

Regardless of the fat or vitamin content of your milk, it contains stem cells, human growth factors, immunities, and other important components that can’t be replicated.  The immunoglobin A coats your baby’s intestines in order to help them develop properly.  Breastmilk functions as an immune system for a baby who doesn’t have one yet.  None of these things can be replaced, so breastmilk is always superior for baby’s health.

But yes.  It’s absolutely true that the nutritional quality of your milk is affected by what you eat.  If you eat a low fat diet, your milk will be low in fat.  If you’re very deficient in vitamin D or magnesium (both common), your milk will be too.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t breastfeed, because breastmilk is about a lot more than just nutrition, as stated above.  But how can women know how to fix a problem if they are simply told “Your breastmilk is amazing no matter what?”  It’s really a “yes – but” situation.

Thankfully changes are simple.  Breastfeeding mothers should eat whole eggs, cooked in butter or bacon grease.  They should drink whole milk.  These are not difficult changes, and no, they won’t make you fat.

Help Honestly and Openly

The bottom line is that we need to have a practical understanding of where women are.  We need to honestly and openly encourage them and support them.  We shouldn’t state facts from a textbook; we should look at a woman’s individual situation and help her to achieve her best possible outcome, whatever that is.

On the opposite side, we shouldn’t lie to women or neglect to mention certain facts because we don’t want to discourage them.  We need to be honest and open there too.

Breastfeeding support requires patience, kindness, and an individualistic spirit.  Not all women or all situations are the same.  Some women really can’t breastfeed (more on this in my book, Breast to Bib, which is coming March 19th).  Some women need temporary solutions to make it through — I pumped and used formula to supplement my first baby for six weeks!  (Surprised?) — and we went on to stop supplementing and move to exclusive breastfeeding for a few months, and continue to breastfeed for four years (and counting)!  What might I have done if someone had told me that pumping in the early weeks instead of nursing directly (she didn’t at all until the 6 week mark) wouldn’t build my supply properly and I had to get her to latch immediately?  What if someone had told me that any supplementing would destroy my supply and lead to an early end to our breastfeeding relationship?  What if someone had told me she’d get nipple confusion from the bottles and refuse to even try anymore?

Women are told these things all the time.

It’s true that my situation was unusual and a lot of women struggle and end up quitting if they face obstacles like that.  But maybe they wouldn’t if they were told, “Do what you need to do to feed your baby and save your sanity; there’s always tomorrow.  Keep at it.  Nothing is going to ruin you forever.”  There will be women who still can’t overcome the obstacles, but probably not as many.

So, let’s talk about it.  Let’s support.  Let’s be honest and open and stop spouting textbook drivel (unless really needed) and stop hiding issues and refusing to talk.  These approaches do nothing.  We can make breastfeeding normal and successful by being real!

What do you think?  Can we do a better job supporting breastfeeding women?  Are lactivists sometimes hurting more than helping?


  1. Christi says

    No one shows a kid learning to ride a bike how to ride not holding onto the handlebars. Breast-feeding is a skill like anything else. When you first learn, you are taught the most conservative version. You have to know the rules before you start breaking them. Let’s not justify women when they seek to be less than what God meant for them to be. Instead let’s give each other all the knowledge we need, with plenty of encouragement.

    With my first, I remember calling La Leche in tears because it was soo incredibly painful. But to me, failure was not an option so I knew that I had to find some way, any way. After all, what would my great great great great grandmother have done without that hospital-supplied can from Mr. Nestle? Obviously she would not have let her baby starve–she would have come up with a solution just like yours. But for most women, not breast-feeding means formula-feeding. Especially since in addition to losing this precious knowledge, we have also lost ready access to whole food.

    I understand some of your frustration with misinformed and self-righteous lactivists. But I hate to see the baby thrown out with the bath water. Learn everything to get the complete picture, but don’t take all of it to heart. Toss aside what you can’t use, but not the people who offered it, knowing that they are trying to help. And if you can’t find the information that you need to keep your baby at the breast, keep looking! I promise, it’s out there. When I was struggling, my answer came from a very unlikely source: a gruff, old farmer. He said when a mother cow has a sore teat, she kicks the calf off of that one until it is healed. I started nursing on the less-ouchy side and pretty soon I was healed (and a bit lop-sided).

    I am a lactivist because I truly believe that breast-feeding is God’s righteous plan, not because I myself am righteous. I can do all things through God who strengthens me!

  2. Grace says

    I breastfed my son for only 3 months. I was in so much pain, and the only thing lactation consultants told me was that I shouldn’t feel any pain- that I was doing it wrong. Turns out, it didn’t matter what I did, it still hurt and the pain wouldn’t go away… my baby was an aggressive sucker plain and simple. I have since has another child- a girl- that I nursed for a year. I didn’t have any problems with her at all. Everyone’s situation is different. My sister breastfed and supplemented because she couldn’t produce the hind milk that makes babies get all chubby… she changed her diet and everything. Her body just wouldn’t produce.

  3. Rebecca says

    Sorry that wasn’t my whole comment!
    The reality is now most women do start breastfeeding but stop before when THEY think is ideal and of course I think most people with the lactavist comments/advice want them to achieve that ( or more!). And I totally agree that support with practical solutions at the time, taking into consideration the baby, mother and situation is what is needed. All the textbook quotes and pressure/ guilt does not heal a sore nipple for example!
    Some people do not give breastfeeding a go because they hear it can be sore or “hard work” and i can see how people try to push breastfeeding and list all the benefits, as they are trying to do keep women going or to give breastfeeding a try.
    I really like your post.
    I had my first son before most of my friends had children and I had little support and every breastfeeding problem in the book the midwife gave me! I struggled but probably due to my stubborn nature and asking many people i didn’t know at all, for advice, me and he got through to . . . eventually a wonderful breastfeeding experience. Via pump, formula for a time, admission to hospital etc!
    I still struggle with how to convey this to first time pregnant friends as I want to ” warn them” there may be difficulties and to be prepared to ask for help but not scare them or put them off! I don’t tell anyone fully about what happened (except my mum and husband!) until after they have had a baby who is a few months old? And even then I just say it was hard for 6 weeks with my first son, and that he had a tongue tie which needed cut, then say sore but manageable only for 3 weeks with the next 2!
    However to people who haven’t had a baby I find virtually any comment sounds wrong! Now I try and say breastfeeding could go smoothly but your are likely to need advice at some stage and to be prepared for that. I feel like I am undermining their confidence! I also give them the number for an advice line that I trust! Any suggestions on doing it better would be great!

  4. Bridget says

    I nursed my first seven babies without any difficulty. They were chubby and grew beautifully. My eighth baby is now eight months old, and would not thrive on my breastmilk. She latched beautifully and nursed heartily, but cried pitifully and could not sleep well, and did not gain weight. We had her tied-tongue clipped…I took herbal supplements and drank nursing tea. We’ve been eating a nourishing traditions diet for years. Baby was blissfully relieved when I tearfully gave her the first bottle of formula. She didn’t want my breast after that, but I kept at it, always offering breast first. I tried a few times to wean her off the bottle, but that didn’t work. So, baby and I have made our peace with both breast and bottle. I refuse to starve my babies even if I’m judged harshly for it.

    • Jennifer Smith says

      Bridget- I love your story. I wish more women would know about situations like yours. They quickly assume most moms who “can’t” nurse just simply give up too soon or don’t “get it”. Obviously you do and you still had problems. It is not as easy as “lactivists” make it seem. I also love your statement “baby and I have made our peace with both breast and bottle”.

  5. Anna says

    Great post!
    When I had my now 2.5 year old daughter, I was adamant in my determination to breastfeed. The pain was so bad I cried and practiced deep-breathing techniques. I bought nipple guards and met with 2 lactation consultants. But five days after she was born, we took her for a check up and she’d already lost a pound-and she wasn’t big to begin with . The dr. suggested supplementing with formula while I tried to pump to get my milk supply up. Nevertheless, she was admitted to the hospital later that day with jaundice and dehydration. My milk never did really come in. I would use a hospital grade pump every two hours or so, and get half an ounce, sometimes, other times just drops. What I learned from that horrible experience is that I will not go through that again. Had I supplemented with formula a little earlier, we wouldn’t have ended up in the hospital. But people invoke the name of God, and feed our fears and insecurities about being a good mother. We each have to do what is best for our child, and sometimes that means feeding them whatever we can.
    With baby #2, due next month, I plan to try breastfeeding again-but not at any cost.

    • says

      Wow. I can so relate almost down to a T…nipple gaurds and all LOL.

      My son is 2 1/2 and I went through the same thing. Fenugreek pills, tea, a gazillion ounces of water a day pumping every two hours.

      I cried for days an felt like a failure. After three weeks I settled on a homemade goat milk formula and just breastfed what I had.

      I do pray you’re able to breastfeed with your second child.


  6. says

    Kate, I love your honesty and I agree with EVERY WORD of this post. After 16 years of infertility, I had a beautiful baby girl. Everything I planned (natural birth, breastfeeding…) went not at all as I had planned. I had to have an unplanned c-section; and by day 4 of nursing, my daughter was getting more blood than milk. I started exclusively pumping, every time she would eat (10-12x daily). I had tons of milk, so I just didn’t understand. Lactation specialists told me to try different positions. Nothing helped. When she was 3 months, we moved, and I consulted another specialist in my new town. She stuck her finger in my daughter’s mouth and told me she had a palate that made latching properly very, very difficult and no wonder I bled. Meanwhile, I’m giving my daughter 100% breastmilk and still crying every day because I felt SO GUILTY that she was drinking it from a bottle and not from my breast. Lactivists made me feel worse, so I just stopped talking about it. I exclusively pumped for her for 9 months. I felt guilty the entire time. I still look back and grieve that nothing went as I had planned… and yet I look at my very healthy 3.5 year old and am glad I pumped as long as I did. And, BTW, I had nowhere close to an ideal diet. :-)

    • Cait says

      Wow, you should have been greatly respected for pumping as long as you did! That would take more commitment and trouble than a smooth ‘typical’ breastfeeding. Well done! I’m so sorry that you felt guilt instead and hope that that heals for you.

      Thank you for this post, Kate. I’ve always admitted to friends that ‘the first weeks are sore, but it shouldn’t last – and get as much help as you can!’ but this post is a good reminder to be gracious and remember that I don’t always know someone’s story, especially when they’re not a personal friend.

  7. Rena says

    Thank you so much for posting this! I tried so hard to breastfeed, but after two weeks of sweating and crying while she was crying and sweating and both of us exhausted, I stopped. It hurts my feelings to this day! I stopped because I thought I had “messed it up” like all of the negative comments you mentioned- dont give them a bottle right away, dont do this, do that or you’ll mess it up! So I gave up. Yet no one has sympathy for moms like me- Im a bad mom for feeding my (first ) baby what I could. If women were more helpful and supportive and understanding of each other instead of turning up their nose, it would be so helpful.

  8. Pauline says

    Well, I liked this. And I want to share my story because I had my share of opinionated people on both sides. I had been breastfeeding my baby for six months. My mother got extremely ill and lives overseas. i was told she would not make it. I had a passport and enough money for my ticket but not enough money for the baby, especially 750 to expedite her passport and I had to leave ASAP. I read literature on how to keep my supply, pumped as much as I could in reserve, put her on Organic formula and flew across the ocean to be with my mother. I drank teas 30 times a day, set an alarm to pump, kept to the same feeding schedule, and pumped in nasty public restrooms, airports, public buses with a little hand pump. people encouraged me to stop breasfeeding, and there were those that said my baby was more important than my mother, and others that asumed I was just done. Well, I breasfed until my daughter was two. I had no issues when I came back. I takes someone emotionally strong to breastfeed their kids but also to know their limits. I think it is awesome that you are breastfeeding three kids, good for you!!!!!!!!!

  9. Stefanie says

    I wholeheartedly agree! I was a determined mom, who enjoyed breastfeeding, as did my daughter. Unfortunately, due to insufficient glandular tissue, I never was able to exclusively breastfeed her. I did everything “right.” Yet, each time I sought the help of doctors and lactation consultants, I was given the “party line” breastfeed on demand (I did), pump after each feeding (i did). Take domperidone (I did, it was helpful, expensive and I gained 15 pounds on it pushing me to the “obese” category). Take fenugreek (yep), drink mother’s milk tea (i gulped that nasty stuff down daily). Eat oatmeal, lactation cookies, brewers yeast, take Goat’s Rue, flax seed, flax seed meal, don’t diet. Done, done, done, done, done , done, done, done. Daily for 9 months. “Don’t feed her while you are at work, try reverse cycling.

    Fortunately, our doctors had the sense to support me emotionally and encourage me to supplement. Lactivists, I am sorry that I did everything right, and proved you wrong. I would have LOVED to EBF, but I couldn’t and had I followed the “rules” and skipped supplementing we would have a little girl with “failure to thrive.”

    So yes, support breastfeeding mothers with honest information. And support mothers to make the best decision for her family. A depressed, stressed mom takes it’s toll on a baby, family and a spouse. We shouldn’t shame women who don’t or can’t breastfeed, and if a lady needs to stop breastfeeding so she can actually enjoy being a mom instead of being a rigid feed, supplement, pump, clean, pee and repeat schedule, good for her.

  10. Gretchen says

    I really enjoyed this post. I come from a long line of breastfeeding women, it was the obvious choice for me when I got pregnant with my first child. I took a breastfeeding class, I did a ton of research, heck, my grandmothers best friend is a lactation consultant! I had great resources. But even so, not one single person said to me, “breastfeeding is hard.” So when my daughter was born, I was totally blindsided. All the nurses at the hospital said my latch was great! I had high hopes. 4 days after my daughter was born, my milk came in. At my daughter’s two week checkup, she hadn’t gained any weight. The doctor told me I needed to supplement a couple feedings with a bottle. I was mortified. What was going wrong? I started paying more attention. My breasts never felt less full after a feeding, but they dripped liked crazy. How was she not getting any milk? I saw a specialist. Also said our latch was great. She told me to pump after every feeding and use a syringe and feeding tube that we taped to my nipple to help teach my daughter to suckle better. She was using me like a pacifier. After I started pumping, I realized my supply was incredibly low because we had gone so long without her eating correctly. I started pumping marathons, pumped every hour, even at night. I drank mothers milk tea, I ate oatmeal everyday for breakfast, I made lactation cookies. I did it all. Did I mention that getting her to latch to my nipple and the feeding tube was incredibly difficult. Her one month app came and she had only gained 3 oz. I was so tired and stressed and emotionally vulnerable. I gave up. My daughter is 6 months old and is in the 95 percentile for her weight! I still cry and have tons of guilt bcuz she is not breastfed. I do, however, feel I have a better chance of being successful with my next child. Breastfeeding is hard, especially as a new mother. And that isn’t said often enough.

  11. Ruth says

    My daughter, who is now eight, was a wonderful at breast feeding. I had her back in my arms within an hour of giving birth and she took right away. The next few days however were not as productive. I was stressed and was later diagnosed with PPD. Our first night home she would not latch and we both cried for hours until my husband took her and gave her a bottle of sugar water and told me to sleep. I will admit I panicked, you can’t give her a bottle she won’t go back to the breast! His response was to ask me to sleep, things would be better in the morning. Guess what, they were. Mommy was rested, baby was rested and while hungry, not screaming anymore. We tried again and were successful! Once I went back to work I pumped and she took both the breast and bottle just fine. I got her to about eight or nine months before I stopped. Happy to report she is very healthy!
    Things were not so smooth with my now four year old son. He was severely tongue tied and even after they snipped it he still could not open his mouth very wide which made nursing extremely painful. I tried and tried and cried and cried. I pumped all the time, or at least that is what it felt like… I was devistated that I did not have that bond with him… Three months later I stopped the madness and reluctantly gave him formula. Through the tears of guilt I watched as he sucked down bottle after bottle, but ya know what, he is happy and heatlhy.
    Both of my children are on the small side, but that has more to do with the fact that teir father and I are both five foot one! I’m sure people will say I gave up too early but I did what I could and like I said before, they are both heatlhy and that is what matters.

  12. Janice Grady says

    Thank you for this. I totally agree that the “problems” need to be discussed. I have 5 children that I have breastfed and all 5 of them have had a strong suck. I have bled with all of them during that adjustment period where my nipples were adjusting to a new baby. All I kept hearing with the first 3 was that I must be doing it wrong, it shouldn’t hurt. Ever. But every time I saw a lactation consultant they said we had a perfect latch and couldn’t figure out what we were doing “wrong”. After a couple of weeks the pain would go away and I would no longer be chapped. With my fourth I had the same issue but THIS time when I saw the lactation consultant she checked to make sure we were doing it correctly (which we were) and then she shrugged her shoulders and said “Sometimes they just suck like a Hoover”. I literally laughed out loud, as did my husband. I was so relieved to have someone finally say that we weren’t doing something wrong. That the pain was normal. I try to warn women of the probability that it will hurt and frequently they look at me like I’m crazy….until they find out that I am nursing my fifth child. Then they get curious and start asking questions.

  13. says

    Hi Kate!

    Great, thorough post, as always. But I think I would’ve added a word or something in the title, saying “I’m tired of *insensitive* lactivists,” or “I’m tired of *unrealistic* lactivists.” I will always call myself a *gentle* lactivist, and as long as there’s milk in my breasts I will try to breastfeed in public (gentle form of activism), smiling at whoever may pass by, nurse my kids until they’re well done (and explain to well meaning friends & family why it’s still got benefits, gently) and support any friend I know who has questions & is interested by being more than welcome to help & give my resources. I have a tab on my page that’s all about breastfeeding support! I think that there are too many women who are honestly against breastfeeding. The social atmosphere, and many CHURCHES atmosphere is NOT welcoming to breastfeeding–it is shaming. So little by little, through relationship and through my own positive image of nursing, I will be a gentle activist making a difference. : ) I was appalled recently that an old high school friend of mine deleted me off social media (she had been in my wedding, we had known each other over ten years) because she said didn’t know if she was “friends with me or my son, and was disgusted by my breastfeeding pictures,” and also said she was “embarrassed for my kid–one day someone might see those when he’s grown up!” HA. That is why I will continue to debunk the nonsense. That is why I will gently show people the truth about breastfeeding & help them realize that it can be great, and even if they haven’t had an experience with it (apparently she hadn’t) that it is important.

  14. says

    Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I’m two weeks into this nursing thing and struggling. We have a 37-week er who struggles with nursing, and for his first week we had to supplement with formula. I felt **so guilty.** for feeding him that horrible stuff. because I’m pumping like a maniac, he’s solely on breast milk now, but still not eating at the breast. His latch us weak and if he manages to suck anything he forgets to swallow. He’s eating well from a bottle, but I’ve been chided by more than one lactivist that he’ll never learn to nurse because I’m bottle feeding. There was no compassion or understanding for the uniqueness of our situation. These women didn’t seem to care he was healthy with a full tummy, or that I need TONS of support to continue trying to nurse and also pump so he eats.

    Thank you for sharing about your first struggles. I would love to hear more about that journey and any helpful tips you have for those of us in similar situations.

    I’m done with mommy-shaming and all of the things we say that make moms feel guilty for choosing what they believe to be best for their children. Thanks for speaking up!

  15. Hayley P says

    I, too, grow tired of the lactivists. My son was born tongue-tied, and because of flubs at the hospital, went quite some time before his tongue was finally clipped. He never got the hang of a proper latch. I was red-raw and bleeding from the bad nursing. upping didn’t quite work out, either. Finally, I resigned myself to formula feeding. I really wish I would have stuck with it longer, or that the problems hadn’t been there to begin with, but done is done. I have a very healthy, bouncing 2-year-old now. You couldn’t ask for a healthier, happier baby. Other then a minor ear infection and the occasional reflux episode as an infant, he is a picture of health.

    Despite all that, I got a whole helluva lot of flack from mommies who breastfed. Support would have been nice, but I got none. It sucked.

  16. Hilary says

    I could not agree more with everything in this post!! I am a first-time mom and happily EBF my almost-six-month-old, but he was born with a severe tongue tie and could not effectively breastfeed at birth. We had to have a laser surgery performed (not painful for baby but definitely expensive!) to continue breastfeeding, and in the beginning, while he was relearning, it was really tough. I supplemented with formula and pumped after every feeding, using an at-the-breast supplementer to give him formula and then eventually my pumped milk. It was hard — really hard. And it would have been so easy to give up! Luckily, I found an amazing LC who was able to come into my home and help me, and she saved my sanity. BUT. At the hospital, I was told 1) that it shouldn’t hurt or I was doing it wrong, 2) my child definitely DID NOT have a tongue tie (totally untrue), 3) that I should start pumping and hand expressing (but was given no context as to why or how or how often and was left completely overwhelmed, and a number of other things that left me near tears and unsure as to whether we’d make it to ever EBF. Thankfully, we did. But I have countless friends who have given up for all the reasons you mentioned, and the most recent of these gave birth to a large baby and was told — in the hospital! — that she would NEVER make enough milk for him and that she should consider always supplementing. Ummm, what?? How’s that for encouragement, right? I think the way we approach new moms about breastfeeding really needs to change. I absolutely love our breastfeeding (and co-sleeping, which wouldn’t be possible without the breastfeeding) relationship, and I feel like any woman who wants to and is able to experience this gift really should. With the appropriate support, I know that can be a reality.


  1. […] So much of what you hear, read, are told, etc. is just hokey. Bogus.  Not true! There are some truths behind “best practices” to establishing/maintaining/or otherwise messing with your milk supply (if you decided to breastfeed that is – if not they hooray! one less thing for you to worry about!) My suggestion is to find a few good resources and consult them. And then use common sense as well.  Try and steer clear of simply ‘Googling’ and the mass amount of forums that are out there, they can be helpful at times… but often they can be filled with “lactivists” who will not only give you incorrect information, but make you feel just plain awful… for no good reason! More on that here. […]

  2. […] So much of what you hear, read, are told, etc. is just hokey. Bogus.  Not true! There are some truths behind “best practices” to establishing/maintaining/or otherwise messing with your milk supply (if you decided to breastfeed) My suggestion is to find a few good resources and consult them. And then use common sense as well.  Try and steer clear of simply ‘Googling’ and the mass amount of forums that are out there. They can be helpful at times… but often they can be filled with “lactivists” who will not only give you incorrect information, but make you feel just plain awful… for no good reason! More on that here. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *