She’s not a Lactivist. She’s a Bully.

I didn’t quite understand what had happened to me until I came across this sentiment online: “I often feel bullied by lactivists just because I had to use formula.” It’s not important where I found that or what that debate was about; the important thing is that when I read that, I realized that I had been bullied this week. For real. By a real bully. She claims that she is a lactivist, fighting for better education about breastfeeding and less manipulation by rich and powerful formula companies. (Have you ever seen a formula commercial? They are manipulative, and that’s just the beginning.) I don’t want to give space to her options, mostly because the thoughts of a bully don’t deserve space, but also because they don’t really make any sense.

The Bully’s first email appeared to be a fair question, supportive in tone. That’s how she got me to engage. I answered her question. I explained (apparently it was too much to ask that she read the blog post I wrote about my heartbreak over not breastfeeding) why the medications I take, in combination and at my dosage, might make my milk supply dangerous. A baby fed with milk I produce might fall asleep and find herself unable to wake up. His brain might not be able to properly regulate respiration.

The Bully pointed out that Klonopin, the medication that worries me most, is not listed as a “do not breastfeed while taking” medication on the reputable website InfantRisk. Now, I knew this. I brought this to my doctors’ attention. The problem is the combination, I repeated, of Klonopin and Effexor, which is completely unstudied. I have explained that to true lactivists, and they understand. Even if they think they might make a different choice, they at least understand that my terror of harming my potential child with my breastmilk is too much anxiety for me to bear. They understand why I am asking for donor milk, particularly from a friend whose baby girl is due in June who happens to be the healthiest person ever. They offer support. Not the Bully. Donor milk isn’t good enough, says she. Not feeding the baby from the breast will increase the risk of death by SIDS! Not exactly true, by the way. There’s a correlation between not breastfeeding and a higher risk of SIDS, but no causation could possibly be proved. Women who breastfeed are also more likely to be educated about how to prevent SIDS, which rarely happens anymore, anyway.

But then, she threw this grenade:

You clearly have not tried hard enough to find an alternative medication.

That just mad me angry. And I told her that I was angry that she had questioned, after she read a few websites, the decision that I made about my family after I talked to all those doctors and did all that research. I also told her to stop contacting me and to seek professional help. Of course, she didn’t stop. Bullies don’t stop. She laughed at me. Finally, she said this:

Good luck being a mother. I’m sure you’ll be great at it with such an inflexible attitude.

I wrote back, which I probably shouldn’t have done; more importantly, I blocked her email address. Those words sting. In my own deep dark places, I will never have tried hard enough. At anything. Ever. I will, according to my own worst fears, fail at motherhood. I engaged with this bully because she said out loud the things I fear when I am being irrational and hating myself. I understand that she is wrong, however. I know that I could not have tried harder, and that I will be a good mother.

The point of this post is that bullies will find a way to keep getting at you, to keep going until they find a weak spot.

Breastfeeding activists will suggest that you find a second, third, fourth opinion if anyone tells you that you cannot safely breastfeed, that you should give up trying if it’s painful or that you should give up trying to increase a low supply. They will happily and calmly discuss statistics about infant and mother health. They will concede that, in some cases, breastfeeding is not possible for medical reasons. They will point out that many women give up because they do not receive enough support and ask me if I feel supported. Then, they will offer any knowledge they have about alternatives (like donor milk). These women are not bullies. They simply want to roll back the influence that formula companies wield over new mothers. They simply want breastfeeding to be made easier for women. They are not cruel. They do not call other women terrible mothers.

The World Health Organization explains why breastfeeding is so important. In fact, the WHO has issued an international code of breastmilk substitutes. Here’s why:

The 27th World Health Assembly in 1974 noted the general decline in breastfeeding related to different factors including the production of manufactured breast-milk substitutes and urged Member countries to review sales promotion activities on baby foods and to introduce appropriate remedial measures, including advertisement codes and legislation where necessary.

The United States is not among the countries who have pledged to abide by this code. American formula manufacturers are not held to these rules. And this is why we need breastfeeding advocates. This is why I do not mind when women ask me if I am sure, if I double or triple checked, that the milk I will produce will be unsafe. This is why I am determined to use donor milk as exclusively as possible. I say this not because I want to pick a fight with any mother who uses formula. It’s going to be really hard work to collect and safely store donor breastmilk. I have the time and resources to do that. But I do not want to support any corporation who breaks rules specifically designed to encourage better nutrition for infants. And even formula companies admit that breastmilk really is better.

 

247 Comments

  1. KatesOwnRants said:

    You are right to block that bully or anyone who sets out to undermine you & hurt you just to satisfy their own self hatred. 
    Unfortunately it is not so easy to erase her words from your brain. Why is it so much easier to believe the terrible, hurtful messages we hear (from others or ourselves) than the positive messages?You ARE doing what is right for your family, your baby and your own health.  Your baby is LUCKY that you spend so much time and energy figuring out the best way to care for him/her.  So, please excuse the breast feeding pun, but That bully can suck it.

    March 16, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Haha that’s a good one! I’ve also heard “Your baby, and us, we’re rooting for you!” re: my donor milk search. Puns stick in my head pretty well, too! Especially fun, silly ones!

      March 16, 2012
      Reply
  2. Ugh, this woman makes me so mad. She attacks you without all the facts (not that anyone deserves to be attacked like that, but you especially have clearly done your research over and over again). But, she also makes us other lactivists look awful, and thats how we get a bad name. 

    You are so above baseless attacks like this, and it’s a shame this person felt the need to lash out at you. xoxo

    March 16, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      That’s why I put that title up there! What she is doing is not lactivism, and I would hate for anyone to think that she represents breastfeeding advocates as a group.

      March 16, 2012
      Reply
  3. Theresa Louise said:

    There are many things beyond breast milk that you give to your child…and I say this have been feed breast milk, but having also carried for many children who had formula.  One of my favorite children to take care of never had breast milk, but has great parents, wonderful nutrition, and his parents are sweet, wonderful, and accepting people and he is following in their footsteps!  You are going to be a great mom because love is worth more than milk!

    March 17, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you, my dear. There’s actually even a recipe for formula we can make from raw milk that is closer to breastmilk than the powdered stuff and cheaper than the cheapest formula. 

      Love is worth more than milk! And we both know that breastfeeding me didn’t make sure my life was illness-free or that the mom bond stayed strong. It’s a good reminder, that. My mom and I had a strong bond in very early childhood, a weaker bond in elementary school, a disaster of a relationship that you probably remember from that horribly awkward time you came with me to visit her after camp that year. Now, we have a great bond. It’s because of the love and the work. Not the milk.

      March 17, 2012
      Reply
  4. Onya Baby said:

    So sorry you had to deal with this bully, Anne-Marie. You shouldn’t have to justify the choices you make to anyone else, particularly someone only interested in bashing you and your intelligence. It’s such a shame that these lacti-bullies exist to bring down the over-all message of lactivists. It helps no one and harms the cause to get the information out there. You will be a wonderful mother, I have no doubt about that. :) – Diana

    March 23, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you Diana! I’m just glad I can block her–she’s not in my life outside the computer, thank goodness.

      March 24, 2012
      Reply
  5. Epiphius said:

    This is the first post of yours that I’ve read, but from what I see here, I think she was wrong. Seems like you’re thoughtful, intelligent and use the resources available to you to make an informed decision for your kids and your family. That seems like a pretty good thing when it comes to parenting too. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

    So sorry that you’ve had such a negative interaction with this bully. Your kids will benefit from it though probably. At least, that’s my experience with bullies as an adult.

    March 23, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      She was wrong as soon as she decided that it was ok to tell anyone, anywhere, “You’re a bad mom.” Even if it’s true, that’s not ok. 

      I really appreciate you saying such nice things about me being thoughtful, intelligent and informed. And I do feel like every time my skin gets thicker, my kids will benefit from it. I’ll be better able to stand up for our family’s choices and values.

      March 24, 2012
      Reply
  6. Zoesmumlizs said:

    i am sorry that you have to go through this and am sure you will be a good mother or you wouldn’t be putting any thought into this.
    it is great that you want to give your baby donor milk and that you have a friend who is willing to help. in case things don’t work out for any reason here is a great organization (actually i don’t know personally if they are great but their intentions seem awesome;-) who can help you find a donor: http://www.hm4hb.net/about.html
    i am a breastfeeding activist and i would encourage you to try everything you can to get donor milk but i am also sure that you will be a great mother and your baby a happy baby if you end up with formular;-)

    March 24, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Human Milk 4 Human Babies is awesome! I follow them on Facebook because it’s so encouraging to see all the connections they facilitate. Always gives me hope that I’ll get enough breastmilk. But, stay tuned for a post on home-made formula. Fascinating process! Cheaper and much more nutritious than the powders.

      March 24, 2012
      Reply
  7. Amanda_stoker said:

    this person is a B! Im so sorry someone gave you such a hard time. I never question anyone’s decision to use formula that is there decision. I just try to educate people that NIP is ok and their right and also that breast is best. THAT’S what a REAL lactivist is supposed to do. IMHO

    March 24, 2012
    Reply
  8. Amanda_stoker said:

    BTW I have anxiety and depression and know how you feel with those irrational thoughts. Its not as irrational or uncommon as you think. i think its a mother thing and just hits people like us harder. hang in there. :) seems like you are making the best decisions you can for you and your child and thats all that matters!

    March 24, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Another reason to be careful not to under-medicate– being a mom is going to make me anxious enough! I don’t need to add the risk of dropping the one thing, other than therapy, that helps keep my “baseline” anxiety level at a livable place.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  9. Bettb73 said:

    OMG, I’m sorry you had to go through this!  While I am one of those lactivists who think most (I said MOST, don’t jump down my throat!  I’m sure you have all met at least one one, come on!) Moms do give up too easily, I keep that opinion to myself!   Good luck and you’re an amazing Mom just for caring so much!

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I totally agree that many mothers give up on breastfeeding before even trying the simple supplements; actually, as someone whose milk supply will be dangerous, it drives me crazy when a women does not use the milk she has or do more to increase that supply. Like you, though, I keep that opinion to myself–it’s none of my business. I get more angry at pediatricians who push formula before fenugreek than at moms. (I hear lots of stories working in child care!)

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  10. Anne said:

    So sorry you had this obstacle (woman) in your path. We as mothers have enough guilt in this world. A true lactivist (like me) just wants mothers to make informed decisions, ones they can live with, that’s all.

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      What killed me was that she was trying to tell me that I should be able to live with what she didn’t believe was that risky. Um, it’s my kid, here! I’m the one who has to live with this! Not her!

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  11. Andrea said:

    I don’t understand this type of “activist.” Making mothers feel bad about their choices is hardly the way to increase the rate of breastfeeding in the U.S. Not to mention that this woman has not walked one step in your shoes and cannot know the experiences that you have gone through that caused you to use donor milk and formula. Lastly,iIt makes me so disappointed when I see/hear of women acting this way because women have a hard enough time in the world with mothering issues as it is. There needs to be more love, more support, more nurturing…not more negativity.

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I totally agree that we need to nurture ourselves and each other if we want to see real change. No one is going to breastfeed for long if she’s only doing it out of shame, without real support.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  12. Add me to the list of women who is sorry that you had to deal with this bully.  As a mother who both considers herself a breastfeeding advocate and one who had to use donor milk – I can tell you, it’s  a hard decision to come to that your milk isn’t safe/plentiful/whatever enough for your baby.  It takes a strong, caring, wonderful mother to make these hard decisions for her baby. I applaud you for that!

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Did you get milk from a milk bank or use a milk-sharing network of some kind or a friend? I’d just love to hear more about it.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  13. Lindsey Aylward said:

    I am so sorry you had to deal with that. It is absolutely disgusting and you are right, definitely bullying. You are a good mother, you can see that just by how much research you did into what effect your medication would have on your baby. Don’t let people like her get you down or make you question your mothering. 

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
  14. Sereneserpentine said:

    This is so awful! I consider myself a lactivist, but this should NEVER be done. Breast feeding should be promoted and supported, but not beat over peoples heads. Not everyone can do it for various reasons, those including that they just are not comfortable with it. A stressed out mommy = a stressed out baby which is dangerous! I can’t comprehend the heartbreak of not being able to breastfeed, but I know how difficult it can be at the beginning and the idea of not being able to was depressing for me. Hang in there and stick to your guns. You and your Doctor know what is best for your baby. And it’s people like you that made me decide I wanted to be a milk donor, but I prefer to do it privatly instead of through the hospital where they make it so expensive for families to obtain the milk.

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      It’s wonderful that you donate milk! It’s almost impossible to get a prescription for milk through an official bank, and it’s really expensive. I’m really glad it’s there, and it saves lives in the NICU. But since it’s not deemed necessary for a lot of us, I’m really glad that milk “sharing” is out there, too!

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  15. Tara L said:

    THat is so sad.  A breastfeeding advocate’s purpose is to draw awareness, educate, inform and support.  Not be a judgemental jerkface!  In my opinion, not that you asked, it seems like you’ve made all the right choices.  When it comes to medications and breastfeeding, that’s only a choice you can make with the help of your doctor and LC.  An advocate can and should give you information if they have some, but they should NOT tell you what to do!!!  That’s just silly.  And not breastfeeding does not make you a bad mother.  That’s also silly.  :S  I think its great you’re going to give donormilk a try, and even better that you have a personal source.  Ive had lots of mothers tell me their reasons for not breastfeeding and it’s mostly decisions that have been made with a lot of consideration and guilt.  I really think breastfeeding advocates should focus more on the cultural and barriers to breastfeeding within society as a whole, and direct their judgement and criticisms there…not on individual mothers.  Mothers deserve our support and our commiseration, not our negativity.    

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      “In my opinion, not that you asked, it seems like you’ve made all the right choices.” – You are too funny!

      I also believe that real change is not going to happen until we, as a culture, decide to show some damn support. I know a *doctor* whose boss fights her every time she wants to go pump.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  16. Ananse15 said:

    How sad that you encountered this woman along your journey, I faced a similar dilemma as you, however I was able to safely come off my meds. Being a good mom is about making the best choices we can and that includes making sure we are healthy enough to take care of our little ones. Kuddos to you for going the extra mile and making an educated decision. You are already a good mom and do let anyone tell you otherwise.
    DianaE.

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I love hearing stories where women do safely come off meds! It sounds like you didn’t just stop, because that is *unsafe* and unfortunately what many doctors tell women to do, as a knee-jerk reaction. If we don’t educate ourselves, it can be very hard to find good care.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
      • Ananse15 said:

        I couldn’t agree with you more. We have to be our own advocates when it comes to our health, and make sure we trust our doctors and those helping us make healthcare decisions.
        I must tell you how brave I think you are, to give up something you really want (to breastfeed) in order to do truly what’s best for you and your little one, that is the definition of unselfishness. I admire how you have worked through your feelings and I understand the extra challenge it represents when you are dealing with anxiety and depression. Consider me on your corner cheering you on. (((HUGS))).
        DianaE.

        March 26, 2012
        Reply
  17. Thebadassbreastfeeder said:

    One more SO SORRY to the list! I am a huge breastfeeding advocate, but I would never expect a mother to put her baby at risk! That’s just silly. I know I would be an emotional wreck if I wasn’t sure my milk was safe. I actually had to so some research myself about some medications and had to deal with the emotional aspect. I was so anxious and scared. It sounds to me like she is more of an extremist bully than a breastfeeding advocate. I wonder why we can’t be more supportive of each other in this difficult journey called motherhood. 

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I wonder, too, given how hard it is for all of us, why we aren’t more forgiving of one another. My initial research was a lot like this woman’s, and I went to my psychiatrist determined to breastfeed. But when I heard “might not wake up,” that was it. Watching my baby sleep because I’m anxious –> not sleeping myself –> more anxiety –> bad cycle!

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
      • Thebadassbreastfeeder said:

        might not wake up is sort of red flag i would say???!!!!! i surprised the drs didn’t immediately say absolutely you can not breastfeed! i am not on any of those meds and i obsessively watch my baby sleep. it’s just not ok. but yeah, this is all just too hard for us to be picking on one another. you’re doing a good job mama, that’s clear. not that i believe she is lactivist, but lactivists picking on individuals is not how we promote breastfeeding. you clearly don’t need to be convinced, you get it. we need to focus on hospitals and formula companies with manipulative ads, etc. 

        March 26, 2012
        Reply
  18. I’m really sorry about this. I am a new mommy ( 4month old) who also suffers from anxiety and depression. Luckily, I can function with zoloft so I am able to breastfeed- but I would NEVER question someone’s choice not to when it is medically related- depressed mommy is bad for baby- your meds are important- don’t listen to this woman.

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I’m so glad you’re able to go with the best-researched, simpler option. You also probably know what a panic attack feels like and know that experiencing them daily is just not any kind of life.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  19. Angelique Chelton said:

    I love, love, *LOVE*, your perspective. Thank you for sharing… and I’m sure you’ll be a great mom!! Look at all the care you are putting into preparing for a future child… All the best to you!!

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      You’re very sweet! It is all about perspective. In order to deal with this, I really had to understand that the first wave of grief was about not being able to be The Mom I pictured. After that, it’s not so hard to find the healthiest second option and read enough to know that Baby will be fine.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  20. Galsal04 said:

    I am truly sorry this woman put you through the ringer with her hateful attitude. I applaud you and your efforts to make sure your baby will have the safest and healthiest nutrition.

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
  21. Guest said:

    I too struggle with depression and I know how critical it is to be properly medicated. In my case, I was able to breastfeed and my dr. adjusted my meds in accordance and we were able to find a combination that was both therapeutic for me and okay to breastfeed. This does not work in all cases, though. You mentioned Klonopin and was wondering if you  had tried Vistaril? It is not as strong, but my doctor (and my body) found it as a reasonable option.
    When I initially saw your post, I was wondering if it was due to lactivists making breastfeeding moms feel guilty about supplementation. I primarily breastfeed, but because my milk supply is diminished (due to a breast reduction surgery) and for simple relaxation purposes (sometimes it is nice to try and get a little “me” time, especially with 6 kids) my baby receives a feed or two of formula. I have had some lactivists (although not my current lactation nurse) try and make me feel guilty or less because horror of all horrors, my baby gets some formula each day.

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Ugh, those people who say formula is “poison?” Yeah, that’s going a little far! 

      I doubt that I will be able to switch from Klonopin to something less strong–even Ativan didn’t cut it for me. It’s severe anxiety. It’s also risky to change medications during a pregnancy; if it doesn’t work, you’ve exposed the fetus to more potential teratogens and, possibly, an anxiety spike. For me, at least, switching meds is super difficult. 
      That said, my psychiatrist and I are definitely going to talk about tapering (decreasing) my meds during the second trimester. Pregnancy is agreeing with me very well so far! I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but I will happily try again.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  22. i’m sorry you had to deal with that kind of special @sshat. part of being a great momma is being able to take care of yourself and your family by making the important and sometimes hard and heartbreaking decisions about what is best. keep doing your best momma!!!!

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
  23. Helen said:

    I have breast fed both of my babies for their first year and am a massive breastfeeding advocate. I get annoyed at the constant chipping away of women’s faith in their ability to feed their babies and -whats more, to enjoy the comfort and closeness this gives mother and child.
    I am absolutely disgusted however with what you have encountered and think your article is just fantastic. There are many reasons why we should feed our babies but, as in your case, these are immediately -and beyond question, negated in a scenario where either mother or child is at risk. To think that someone questioned your position on this is really terrible.
    You ask yourself will you make a good mum and the answer is yes. Already you are standing up for your child, making a decision that is hard for you but for the best for your baby. that’s what bring a mum is all about.
    I love my time feeding my babies but there’s a lot more to mothering than that and you’ll do great. As for that horrible, unhappy woman..don’t spare her another thought. X

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I absolutely mourn the time I will not have breastfeeding this baby, but I am glad you agree that I have the right to make this decision that I feel minimizes risk for my child. And thank you for recognizing that I am sacrificing what I want for the health of my baby, as backwards as that seems at first glance. My grief is about the time that I will not have, about feeling frustrated that the milk I will be producing will not be “good enough.” My baby will be happy and healthy with skin-to-skin bottle feedings from both parents. It’s Mom who will shed a few tears when Baby roots for the breast.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  24. Bobbietwin2 said:

    I think you are an awesome person to take the step to get donor milk for your baby. ((hugs)) to you. As a doula I have to step back many times and tell myself this is not my birth, my way of doing things, etc and realize I need to support the mother (family) in their choices.  I also had a client who wanted desperately to bf but couldn’t for medical reasons.  I really feel this gal was way out of line.  Mothering is not just about bf, its loving, caring and being there for you children. letting them know how precious they are.  You will do great.  

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you; I feel really fortunate to be able to set up a donor milk supply this far in advance. Like your client, many women who find themselves unable to breastfeed have a hungry baby on their hands before they know that it’s not going to happen. I love the idea, too, that this story of how we will feed our “Bug” will become a way to show how precious s/he is to us. “Well, Auntie J’s medical records are in with yours because that’s where all your food came from! It was lots of work, but everyone was so happy to do it for you.” Not only does it show that we, as parents, are really invested in this precious life, it’s also adding a special kind of Godmother. 

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  25. Along with the other commentators, I am sorry you have had to deal with such a person. Your post title is correct, she is a bully and NOT a lactivist. I cringe when I hear of a story like yours. Nobody deserves to be treated that way, especially a Mother who is already dealing with an extraordinary amount of stress.

    I want to bring to your attention to the fact that your statement ” Women who breastfeed are also more likely to be educated about how to prevent SIDS, which rarely happens anymore, anyway.” is inaccurate.

    SIDS does happen quite frequently. Although the incidence has decreased since the mid 90’s, an estimated 2,250 infants die in the U.S. annually due to SIDS. In fact SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants aged 1–12 months. Source: http://www.cdc.gov/SIDS/index.htm

    As a Mother who not only has breastfed three children, but has been thru a 10 week breastfeeding class, the topic of SIDS was *never* brought up in regards to breastfeeding during the class. I wish it was different and maybe for some parents it is. I now know of the correlation, through my own research.

    Good luck to you!

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • guest said:

      Just to add to what you have said (off topic here):

      SIDS also happens past the age of 1. It can occur up to the age of 14 but is most common between 1-3 years of age. After the age of 1 it is called SUDC (sudden unexplained death in childhood)

      As to the statistics related to SIDS:
      1. Because of new postmortem techniques, babies who in the past would of been labelled as “SIDS” now have a diagnosis, which would attribute to a decline.
      2. Funding for investigation into the death of babies and children is very limited, so (unless foul play is suspected) medical examiners will slap the label “SIDS” and call it a day. This is strictly a funding issues as they don’t have the funding to do further testing (i.e. genetics, etc.)
      3. Babies or children who did die of SIDS/SUDC could have a reason listed on their certificate because an examiner rooted for straws. The effects of CPR post-mortem are similar to that of pneumonia. So, what appears to be pneumonia could just be a result of the CPR. Hence, the examiner can put down “pneumonia” instead of SIDS/SUDC. This can also explain a reason for the drop in rates. 

      The actual statistics could be more, could be less. Medical science has come a long way but still has a much further way to go. There are some things that cannot be determined in an autopsy. A child could of had a heart arrhythmia and that cannot be diagnosed unless the heart is beating.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
      • Anne-Marie said:

        I saw a PBS special about the horrific state of our country’s coroner/medical examiner/morgue “system.” They specifically talked about how SIDS used to be listed as a cause of death out of pity, when they didn’t know what else had happened. And they also talked about how, even though medical science has come so far, our de-centralized system (sometimes an elected county coroner, sometimes a real medical examiner) means that access to that kind of science varies depending on the state and county you’re in.
        As a child care provider, I try to stay educated on this, to protect myself. Of course, it’s my worst nightmare, but I’d be stupid not to be aware of the worst case scenarios. I take all possible precautions, and I’m glad we know more, but… ::shudder::

        March 25, 2012
        Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      It’s a case of manipulating numbers. There is a correlation; there are higher rates of SIDS deaths in children who are not breastfed. But that’s not causation. The factors that contribute to SIDS and the factors that contribute to lower rates of breastfeeding often go hand-in-hand. Smoking, co-sleeping while intoxicated or medicated, lack of awareness about keeping blankets and pillows and stuffed animals out of cribs, etc. It’s not something you can really control for, even though the woman who was emailing me claimed that she had read a study that had controlled for those factors. It’s just not possible to get that research! A correlation is as close as it comes!

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
      • greekmomma said:

        I think my first comment was unclear. I was not objecting to the correlation between breastfeeding & the rate of SIDS.

        As a woman who has lost a nephew to SIDS at the tender age of 3 months old, I am shocked by your statements. While the data is most certainly flawed, there is no denying the existence of SIDS in our current society.

        Are you standing behind your statement that ” SIDS…rarely happens anymore” ?

        As a fellow blog writer, I feel I must caution you to back up such a loaded statement with either facts or explain that it is your opinion. Otherwise you will most certainly lose credibility with many of your current & potential readers.

        March 26, 2012
        Reply
        • Anne-Marie said:

          Whoa, I am sorry that I was unclear. 

          I should have said that SIDS is a less commonly listed cause of death than it was. I did not mean that it doesn’t happen. The exclamation marks in my response are there because I’m objecting to the idea that a SIDS death would ever be blamed on a mother for bottle feeding. 

          March 28, 2012
          Reply
  26. Guest said:

    People like that irritate me to no end but I think they behave in that way to hide their own low self-esteem by making themselves out to be superior and better than everyone else. I would of done everything in my power to be able to breastfeed my two. With my first, myself and her were severely ill after birth and I was not even able to produce colostrum until day 7 after she was born. After that, I tried relentlessly to get a supply going, around the clock with nursing then pumping, and by 6 weeks, I still only had 10ml coming out of both. With my son, my daughter passed away before he was born. I had a good healthy supply with him but I started having nightmares about unearthing my daughter and trying to nurse her back to life. It was at this point, that my doctor, myself and my husband decided it was time to stop nursing. I’m still an advocate of breastfeeding. I definitely know the benefits of breast milk. I am fully aware and feel guilty on a daily basis that I could not give that to my children. The last thing I need is for someone to be judgmental and throw that guilt further in my face. I’ve encountered a breastfeeding bully and been told things like I didn’t try hard enough or that I was too lazy. I even had a stranger mom tell me once when I was out with my daughter “my daughter and I are going to have a better bond because I breastfeed.” Now my daughter has passed, so, that still stings with me to this day. I would of much rather of breastfed than to of formula fed. With my daughter, I had to get a hypoallergenic formula which cost anywhere between 500-700 dollars a month. Then comes waking up, walking to the kitchen, making a bottle, making sure the bottle is the right temp, cleaning the bottles, anxiety involved of making sure everyone who makes a bottle or touches the formula can has washed their hands, buying new bottles, making sure the nipples aren’t worn out, etc. I would of much rather been able to breastfeed. I have also learned that despite not nursing, there are a million other ways to bond with your child. There are wonderful mothers out there who formula fed just as there are not so decent moms out there who breastfed. How you feed your child is not a determinate on what makes you a good mom. Some people, like the person you encountered, think it is. I have just learned to take pity on them. They are the ones with the issues, not you. Hang in there! There’s more judgement out there than just concerning what you feed your child. I sometimes feel like we as mothers are under a constant microscope. You can’t please everybody, so, just do what works for you and what you feel is in the best interest of you and your child. 

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I cannot imagine going though what you’ve been through. My Bully experienced trauma surrounding her earliest attempts to breastfeed and admitted to projecting her experience onto my future. She still didn’t stop. 

      I’m glad that you are healing and able to shut out the strangers or near-strangers who think they know our families better than we do–impossible!

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  27. Guest said:

    Great post. It is clear you tried very hard to be able to breastfeed and I am sorry you were not able to. Have you looked into holistic medicine? Personally, I don’t take any type of drug whether to treat a headache or post-surgery pain (during surgery is obviously an exception) and I know that every issue I have had emotionally, physically, etc.  has been able to be treated without the use of drugs. I only bring this up as an option for further research before your next child so that hopefully you will be able to fulfill your desire to breastfeed. I don’t know what either of those medications are for but I hope you are able to find alternatives. Best of luck!

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Oh, honey, I have tried acupuncture, massage, herbs, tinctures, every kind of talk therapy. I even use gems like amethyst and Baltic amber in the hopes that they will help. It helps, and may help me lower my dose, but without medication, I don’t know that I’d still be alive. There is something up with my brain that just will not let me be calm.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  28. Marlene said:

    With the attitude you have now, you will be a very flexible mother!  Good luck to you, and kudos for working hard to ensure that both you and your baby receive what you need.  Nobody studies the effect of guilt on maternal and newborn health, but it’s surely the most toxic thing of all to be fed.  I stopped subscribing to Mothering magazine in part because of some of this holier than thouness.  We do our best, with what we have, and if we ask for help.  In a world where many are too squeamish to use donor milk, you have clearly risen abovel.

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      There are actually many studies about maternal stress and fetal/infant health. Extreme stress is absolutely toxic! But even though lower levels of stress are not necessarily damaging, guilt can distract you from *enjoying* motherhood and your children! Amen to ending magazine subscriptions. We face enough impossible standards without paying to have them delivered to us.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  29. Monkeyseemail said:

    While breastfeeding is important and I have enjoyed the process with my two boys, there is way, WAY more to mothering than nursing. I think God made you he best mother possible for your child. Glad you blocked her email address. Moms need to support each other, not tear each other down.

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Strange twist to this story? She emailed me from another address; how did she even know I blocked her? She apologized, which is good, but it doesn’t really make me want to correspond. 

      And I do believe that God is helping us along our journey; I do what I can and leave the rest up to God.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  30. Gary Champagne said:

    My wife and I have grown children and since being on twitter have commented several times on how difficult making parenting decisions today must be. We’ve seen several self-proclaimed “experts” who use strong and judgemental tactics such as what you experienced. My wife struggled with breast feeding – both kids developed allergic responses to her milk. She has often said the decision to stop was hard enough without being made to feel inadequate from others.

    My guess is that you are and will be a most excellent parent.

    Well done, bringing this issue to light. No one deserves the treatment you received.

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      All this new information and access to so many moms online is certainly a blessing *and* a curse. It took some time and effort, but I have surrounded myself with wonderful women I would never have met outside the computer. The good outweighs the bad, definitely.

      I have heard about allergic responses to breastmilk; figuring that out and dealing with it must have been so hard! I see the similarity to my dilemma. The very thing that’s supposed to nourish the baby actually does harm. No one on the outside can know how to solve that.

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  31. Lactating Girl said:

    Women like that give lactivists a bad name. I’m so sorry she said such hurtful things to you and I’m sorry that you’re unable to breastfeed your baby. It’s clear to me that you’re doing the very best that you can in your situation. I’m honestly impressed at your efforts to get donor breast milk. I’m certain you will be a wonderful mother.

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you! I appreciate the sympathy, and that you put it this way. Because it’s really my sorrow, not being able to feed my baby. With milk from a woman who is, I am not kidding, healthier than I am, and skin-to-skin feedings, our baby will be more than fine. It’s going to be harder on me than the baby, who will just be happy and well-fed!

      March 25, 2012
      Reply
  32. sgriff said:

    That lady needs her head examined. You’re doing the right thing, because it works for you. I had really low supply issues and after consulting with my fourth lactation consultant in as many weeks, ordering Motilium from some island in the S. Pacific, and using hot compresses until my skin looked burned, I had to call it at 5 weeks post-pardum. The breastfeeding was becoming too big an issue and was taking away from my ability to care for my son. We’ve been using about 50/50 donor milk and  organic formula for almost a year. Its been great. The donor women are amazing and we’re so grateful for what they’ve given to our family. It definitely took the sting off of not breastfeeding myself. And “nursing” means more than feeding at the breast, its about caring and holding and snuggling and talking and laughing together with your baby. You can do all of those things without breastfeeding. Good luck with everything. You’ll be amazing :) 

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
  33. Scottandanna said:

    Wow. I had always wondered why people talked about ‘all these breastfeeding bullies’ etc and had chalked it up to being mainly exaggeration fuelled by it being such a sensitive topic for a lot of new (tired and probably emotional) mums. But she is an out and out nutter. I wonder just how many people are going around and actively attacking other people over personal choices they are making?

    Thank you for so clearly distinguishing between an activist and a bully. The clarity with which you have written is excellent. It would be easy (having had a horrible experience like you have) to just lump everyone in the same basket and close off all communication.

    Any child with a mother who fights as hard as you have done for them is one lucky child!

    March 25, 2012
    Reply
  34. Anita said:

    Thank you for sharing your journey (and experience with this person), Anne-Marie. I am saddened that you have had to deal with this, but I hope you have come out of it feeling stronger about the choices you have made (all to be respected and supported because they are yours to make, by the way)…
    I just want to add that breastfeeding support (peer/mother-to-mother etc) is about gentleness, women-centered care and community. It is never, ever about judging, devaluing someone else’s journey or anything like that. Mothering is tough business, and wherever we are, we’re trying our darndest.
    I too have struggled with medications & dark, unspoken fears about the mother that I am. But you know what, that’s all they are, thoughts, fears. They’re not our reality. You doing awesome stuff for your family, that’s your reality.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  35. Kathleen RN, IBCLC said:

      You already ARE a wonderful mother my dear.  The time spent, the research done,the inquiries made, the opinions sought out, the Donor milk request are all qualities of a wonderful mother wanting to give her child the best nutrition and best start in life. I am a true lactivist and I do understand.  Only YOU know what is best for your child. Only YOU can decide how best to feed your child. Please don’t allow anyone EVER judge you again as YOU…are your baby’s mother.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  36. Alixandria said:

    I’m sorry you were bullied. It’s amazing that we have to deal with bullies even after school lets out for good and that they attack something as simple as what an amazing you are and will be. Your decision not to risk your child is yours and yours alone (well, and your s/o of course). Frankly, I’m proud that you are looking for donor milk and if I lived closer and made more I’d be delighted to send you some. And if that doesn’t work out, then strike onto the  ‘manufactured breast-milk substitutes’. As long as your baby is full and happy, you have done your job to the best of your ability and that woman can do a lot of things I shouldn’t say in polite company!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  37. Ashlee Davis said:

    Wow! I can understand being upset. That’s horrible that other mothers tend to bully the ones that don’t fit their mold of the “perfect mother” when in fact their is no such thing. I can understand that Breast is best, but i can’t even begin to comprehend bullying another mother because of her choice in how she chooses to feed her child. If you want to get right down to it, the one that bullied you is not the best parent either. What is she teaching her own children when she chooses to bully another mother? I’m sorry, but bulying someone over something as small as breastfeeding vs bottle feeding is ridiculous!!! Cause honestly there’s way more important things to worry about when it comes to our kids!! <3 and I'm sorry to hear she was such a meanie (to put it nicely, lol) Oh, and Way to go for seeking out donor milk at least!! That's awesome!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      That is what shocked me–the anger and the name-calling. I disagree with parenting choices I see; I rant to a friend or my husband. I politely offer a suggestion that fits more with what I see as healthy and then let it go. Because it’s none of my darn business! Even when I’m nannying or babysitting–a mom will say that she feels badly about not producing enough breastmilk and using formula. I may suggest trying fenugreek to up the supply. If she doesn’t take that suggestion, I will never say anything again! I will happily feed her kid formula! Because it’s her kid! (Her very happy kid, I might add.) And even when I’m ranting to someone outside the situation, I have never called anyone a bad mother or any cruel names. It’s a choice, a circumstance, not the whole person. And I have never seen a feeding choice define an entire family!

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  38. You’re already an awesome mother.  It’s amazing how people will be so condemning and just plain mean while enjoying the anonymity of the web.  Keep on, Mama!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Aw, thank you! I feel like I’ve gotten so many internet hugs in these comments. It means a lot.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  39. MamaBsSweetPeas said:

    Anne-Marie — I appreciate this blog entry and will be sharing it in my breastfeeding group on Facebook.  I used to be very judgemental toward women who chose to formula feed and lumped them all in one category, though I never bullied anyone.  I always looked down on them in my head — very toxic.  Then, when my daughter was 7 1/2 months old, I got pregnant with my second child.  At 8 1/2 months, I ran out of my frozen stash of breastmilk and by 9 1/2 months, I stopped making milk completely.  This was just two weeks ago.  Though I was offered by several women (most of whom I do not know) quite a bit of BM, my husband was uncomfortable with giving our daughter someone else’s milk.  I did not agree, but I prefer a peaceful home, and so I decided to swallow my ridiculous pride and bought some organic formula. 

    Though it was not my first choice (I wanted to get in at least 18 months to 2 years of BF), and it was heartbreaking and downright depressing to go through (I felt a loss of identity, to be honest!) my little girl is absolutely THRIVING.  She is growing like a little flower, eating and napping on a schedule, and sleeping better.  (I think that has had more to do with my demand feeding than anything, to be honest.) 

    There are truly cases in which breastfeeding is impossible, or simply unsafe.  In those instances, such as yours and mine, we have no choice but to find an alternative.  Without formula, my baby would not get the nourishment she needs.  I am thankful that I was able to BF successfully for so long, and I look at it as a huge blessing that I am able to give my sweet baby girl the gift of a life-long companion so close in age.  That cannot be beat, and is worth a couple of months without BM any way you look at it! 

    Stay strong, keep writing about this, and know that it will all come naturally to you.  You will make the choices for your little one that you feel are best throughout their life.  It is true that SOME may be wrong, but MOST will be right, and you will look back when they are grown and tell yourself “I couldn’t have done ANY better.” 

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      You know, that’s what the perinatal mental health doctor or, as I call her, my Baby Psychiatrist, said to me at our last meeting–“I wouldn’t change a thing.” We tried everything we could think of (me, my spouse, my therapist and two psychiatrists!) and this is the best we can do. So, it’s the best for the family. I don’t know that I have the confidence to say that when my kid is grown up, I’ll know that I couldn’t have done any better! I certainly hope so! And I like the start I’ve gotten.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  40. Melissa Cline said:

    I’m very impressed that you haven’t let that interaction sour you on all breastfeeding activism. Plenty of moms would, and I can’t really blame them when someone is so intentionally hurtful.
    Best of luck obtaining donor milk! I have donated milk, and would use donor milk if I needed to. I appreciate you sharing information about it out there to the webs.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Melissa, I knew plenty of kind, sane lactivists before I came across this person. I would never dream of letting one experience paint an entire cause, especially such a worthy cause.

      My donor, J, is due in June, so we should know well in advance of my baby’s birth (due late October) whether we’ll need another source or if J can make enough milk for 2. She is determined to try and very conscientious about this project. If it’s frozen properly, breastmilk stays good for up to a year. It’s incredible stuff! We should be able to start at her beginning, so to speak, and unfreeze the colostrum first and keep feeding our babe age-appropriate milk. That’s a rare treat (not necessary, but nice) in the milk sharing world. She’s really knowledgable about herbs and natural ways to increase supply, too, so I am in amazingly good hands. 

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  41. neenaP said:

    It seems that woman has issues that she should see  Doctor to deal with. I’m a bit of a lactivist and nurse my children into toddlerhood. I cant imagine being in your position and having to make the choice not to breastfeed. If you need the medication to be a functional parent that is what is best for your child, not harming him or her by exposing the child to your meds or not taking them at all. The fact that you are seeking out donated milk shows an incredible effort many would never make. Please erase her words from your mind, because they have no merit and are just the ramblings of a miserable person.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Yeah, my mom breastfed me until I was 2 1/2. I had never in my life imagined that I would *not* breastfeed! Huge shock. 

      I did suggest that she seek professional counseling, and not as an insult. She really does seem to have experienced trauma. From what I know about trauma and PTSD, you tend to see danger everywhere. I obviously wouldn’t dream of diagnosing someone on the basis of a few emails. It just seems like something serious inside is pushing its way out. For that reason, my heart goes out to her. I still think professional counseling would be a better way to deal with it than trying to convince all other women that they are in danger, too.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  42. Freakofnature172000 said:

    I just felt like giving you a hug when I read this! I hate the inflexibility of mothers towards fellow mothers. I bf my first son, but ended up supplementing with formula as well, mainly for my sanity, and at the time I didn’t know of any other options. This time around I’ve exclusively bf and I’m 11 weeks in and so proud of it after the problems I had last time. However, as much as I may now feel guilt over not doing as good a job with my first (mainly due to other mothers making me feel inferior), I did what was best for me and my baby with the knowledge that I had at that time. And that’s really what the bottom line is, that the bully mothers need to look at. We’re all mothers. We all love our children. And we would all go to the ends of the earth to give them the very best we can provide.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      It really is true. I’ve met so many moms working in childcare (and dads!) and even the parents who make an obvious mistake (“Spanking my kid was a bad idea, I see that now” for example)–they are trying so hard! None of it is selfish. Sometimes, when your kid is (insert problem here) and your entire extended family is pressuring you to (insert icky “solution” here) you just give a try! You supplement and then realize you didn’t need to. You spank and then realize it made things worse. If there was a Right Way, we’d all have that book and follow those rules!

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  43. Jeannette Day said:

    Have you taken Effexor before? If not I strongly suggest you research the withdrawal effects. Withdrawing from Effexor was one of the worst times of my life. Effexor *did* work for my depression, but the other side effects were so bad (extreme fatigue, copious weight gain and complete loss of taste) that I had to get off of it. I’m surprised I survived that time. My account is here: http://jmday.com/?p=52 (though I don’t mention the drugs taken, the whole thing was about Effexor.) There are tons of stories about the horrible withdrawal. 
    And in your shoes, if I had to take Effexor because it was the only thing that worked on my depression, I sure wouldn’t want to breastfeed on it either and I’m a huge advocate for breastfeeding and breastfeeding education. I’m also very glad you are standing up for yourself and your child. It’s really no one else’s business what you do, especially when you do it in an informed way as you seem to be.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I’ve been taking Effexor for years. If I skip a dose, I feel it within six hours. The stuff is ridiculous. You know, it’s not the Effexor that really called it for me; I might have taken that risk, because I could have waited to see how the baby reacted without *freaking out* with worry. It’s the Klonopin. Because the only way to know would be to see if the baby was “overly sedated.” Me: So the kid might just not wake up? Doctor: It’s unlikely. Me: But THAT is what I’d have to watch for? Doctor: More or less. 

      No thank you!

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  44. Lycie said:

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that!  How awful.  You are strong and resilient and so is your baby.  What you do for your baby (nurturing him/her in any way possible) is beautiful!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      The word is sometimes controversial among feminists (and I consider myself a died-in-the-wool feminist), but my calling in life is to nurture. I was on track for a prestigious academic career and left to take care of babies! I know plenty of happy academics, but I was not one of them. I am happiest with a kiddo to care for. If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s nurture. I expect that having my own child will be *very* different, but at least I know that my personality is built for mothering.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  45. Natasha C. said:

    A-M, I am so sorry that this happened to you. If my opinion counts, I think you will make a great mother! Look at how much you have done for your child already! Being pro-active is the way to go and you are doing that in spades! As I said in my BF posts from a few weeks ago, it is women like this that give BF advocates a bad name and really take us 2 steps back instead of any forward! And I have learned time and time again, never to assume that I know anyone’s story or reasons for doing what they do wrt feeding their child. I have a friend in a similar situation as you and I admit that before she confided to me her concerns and her medical situation, that I did question her reasons for (as I thought) “not even trying” to BF. She finally let me know why and this situation really gave me a helluva lot of perspective in ALL things, and especially in my BF advocacy. Thanks again for that reminder. :)  

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Oh, how sweet! I’m glad you were able to find understanding with your friend. But as I said on your blog, you and women like you are not bullies. I’ve never seen you call women who use formula bad mothers, for heaven’s sake. 
      I understand feeling pressured or misunderstood if you’re a bottle feeding mom coming across lactivism, but it’s important to be careful with language, especially now that bullying is something we hear/think about so often. Feeling pressured or misunderstood sucks, but it does not feel the same as being told you suck as a parent before your kid is even born.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  46. nurse who nurses said:

    Thank you for this.  I have never felt bullied, but do feel extreme guilt over having to supplement with formula when I am at work.  I am educated and know the value of breastfeeding, but I also am aware that some women find it difficult.  People often tell women that breastfeeding has been the primary nourishment of babies for thousands or millions of years.  What we overlook is the existence of wet nurses, who could help struggling women.  Stand with your shoulders back and head held high because you are a GREAT mother!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      That is totally true about wet nurses! I mean, it hasn’t been out of fashion for very long. I hear that among very wealthy European families, it’s still done. I should research that… But women have been helping each other feed our babies forEVER. It just makes sense. Ina May’s Farm, of course, has long shared milk supplies.
      I learned from a psychologist that mama gorillas in the wild learn to breastfeed in groups. If, for some reason, a mother is ostracized from her pack (do gorillas live in packs?) before she gives birth, the baby will usually die–she won’t be able to figure out how to keep them both fed. Intense, right? 

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  47. That person is absolutely NOT a lactivist. That person is a bully, you’re right about that. That’s absolutely despicable behavior, and I’ve seen extremists like this with my very own eyes (and experienced their hateful brutality first hand.) I’m sorry you had to endure this. Unfortunately, I’m sure it won’t be the first or last time. I’ve been putting up with pieces of crap emailing me hateful shit for YEARS. I’ve had assholes tell me that my kids should be taken away because I didn’t make the same choice they did. I’ve had assholes email me and tell me that I’m stupid with money, and I deserve to be poor. These people are NOT activists – I don’t care WHAT they call themselves. They’re simply hateful bullies, nothing more. Don’t let them for one minute color your perception of REAL activists. Seriously — FUCK those people.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Damned no matter what we do, right? It’s just especially despicable when someone tries to wrap up the bullying in a banner that belongs to a good cause. Like they have to right to beat up on us because they are “helping.” Your last sentence sums it up nicely.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
      • Ian B said:

        Hi guys

        A male voice here…

        I’m afraid it seems you’ve come across a combination of Lactivist and Troll. They’re by no means exclusive, the Troll sub-species has invaded just about every facet of activism, and generally end up giving the actual activists a bad name, as they’re more stubborn, vocal, persistent, and most importantly, more *wrong* than *right* – in knowledge, logical thinking and general attitude.

        Anyone activist-minded is capable of sticking to their guns a little too strongly perhaps, not counting for the reality of each individual circumstance or situation…. But you cross a line at non-acceptance and being offensive.

        As per TheFeministBreeder – Fuck ’em.

        My last thought on the subject is that this person may possibly have not a Lactivist at all, in any sense, but just looking to pick a fight with you because of perceived “double standards” – A very very trollish formula. A Bully indeed.

        Keep striving, and keep the chin up.

        Ian

        March 26, 2012
        Reply
        • Luv_jewel77 said:

          You are awesome Ian! I would like to think of myself as a bit of a lactivist. I spread the word of the wonderful joys and health benefits at every opportunity. I have two boys the oldest nursed for 2 1/2 years and my youngest is still going at 2 years (and one month), if that gives any indication how wonderful I believe breast feeding to be. But I am also a woman. And women have struggled for so long to have rights. And it is a right to have choices in our mothering. Motherhood is not one size fits all for mama or baby. It is important to do our best and I applaud your efforts to find a way to feed your baby breast milk. Opting for donor milk is amazing most women wouldn’t even think of it. Congrats and good luck! And good for you…learn now to let these things roll off. So many women seem to believe that after they have a child they have some kind of license to tell others what to do and how to do it.

          March 27, 2012
          Reply
        • Anne-Marie said:

          Thanks, Ian! I suppose she might think of herself as a lactivist; I don’t know. But I really wanted to make the point with this post that, as you say, the real, the effective, the from-the-heart lactivists are not like this. Too many women think that lactivism = a mean girl club. Not true!

          March 27, 2012
          Reply
  48. stéphanie said:

    I’m so sorry to read you suffered from such a negative person, no mother should have to experience such destructive & unfair words. We’re just all trying to do our best!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  49. Heather said:

    Great article – helpful for anyone who has been bullied or succumbs to self induced guilt.   Keep up the great work, mama!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  50. Mindy said:

    I am so sorry this happened to you. I was able to breast feed but my neighbor was not allowed due to her milk being poisonous. Her son got extremely jaundice due to her breast milk not being filtered by her body properly. (it was tested to be dangerous) So with my support she was able to switch to my breast milk that I donated to her (I produced A LOT.) I support a mothers decision on what they choose for their child, breast or bottle, who am i to tell her what to do with HER child. 
    Some people need to be duct taped at the mouth. 
    I was told that I was a bad mother once and it had nothing to do with me, it had to do with my hubby in Iraq. I was a bad mom for not allowing my child to know her father (SMH)
    I APPLAUD YOU! Congrats on being a mother and for making a decision to not potentially harm your child. You have no idea the effects of the meds and you took that into consideration and that is always the best for your child!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      That is so wonderful about your neighbor! You sound like my friend who is donating. I wrote this long email and asked very carefully and told her to take her time to think about it–within half an hour she was like “I don’t need to know more. Of course I’ll do it!” It brings tears to my eyes, these gifts that families give each other.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  51. Amanda said:

    Once in line at the store, a woman asked if I breastfed my son. I explained that no matter how hard I tried, I only produced an ounce a day; and that I still pumped and gave him that ounce, but he was mainly on formula. I hated people asking that because I already felt like a failure even though I had two LCs help out PLUS was prescribed Reglan in a last ditch attempt to bring my supply up, and all without fail. Her reply – “I only produce a little bit, but I guess I just try harder then you and love my son enough to not give up.” I was in shock, as was everyone around me.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      That is unacceptable. Why does it even occur to people to say stuff like that? I have never looked at one mother, then another, and thought “Oh, that one loves her kid more!” And I work in child care. I’ve seen a lot of kids and parents. It just baffles me. But good for her that she feels superior? Ugh.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  52. Laura said:

    You are amazingly strong to have come this far- already you are choosing the best options for your baby. Isn’t that what being a GOOD mother is about? I have an 8 month old son, and PPD, and whenever I’ve had to give him a bottle, I’ve dealt with those same intrusive thoughts- that I’m a failure, that someone else would be better for him, whatever. But you know what? He’s incredibly healthy and people constantly ask if he ever stops smiling. I’ve poured my heart and soul into finding the best resources for his nourishment and I stand by the choices I’ve made. You have done the same thing. WE ARE GOOD MOTHERS. 

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Awww smiley babies! I agree–being a good mother is doing the best that you can for your family. And by that definition, there are very few bad mothers. Which means everyone should stop wasting time trying to figure out who is doing it right and who is wrong.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  53. I wonder, I have no idea is this is even possible, (maybe something to be invented!!) if there is a way to test your milk, after baby comes and it’s all come in, and test the levels of drug leftover in said milk? after you take your regular dosage, milk out a little sample, and just dip a test strip in and if it turns a certain colour, then there are detectable levels of whichever drug, and that milk isn’t safe, but if it doesn’t turn, then your milk is currently fine?… i don’t even know if that exists?

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Oh, how I wish that were possible! Here’s why that’s not a likely invention any time soon–
      1) The amount of a substance that ends up in breastmilk is unpredictable and changes. The reason is that medication is designed to work by traveling through the blood, and it doesn’t attach to fat cells the same way. And, of course, breastmilk is mostly fat. So I’d need one of your little test strips every time for awhile before I knew if it was safe or not.
      2) The other problem is that no one knows what “safe.” Like grown-ups, each baby processes chemicals differently. The same dose of the same drug (clonazepam/Klonopin) that I take every day puts other people to sleep. No one knows if it’s my baseline anxiety level being so high or just my body not experiencing a side effect, but it just plain does not make me sleepy. It would likely be the same with a baby; one would be fine, another would be dangerously sedated. And we can’t test it out because, well, obviously that would be awful.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
      • amhmtq said:

        Along those lines, I wonder if it would also be a healing thing for you to pump long enough to send your milk to be tested for science and to help build the body of knowledge that we have about these particular drugs in breastmilk. Perhaps contact Dr Hale to see if there is a way to do this? I know it is very difficult to do breast milk pharmacokinetic studies because it’s very rare to find a mother willing to lactate long enough for testing but also not be nursing a baby, which makes it difficult if not impossible to get ethics approval for a study. Perhaps Dr Hale would do a case study and some other mom can make an informed decision with more data because of your gift. Ok, maybe I only think this would be healing because I’m a big science nerd. Sorry if that’s a dumb idea.

        On a side note, have a freezer full of dairy-free breastmilk I need to get rid of so I can actually store food in my freezer again. Would be happy to donate, if we can figure out arrangements. I’m about 4 hrs from New Haven. Can give you personal info and details (and character references lol) if needed.

        March 27, 2012
        Reply
        • Anne-Marie said:

          That is not a dumb idea, that is a brilliant idea! I called OTIS to see if I could participate in any of their studies, but didn’t fit. I’m all about contributing to science. I will contact Dr. Hale, for sure!

          I’m not due until October, and since I am lucky enough to have this wonderful friend pumping and freezing milk as soon as her daughter is born in June, I’m going to send you here: https://www.facebook.com/hm4hbConnecticut

          Just send them a message with where you are and how much you have, and they will connect you with a mom whose needs are much more urgent than mine!

          March 27, 2012
          Reply
          • amhmtq said:

            I’m not actually in Connecticut, but am totally familiar with the various informal milk donation networks. I’m sure I can find a way to donate the milk locally as well (I have given milk to 13 babies and children other than my nursling in the past 18 months). I was initially holding on to this because I had a stash going in case I needed to travel again.  Lo and behold my daughter will not take milk from the freezer at all so…  Anyway,  I actually totally misread (misremembered?) your due date and was thinking June not October.   I will definitely find someone who needs it, that just requires more active work on my part than happening to come across someone who might be able to use it. ;-) 

            March 27, 2012
  54. that is unreal.  I am so sorry you were bullied.  It stinks.  It gives breastfeeding advocates a bad name.
    I am a milk donor- it is an honor to help someone feed their baby.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you for being a donor! It is an incredible gift, and the mama you’re helping feels blessed, I’m sure. I know I do.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  55. Lauren said:

    I’m sorry. what an Asshole. You’re the mom, you get to choose what is best for you and your family, making those hard decisions and standing by them makes you a GREAT mom. I hope the pain of these hurtful comments fades and doesn’t litter your brain.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  56. Laney said:

    I’m so glad you recognize that the person was a bully!! Never should another woman try to degrade you in your parenting decisions.  I am the first person to hop on the breast is best bandwagon, but for some people it really is not possible. You seem very informed and don’t second guess what is best for YOUR baby, and you for that matter!!  

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      That’s part of this too, what’s best for ME is important! I do not endorse any view of motherhood that has women sacrificing their well-being “for the baby.” My family would not benefit from an under-medicated, chronically-anxious Mama, even if it did mean I could breastfeed through kindergarten.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  57. Pamela said:

    I am a breastfeeding mama, and I have that “oh mah gah I don’t ever try hard enough” thing, too. I am so sorry that this happened to you. YOU KNOW what is right for you, YOU KNOW what is right for your sweet babe.
    I’m really impressed that you are seeking out donor milk. I am not a regular reader, ao I don’t know where you are, but I have a good (clean, healthy) friend who is storing up milk to donate. Email me if you would like to get in touch with her.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you, Pamela! I’m in New Haven, CT. Disqus doesn’t seem to want to let me email you, but if you’re close by you, would you email me at amtonyan [at] gmail [dot] com? Thank you again for the sweet offer!

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  58. I used to proudly call myself a lactivist, until people like this ruined it for the rest of us. Sadly, they are not uncommon. I’m so sorry you had this encounter.

    I have started a movement to stand up against people like this. And to create a truly supportive, non-judgmental environment for mothers:

    http://themompledge.com

    I hope you’ll come check us out. Kudos to you for speaking out on this issue. I’m going to be sharing your post widely…

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I love your site! What a brilliant idea! As soon as I can finish responding to these wonderful comments, I will write a post so I can take the pledge and add the badge to this site!

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  59. Coeja73 said:

    I am so sorry that this woman felt like she knew you well enough to say these hurtful things to you.  :( Boo on her.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  60. Kristen said:

    I’m stunned as to why anyone would continue to email you continuously with such hurtful, unhelpful statements and not for once think, “Huh, could this be hurtful?  Unhelpful?”  This is not advocacy.  It is not help.  It is, as you rightly characterize it, bullying.  And sadly, it’s these sorts of egregious statements and comments that leave a bad taste in people’s mouths when it comes to breastfeeding advocacy/lactivism.  (Perhaps even a sour milk taste?  Sorry, couldn’t resist, I’m a dork…)

    For what it’s worth, I also think that your approach demonstrates parental flexibility at its best.  Brava, you.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I thought I had been remarkably flexible, too! How very silly that insult was.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  61. Christie Haskell said:

    Wow. This made me feel so angry at the Bully! I also admit, I used to be pretty bad, but even I have never said those things. Now I work really hard as an advocate to fight against people exactly like that, who give true activists a terrible name and turn people like you off to looking for help.
    I’ve heard so many times, “Those women at LLL are such jerks.” That should never be true! Real support is about listening to the woman, listening to HER story, and seeing if you can help her, not about telling her everything she’s done is wrong and she’s a bad person because she may have taken a different path than you would have done in her shoes… and often those are shoes these women don’t even take the time to understand.
    I’m so sorry you had this experience. That’s just unacceptable.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I wrote this in part because, before I saw people fighting about it online, I had only heard wonderful things about La Leche League. My sister went to meetings. Every breastfeeding mom I babysit for has their book. But every member of a big organization is not going to necessarily represent it well. I want people to know that breastfeeding advocacy is not about judgment or anger or yelling at moms!

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  62. I had a similar experience with an actual lactation consultant at the hospital when I had my daughter. I had a very traumatic birth experience with my daughter and it was so hard to get her to latch. She was a preemie too which can be even more difficult. The lactation consultant had me in tears which is the worst thing to do when you are trying to breast feed. I think that lactation consultant should have lost her job for making me feel like such a failure. I had already gone through so much where I almost lost my life and the life of my daughter. I did not need her making me feel like a failure. It ended up that I wasn’t able to breastfeed because my daughter has PKU and they couldn’t monitor what she was taking in through my milk. I was always a lactivist before I had children but then I realized that even though breast IS the best it is not what will work for everyone. My daughter is an amazingly smart and talented formula fed little girl and I am not ashamed at all.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Why would anyone become a lactation consultant if they’re just going to be mean and impatient? Isn’t patience a requirement for that job? Of course you can’t breastfeed if you’re crying along with the baby! Sheesh! She should definitely have lost her job.

      No one should feel ashamed of a decision made while trying so hard to do the right thing. Shame is just not useful, and I don’t understand why anyone tries to make anyone else feel ashamed.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  63. Tracy said:

    I’m a dyed-in-the-wool lactivist and have breastfed all four of my babies.  I’ve gone to great lengths to help breastfeeding mums stick with it.  Breast is best.  Accept when….   You could have chosen to take that risk and breastfeed your baby.  It’s clear you desperately want that breastfeeding relationship with your child.  But is that a good reason to take what you feel is a very real risk to your child’s health–even life?  To breastfeed your child because YOU want that experience, you want to be able to provide your child with your breast milk?  You made a  truly unselfish, self-less and dedicated choice not to breastfeed your child, after doing your homework and coming to the conclusion that the risk is too high for you to feel comfortable with and found there were no other good alternatives available to you.  You made a sacrifice for your child by NOT breastfeeding and, in my book, that makes you an incredible mother.   Motherhood is so often about sacrifice and making the best choices for our children, whatever the cost to ourselves.

    I hope the hurt of this woman’s words fades quickly. It’s clear she has issues for which she needs help.  Her opinion should mean nothing to you, just as the opinion of any crazy person.   My heart aches for you that you cannot breastfeed your baby when you so want to and that you should be put in a position where you feel you need to explain yourself.  I admire you and your dedication to your child.  I hope you find donor breast milk for your baby but I think, whether breast milk or formula, your baby has already got the best start in life with a mum like  you.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you for recognizing this. It is so important to my grieving process to realize that I grieve for what *I* want, not what my baby will need. My baby will need good nutrition, and that is something we can provide. And, for the record, Baby has a best start times two because my husband is amazing! He’s been there every step of the way, and talked me through my first tearful reaction over the phone as I sat on a park bench. He totally gets why I’m heart-broken, and at the same time, he’s totally excited to share feeding duties.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  64. Royallyrosy said:

    Beautifully written. My best wishes to you on your journey!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  65. Lyndsay Kirkham said:

    Wow. I am sick with disgust. I am truly sorry that she made you feel poorly about yourself – in my mind (as a lactivist and feminist and mama) you made a rock star of a choice. You are aware, proactive and loving. The very act of considering the best outcome for your babe makes you an awesome mom. Breastfeeding is just ONE choice, and as long as you have had the chance to explore all options and able to pick the one that works best for your family then you are empowered as empowering. Good luck on your journey. You are amazing!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  66. michel said:

    I breast fed my first two children for over a year.  I was and still am a huge advocate for breastfeeding.  I also admit that although I never bullied anyone I often judged silently when I saw babies being fed bottles.  Then I had my third child and although I thought I knew what I was doing, breastfeeding did not work with her.  I tried for a very long time and pumped and pumped and fought and finally gave up.  I learned a vaulable lesson.  Every mother wants what is best for their child and they decide what that is.  That woman that harrassed you is doing damage and it is sad when moms tear other moms down.  Keep your chin up, you know you are doing a good job and that is what is important.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      It’s really best to assume that we don’t know a mom’s story, especially in a culture that fails so miserably at supporting breastfeeding mothers. 

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  67. teawithfrodo said:

    My son was in the NICU with low blood sugar his first few days. He had to get formula while he was up there the bring his levels up. When he was released from the NICU I breastfed. I still got nasty comments from people who said I didn’t do enough to try and nurse him in the NICU. He only had formula for 3 days. But it wasn’t good enough for them.  Then I breastfed for 13 months and weaned him so I could go back on my diabetes medication (Metformin).  Again I was told that I wasn’t doing enough for him (because my health wasn’t important).

    In January I’ll be having a preventative Bilateral Mastectomy. We’re talking about having another child. My husband says I’ll have the best comeback when people butt in and feel the need to tell me I’m horrid for not nursing my son.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I saw a photo on Facebook once, of a woman, topless, who had had a Bilateral Mastectomy, holding her baby. The caption was something like “Let us remember never to judge a woman who is bottle feeding. You don’t know her story.”

      As for your NICU experience, I am floored that anyone would dare make any comment about anything you did while your baby was in intensive care. That crosses a big, bold line. 

      It is a HUGE issue for me that Mom’s health is suddenly totally invisible the minute she’s pregnant. NOT ok. Families are made up of several people! We all matter!

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  68. Hannah said:

    FYI – if you want to NOT support those companies, many stores offer generic brands.u grocery store (kroger) even had an organic generic. And , for what it’s worth, I do consider myself to be a lavtivist and I understand that there is a time and place for everything, even formula! We all want what is in our babies’ best interest and no one has the right to make assumptions about someone else’s situation. I feel sorry for “bully mama’s” children. Good for you for putting this out there!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      My plan is actually to make formula. I have an awesome mother-in-law who is going to help me, when and if the time comes. I wasn’t sure about the idea until I saw that it’s cheaper than even the cheapest formula! It also lets me support local farms who sell raw cow’s milk or goat’s milk at the local food coop. It’s pretty awesome! http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/recipes-for-homemade-baby-formula

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  69. Natalia said:

    Women like that disappoint me every single time I hear a story like this.   NEVER let women like that get to you, they are just seeking a release for their own insecurities, as all bullies are.  You are clearly doing to best you can and that is all we can ask of any woman!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Yes, bullying is always about the bully, never about the person who has happened by at the wrong moment (in this case, me).

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  70. A D said:

    I am a mother of four, and I consider myself to be a lactivist. For all that, though, there is no escaping the fact that two of my children would not have survived if it were not for formula.

    Formula is not the devil’s brew. It is a useful tool for caregivers. Like most tools, it isn’t necessary in most situations (sadly, neither is my skilsaw), but it does exist for a reason and frankly, I’m glad that it does.

    Motherhood isn’t easy. Motherhood on medication isn’t, either (says the woman on a sky-high dose of citalopram). All we can do, as mothers, is try to make the best choices possible. You’ve demonstrated again and again that you’re doing exactly that.

    I hereby release you from maternal guilt, forever and ever amen. ;-)

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Haha I love the skill saw comment! And I thank you for your absolution. ;)

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  71. Heather Bogolyubova said:

    Oh for heaven’s sakes!  We’ve all lost our minds about this topic.  When I was emotionally flogging myself for deciding to give up breastfeeding, my aunt said to me, ” Heather, please, you are going to feel so guilty for so many more things as this child grows up, just let this one go…”  Wise words.  For the love of all that is reasonable in the world, formula feed your baby.  Look around you….formula fed babies aren’t croaking left and right.  Or, use donor milk.  But,if that proves difficult or in any way increases your anxiety…..formula feed the baby. I did.  I was a complete PPD mess after giving birth.  I stopped breastfeeding.   I gave him formula.  He is wonderful.  I have a blog- this was what I had to say on this matter:http://630andaglassofwine.bangordailynews.com/2012/03/05/married-life/i-didnt-breastfeed-my-baby-and-heres-why/
    Good luck to you, whatever you choose.  But, if you choose the choice you hadn’t planned to make- go easy on yourself.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Oh gosh, if it becomes so hard that it’s driving us crazy to get the donor milk or make formula, we will absolutely just buy the darn stuff. I formula feed the baby I nanny, and I don’t judge her mother! She is fat and happy, like a baby should be. My exclusively-breastfed niece had more tummy trouble (reflux) than this happy girl I care for now. 

      You’re right–there’s so little we can do that we *know* is right for our children; I think people “latch” on, so to speak, to this issue because it seems clear-cut. We know that breastfeeding is good for kids, just do it! Right? Well, unless… (insert problem here). 

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  72. Thank you for posting this article.  It’s given me the courage to end a lot of the feeds and subscriptions that I also have to bloggers and websites that are “holier than thou”.  They do make me feel like an inadequate mom and take away my joy of being the best mom I can be, doing what I think is right for my babies and what my life situation allows me to do.  We all want to do what “WE” feel is best for our children, and this should not be judging one another.  Parenthood is hard enough as it is!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I know what you mean. I quit subscribing to a blog when the writer said that all moms who didn’t do Attachment Parenting are lazy. I left a comment and said I thought she was cruel and asked what about women who work long hours? She said that *she* has her own business and works hard and *she* did it. I haven’t been back since. I’ve met a lot of moms, and none of them are LAZY! My goodness, she lost me as a reader forever.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  73. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.  This is bullying.  Especially when you’re working to get breastmilk for your daughter!!  Yes, you can argue from the breast is best, but that’s not always possible and personally, I wish we had more moms like you out there finding ways to get breastmilk whenever they can instead of exclusively using formula.  (That said, I really believe we need to push to get donor milk more available so all moms have easy access to it  over formula.)  You’re doing a wonderful job and I’m so thankful you’re able to see past the bullshit from this woman and see her for what she is.  Sadly she’s probably tainted the term “lactivist” for far too many women!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      My first thought was an official milk bank, but that was so hard to imagine pulling off. It would be *so* expensive. I mean, I’d rather our money went to milk banks who work to screen donors and then collect, pasteurize and organize milk than to formula companies. Wishing won’t make the money appear, though, and I have no idea what the requirements are for getting the baby a prescription. But the very same day that I found out I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed, long before I was even pregnant, my friend told me that she was pregnant. I thought about it, researched the official route, and then just asked. 

      I’m so glad she is happy to help, because it’s not an easy project.

      By the way, I’m only 9 weeks pregnant, but you’re the fourth person to say it’s a girl! How funny!

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  74. you poor thing!  we all have that “I’m a terrible mother!!” moment, and I think that’s what makes us better mommas.  We just keep trying to do it better.  I’m sad to hear you can’t do something that you really want to do, but if your friend makes enough milk for your baby, then baby is getting all the benefits possible, and you can feel good about giving her/him the breastmilk. i too had to use formula, and still do as a supplement.  It was hard on my ego, I’ll admit.  But I couldn’t make enough milk for my twins and pumps don’t get anything out of me!  I thought it was better than them starving to death.  Glad you blocked the bully :/

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  75. Just horrible!! I am so sorry that you were treated that way. You’re right, that woman was not a lactivist. She was a bully!

    You’ll be a fabulous mother. A good mother does what she believes is best for her child!!! Whether that means breastfeeding, formula-feeding, or getting donor milk.
    Also, definitely look at Eats on Feets, you can often find donor milk there.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  76. You get muppets everywhere and anyone who’s that right is very wrong. As an ardent supporter of breastfeeding what she said was idiocy. Good luck on finding donors. 

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  77. Cara said:

    As far as I know, milksharing is not recommended by the FDA as a way to get breastmilk because (unless you personally know the mother) then you’re adding risks that exceed the risks of formula.  I had planned to donate milk, and it’s because of the lack of milk being donated to the banks that the costs and prescriptions are so difficult to get.  If the mothers who milkshare would donate the milk to the banks then maybe there’d be enough milk for the babies in NICU (there isn’t currently) and enough for the babies outside of NICU.  That’s more directed to some of the other comments talking about how milksharing is better than formula. 

    As it is, I don’t see the formula companies as evil, nor do I see formula as evil (many of the health negatives are correlations, not connections.)  The fact is, formula saves lives and keeps families together.  Breast is best, but we’re not sure all the reasons why, and as long as a mom is feeding her baby that’s enough.

    I have an ongoing argument with a bully who basically tells every mother who says their baby is having trouble with formula to relactate, blames them, and tells them that there’s almost no medicine that shouldn’t be breastfed around.  My own experience hospitalized my baby from a ‘safe’ pain medicine that for some reason metabolized faster and made my baby sleep too much.  She got a lot of clout for being ‘honest’ and ‘telling it as it is’ about the evils of formula especially, until I started telling people that is bullying, and that if you attack someone with the message then you are not helping the message.  Now, more and more people report her, and she’s started to tone down.  Maybe with time she’ll grow up, like your bully did.  For now I continue to put myself between her and new mothers sobbing that they had to give up breastfeeding and believing that formula is causing everything from her baby’s burps to waking up every 2 hours.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • It’s a great suggestion–but there are a few problems: a) there are VERY strict guidelines under which a mother can donate breastmilk to a bank, including the infant’s age.  A lot of women who are medically healthy don’t qualify, but it’s safe for them to feed their own children. b) milk banks are not as widespread as one might hope, and as a rule, they don’t do anything to help mothers who are pumping and donating.  Pumping can get very expensive, very quickly!  If you are like me and don’t live within driving distance of one (the closest one is, I believe, 400 miles away), you would have to pay to ship all that milk, at YOUR expense.  c) Getting milk from a milkbank is not free–in fact, just getting a week’s supply of milk can cost upwards of $100.  Insurance will only cover it if *they* deem it medically necessary.  IMO (and a lot of other men/women share this opinion) it is unethical to sell breastmilk when it is something that IS free to start with.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
    • bethrnich said:

      I agree medical professionals and parents should calm down about
      formula.   Millions of babies have thrived on it.  Kudos to you for
      realizing that.  New parents need reassurance like yours.

      It’s my understanding that certain infections, environmental contaminant and drugs can make their way into breast milk and potentially harm a child.  I think that should be mentioned when discussing milk sharing and cross nursing.  However, Anne- Marie seems to know her donor personally and be knowledgeable about her friend’s medical history.  She also seems to have thoroughly researched her options for feeding her baby boy.  I have no problem with formula, either.  But as Diba Tillery RN BSN so eloquently put it, “…everyone is going to have an opinion on how you should raise your child.”  Every parent comes to their own conclusions.  Anne-Marie has reached hers.  It seems to me she will be feeding her child in a safe manner and supplementing with formula (also safe) when she can’t find get enough donor milk.  So I say more power to her.

      As for your comment about how that milk could go to a milk bank for NICU babies:
      What nursing moms who have extra milk do with it is up to them, in my opinion.  Women might be more inclined to pump for someone they know, too.  (I don’t think all moms who milk share would go to the trouble of donating to a milk bank.)  So less milk sharing may not benefit preemies much.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
      • Anne-Marie said:

        The requirements for donating and receiving milk from a milk bank are extremely strict. I’m not exactly sure, but I think last time I checked, it was $6/oz. You need a prescription from your doctor, and insurance will only cover it sometimes, and even then usually not all of the cost. I’m also not sure that you can donate frozen milk. You might have to to pump there? Don’t quote me on that. It’s really important, but it’s not a solution for everyone.

        Human Milk 4 Human Babies simply connects women who need and women who have breastmilk. There are infections that can be spread, so the conservative approach is to ask for (and pay for) blood tests. I would also want to know about diet.

        I do know my donor personally, and she is also providing me with a record of all her blood tests. You’re tested for every infections disease while you’re pregnant, and she’s not due until June, so it’s all pretty recent. I am most comfortable with connecting with one or two women, getting to know them, and using that milk. But we’ll see where my journey takes me!

        March 27, 2012
        Reply
  78. zoboarder said:

     A great place to find donor milk is “Human Milk for Human Babies”  My friend in TN found a donor in VA.  My friend just paid shipping.  I hope you have an amazing journey in motherhood. 

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  79. Me731852000 said:

    I’m sorry you had such a terrible experience. Thats horrify. I can sort of relate to you. I had to use formula because after 4 months of breastfeeding I completely stopped making milk. I found out later it was a heath issue than could be fixed.It’s devastating when you can’t breastfeed. I felt a lot of what you did I spent every night for a month crying every time I made a formula bottle. At least you are using donors milk. That is great. Do what you can that is all anyone can ask for. That’s what makes a great mother.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  80. Aggiesweetheart said:

    Don’t sweat it!  Someone once told me that for all the care, worry, and anxiety we mommies make on every choice, that our sweet babies will, at some point, hate us anyway when they are teenagers!  So may the peace which surpasses all understanding be with you now.  May you be filled beyond measure with joy.  

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  81. sjsb said:

    Oh, didn’t you know? As a mother, you never know best. Only other mothers know best. You’re just a clueless ass that hasn’t been properly educated.  

    Since I am 4+ years into this parenting gig, I let the bullshit roll off my back like water off a duck. I breastfed and gave my babies formula (hybrid feeding) and I really don’t think you could get me to give a damn about what another mother thinks about that at this time. If I could wish anything for you, it’s that you find yourself – in time – in that place, too.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • sjsb said:

       Haha. Look how my lack of internet skillz resulted in nonsensical writing up there.

      Carry on

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
      • Anne-Marie said:

        It’s totally legible! You’re good! My skin is thicker for putting all this online, and that can only be a good thing. I also grew up in a family who followed none of the rules–in Northern MN, we were not Lutheran or Catholic, we ate brown rice and whole grain bread, no sugary cereals allowed, had pictures of Krishna and our Indian Guru hanging on the walls. My parents weren’t great parents (although I love them!) but they did model the Thanks, but we’ll do what we like, attitude well!

        March 27, 2012
        Reply
  82. Mindy, The Inquisitive Mom said:

    This is my first time here, so I’ll need to go back to read some of your past posts to get to know you better. That being said, I admire how you are so openly sharing your experiences and encouraging dialog. I agree that activists support, encourage, provide information when it’s asked for, but never demeen, discourage, or bully. I’m so sorry you had to deal with this. I admire your dedication to researching your options and to making an informed decision. It clearly wasn’t an easy one, but it shows already what a thoughtful, loving mother you will be. We don’t become “good ” mothers because of how we choose to feed our babies, but by how we nurture them, love them, and cherish them. Clearly, you will do all of these things.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  83. barb said:

    This post really hit home for me.  So many people do not understand that mental illness is not something we can just grin and bear.  Unlike a bacterial illness that might be cured by different kinds of antibiotics, mental illness and the chemistry behind it vary from person to person.  How dare anyone with an internet connection and delusions of grandeur tell you what to do when you have discussed your situation fully with an M.D. you trust!  The negative effects of depressed mothers on children are well documented.  You were absolutely right to choose the course that would help you stay well.  True supporters of breastfeeding would share your disappointment about not being able to nurse your baby while reassuring you that you are making a very wise and informed choice.  I’m very sorry you were bullied by some ill informed and insensitive individual.  You are making the best decisions you can based on the evidence you have, and *that* is the mark of a good mother!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  84. barb said:

    On a technical note, it’s my understanding that older nurslings can often tolerate things in milk (drugs, allergens, etc.) that newborns cannot.  It would be interesting to see information on pumping and dumping for a while to maintain milk supply while the baby grows.  I think such information would be very difficult to come by, though, because it’s impossible to know the threshold age without trials, and the consequences of introducing milk with possibly dangerous elements too soon could be grave.  BTW, does anybody have experience with drugs being safe during pregnancy but not during breastfeeding, or vice versa?  I think the metabolism differs.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Drugs are metabolized *very* differently during pregnancy vs. during lactation. They are made to travel through the blood stream, but end up in the milk we make attached to fat cells (as far as I understand). 

      The classic example is that for many bipolar patients, lithium is safer for the feuts during pregnancy, but not lactation, while depakote is not safe during pregnancy but is considered safe during lactation by the AAP. (http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=bipolar_disorder&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=84897)The idea about older nurslings might work with another side effect, but since even in adults, the sleepiness side effect of Klonopin is unpredictable, it still seems too risky to me.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  85. Stephanie said:

    I just wanted to let you know that even if you decide to go full on formula feeding that IT IS OKAY. I wasn’t able to breastfeed for a reason very similar to yours and I have two beautiful, healthy children that were fed only formula. I spent far too much of my time feeling guilty and bad about what was out of my control. Your child needs you and the you that is healthy. Good luck!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  86. It’s so unfortunate that people are so judgmental and close-minded! Parenthood is hard enough and no one should be made to feel this way…sorry that you had to go through this horrible experience! 

    As a lactation consultant and NICU nurse, I have had my own experiences with bullies just like this one. This is why in all my childbirth classes, I tell moms and dads that parenting isn’t black or white, but many shades of grey and everyone is going to have an opinion on how you should raise your child. Take everything with a grain of salt, do your research, and formulate your own way of caring for your child….
    one that works best for your family. Just remember to 
    keep safety and love at the top of your priorities and everything else will fall into place.

    All the best to you…

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I bet people really feel like it’s ok to let you have it. Ugh. Too few people realize that nurses are the key to a good hospital experience. I owe so much to the nurses who cared for me during my stay in the psych ward. I remember their faces, but not the doctors! A very smart labor and delivery nurse once wrote (on Babble): Bring cookies for the nurses when you go to have your baby at the hospital. That is now on my list of things to bring! You might like that piece: http://www.babble.com/pregnancy/giving-birth/labor-and-delivery-tips/

      I wish I could take your class! I’m glad that you are spreading that message. Parents put themselves through hell trying to find the Right Way. I see it often, babysitting. I always say that, too–you love you child. You keep your child safe. Your child is fine. Kids are remarkably resilient!

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  87. I decided to pump for my son rather than give up breastfeeding entirely (long story short–he would latch and fall asleep, was already jaundiced, and I was so stressed about making sure he was getting enough, and pumping was, to my inexperienced new-mother brain, the lesser of two perceived evils.)  I made it to six months, and then wanted to burn my pump because I hated it so much.  I am a lactivist born and bred, but I think there is a time and a place for formula!  I think that, when possible (barring medical issues for mom or baby, or circumstances that make breastfeeding impossible) moms SHOULD start out breastfeeding.  Formula should be the failsafe for when babies can’t tolerate breastmilk, or circumstance requires it.  IMO it’s like food stamps: use it when you REALLY need it, not just because it is there.

    I’m so sorry you were attacked!  I feel sorry for any mother that is made to feel inadequate because of a very personal, difficult parenting choice that had to be made.  Some people just don’t get it.  ::hugs::

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Another mom I know pumped exclusively for over a year, for similar reasons. I admire that effort so much! Warning: you might fall under the Doing it Wrong category for this woman, who remains convinced that bottles = trauma. 

      I agree–I’m glad that formula exists for those who need it. I also wish that fewer people believed that it’s the same, or just as good, or wouldn’t be made if we weren’t supposed to use it, etc. 

      Thank you for the e-hug! I have bounced back. :)

      March 28, 2012
      Reply
  88. Krista F. said:

    I’m sitting here in tears, wishing I had found this blog sooner! You are absolutely inspirational to me. I have a 5 month old daughter that I am trying to exclusively breastfeed. I have an anxiety disorder and depression, both are fairly mild so I chose to go off my meds in order to breastfeed my daughter. We have hit a lot of road blocks on our breastfeeding journey which has led us to the point of almost exclusively pumping (which, with a SINGLE electric pump and a hubby in the Navy who is never home to help entertain the baby while I pump, has been very hard) I share a lot of the same fears and anxiety that you do, about not trying enough or being good enough for my daughter. My breastfeeding obstacles are just one in a long line of things that make me feel physically broken. I have recently started researching donor milk as my supply, despite my
    best efforts, is unable to keep up with my little munchkin. And with the added stress of supply problems and my husbands upcoming deployment, my doctor has urged me to consider going back to my medication. Reading your words of strength are helping me deal with this in a way no one else can. Thank you and good luck on your journey to motherhood!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Oh, Krista, that is so hard! You have to trust yourself. If you need your medication, go take it. You baby needs her mama to be a strong and happy mama, not just a feeding machine! Keep in touch, and best of luck to you.

      March 28, 2012
      Reply
  89. Guest said:

    I got bullied at a bbq because I was feeding my infant a bottle of formula.  Two women came up to me asked why it was so important to keep my perfect breasts perfect and feed my baby formula.  I had to inform them that I didn’t have real breasts as I had had breast cancer and had implants.  They went on to tell me that I should have had a lumpectomy to save my breastfeeding abilities.  I made the mistake of trying to explain my decisions and it got really ugly.  I was also told that I should have tried to hire a wet nurse or had my husband try to lactate with a breast pump.

    I got breast cancer after breast feeding two kids btw.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      How do people not see the glaring Do Not Cross This Line that pops up in any reasonable person’s mind as soon as the words “Because I had cancer” come into the conversation?! I mean, they’re behavior is unacceptable, regardless of your reasons for formula feeding, but the lengths they went to completely stun me.

      March 28, 2012
      Reply
      • Anne-Marie said:

        I have been thinking about this all day, and it strikes me as symptomatic of a much bigger issue. These women voiced the very dangerous notion that we should all treat our bodies as though we might get pregnant at any moment. Female bodies are not only for making and feeding babies! You should risk your life for the sake of a child you may or may not have in the future? No. That is a road we cannot afford to go down.

        March 28, 2012
        Reply
  90. AbbieC said:

    We call people like that Nipple Nazis.  So sorry you had to endure that.  I’ve been blessed to be able to breastfeed my seven children but I’ve also watched moms suffer and guilt themselves because, for one reason or another, they could not.  You are an amazing mom!  I can see the love you have for your babies (or babies to be) because you don’t want to risk their health and because you are seeking the best alternative in donor milk!  Way to go!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you for your kind words. And I love big families–seven kids! Awesome!

      March 28, 2012
      Reply
  91. laura said:

    With my first daughter I stopped breastfeeding at 1 month.  I ended up in the hosptial when my daughter was less than 2 weeks old with mastitis in both breast.  It was resistant to the first oral antibiotic, then to the first IV antibiotic they gave me.  Finally we found one that worked.  I was in the hospital for three days without my newborn baby.  I pumped as much as I could while in there but we had to suppliment with formula.  My husband made milk runs while my in-laws cared for my new baby.  When I got out I was determined to breastfeed again and refused to let anyone use a bottle to feed her.  After two more weeks of clogged glands and fevers I returned to the doctor and he thought it was returning.  I was paranoid of going back into the hospital. Emotionally I couldn’t deal with the fact that every red spot or pain might be the mastitis returning.  I decided to stop breastfeeding after much tears.  I pumped for 2 more weeks and then stopped.  It was the best thing I could have done for me and my daughter.  She is now a healthy intelligent 2 year old.  I am now pregnant with another one and I fully intend to try again.  This time however I will ask the lactation consultant to observe me and help.  I took the classes before my first one, but I will be more proactive for help.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I am in pain from a ridiculously-fast-growing bustline, but I cannot *imagine* the pain from that kind of mastitis. My stomach is turning just thinking about it. I love your attitude, though! It takes a strong woman to admit where you could have asked for more help and to try again the second time, while refusing to backtrack on anything that made your daughter the amazing toddler she is. 

      March 28, 2012
      Reply
  92. thread said:

    You know, this mothering gig becomes a whole lot less stressful when you realise that you have to be ok with your parenting.  You don’t need others to be ok with it.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Pregnancy is helping with that, oddly enough. I get so much advice that you finally go “Well, I can’t possibly even *attempt* to do all of that, so I’ll just pick some stuff and go with my gut!” Especially about weight. Wow, is America uptight about weight during pregnancy. Gain! But not too much! And not too soon! And not from that food! Sheesh. It’s all just noise, now.

      March 28, 2012
      Reply
  93. Guest said:

    When my daughter was born, I faced the same problem. Luckily for me, my symptoms are mild enough that I have been able to stay off of my medications, as long as I see my therapist and minimize stress. If I couldn’t, and I had to take them, my daughter would get formula. My personal choice is that I will not risk ANY of those powerful medications getting into my daughter’s system. Maybe it’s difficult for others to understand, if they’ve never taken it before, but klonopin is not a drug to be taken lightly.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I don’t understand why my explanations don’t sink in! When it was prescribed to me, we started off with this tiny dose, because my doctor was afraid it would make me, a grown woman, dangerously sleepy. Why is it hard to understand that a small amount of the stuff could put a tiny baby into a dangerously deep sleep? This is serious stuff.

      March 28, 2012
      Reply
  94. Alex said:

    Clearly, you did not try hard enough. Clearly you don’t really truly believe in the importance of breastfeeding or you would have tried harder. Clearly you are taking the easy route.
    I mean, finding mothers who are willing to donate their own breastmilk, picking said milk up, storing it, thawing it, feeding via a bottle, that’s just sooo easy, isn’t it?

    PS: I hope you see that I am being totally sarcastic
    This woman is a bully and her comments and attitude defy logic. She’s just a dimwit.Opinions are like assholes – everyone has one.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I know, right? Clearly I’m taking the easy way out. The specialist I saw cleared space in her busy schedule because she was just so excited to have a patient who didn’t get pregnant first and call her after. Every doctor I talk to is so thrilled with how prepared I was to take on this pregnancy. They’ve all seen patients who come in at 8 weeks and say “What should I do about my meds?” It was not easy to wait almost a year to start trying for a baby I wanted desperately. And yet, I should have tried harder. I refuse to give in to *that* notion.

      March 28, 2012
      Reply
  95. Kimikolighty said:

    You sound like a thoughtful and loving momma to me. You are going to do great!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  96. amhmtq said:

    Darn, thought my name was attached to my login. Angela Dot Quinn At gmail dot com.

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      When I saw “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” on my sister’s shelf, I asked what this organization was about. She had been to meetings. She explained this incredible mission. She felt so supported. I have been so angry since this bully mentioned her bf-ing group and others have mentioned judgmental women in their LLL groups; that this amazing resource could be tainted by women who do not represent the true attitude of LLL breaks my heart.

      March 28, 2012
      Reply
  97. I definitely lean toward lactivist, having successfully breastfed all three of my kids at least a year and a half each, but I can’t imagine bullying someone over it. Once you have the information to make your decision, that’s good enough for me, whichever way it goes.

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Right? I have better things to do with my time than talk in circles with someone who is well-informed and has already made up her mind, even if that decision makes no sense to me. It’s just none of my business!

      March 28, 2012
      Reply
  98. Chiccomama77 said:

    I was bullied into breast feeding by my first husband, I had cracked nipples and mastitis – I had to stop breastfeeding because of the pain and anti biotics I was put on.  This man I thought I loved became enraged with me and insisted I get my milk back and that I had lost it on purpose?  So I sat and fed for 24 hours a day whilst spraying oxytocin under my tounge.  I did get my milk back – I also got out of that marriage quickly.  Nobody should be subjected to any bullying regarding breast feeding or mothering skills.  Everyone has their own way.  I am pro breast feeding but it is up to the individual.  I had 6 children, my subsequent 5 were fed 7 months, 12 months, 12 months, 6 months and 10 months.  My first was for 2 years and I didn’t see any difference health wise or nurtured wise.  You have to do what is right for you and nobody has the right to judge you!!!

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Yeah, I’m inclined to believe that a home with that much stress (abuse?) would maybe limit your supply and possibly be not so good for the baby.  I’m so glad you felt able to stand up for yourself before too long!

      March 28, 2012
      Reply
  99. Marie Read said:

    Thank you for writing this. When I was pregnant with my son I was faced with the choice of going off my anti-depressant (which, at the time, was also Effexor). Thankfully I had a good psychiatrist who told me that in some cases it’s healthier for the baby if the mother stays on her medication than to go off of it. I stayed on my medication. I also only breastfed for two months. I was worried about the effects my medication could have on my nursing baby, but ultimately it was the fact that I could not breastfeed (even with help from a lactation consultant) that solidified my choice to give my son formula. He is now a healthy four year old and I wouldn’t change the decisions I made. Sometimes we just can’t do everything that we dreamed about for our kids, but it’s more important that they know they are loved and their well-being is sought after, then whether they were breastfed or not.

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      It’s so under-reported, the fact that depression and anxiety actively harm a fetus and that stress hormones flow right into breastmilk. There is no good answer! And there’s nothing “natural” or “healthy” about a miserable but un-medicated mother who sacrifices her health. My mom was pretty miserable when I was a kid, and I would have given up the “advantage” of her staying at home for me, or so my father thought, in exchange for a career that made her happy and gave her something to do with herself. Just an example of how short-sighted most advice about mental health and motherhood really is.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  100. Cara said:

    That is just jaw-droppingly horrible! I spluttered first and then laughed at the irony of the “inflexible” comment. What can I say  that hasn’t been said already other than I have really appreciated your posts on the subject and look forward to many more.

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I laughed too, actually, when the woman who says there is only ONE way to properly feed a child calls me inflexible! Thank you for reading and for your support.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  101. Catnhat44 said:

    It is indeed a shame that women cannot just support each others right to make an informed choice, whether it is what they would opt for or not. It isn’t any of the Bully’s business whether you can or will breast feed your baby. Like any extremist, she has blinders on and cannot see past them. I suspect that she also has some other emotional issues elsewhere in her life that have resulted in her negative attitude an her bullying. Pay her no mind. You obviously love your baby, and are choosing what you feel is the best option for you both. Brava! So long as she is healthy and growing and loved, the choice of feeding method is less important.

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      And you, CatnHat, make 5: five predictions that I’m having a girl! ;)

      Anything she said has been long replaced by the warm fuzzies posted all over this page. The support brings tears to my eyes.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  102. Dara S. said:

    I am so sorry you had to go through that. :(  I don’t know why people think it’s OK to make it their business on how you feed your child. Whether it’s by breast, donor milk, bottle, etc, it’s none of their damn business.

    I especially don’t get how complete strangers can just come up to you and judge. Thankfully I’ve never had that happen in the almost ten months since my son’s been born, but I don’t think it’s anyone’s concern how my kid’s fed.

    Anyway, congrats on expecting–I am sure you will be a wonderful mom :)

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Isn’t it weird that people think our procreation and child-rearing is everyone’s business? One woman said to me before I was pregnant “You’re young, you have time! Don’t have kids too soon. But don’t wait too long.” I mean, come on! A few of my friends are struggling with infertility, and they are always hurt when someone asks when are they having kids? Why don’t they have kids? I keep saying they should respond: how is your reproductive system functioning these days? Healthy? How’s your marriage? Your finances? 

      Maybe I need to add to that: “Oh, I’d be so grateful, here, feed the baby some of yours!” Can you imagine the looks? Ha!

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  103. Mepokey14 said:

    I’m so sorry you were made to feel this way…I have always been a HUGE lactivist, but you have to find balance. I see this type of bullying more and more in the cyber world and really wonder what we have come to in the mothering arena. Yes support one another in our successes…but also in our difficulties. Donor milk is fantasic (I was a donor myself so I guess I’m biased lol) and I applaud you for your tireless work and research. I agree the goal of lactivists should be to provode education and resources to those that need it and might not otherwise have this support. Women should never feel bullied about that subject. We seem to have created a society where differences create an atmosphere of harsh judgement and bullying…this starts at home. Children learn this behavior from their parents and continue it as adults both online and in the workplace…I’ve seen it over and over again. All we can do is teach acceptance and support and understanding to our children. Embrace each others differences, support them when they ask for help and walk side by side as parents in this diffiicult world!

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I’m with you–no one is going to ask for help if they’re afraid. They’ll ask us for help if we are kind and open-minded! And there is no better way to convince someone than to model the behavior you want to see. I don’t think that several loved-ones would be as happy as they are if they hadn’t started therapy, and they tell me that they started therapy because I spoke so highly of my experience. I’m pretty sure I could not have scared them into it! I never said “do this” I just pointed out that life doesn’t have to be so hard. Anger is poison.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  104. Karynpickles said:

    I just found your blog today through a FB post and I wanted to add yet another voice to the multitude telling you that you’re doing good and that bully to go to hell!  With both of my children I moved heaven and earth to be able to breastfeed (with supplementation) – post-breast reduction, post-preemie birth (my oldest), post-C-section (one unplanned, one planned), and with PPD. I was amazed and appalled at the level of judgement we women heap upon one another in the name of “helping” and I have learned through experience that it is completely possible to be pro-breastfeeding with a bottle in your hand. Your experience and your openness about it will (and already is) helping to educate many people who think that there is only one way to support and experience breastfeeding (this from a mom who mixed up and fed her baby a bottle of formula during a LLL meeting)! I hope there are people who have read your blog who will think twice now before judging the next women they see with a bottle. You are doing all the right things and I wish you all the best on your journey.

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Guest said:

       Love this “I have learned through experience that it is completely possible to be pro-breastfeeding with a bottle in your hand”

      What a wonderful way to describe it.  Just love it.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
      • Anne-Marie said:

        I love it too! I wrote a post just after I found out how dangerous my milk might be called “Can I be a Bottle-Feeding Lactivist?” I think these comments are a pretty resounding YES! 

        March 27, 2012
        Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Lol at the formula feeding during a LLL meeting! That is too funny. 

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  105. Dawn Elwell said:

    First, I want to say how incredibly brave, courageous and strong you are being by your actions and attitudes about coping with something that requires you to take the meds you do.  You have demonstrated that you love and care enough about yourself to take steps to maintain a healthy emotional and mental status; which means you are going to make a wonderful mother.
    Second, there is nothing wrong with donor milk.  The practice has been around since the dawn of time.  Honestly, what do these bullies think happened way back in the days where there was no formula and a mother was unable to breastfeed? Another nursing mom in the community or a collection of other nursing moms helped out. They were called “Wet nurses” then.  You have done your homework. You are doing the best thing for your baby.  In my opinion, (and I am an old, grouchy grandma) people like this woman who is being a bully need to be smacked a good one. 
    Your first, best course of action in being a mom is listening to your gut instinct. You’ve done this; more so than most people. I don’t even know you, but, I am going to tell you what I would say if I did: I am very proud of you.  You are going to do just fine. Keep listening to your gut.   Keep focusing on what your are doing right. Keep surrounding yourself with respectful supporting people who will help mentor you.  Parenting doesn’t come with a manual.
    You did just fine.
    ME

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Doesn’t is just say so much about how isolated parents have become in our culture that people think it’s “weird” to use someone else’s milk? It’s not weird to go first to a cow? There’s no logic. I’m glad that humans can thrive on cow’s milk, goat’s milk, soy or liver-based formula, but why is that the first place we’re told to look? It’s quite a feat of marketing, isn’t it.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  106. The hardest thing to do sometimes as a mother  is to willingly accept pain and suffering then to even risk a bit of it for your child. That woman is obviously blinded by a massive superiority complex. Don’t feel bad for taking the bait though, its instinct to defend yourself when you’re attacked.

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      It’s such a dilemma. For some women, the risk is going off the meds and feeling unsure about how they will fare. For others, it’s barely functioning on a lower dose. For me, it’s bottle feeding because no meds or fewer meds have just been a disaster every time. But we each have to struggle with unknown risks and benefits, and it’s not ok that she assumes she can Google a few drug names and know what I’m facing. I also don’t know what she’s going through. It would have been very nice if we could have just acknowledged that in the first place.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
      •  Oh trust me I know all about the meds dilemma. I was lucky enough to be able to make it with a lot of support from my husband. I saw a therapist every week as my safety net and we made the decision to stay off meds together. That being said a person has to know their own limits and making the same decision I did could be very reckless for some people. We did have to supplement sometimes because I had an emergency PRN that I did have to utilize a few times. What I meant in my original post was that you are the one who is actually doing the difficult thing – doing something that causes you heartache to ensure your baby doesn’t suffer.

        March 27, 2012
        Reply
        • Anne-Marie said:

          Yes! I was just expanding on what you had said. 

          And I am making a choice that hurts me, not the baby. My aunt once told me that the hardest thing she has ever done in her life was admit to her children that she had done them harm by staying with a series of two abusive husbands. It’s not similar to my situation, except that remembering the look on her face makes me appreciate that, no matter how hard it gets, it’s the right thing to do. When all is said and done, I only have to face my own tears.

          March 27, 2012
          Reply
  107. Camerashy said:

    Read a quote recently that really helps me let go of the guilt of motherhood and all those deep dark fears that we’re “just not good enough” at mothering:  “There’s no way to be a perfect mother and thousands of ways to be a good one.”  It’s become my mantra.  

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Ohh, I love that! So many therapists have asked me what Perfect means, since it has so often been my life’s goal. I’m happy to say that it is no longer my goal. I could never even answer the question. “Better than me?” Ha! There will always be better. But there is also Good. That, I can do.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  108. booblady99 said:

    Sheesh, what is this world coming to with women attacking women like this? 
    *sigh* I’m so sorry… sounds like a terribly insecure person herself with some craving for attention and love (aren’t all bullies, after all?).  Sounds to me like you’re doing what every mom does–the best you can. Look, YOU rock, and don’t let anyone tell you different.  (Kudos, too, BTW, for seeking donor milk.  That’s just plain educated parent self-advocacy right there.)I’m sorry that she got at you for even a second with those types of prods.   She can piss off.  

    March 28, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I guess the more we put out there about the way we parent, the more license some people feel to criticize. I love a good, open dialogue about different ways of parenting, but name-calling isn’t ok in pre-school, why is ok for parents?

      March 28, 2012
      Reply
  109. Such an important post! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your honesty and for being so strong. I’m sure your baby will look back one day and say she’s proud of her Mom. And as for lactivism, YOU are giving it the name it deserves, through your words and your stance. You rock! ;-)

    March 30, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Haha I suspect that my baby first say “Mooooom!’ upon discovering that all of this is online and then, later, feel pride.

      Thank you, though. I really do believe that breast(milk) is best and hope that just one or two mothers in my situation will look for human milk before turning to formula. If that happens, I will have done well, indeed, on the activism front!

      March 30, 2012
      Reply
  110. Daisy said:

    I would call myself a Lactivist. I have spent the last few years educating myself about breastfeeding, childbirth and parenting with the hope of becoming a doula/lactation counselor. Yet I have no children. I try to spread non-judgmental, encouraging info to my friends and peers through fb and in real life. I would never attack a mother for her choices only offer positive suggestions if appropriate. With that being said I often feel judged because while I share the truth I have never breastfed or given birth, so there is no way I could know what I’m talking about. While I know there are many things I will not know until my time comes to be a mother, I’m passionate about the knowledge I have acquired so far and am excited to share it, with hopes that I may someday help someone achieve a better nursing experience. Its a shame some people feel one cannot be a good resource without having experienced it first hand. Its especially ironic when we live in a country with some many male OB’s!

    March 30, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Well, that is just nonsense. I fully expect my husband to support me throughout childbirth, and he will certainly have no experience with any of it! (We’ll also be hiring a doula, because you all have special knowledge and, in my limited experience, are just plain all around lovely to have around.) It’s nonsense the this bully pulled with me; she told me that because she has done this before and I have not, I should listen to her. Well, I am pretty sure that all us of know people with “experience” who give some pretty terrible advice. 

      Not only that, but if having “done it before” makes everyone such an expert, than why is each birth and breastfeeding experience different? Why does a first baby latch instinctively and a younger sibling struggle? Did Mom forget some key part of her experience along the way? 

      Keep offering your support. The women who take it will need it and appreciate it. The women who don’t, well, we can only pray that they find support elsewhere. We all need it.

      March 30, 2012
      Reply
  111. She was basically calling you lazy.  It’s a “lazy choice” to not breastfeed.  Clearly, you are not lazy.  It takes a LOT of time and work to organize donor breastmilk.  The fact that you’re going to all that effort makes you the opposite of lazy.  Good for you for doing what’s right for your baby AND for blocking the bully.

    March 31, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Oh, definitely. Lazy and, really, stupid. Stupid enough to listen to doctors. I mean, I’m all about getting second, third, fourth opinions if a doctor says you can’t breastfeed while taking a medication, but when all four doctors say please do not do this, at some point you have to accept the expertise. That’s not lazy or stupid, that is the opposite of lazy and the opposite of stupid!

      April 1, 2012
      Reply
  112. I’m so sorry that this happened to you. I also struggle from depression and anxiety and I had to be on Paxil while nursing my first and then stay on Paxil throughout my second pregnancy. After my second was born, my anxiety was so bad I had to start taking Seroquel which I am still taking 4 years later. I still nursed my second while on both those medications, but my doctors all insisted it was safe. I completely understand about the anxiety of the unknown risks caused by your meds in the milk.

    I actually never thought I’d enjoy nursing, and I just did it because it made sense that it was best for the baby and my meds weren’t supposed to cause any problems.

    I ended up loving nursing and it was my favorite bonding time. I nursed both for 2 years each.

    But I do not say that to make you feel more sad if you can’t nurse… b/c that would just be cruel. I guess I’m just saying that I’m sorry if you have to miss the experience, but please don’t let anyone feel like you are less of a mother or anything crazy like that.

    Nursing is a wonderful gift to both mother and child BUT obviously if you are on medication that isn’t proven to be safe, you have to do the responsible thing and forgo that gift. It is sad, grieve your loss of it, and then move onward knowing you are doing your best to keep your baby safe and healthy.

    All the best!
    Susan

    March 31, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      It does not make me feel badly to hear stories like this, because women like you are the women who will be providing my donated milk! And you’ve also hit on the only *true* sadness here–I will not get to find out whether I am one of those women who love it. (Not everyone does, some women don’t enjoy it at all and do it anyway.) Of course, given my experience hearing my mom talk about it and watching my sister and her kids, I feel like I would love it. So the sad part is that I won’t have that experience. The baby will be so healthy and so safe. I’ll be the only one crying over *that* spilt milk (forgive me for that one!). 

      April 1, 2012
      Reply
  113. I’m so sorry that this happened to you. I also struggle from depression and anxiety and I had to be on Paxil while nursing my first and then stay on Paxil throughout my second pregnancy. After my second was born, my anxiety was so bad I had to start taking Seroquel which I am still taking 4 years later. I still nursed my second while on both those medications, but my doctors all insisted it was safe. I completely understand about the anxiety of the unknown risks caused by your meds in the milk.

    I actually never thought I’d enjoy nursing, and I just did it because it made sense that it was best for the baby and my meds weren’t supposed to cause any problems.

    I ended up loving nursing and it was my favorite bonding time. I nursed both for 2 years each.

    But I do not say that to make you feel more sad if you can’t nurse… b/c that would just be cruel. I guess I’m just saying that I’m sorry if you have to miss the experience, but please don’t let anyone feel like you are less of a mother or anything crazy like that.

    Nursing is a wonderful gift to both mother and child BUT obviously if you are on medication that isn’t proven to be safe, you have to do the responsible thing and forgo that gift. It is sad, grieve your loss of it, and then move onward knowing you are doing your best to keep your baby safe and healthy.

    All the best!
    Susan

    March 31, 2012
    Reply
  114. Faeiry_dancer said:

    How ever any new mother chooses to feed her infant is her choice, not some bully who thinks it’s their choice. a baby has to eat no matter how the feeding gets done. so bully can take a long walk off a short pier. Love your child and you will be a terrific mother.

    April 1, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I agree that love is so much more important than bottle vs breast, formula vs. breastmilk. And we have love in abundance!

      April 1, 2012
      Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      No, actually, *lactivists* are not the worst; bullies are the worst. That’s the whole point I’m trying to make with this.

      Here’s the deal: it’s good that formula exists, having an alternative when a woman can’t breastfeed is medically awesome. But it is not the same as breastmilk and, culturally, it’s a problem that so many see it as a this or that equal choice. Even the AAP recognizes that this is an issue in our culture, even a “health crisis”: http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAP-Reaffirms-Breastfeeding-Guidelines.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token

      Lactivists work to make breastfeeding easier, possible for more women, less scary, etc. Breastfeeding in general. Like any activism, some will use the banner to go out and beat people up in the name of the cause. But that’s just bullying. None of the kind-hearted, devoted lactivists I know would ever set out to make one woman feel badly about how she feeds her baby. Hospitals and formula corporations and, yes, Old Navy, when they’re being stupid, bear the brunt of lactivist calls for change. Parents who use formula and take things like the outcry over the stupid Old Navy onesie personally have my sympathy, but must remember that this is not about your family. Clearly, your family is one for whom formula is a fantastic, possibly life-saving invention. No one in her right mind would dare call you bad parents. But then, a good activist has more to do with her time than call people names. 

      April 1, 2012
      Reply
  115. MFT said:

    I am so sorry that you had to go through this. I nursed both of my son’s for a year each but it was my choice. I would NEVER bully or belittle a mother who chose not to nurse, no matter WHY they chose not to. It is the mother’s decision, not these bullies. 
    If you are taking medication(s) then good for you for being aware of the possible teratogens in your breast-milk. Millions of mothers don’t nurse and their children are just fine. Good for you for taking care of yourself so you can be a better mother to your children. Don’t listen to those people. It’s none of their business.

    April 7, 2012
    Reply
  116. THESE SAME VERBAL STATEMENTS, LE LECHI GROUP IN MY AREA, LITERALLY TREATED ME THE SAME WAY IN APRIL-MAY 1975. HORMONE PROBLEMS & ENDED UP WITH MASTITIS WITH A TEMP OF 103.  F THOSE WOMEN…..THEY DID ALL THEY COULD TO MAKE ME FEEL INADEQUATE, REGULAR FORMULA MADE HER SO SICK SHE HAD SEVERE COLIC @ 3 MONTHS OLD, MD PUT HER ON SOY MILK. SHE NOW HAS 2 CHILDREN OF HER OWN. BREAST FED BOTH OF THEM WITH OUT NAGGING BULLIES !!!!!!!!!!!   PHYLLIS

    April 7, 2012
    Reply
  117. @MommyGearest said:

    No, you’re right. That bully’s no Lactivist. She’s a Lazi. Shame on her. You do whatever you need to do to keep your baby safe – full stop. That’s it. That’s your job as a mother.

    April 12, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I am not a fan of the term “Lazi” for quite a few reasons–I think that “bully” goes far enough. We do agree though that she is not a lactivist.

      April 12, 2012
      Reply
  118. The happier and more comfortable we feel with ourselves, the better of a parent we are. It’s not as much about what we feed them, but the love in our hearts that we have when we feed them. :) I breastfed my five children. A few for about a year, a few for about 6 months and then sleep deprivation and a few other factors just kicked my butt and I opted for formula. I suffered mastitis regularly due to being extremely large chested and went through the well-meaning advice from those who offered the suggestions I had already VERY painstakingly dedicated myself to, and tolerated unhappily the flow of criticism for those who told me to try harder because I obviously just wasn’t doing it right. Yep, there are Lactivists, and there are bullies. Perhaps the bullies fail big time on the personal level and so cling on to one thing that apparently makes them feel good about themselves… lactating. Yay for them.

    April 12, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I think that the love that goes into the food we feed our families matters a lot, too! Skin-to-skin bottle feeding with lots of love from both parents will fill our baby with good nutrition and good bonding vibes and all things good! 

      I think you’re right, too, that when it comes to bullying, when things get personal, chances are, the bully is facing something scary and personal. It’s got nothing to do with me, in other words.

      April 12, 2012
      Reply
  119. Calicomeezer said:

    I am so sorry that that person took that out on you. I personally feel that lactivists and their peers are often as bullying, pushy, and manipulative as they accuse the formula industry of being.

    Breast is best, to be sure, but for some it is simply not realistic or feasible. For me, it was not. I have a health condition (a couple, in fact), that made my supply so ridiculously low (and thin, unsatisfying it was for my daughter, too), that my baby would have starved while I did all the “right things” to fix it. Like you, I wanted to breastfeed, but it didn’t happen. For my own reasons, I chose not to seek donor milk, and did use formula.

    My daughter is a happy, active, talented, highly intelligent 5-year-old. I sometimes wonder if I could have breastfed would she have the food allergies she does, but I’d rather she lived and thrived in her infancy. I don’t regret my decision.

    Stay the course, Mama, and don’t ever let a bully tell you that you’re a bad mom. Best of luck and prayers for you.

    April 12, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I have to disagree; “lactivists and their peers” will never even come close to the manipulation formula companies practice. A few very vocal people bully under the name of lactivism, but that is by no means the same thing as pushing free samples on women in hospitals, pediatricians’ offices, TV and magazine ads. Formula companies try as hard as they are legally allowed to try to sell formula as completely equal to breastmilk. Which is not a true fact. 

      That is not to say that using formula is wrong. It is super duper awesome that formula exists! No one wants hungry babies! I am simply pointing out that multi-billion-dollar corporations with a product to sell are far and away more manipulative than breastfeeding activists.

      April 12, 2012
      Reply
  120. Bottle feeder said:

    Thank you for your article.  I experienced the same thing when I contacted breast feeding support group due to me not producing enough milk to feed my rather large 11 pound son.  I did everything I was advised to do religiously but it would still not come in other than a small amount at a time.  I remember spending the first month of my first child’s life in constant tears as I was told I was not trying hard enough.  I did not care about my child enough.  I was lazy and just wanted convenience.  As a first time mom these judgments devastated me and feedings became a dreaded nightmare as my son just couldn’t be satisfied by what I produced and I felt like a failure for not producing it. After a particularly sour meeting in my home I sent the cow packing and began bonding with my son as I fed him a bottle that filled him up and he fell asleep contented in my arms for the first time.  When I had my second son I experienced the same challenge.  When a member of the same support group attended the hospital I told her to get lost.  Of course she fired off what a terrible mother I would be but I disagree with those close minded and judgmental kooks.  My sons are both very healthy, get high grades in school and we are a very close family. And surprise!!! They were both bottle fed.  Certainly breast feeding is best but if you can’t do it you can’t do it.  It does not make you any less a great Mom.  It just attracts the kooks.  And who wants to listen to them when you have a wonderful new bundle of joy to enjoy.

    April 12, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      As soon as the name-calling begins, the “helpfulness” goes out the window. Of course you’re a close family! You focused on bonding with your kids instead of following a prescribed set of rules.

      April 12, 2012
      Reply
  121. Heganite said:

    My first daughter was almost a victim of SIDS and I breast fed. A fluke made me check on her, noticed she was lying peculiarly which saved her life.  Breast fed my second daughter until I went on medication for kidney stone. A nurse told me not to breast feed my third daughter, she was jaundiced and premature but felt guilt ridden and didn’t listen.  Finally listened to the nurse and stopped breast feeding. Within an afternoon her colour changed from yellow to healthy colour and she started to gain weight.  So, listen to yourself. If you want and can then breast feed, if not do as you want, it’s your baby and your life.

    April 12, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Oh my goodness, what you have been through! You, my friend, are a mother whose advice I will take. 

      April 12, 2012
      Reply
  122. Schmidttyj said:

    Good for you for sticking up for yourself!!! I tried breastfeeding and didn’t have enough milk. I tried domperidone, I found out after that it is excreted in breast milk and is illegal in the US because there’s not enough research to show long term effects in infants. But here in canada it’s supported and pushed if your milk supply is low. Also tried blessed thistle and fenugreek nothing worked finally gave up after 12 weeks of trying and having to supplement with formula as my lil boy was barely gaining weight. I lived with guilt for awhile not as much now though as someone once told me “did you have a baby to Breastfeed or to have a relationship with him”. So true! Glad you told her where to go!!

    April 13, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      You seem to have done absolutely everything you could do, and no one sane would ever ask for more. I’m glad that you’re able to focus on your relationship with your child–that’s the goal!

      April 20, 2012
      Reply
  123. Stephanie said:

    I got teary eyed reading this post.  My son is now 16 months but I still feel the pain of not being able to breastfeed him and knowing logically that I tried as hard and as long as I could but emotionally feeling like I failed.  I have not been bullied directly but have made the mistake of reading some “lactivist” blogs.  God even my Dr. Sears Baby Book can make me upset.  I just remind myself to be thankful I had formula available to me and especially clean running water to mix it with.  My son was diagnosed failure to thrive at his first Dr. appointment, thankfully my wonderful Dr. did not mention this until later!  It sucks that any of us should feel like we have to justify the choices we make as mothers to other mothers!  Just know that there are other women out there feeling the same way you feel and at the end of the day that baby has to eat and we can bond with the baby in many other ways then just breastfeeding!  Thank you so much for sharing your experience!!!!     

    April 20, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Stephanie, I LOVE that your comment focuses on your feelings. I mean, you know that Dr. Sears is not out to get you! And that doesn’t change feelings. We don’t have to be rational about our feelings. Lactivist blogs aren’t for you because they trigger those feelings of failure, but thank you for avoiding any sort of blanket statement about lactivism in general. We’ve all got to do what we can to stay sane and accept our own choices, to love ourselves so that our children see how to love themselves.

      April 20, 2012
      Reply
  124. I’d just like to comment on breastfeeding and using these medications.  First, if you are taking these meds while pregnant the baby is getting a far higher dose of the med in utero then through the breast milk. If baby is getting the meds now  they’ll have withdrawl after the birth.  With that said I understand the worry about breastfeeding with these medications. 

    A few options. You could flat out not breastfeed at all and use all donor milk with a bottle.  You could pump and dump your milk and breastfeed with a dry breast with an sns with would give the benefits of breastfeeding while minimizing drug transfer (which is really minimal even if your breastfed from your own milk, honest)  or you could do a combo of nursing with an sns at peak med times (about 2 1/2 hours after each dose) and nursing just prior to taking the med when your blood levels are at their lowest. 

    A little bit of the med (esp the effexor) may actually help the baby wean more gently from the high blood concentrations they were used to in utero.  After a few months the amount of meds in your blood should have little to no influence on the baby and you could go to full breastfeeding should you want to do that.  A newborn may very well have excessive sleepiness but a 1-3 month old is metabolically very different and able to handle more.  If you’re still concerned you could even wait until baby starts solids at 6 months and getting solid foods which helps balance out the very small amount of drugs in the milk.  Of course donor milk is a good option but it’s not the only option.  Taking these meds are going to affect the baby no matter if baby is breastfed or donor milk fed so that’s something to consider. 

    I do applaud you for doing your best to make sure your baby gets human milk and I hope that I may have given you some input on ways you could breastfeed if you want to have that experience too.

    May 23, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I am glad that you care. But I have talked to many experts about this, and I’m getting a little tired of repeating it to readers who haven’t bothered to go back and read my posts about my decision. 

      You are mistaken–the dose of meds in the milk is very unpredictable. And you can’t just test a sample, because it varies day by day. This is because medication is made to travel through the blood stream, not fat cells. I specifically asked the perinatal mental health expert whether breastfeeding would help with withdrawal. She said ABSOLUTELY NOT. I also take my meds about every three hours, so at certain points in the day, the maximum possible dose could be extremely high.

      Please remember that I have an *anxiety* disorder! I would go absolutely insane watching my firstborn for excessive sedation–and worst case means too sleepy to BREATH properly!–for months of my life. MY quality of life matters, here.

      Again, I appreciate your concern, but you are not as expert as you seem to think that you are. There is, in fact, no research specific to Effexor + Klonopin, so you really can’t know. NO ONE knows as much as I do about this. And I do not need more advice from people who don’t know me.

      May 23, 2012
      Reply
  125. katy said:

    My mum had quite a serious infection while breastfeeding me. Because it was asymptomatic she had no idea. It almost killed me as whatever is in the mother is in the breast milk and I have asthma and a shockingly bad immune system. My bottlefed brother is the complete opposite. My best friend lost her baby a year ago to SIDS. She was 4 months old and exclusively breastfed.

    The problem is as well as the zealots, the benefits, while there are a good few, they are often overstated. I just wish people would butt out of other people’s lives and just be happy with the fact that the child is getting fed and loved, instead of abused and neglected. If as much energy was put into stopping child neglect, like it is into breastfeeding, there may be a lot less suffering children in the world.

    I’m aware that the examples I gave are anecdotal. But so are many other peoples when discussing reasons for or against something.

    I’m also not here to bash anyone. Breastfeeding? Good for you. You’re doing a great job. Bottle feeding? Good for you. You’re also doing a good job.

    As for me. I bottlefed both my children. I didn’t want to breastfeed. Nor did I feel guilty or bully myself. And I am neither a bad, ignorant, lazy, uneducated woman, as some of the breastfeeders like to refer to us bottlefeeders. But I was able to bypass the self loathing because I was confident and secure with my choices and felt no need to seek validation for the parenting choices I made. I have 2 healthy, happy, well loved and supported children who have a huge family network that love them just as much as their dad and I do.

    So well done to you for sticking at it, even through all the tough times that would’ve broke many women. And well done for handling the sanctimonious bully so diplomatically. Unfortunately I would’ve been unable to bite my tongue as well as you did ;)

    April 27, 2014
    Reply
  126. PhilippJuicy said:

    I often visit your website and have noticed that you don’t update
    it often. More frequent updates will give your page higher rank & authority
    in google. I know that writing content takes a lot of time, but you can always help yourself with miftolo’s tools which will shorten the time of creating
    an article to a couple of seconds.

    July 5, 2018
    Reply
  127. lulaw lulaw said:

    I do it wherever and believe it is my right to do so, but then what does the wish to send us to the toilet, or the designation of toilet as the space to carry out the work of breastfeeding tell you about how breastfeeding is valued?

    December 26, 2018
    Reply

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.