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Old 01-13-2011, 10:14 PM   #1
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"Breastfeeding is over-rated"-Joan Wolfe interviewed in Macleans...

http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/01/10/author-joan-b-wolf-in-conversation/

I am apalled this was even allowed to be published. What do you y'all think?

Have any of you heard of her before, or by chance seen or read her book?

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Old 01-13-2011, 11:10 PM   #2
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Re: "Breastfeeding is over-rated"-Joan Wolfe interviewed in Macleans...

Why exactly shouldn't it be published???????? With freedom of press and all that. Plus there IS a lot of bad science in regards to breast feeding research.

Please don't get me wrong I'm 100% all for breast feeding but there is such a rosy picture of it out there right now and there ARE downfalls to BF'ing that people SHOULD be aware of. It's such a faux paux right now to say anything even remotely bad (or maybe "realistic" is a better word) about BF'ing. If people were more armed with the truth of the whole picture then I think people would be much more successful at BF'ing and happier and healthier in general. It seems that you can't say anything 'realistic' about BF'ing sometimes without getting jumped on and I for one am suffering through a bad illness that is seriously threatening my health that was caused by the BF'ing. It is very painful and due to the fact that BF'ing is so perfect I went through many care providers who didn't diagnose it correctly and I spent months in agony. If they had a more realistic view of BF'ing I probably wouldn't have suffered for so long.

Again don't get me wrong I'm a HUGE proponent of BF'ing and have personally helped 3 women go the BF'ing route when they were originally didn't have intentions of BF'ing. I also am very sad I don't get to keep BF'ing my DD. So when I say this it's not that I want people to bash BF'ing I just want people to have a more realistic view of it and the research that supports it.
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:13 PM   #3
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Re: "Breastfeeding is over-rated"-Joan Wolfe interviewed in Macleans...

I actually liked this article. I don't think the article is anti-breastfeeding at all. I found that it didn't dispute that breastfeeding is great, it just pointed out that the importance of breastfeeding might be exaggerated in today's society. It definitely acknowledges the benefits, but also asks the reader to question why it appears to be so good, and to think about contexts where it may not be ideal. It merely prompts thought and discussion, on the role breasfeeding has taken on in society and what it means to women when they choose to bf and when they don't.

I found the most interesting part of the article was that discussing why breastfeeding studies may be flawed.
The primary problem with breastfeeding research is this: these studies compare babies who have been breastfed with babies who were formula-fed. But they can’t control for critical confounding variables—something associated with breastfeeding that is itself also associated with better health outcomes. For example, one thing we know is that women who are middle class or more highly educated are more likely to breastfeed. So more recent studies say, let’s control for class and education and see if they make a difference, and in some cases they do. But none of the studies have been able to control for the decision to breastfeed. This is to say that mothers who choose to breastfeed usually do so because they have been persuaded that it has health benefits. These are the kinds of mothers who are willing and able to go the extra mile to provide the healthiest environment for their child.

I also appreciated that it acknowledged the pressure put on women to bf today, and that it might not be best for every woman and for every family.

This comes from someone who spent 7 months working so hard to breastfeed, that it actually harmed her family. I am one of the unfortunate few who couldn't bf...at least not properly. Despite nursing round the clock, pumping for half an hour after every feeding session, supplementing at the breast with an SNS after DS ended up at Sick Kids Hospital at 8 days old since he was starving to death and dehydrated, frantically researching and then consuming every herb or drug that might help, crying constantly for months because something that was supposed to be natural just wasn't happening. DS refused to even latch at 3.5 months old - face it...would you latch if there was nothing there. I pumped 8-12 times a day for the next 3.5 months. The most I was ever able to produce was 14oz in one day, and most days it was 4oz or less. I went to see Dr. Jack Newman every other week for 4 months, along with countless other lactation consultants who ultimately agreed that I would never be able to breastfeed.

My husband and I can't remember anything from DS's first 4 months other than panicking about how we were going to feed him. I worked on a 2 hour cycle for almost 4 months, where I would nurse for an hour, including trying to get my nipple and the darn feeding tube into his mouth at the same time, then I would pass off DS to DH and pump for half an hour, getting nothing more than a couple drops in the pump collector, sleep for 20 minutes, get up to clean and sterilize the lactation aid and prepare more formula before starting over again. Our lives were miserable...I didn't enjoy my son because all efforts were directed at feeding him. I threw in the towel after 7 months when I was locked in a bathroom at a family member's funeral, pumping and getting nothing. I'm still depressed about it today, and he's 10.5 months old.

I wish someone, like the author above, would have said that it was ok. Not breastfeeding wouldn't doom my son to a life of misery and ill health. In my case, breastfeeding was not best for my family. I'm sure there are lots of other situations where its not.

The sad thing is that with my next child, I will probably go through the same thing again. I can't imagine not even trying to bf, but I'm not sure if it's because bfing is that much better than formula from a medical/scientific perspective, or because society currently perceives it to be better. I think the article was trying to get at the heart of this pressure, asking us to examine the reasons for it.

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Old 01-13-2011, 11:34 PM   #4
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Re: "Breastfeeding is over-rated"-Joan Wolfe interviewed in Macleans...

I don't find the article offensive at all. Personally, I don't find bf'ing to be this wonderful golden liquid that it's touted as. Yes, breast is best, it's natural and all that, but I don't consider it to be the magic elixir people seem to rave about. I bf DS until he was 23 months, and DD is still going at 20 months, but did it because it just seemed like the natural choice.
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Old 01-14-2011, 12:00 AM   #5
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Re: "Breastfeeding is over-rated"-Joan Wolfe interviewed in Macleans...

That's not why I don't like it. I have a very love-hate thing with breastfeeding and the pressures around brest vs. bottle feeding. As I too, spent 6-7 months trying to get my supply back after it, at 4 months of great breastfeeding (she latched on perfectly within the first hour after birth and I found it just as easy), just depleted to practically nothing. To the point where my DD was losing weight. While we were driving across the country to move to our new home, I was pumping while driving the entire time. I pumped, breast fed and bottle fed for months, it was a terrible battle and a vicious cycle. Everytime I wanted to give up, my depression worsened, but the physical toll it had on me and the strain it put on my relationship with my DH was terrible. I finally gave up when my DD was 11 months old.

There were SO many false claims from this self-proclaimed feminist, just things we KNOW for a fact she is wrong about. For example:
Quote:
there is no evidence that what you do has any impact on the fetus.
I mean, guess I can go back to drinking heavily next time I'm pregnant if she's right about that.


I agree with many points she has about society and the unrealistic demands we put on mothers today, but I think this woman is seriously confused about why some people DO chose to breastfeed. She thinks the ones who do it because they like it are so few and far between...which is just not really the case.
It's not like it's a new thing that society views breastfeeding as the "normal" "natural" thing to do. It's because that's what it is. That's all it is, it's the natural thing to do. We are lucky enough to live in a time when in the even a mother cannot do what is biologically "normal" for our species, we have an alternative.

But again, that is not the view of the lady who is writing books telling girls, and expectant mothers that breastfeeding is not really best. It's not a matter of being best or not, it's a matter of being what we were built to do. But the woman being interviewed doesn't seem to get that.

She just seems very confused on what she is really talking about, and doesn't know how to bring attention to the only real issue she has brought up, which is the completely unreasonable pressures we put on mothers, and that mothers put on each other. It's sickening the way we all treat each other, and let others treat us.

I can't tell you how many times I've been berated for breastfeeding, but I've also been berated for bottle feeding.

Last edited by novemberlily; 01-14-2011 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 01-14-2011, 12:12 AM   #6
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Re: "Breastfeeding is over-rated"-Joan Wolfe interviewed in Macleans...

I also have to disagree with PP who said that it's a faux pas to say anything bad about breastfeeding....
Have you been to a grocery store...Have you seen the television...Have you spoken to a doctor or nurse??

When I was in the hospital, there was a student nurse, who had NEVER seen a young mother like me (she was actually younger than me) breastfeed.
Everyone told me how HARD it was going to be and much it was going to HURT and it is a terrible experience and bottle feeding is SO much easier and that formula is "practically" the same as breast milk anyways.

People tell you, you need a cover, and God forbid you ever show a side or top boob or millisecond flash of nipple as it goes into your babies mouth. Or better yet, go sit in the bathroom and breastfeed your kid there, because we don't want to see that.


Which is one of the only good points this writer brings up. I actually just looked up her book, and the reviews/comments about it are not very good. It seems she is much more anti-breastfeeding her book...so I'm kind of conflicted.
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Old 01-14-2011, 12:14 AM   #7
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Re: "Breastfeeding is over-rated"-Joan Wolfe interviewed in Macleans...

But this article definitely brings up some good discussion points
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:30 AM   #8
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Re: "Breastfeeding is over-rated"-Joan Wolfe interviewed in Macleans...

Quote:
Originally Posted by novemberlily View Post
I also have to disagree with PP who said that it's a faux pas to say anything bad about breastfeeding....
Have you been to a grocery store...Have you seen the television...Have you spoken to a doctor or nurse??

When I was in the hospital, there was a student nurse, who had NEVER seen a young mother like me (she was actually younger than me) breastfeed.
Everyone told me how HARD it was going to be and much it was going to HURT and it is a terrible experience and bottle feeding is SO much easier and that formula is "practically" the same as breast milk anyways.

People tell you, you need a cover, and God forbid you ever show a side or top boob or millisecond flash of nipple as it goes into your babies mouth. Or better yet, go sit in the bathroom and breastfeed your kid there, because we don't want to see that.


Which is one of the only good points this writer brings up. I actually just looked up her book, and the reviews/comments about it are not very good. It seems she is much more anti-breastfeeding her book...so I'm kind of conflicted.
That was me that talked about the faux pas against being realistic about BF'ing. I'm not talking about BF'ing in public issues at all. What I'm talking about is it's a faux pas to talk about the limitations of BF'ing in health related issues.

And YES I have spoken to doctors/health providers about it. They are the ones who had their heads in the clouds so much that it caused me to suffer for months on end because they simply could not make the connection that the problem was caused by the all perfect BF'ing.

I have lactational atrophic vaginitis. It's a problem caused by having too low estrogen levels, right now I have almost no circulating estrogen. The issue can be brought on by menopause or lactation. It took me 5 health care providers before I finally got diagnosed and got treatment. I was told I MUST have an STD (while they were looking at all the negative test results) and that to be careful because my DH MUST be cheating on me because certainly this can't be caused by BF'ing. I finally diagnosed myself and talked to the 5th care provider who also couldn't really believe the problem could be caused by BF'ing but was willing enough to hear me out and finally agreed it could be a possibility and prescribed me meds. Now the problem has continued (although the vaginitis is under control) and it looks as though I may have a pit. tumor. This is when I finally began to realize that my hopes of BF'ing dd to at least 2 years would be dashed and that I would have to start weaning at 19 months pp. When I told a friend that it's very likely I have a tumor and need to stop BF'ing to stop exacerbating the problem she told me that 'breast is best' and I should do everything in my power to continue BF'ing until dd was 3. I then informed her that I was having heart palpitations, joint aches, the vaginitis etc, that dd is now 19 months and a very strong little girl... and she proceeded to tell me that the BF'ing can't possibly be making the problem worse because breast is all natural and people wouldn't have evolved over time if it's possible this problem could happen. There is a similar comment on breastfeeding.com by an LC who was answering a women's question. The women has my problem and was asking if it's possible it's BF'ing related and that was the advice the LC gave her.

SO yes I'm going to stand by my earlier statement and say there are health care providers out there who just can't believe that it's possible for BF'ing to cause problems.
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:32 AM   #9
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Re: "Breastfeeding is over-rated"-Joan Wolfe interviewed in Macleans...

Quote:
Originally Posted by novemberlily View Post

There were SO many false claims from this self-proclaimed feminist, just things we KNOW for a fact she is wrong about. For example:


I mean, guess I can go back to drinking heavily next time I'm pregnant if she's right about that.
I think we need to look at this statement in context...it was following the interviewer's admission that she didn't eat tuna for 10 years before getting pregnant.

You try to design the optimal womb. What soap do I use, is Diet Coke okay, can I still dye my hair? And the truth is that in most instances, there is no evidence that what you do has any impact on the fetus.

It's true that pregnant women are largely paranoid about what they can and can't do. I even stopped using my favorite cosmetics because I worried they might not be good for the baby. Really, we don't know how all of these things affect the fetus. I think she was talking about these benign every-day things, not things that we know are harmful like drugs, alcohol, etc.
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:47 AM   #10
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Re: "Breastfeeding is over-rated"-Joan Wolfe interviewed in Macleans...

I think there is a very real pressure today for women to abandon themselves, and sacrifice all for their children. Obviously, we mamas would do anything in our power to nurture and protect our children, but sometimes I wonder if all the things we are doing - giving up tuna, fighting to bf when it's not possible, worrying over every immunization, abandoning careers, etc. is really beneficial to our children. I'd never really thought about it until I read this article, so, if nothing else, it has been really thought provoking.

On a side note - my experience was very different from yours. The hospital I delivered at was very pro-bfing...everyone did. They had classes running 3 times a day, lactation consultants visiting the rooms. It was great for those who bf but they didn't respect the decision of women who chose not to bf. I get dirty looks all the time for bottle-feeding my son in public, and random strangers stopped me on the subway to ask if I was bfing and then to scold me when I admitted I was not ebfing.
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