What happens when an Overeducated RN applies Science to Motherhood

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What Junkies and Formula-Feeding Moms Have in Common

They were both duped. One by the corner drug dealer, and one by the socially acceptable huge corporation. Or actually, maybe both by a friend. Regardless-the scenerio is the same. Mr Drug Dealer "Oh come on, you can just try it once, no big deal. If  you don't like it you don't have to do it again. You won't get hooked after just one try. And you know what? This first ones' free-on the house. Check it out. You'll like it, you'll be back".   Mr Formula company might be legal, but it's the same game. "Breastfeeding is best, but just in case it doesn't go well, or you're tired, or your husband wants to help out-here's a freebie. It's on us. And some coupons to buy more. But, you shouldn't use them-because breastfeeding is better. But, you know, in case you want to-our stuff is just as good. It's more like breastmilk all the time."

Mr Formula company even has it a little bit easier than Mr Drug Dealer.  Mr Formula has the doctors and nurses pushing it for them! And the magazines! Mr Drug Dealer isn't having much luck getting Mr Policeman to advertise for him. I have yet to meet a cop with a 'Try the New and Improved Crack-Pipe' Pen. Or nametag clip. Or post-it note. Or cookies for that matter. Not so much with Mr Formula man-he's got every doctor, nurse, medical secretary out there eating his lunch, using his pen, displaying his mousepad-and hocking more free samples. Just to keep you hooked. Just 'in case'.

See, where as Mr Drug Dealer's stuff acts on your brain, and makes you physically want more...Mr Formula Company's stuff acts on your Boobies (yep, your boobies-you gotta love 'em). And that formula drug makes your boobies make less milk. 'Cause when you use that formula, you don't use your boobies, and then they make less of the good stuff. The free stuff. So then next time, when you go to your boobies and ask them for some milk-there isn't enough there! So you have to go and pull out a bit more of that 'free sample'. And then  you might find next time you go to get some free milk from your boobies-there's a bit less there. And pretty soon you find yourself out of your 'free sample' and at the store buying some product from Mr Formula Company. And it ain't so cheap. 'Cause you gotta cover the cost of all the free samples they're giving to the new customers.

Just like with Junkies-there are some mommas who need some formula. Just like some Junkies start out needing pain medication. At first the Junkie just needs a little pain meds to feel better. But, if their doctor doesn't get them the help they need, if they take the easy way out and just write them another prescription, pretty soon they need more and more. Just like some mommas need some formula to get started. But if that doctor/nurse doesn't take the extra time to help that momma pump, look at her diet, see what is going on with her health and her hormones, help her with a plan to get her milk supply up-they're just going to keep throwing a little bit more and a little bit more of a supplement at them. 'Til there just isn't enough milk there to keep up. And then you've got another addict.

Mr Formula Company and Mr Drug Dealer have a lot in common. Neither of them are very honest. Their stuff really isn't safe. It can hurt you. It often does. But they both want you hooked for sure. They both love their repeat customers.

46 comments:

  1. It is amazing what companies will try to convince you is GOOD for you, all in the name of the mighty dollar.

    Makes me think of those commercials for HFCS.... it's good for you!!! Brought to by the Corn Farmers of America! Seriously. Oiy.

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  2. What about those mothers who actually could not breastfeed? There are different situations and I don't think it is your place to be such a harsh judge. Who are you anyway? As a breastfeeding mom, I cringe when I read blogs from breastfeeding mothers like you. We are all painted with the same brush: judgemental snobs.

    I do agree with some of your points. I just think it could have been worded differently. Your attemps at being witty were lost on me.

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  3. This is one of the most hurtful things I've ever read. You might want to consider that many, many FF moms experience a lot of guilt, feeling as though they didn't try hard enough, weren't good enough, etc. We have enough of these feelings on our own, without people like you coming along to pass more judgement and make us feel even more like failures. My mind is completely blown. I want to attack you in the way I feel you just attacked moms who formula feed, but I'll take the high road on this one.

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  4. As a mom who BF'd for many months but eventually had to give in to formula for a few different reasons this is INCREDIBLY rude. I'm sorry but I would rather my child be
    'addicted' to formula than go hungry! Think what you want about formula but in the end, it WAS what was BEST for my baby!

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  5. Did you seriously just equate formula with drugs? Here is my idea...pump! You even suggested it yourself. If you supplement, then pump...hmm look that stops the "supposed" addiction.

    This is a juvenillle attempt at wit, when all it actually shows is an ignorance that is by far surpassed in your breastfeeding superiority.

    You have my pity and prayers that nothing ever happens to you or your supply (might want to get a generator) so that your children won't be dependent on the man for nourishment.

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  6. a) how dare you! b) should I compare a BF momma to a whore because she has her breasts sucked on all day? OF COURSE NOT because that is not that case. As a woman who could not breastfeed, I do not appreciate know-it-all's like you comparing me to a junkie!

    May your boobs dry up and your child go hungry!

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  7. Seriously? I could not breastfeed..my milk NEVER came in. So now I'm a junkie?!? I threw effing cans and bottles around my kitchen crying and throwing a fit the first time I had to make my baby a bottle. It's people like you who make me feel EVEN WORSE. What a story, what a blog. Again, seriously? It's not my fault. Would you have rathered my baby starve?? I can't believe you think you are so smart..you don't even consider moms like me. I was the ONLY one to go to my local health unit for a free breastfeeding class, the only one!! I refused supplement in the hospital because of blood sugar fluctuations, I fixed it myself with what little colostrum or milk I had made. You make me sick, and actually proud to go make bottles for my child so he can be healthy.

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  8. Are you really serious about this? The whole tone and concept of this post is DISGUSTING!!! Like other posters have said in previous comments, have you even considered the moms that physically can't breastfeed due to medical conditions. I'm SO glad I didn't read this when I was trying to BF. My milk supply is extremely low. I tried for 3 weeks straight to BF my son. It took a serious emotional toll on my as mother. I literally tried everything that I could to increase my supply. Oatmeal, fenugreek, the milk teas, pumping OTC...NOTHING WORKED!! I was at the lactation consultants twice a week, even they could see that my body wasn't producing the milk. Finally they told me to try Reglan. I asked my OB about and she said with my depression history Reglan is out of the question. You don't know the toll it takes on a mother to know you can't feed your own child. You feel like there is no point for you to be on this earth if you can't provide for your child. This was one of the most heartbreaking experiences I've been through and you have the nerve to compare me to a drug addict? Like I said, I'm glad I didn't read this when I was trying to BF, who knows, if I actually got the prescription for the Reglan and read this, my son might not even have a mom. Not to sound so doom and gloom hun, but that's the reality of it. It's just like the situations with kids and their bullies.

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  9. so here's a question. what about the active duty military moms who want to breastfeed but get deployed soon after the baby is born and cant BF because they are overseas? hmmm i think you are a very close minded individual.

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  10. Yeah, well my baby was lactose intolerant and I couldn't bf him. I was BFing him for a month and all he did was throw up and had poop all day everyday until I switched him to formula. There are so many women who have to ff not because they want to but because they have too. I would much rather ff then let my baby starve. You seriously have problems. At least the babies are getting fed, and you need help. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. I seriously hope that your boobs go so dry you can't get a drop out of them.

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  11. I am an exclusively breastfeeding Mom and I find your post highly disturbing - if you want more Moms to breastfeed why not give support instead of attacking? You need an attitude adjustment. Like a pp said, all you have to do if you want to supplement is PUMP. Not that I would supplement, but the fact that you can pump in place of a feeding kind of debunks the entire argument, which is full of holes to begin with.

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  12. Those with negative comments seem to be missing the point of the post. I did not see anything negative directed at formula feeding mothers; the negativity is aimed toward formula manufacturers and their misleading advertising and promotion techniques. Of course there are those women who are legitimately, physiologically unable to breastfeed but they are few and far between. The majority of women who are unable to breastfeed usually are sabotaged by formula samples, well-meaning (but uneducated) family members, and ill-informed doctors, which is what this poster is attempting to point out.

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  13. You are the person that gives BFing moms a bad name! It's people like you that make me hesitate to tell people I am BFing! I don't want people to think I am a judgemental snob - like you! I'm not sure that is what you were trying to do ... but you suffer from the BFing Know It All Syndrome. When some people BF they all the sudden become know it alls who feel the need to educate everyone around them regardless of whether or not they want to be "educated"! Just breast feed your baby and keep your mouth closed!!!

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  14. I find this to be incredibly offensive. There are some mothers who cannot BF... are they to let their babies starve because YOU don't like the advertising that formula manufactures do? Seriously... WTH?!?!?!

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  15. Since I actually read your first post as well, I know that your work puts you in a position to have lots of knowledge and experience in this area. I see that you are not just another "know it all BFing mom" as some other commenters have accused. While I appreciate the true point of the entry- that formula companies prey on misinformation and lack of support systems at a very difficult time in any mother's life- I do think your comparison to a drug addict is somewhat harsh to FFing moms. They are "addicted" only because they want to care for their babies. I think a better way to think of it is "committed." Sure, the formula companies use what I consider unethical tactics to get more customers- but in the end they too are providing nourishment for babies and that is in no way comparable to illicit drug use! I think the comparison is excessive. But thanks for making me consider the point regarding formula companies!

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  16. you breastfeeding moms have the market cornered on being a good mom. The rest of us will go do our drugs and harm our children.

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  17. Get over yourself. You give breastfeeding moms a bad name.

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  18. Really? So ... illegal drugs are the same as formula because suddenly illegal drugs are good for babies? Helps them grow? Is readily and legally available?

    You're absolutely freaking ridiculous. And trust me, you've got that whole "overeducated" thing OH so wrong.

    By the way, let's hope that your precious boobs don't ever fail you ... I'd hate for your baby to have to go on DRUGS- oops I mean FORMULA - to survive.

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  19. Calm down people! It's not an attack on FF mothers. It's an open look at the companies and health care professionals pushing formula on new parents.
    No one can make anyone feel guilty. If one feels anything at all, own those feelings and deal with them. The majority of women can breastfeed. The ones that don't or "can't" usually are due to not getting the help they need to be successful. It is up to us as women and mothers to take responsibility for educating ourselves and getting the help we need.

    Of course formula is an alternative if one chooses not to BF. It is acceptable as a source of infant nutrition.

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  20. You're a snarky, demeaning b****. Like a PP said, I hope your milk dries up and you are forced to use the "filthy drug" you have such contempt for. Because it would give me no greater joy then to laugh in your self-important face.

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  21. I completely see where you are coming from. I see too many mothers who start supplementing and then their milk "mysteriously" dries up. And the worst part is that they don't even see the correlation. It almost happened to me and I wish that I had never seen all that formula they sent me home from the hospital with! It took me 6 weeks to finally be able to exclusively breastfeed. Nursing was hard and I fell into the trap of supplementing "just this once" because she was hungry and I was tired. I was able to catch myself, but too many well-meaning moms who genuinely WANT to breast feed aren't that lucky and they are left formula feeding their babies and wondering what went wrong. It makes me sad.

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  22. Is it lonely up there on your pedestal?

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  23. Dude, get your shit together.

    Do you feel good sounding like an asshole. This is one of the worst blogs I've seen in a bit.

    I think enough comments put you in your place already, but just wanted to add you sound seriously stupid.

    Yes, stupid. Stupid are the ones who think that everyone can breastfeed and everyone should. Get a grip. And get over yourself. I feel sorry for you.

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  24. I hope you don't hurt too much from that fall off that horse of your's...

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  25. Ok... so I will gladly admit that I had absolutely no intention or desire to BF when I was pregnant. It was not until my milk came in, and it did so with a vengeance, that I decided to think about trying. Guess what! Then I had to return to the doctor because the "safe" antibiotics he gave me to clear up the infection in my c/s incision (yet another thing you will undoubtedly judge me for) were not working. They had to prescribe something stronger that could have been fatal should I have decided to BF. So on to the formula she went, healed up I became, and I have a healthy, beautiful, emotionally bonded baby girl who I will raise to (unlike you) respect people for their free will and ability to exercise it effectively.

    Take care and enjoy BF'ing happily... and remember your sisters who aren't so lucky or those who have made an alternate choice and support them all.

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  26. I do agree that the formula companies are definitely "pushers". I thought it was really telling when I got my 2 free diaper bags when I delivered my twins. I wanted one of each style so I ended up with one marked "for breastfeeding support" and one marked "for formula feeding support". The formula feeding one had a large sample size can & loads of coupons, and the "breastfeeding support" one had those little single serving bottles complete with PRE-STERILIZED nipples. I cannot think of anything they could have done short of sticking the bottle in my baby's mouth to make it easier to use their product. I thought it was pretty creepy of them honestly.

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  27. "What Junkies and Formula-Feeding Moms Have in Common"

    Not an attack on FF moms??? Oh please.

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  28. I get that your proud of your choice to breastfeed your baby, and congratulations on being able to. I wanted to breastfeed my baby, but due to medical complications was unable to. So thank you for equating my painful experience of the choice being taken from me, to a strung out junkie. I hate buying formula, I would much rather be breastfeeding and I want to breastfeed my next child. Your condescension and narrow mindedness reigns apparent in this article.

    So what do you think the baby formula company should do? Stop selling formula expect for specialized conditions, or formula all together? Stop offering samples to confused parents so they can find out what works best for their baby instead of having to buy one of each, that would make them even more money. I think that it is socially responsible to offer some kind of a solution if you are going to call out a problem like this, and it seems like you think this is a problem.

    Quick follow up question? Do you have anything against cow's milk? Cow's milk is something that is prevalent in Western cultures but but not in Africa, Asia, and some parts of S. America. The ability to digest lactose is generally lost or decreased by adolescence. However, the push by the dairy industry to emphasis the health benefits of milk has also crossed over into the medical field. So in your same sting of reasoning... Cows are like Meth labs.

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  29. I have to agree with many of the other PPs this was incredibly hurtful. My son had enlarged adenoids(we didn't know this for quite a while) and wasn't able to breastfeed well. I tried and tried but I couldn't pump and he wasn't eating enough. By the time we figured out what his problem was my milk had dried up. I tried to get breast milk from somewhere else but do you have any idea how hard that is?! Unless you have a real medical condition its practically impossible. I tried making my formula but couldn't afford to keep it up, and it took so much time. Its been five months and I still cry about feeding him formula. I never wanted to formula feed but had too, did you even take people like me into consideration when you wrote this insensitive crap?

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  30. HOW IS THIS NOT AN ATTACK ON FORMULA FEEDING MOTHERS? READ THE FUCKING TITLE!

    "What Junkies and Formula-Feeding Moms Have in Common."

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  31. Yeah the title says it all, but the header of the blog is confusing - I see no peace nor love in her blogs.

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  32. Yeah, I agree with Laura. You're stupid and I'd like to slap you in your self riteous face. You want to know why i chose not To breastfeed? Because After 9 months i wanted my body back. I wanted it to be my own again. Gasp! I should probably be stoned for it! You're uneducated and ignorant. You really pissed me off but fortunately, I can leave this site and go about my life. You have to continue to be you. Good luck with that... Idiot.

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  33. Apparently, some lessons in remedial English are in order. The argument is an analogy, and an interesting and accurate one at that. Reading comprehension and a course in logic may do some folks good as well.

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  34. It is amazing to me how many posters totally missed the point, I really hope more new moms read this and is less likely to allow formula in their homes before baby is home. Statistics show that you have a much higher success rate to breastfeed if it isn't around, for this exact reason.

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  35. Since we're so big on analogy around here let me share a little story.

    My son was born three months premature, with two days warning, and barely survived his first five minutes out of the womb. My wife barely survived the delivery.

    If it weren't for an observant nurse during a routine checkup my wife's rapid onset preeclampsia would have killed both her and my son. To say that this was a physically trying or psychologically stressful time would be an understatement.

    I tell you this so you have some idea why your cookie cutter drug junkie analogy is stereotypically simplistic, offensive, and naive. My wife was with my son nearly every the entire three months he was in intensive care. She had the best hospital grade pump available, and her diet was optimally primed for milk production. None of this prevented our need for formula.

    While she was fully capable of producing milk, and indeed managed to do so successfully for two and a half months, my son lacked the capability to suck. Like me he suffers from a mild case of the congenital abnormality known as ankyloglossia. This defect causes an enlarged lingual frenulum and results in decreased tongue mobility. In other words, he's tongue tied. His ability to suck is akin to a poorly sealed vacuum. Both try their hardest to work, they go through all the right motions, but the simple physics of lacking pressure differentials means neither is able to accomplish their goal.

    Why do I mention this? It's simple, really. In order to provide breast milk for our son my wife was required to pump, clean the equipment, bottle the milk, bottle feed our son, and rest. The problem arose in that we're not independently wealthy, and I was required to return to work after the first two weeks. This left all of the responsibility for feeding to my wife for the 13 hours a day I was gone, and little time for sleep or her own personal healthy. Due to a combination of physical exhaustion and an acute stress response her body slowly shut down milk production. Nothing we tried stopped this decline, and we tried everything available.

    Now I understand from your sidebar blurb that you're an educated NUCI nurse with an emphasis on lactation, so when I say we tried all available options you should understand that I mean ALL available options. Every solution offered by your peers from the diet changes to suckling aids, pharmacological stimulants to exercises, every known solution to lactation failure was tried. None of them worked, full stop. We even looked into milk banks, but none serve our area or anywhere near to us. This leaves formula as the only viable source of nutrition.

    Without formula supplementation my son would have died before his third month. This is indisputable. The NICU was in lockdown nearly the entire time we were there. You claim that my son's formula was a dangerous substance akin to harmful illicit drugs. That it harms, if not his body, then the bodies of other children. Yet my son's case is not unique. Indeed your profession should make you more aware than most just how common his situation is.

    You may cite whatever hormone or nutrient balance arguments you like, and it's true that formula doesn't exactly mimic the properties of human milk. The simple fact though is that without formula my son and a great many premature infants would be dead without it. There was no other option, it WAS the other option. Our choice was either starvation or formula, so if you'll understand if we scoff at the notion we've harmed our son. He is, developmentally advanced to the point where he regularly scores two to three months ahead of his chronological peers in cognitive and skills-based tests.

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  36. Is formula ideal? Certainly not. Are there mom's looking for a simple alternative to breast feeding regardless of their ability to lactate? Of course there are, and that's unfortunate but inevitable. Are they the only people who use formula? No, far from it.

    Your analogy fails because it assumes formula is used almost exclusively as a replacement by lazy parents, that giving a child formula is akin to a drug 'fix'. Nothing in your post suggests there's ever a legitimate need for formula. In fact, if anything your casual analogy of legitimate formula needs being similar to pain killers being a gateway drug to dependance is a rather unsubtle jab at what one can only guess you see as "supposed valid" reasons. It drips of condescension. The argument comparing junkies to formula parents is both simplistic and offensive, and I'm glad to see that you've been called out for it.

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  37. You're an idiot, simple as that.

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  38. You are disgusting. You bring shame to ALL mothers with your ignorant filth that you pass off as knowledge.

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  39. I, personally, have never felt like formula companies were "pushing" their product on me & my children. I'm sure that's not true with others, but seriously, to say that it's the same as drugs?! Ridiculous! It's also very insulting to many people.
    I have 3 children. The first was born 12wks early & I was encouraged to pump for his food, which I did for 6 months! It wasn't enough for him & we also had to give him a high calorie formula that had to be special ordered. I tried to breast feed once he was physically able, but he refused. With my 2nd child I was able to breast feed for 3 months before realizing that all the issues we had been having were due to him being lactose intolerant. Thankfully, with my 3rd, I have been able to EBF for 8 months so far. It hasn't been easy, but it has been a wonderful thing for me. If, for some reason I had to give my child formula, you bet I would do everything in my power to keep my child fed & healthy!
    Formula companies might be there for the money, but they have standards & regulations. They're closely scrutinized & they keep food in babies bellies! Just think how many women & children has those "free samples" helped because they couldn't afford that can of food at the moment? I know it's helped me in the past & I am grateful for it.

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  40. "Their stuff really isn't safe. It can hurt you. It often does. But they both want you hooked for sure. They both love their repeat customers."

    First off. How dare you? I exclusively breastfed my baby for 6 months. I don't normally "defend" myself on the reasons for quitting but in this case I am just going to. You are right. I am hooked. I am hooked to feeding my daughter. I am a repeat customer as well, since my baby needs to eat. My milk supply drop WAS (sorta) my fault. Let me tell you why.

    I am a stay at home mom. I had all the time in the world to sit at home with my boobs out feeding my baby. I had no where to go and no reason to supplement. I guess you could say I was "ideal?" to your standards of what a mom should be? I am sure mom being a SOLDIER is not ideal to your standards of motherhood. I am in the Reserves. The first 6 months I leaked through my confidence and land nav courses. I took pt tests while engorged. I woke up 2 hours before formation to pump and excused myself from an all male squad to go sit in the bathroom for 45 minutes pumping. And then came the "2 weeks a year" part of the deal. I had to leave my 5 month old baby for 2 weeks. I stocked up as much as I could. One day my husband called me and told me we were out of breastmilk. I told him to go buy formula, hung up, and cried. I pumped as much as I could during those 2 weeks. When I returned home... nothing. My body was not producing enough milk to feed my baby. I had to turn to the crackhead on the sidewalk and score some powder for my baby. I did all the things "they" say you should do to rebuild your supply, but nothing. Within a few days I was having to give her an 8 oz bottle after each nursing session or let her starve. Within a few days my boobs weren't making any milk. I didn't even go though a period of engorgement due to my "supply" being so minimal. So you know what, f*** you.

    By the way, which hospital do you work at? I am sure your patients would love to know what you REALLY think of their decision to feed their child.

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  41. You're an ass and Dustin is my hero

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  42. I find your post to be very condesending and highly offensive! How about next time you write an intelligent post with facts to support your opinions. To compare a mother who is simply feeding their child to a junkie is downright rude! Though breast may be best formula is not going to harm nor kill your child and for some is the only way to feed their child! I assure you no one has ever pushed formula down my throat. In fact it was the opposite and I was urged by everyone to breastfeed! My daughters need for formula is beyond a "want"! There are numerous ways to show people the pros of breastfeeding without being disrespectful! Your post highlights your lack of tact! I hope you are raising your children to be less cruel and more open-minded then you come off!

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  43. I agree with whoever said you're an idiot and anyone that agrees with you is an idiot as well.
    You should be ashamed of yourself. Unfortunatley, I know you're not because you have your head too far up your own ass to realize the world is NOT black and white. Be glad you have the drive and the ability to breastfeed and keep your completely ignorant opinions to yourself. You're just making yourself look like a jackass.

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  44. This is amazing. I'm the worst kind- I chose to FF both of my kids. Oh my God, the HORROR!!!!!!!!! No company pushed shit on me. I did it b/c that is what I, as a free human being, wanted to do. My kids are healthy, smart and awesome. Thanks for trying though, it was cute. Breastmilk doesn't cure the "My mom's a stupid bitch and I got stuck with her" disease.

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  45. how dare you. you are one very rude, judgemental person. i hope that you never have to endure not being able to phisically feed your baby because then you would be considered a junky.

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  46. Ridiculous - you act as though formula feeding moms are stupid robots. I breastfed and now formula feed. It's because I chose to, not because I am some idiot "duped" by formula companies. People like you are so, so terribly condescending. I am going to guess by your writing style and your poor analytical skills that I am smarter and more educated than you are. If anyone here is a robot, it's you - you swallowed the lactofanatic pills handed out by the La Leche League.

    You've done all breastfeeding moms a disservice, too. We won't have public support for breastfeeding moms (acceptance of nursing in public, maternity leave, pumping accommodation, free lactation service for low-income women) as long as irrational, angry, judgmental people like you are pretending to speak on behalf of the rest of us. Bravo.

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