Fed* is Best

Here is the problem with the “Fed is Best” campaign. Well, there are several problems actually.
Let’s talk about the people that share this catch phrase. These people are usually self-proclaimed scientists or consider themselves to be superior in that they follow the science of things. These people are also Facebook pages that are supposed to be about science. They usually promote the science about vaccines, GMOs, and other areas that are full of pseudoscience.

So why is it they are unable to acknowledge the scientific consensus about infant feeding? All sense of the scientific method flies out the window and it is all about feelings. They claim they don’t want to “shame” parents that feed formula. But they have no problem shaming parents that don’t vaccinate. They have no problem shaming parents that shop exclusively at Whole Foods.

I find that these science pages are also up on social justice and privilege. They are quick to call out “all lives matter” on their bullshit that minimizes Black Lives Matter. But they don’t see the hypocrisy of the “Fed is Best” campaign in that it is analogous to the “All lives Matter” counter-campaign. Just like BLM existed to assert their power and claim their right to a society that has always held power over them. So did the “Breast is Best” campaign begin to promote the importance of infant feeding choice in a society where artificial baby milk was the default choice.

The “Fed is Best” slogan is not harmless, and while it may make a parent feel better for a moment, you are harming many more infants in the process when you continually attempt to minimize the importance of infant feeding choice. The science is clear that breast milk is the optimal form of nutrition for human babies. Every health organization in the world, with or without clean water, agrees that infants should be fed breast milk. You don’t have to minimize one thing in order to not shame a person that chooses another.

Can we talk about other ways that the social media science community isn’t evidence-based when it comes to infant feeding? I’ve seen several times where the topic of donor milk has been discussed negatively despite the evidence to support it. If “Fed is Best” then they would show support for a parent’s decision to safely feed donor milk, but they don’t. So Fed isn’t best in this scenario. I’ve seen the science community outraged when homemade formulas are fed, when raw goat and cow milks are fed, and when they see infants with soda in their bottle. Obviously, fed is best, right? Or no, not here.
“A fed baby is better than a dead baby”
Well, not when that fed baby is going to die from kidney injury or diarrhea because they were fed unsafe milks.
Please Don’t Feed Your Baby Homemade Formula
CDC – Raw Milk

The fed is best campaign is a dangerous political slogan that does nothing to help parents or infants in the long run. This is simply a way for people that can’t separate emotion from scientific discussions to appear to have the upper hand while they accuse us of shaming people that feed formula or being lactivists.

What if I told you that you can support a parent in their feeding choice without minimizing the other choice? Weird huh.

“The expert consultation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, with introduction of complementary foods and continued breastfeeding thereafter. This recommendation applies to populations. The expert consultation recognizes that some mothers will be unable to, or choose not to, follow this recommendation; they should be supported to optimize their infants’ nutrition.”

Just like there is a scientific consensus about vaccines, global warming, and GMOs, so is there a scientific consensus that breast milk is the optimal feeding choice.
According to the World Health Organization, infants should be fed according to this order; mother’s own milk, another mother’s milk, commercial infant formula, homemade formulas, boiled animal milks.
Global strategy for infant and young child feeding The optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding
Infant and young child nutrition Global strategy on infant and young child feeding

That Darn “Low Milk Supply 101” Article… and How it Minimizes Mothers

I have been seeing an article circulating called “Low Milk Supply 101.” I understand it is trying to be helpful, and it IS factually correct. But the way it is written minimizes mothers. How so? Did you know in the United States about 1 in 8 mothers have a delay of milk production?
– Milk increases in volume between the 3-5th day after birth.
– A baby can only carry himself on low volumes for about 3 days before they require supplementation of more than an ounce per feed.
– 1 in 20 mothers in America have primary lactation failure, meaning they will not be able to fully breastfeed their baby – at all.
– In the United States about 79% of babies begin life breastfeeding. By 6 months, only 49% are exclusively breastfed. (Data from 2014 CDC).


The IBCLC that wrote this article is from London. Their breastfeeding initiation rate is 87% and data shows that 40% of babies are still exclusively breastfed at 2 months. What else can we examine… 1 in 3 women will give birth by cesarean in America versus the 1 in 4 in London. Cesarean birth can have some negative implications for breastfeeding initiation. In America, we have an epidural rate greater than 90% versus London’s 40%. Epidurals have a negative impact on breastfeeding initiation. 60% of women report nipple pain in the first two weeks of breastfeeding. What does that mean? Possibly that the baby is not effectively nursing, meaning that the breast isn’t being stimulated appropriately in order to promote the best milk volumes. One more thing we can talk about here for differences between America and London. American women get ZERO paid maternity leave while London gets ONE YEAR of… PAID maternity leave. Even fathers get 2 weeks of paid leave.

There are 2 specific things I do not like about this article when America women are reading it; having “You do not have low milk supply” bolded is pounding it into that mother’s head that she doesn’t have low milk supply. What if she does? The statistics favor that a lot of women feel they do not have enough milk to satisfy their baby. In fact, that is one of the top reasons mother choose to stop breastfeeding. American birth culture does not support healthy breastfeeding. Period. Not every breastfeeding mother knows how to establish a healthy milk supply, or that the early weeks are vital for doing so. Birth and breastfeeding advocates are quick to cheer mothers on by saying things like “you don’t have low milk supply” and “trust your body” … and I’m not here to undermine the support. But please, for the sake of these babies that depend on their mothers breasts, do not give so much reassurance without knowing for a fact (taking history, monitoring output, pre-post feed weights) that this mother does not have low milk volume. I feel we are too caught up in trying to promote breastfeeding that we are afraid to tell mothers something actually is wrong. For fear of making her doubt her body and her ability to nourish her child. Breastfeeding isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Low milk supply happens. More often than people care to admit.

On to the second thing about this article that I’m not fond of.
“Find people who know about breastfeeding. Someone who tells you just to use formula in this situation is not who you need. If that’s all they can offer you, they don’t know about breastfeeding and you need someone else. You need someone who understands how lactation works.” (I know she goes on to talk about using formula under the care of an LC)
Again, breastfeeding and the “exclusively breastfed” title, is not more important than a baby that is fed. Not only is this paragraph inflammatory it demonizes formula. If you are at home, late at night, with a baby that is screaming because they are hungry (it’s a different scream, mothers say they never forget this scream), your baby hasn’t been voiding properly, and your baby isn’t sleeping, for the love of God feed your baby. Do not wait until you are under the care of a lactation consultant just so you can get their blessing. Feed your child. You have donor milk? EXCELLENT. But this isn’t the case for most mothers in America. One reason formula is frowned upon is because it exposes your baby to massive amounts of bovine proteins and alters the baby’s microbiome. If you are able, get elemental or hypoallergenic formula in the need of supplementation. It tastes horrible. It’s expensive. But it doesn’t have those potentially harmful proteins in it.

Your baby cannot eat if they are starving. They will either not be able to calm themselves to organize their suck pattern, or they will be too calorie deprived to wake up and eat properly.

I’m not trying to disrespect this wonderful IBCLC, not at all. I’m just saying our audiences are extremely different and need to be taken in the context appropriate for our breastfeeding culture.

My Story About Leaving the Anti-Vaccine Movement, and Where I’m at Now

I’m going to take off my IBCLC hat and write this post coming from my own personal perspective, as a mom for 5 years, a nursing student, a laboratory technician, and an IBCLC. These last 6 years have shaped my opinions on vaccines, I’ve gone from being highly against vaccines to now being a huge advocate. I was anti-vaccine until late 2013 when I debated in the allnurses forum. It wasn’t until then did someone actually reach me, and you know how hard it is talking to someone with a polar opposite opinion than you, it’s like talking to a brick wall. That’s when I became “open” to new information. See this thread to view the actual conversation that opened my mind to vaccines New back-to-school worry: Unvaccinated classmates My username is “Ratlady.” In late 2013 I had two children, I was a lab tech, but I was not yet in nursing school or on my way to becoming an IBCLC. And I will be talking about my education that I’ve obtained through the years, it isn’t to brag or to say “I’m better than you” this is just what it took to change my opinion.

After marrying my husband on February 22, 2011, we conceived our first child. During pregnancy I researched everything, I became the type of parent that wanted everything natural, natural birth, breastfeeding, only feeding my baby organic baby food, and – not vaccinating. It all started when I visited the website Ian’s Voice. I was terrified. I talked to my husband who at the time was pro-vaccine, and he said, “That’s a one in a million chance, that won’t happen to our baby.” I was able to convince him to delay the hep b vaccine until the 2-week appointment, and it was with his insistence that our first child was fully vaccinated for the first 4 months of her life. When my daughter was 4 months old it was April 2012, and it was then that we lost a newborn child in our family after he was vaccinated with the hepatitis B vaccine. All I could say to my husband was “I guess it is really one in a million, huh?” And we stopped vaccinating.

This posed a problem. I was in the military and my daughter attended the daycare on post where it was mandatory that your child is up to date on their vaccines. After a long battle with the daycare and medical personnel from our health clinic, I was able to get a vaccine waiver that would allow my child to attend daycare, the only catch was she had to be up to date on DTaP and MMR. We really didn’t like that, but because the in-home daycares and private daycares off post were either too full, too expensive, or just plain sketchy, I HAD to keep her in this daycare. I loved the women that cared for my children there, they had cameras recording everything and I felt safe, plus it was right across the street from my house. We did have other battles about bringing my own baby food, throwing away my breast milk, needing a doctor’s note to omit juice, needing a doctor’s note to cloth diaper, and my son getting a 3rd degree burn on his stomach. Which was followed by a CPS investigation that put my son through invasive medical tests when the DAYCARE was the one that burned him and I was the one that reported it. Even going through all that with that daycare, the benefits outweighed all the bad. Plus, I’m still friends with the women that cared for my children. Meanwhile, I was still very anti-vaccine, the more I “learned” about vaccines the more I feared them, the more I was against them and refused to listen to anyone who didn’t think like me. I didn’t question anything, I ate it all up like it was fact. That’s the problem with fear mongering, they are good at it. They manipulate you as a trick to make it seem that you’re informed when you’re actually not. They are also good at cherry picking science to support their claims. Most people in this stage of their vaccine journey aren’t aware of any of this. Data is absolutely scary sometimes, especially when you’re unable to take it within the context it’s being used in. Not only that but some people are not trained to read medical journals, it takes more than reading the words, it takes understanding. And that comes from education. Even I thought that if it came from a medical journal it must be true, and it must be FACT. I didn’t take into consideration who wrote it, the date it was published, their references, what the data actually meant, or how this research was being used. To make matters worse, there are blogs out there that attempt to digest the material for you to tell you what it means, and more often than not, their opinions are infused into their writings. Not all blogs are bad. In debates about any topic, it’s pretty frowned upon to cite your source with a blog. That’s understandable, it takes the experience to be able to tell if a blog is credible or not.

Anyways… I was set to exit the military in 2014. So, I had to start thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. I was already a lab tech with an associates degree, but the experience of birthing, breastfeeding, and mothering two beautiful children captured me and wouldn’t let go. It was then I decided I wanted to become a CNM, IBCLC. So I started doing my prerequisites to become an IBCLC, which also aligned perfectly with what was required to become a nurse. When I am driven, I get things done. In 2014 I completed 11 classes, finishing the required prerequisites for both IBLCE, and for nursing school, and I had a 4.0. When I obtained my associates degree in health science with a major in laboratory sciences I had already taken immunology and virology college classes. But back then I didn’t have any opinion on vaccines, I just trusted they were necessary and worked, I didn’t have any kids either. So in 2014, I took two anatomy and physiology classes, two college chemistry classes, human development, statistics, and nutrition. There were other classes but these were the relevant classes that influenced my views on vaccines. I then felt I had a pretty good understanding of normal human physiology, chemistry, and how to read statistics. I was still pretty quiet about my new views. Sometimes people become hostile when you change your views or make it known that you don’t believe the things you used to believe. Especially when you are still active in heavily anti-vaccine circles.

In 2015, I received my acceptance letter to attend a highly regarded nursing school in my area. One of the first classes of my first semester was pathophysiology. That further solidified my understanding of the human body. I was eager to learn in depth about the immune system, inflammation, and how our body heals itself. Everything made sense to me. I also had been following a facebook page called Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes which refutes commonly heard pseudoscience distributed by anti-vaccine advocates. Reading how other people left the anti-vaccine movement made me feel like I would be leaving soon as well.
One thing that has become precious to me is autonomy. I feel like everyone has the right to do what they want with their own body and no one should control it without medical necessity. This is why I’m not a lactivist, I don’t judge women that don’t want to breastfeed. This is why I’m an intactivist and feel prophylactic surgery with no immediate medical benefit on a nonconsenting individual is a human rights violation and medical negligence. Some people will claim that I’m contradicting myself here, and that’s ok, human opinion is a complex thing and things get messy when you try and classify how people should act and think. What matters is it makes sense to me. I’m not here to debate pro-vaccine vs anti-vaccine. I believe the evidence that says they are safe and they work. I also believe that vaccine injuries exist. I believe that adverse events are minimized by the medical community in the name of vaccine promotion. But it happens in all areas when people strongly believe the benefits outweigh the risks. I’ve recently written about breastfeeding activists dismissing a mother’s concerns in the name of breastfeeding promotion. We’re all guilty of it.

So this is where I am. I’m almost done with my first year of a BSN program and I am not part of the anti-vaccine movement anymore. Although in recent debates with anti-vaccine crowds it seems as though they’ve become more sophisticated in their knowledge and understanding of vaccines, it’s still peppered with pseudoscience and misunderstanding that simply won’t be fixed by trying to learn this stuff at home, by yourself, on the internet. It took a lot of college education and being taught by experts to change my views, and again, none of this is to brag. I’m simply stating that it took a LOT, more than one conversation on the internet, and more than scouring medical journals. I have to laugh when people tell me I need to “wake up,” I’ve woken up – twice. Once I was anti-vaccine and now I’m not.

As for my husband, he is still anti-vaccine and I don’t foresee him changing that view. Our kids are still minimally vaccinated, and I won’t force vaccines on them without my husband’s consent as they are his children too. But I’m also not ready to have that conversation with him yet. I feel my children are protected enough for now until we can have this conversation. This is something I’ve largely kept to myself, even despite sharing some things on facebook, and participating in discussions online. Research is still needed, scientists aren’t perfect and neither are vaccines. I feel the benefits outweigh the risks. I don’t believe in giving multiple vaccines in a single visit. I think spacing them out to more easily identify a reaction is appropriate and safe thanks to herd immunity.

For now, I am distancing myself from the vaccine debate, because we’re running into that issue once again when talking to someone with a different opinion is like talking to a brick wall and usually ends in the discussion turning ugly and personal. One thing I have gained from this experience is empathy. I can meet parents where they are. There are some situations where vaccinating others is a part of my job. Good thing I am in love with informed consent and autonomy. I will not be a nurse that pressures parents into vaccinating, I will not guilt them. I am more than happy to give them the reputable resources to help guide their decision and encourage them to talk with their doctor or NP. Paternalistic healthcare is so last century, parents don’t just believe their healthcare providers because they said it. We are not God. Research is not perfect. This is America and we are free to choose. We are privileged with herd immunity that allows these parents to take their time making these decisions so they can be informed. In other countries, people don’t have the luxury of abstaining from vaccines because disease runs rampant and they see physical proof that vaccines work and save their children.

I do not know everything. I learn every day. I firmly believe that it is okay to change your opinions based on new information. It does not make you any less of a person for changing your mind about a subject. For others that have had a similar experience, it can be draining trying to explain it to others. You don’t have to. You don’t need to save the world by sharing your new opinions or information. People will change their mind about something when they are ready. Debating online is a time suck, it consumes your energy and wastes your day. Most of these people are set in their ways and are only out to prove people wrong so they can feel good about themselves. They want you to fear something like they do, they want you to prescribe to their way of thinking as if it is the only right way of doing things. Hardly anything beneficial comes from those discussions, trust me I know!

I will end by quoting Maranda Dynda:

“It didn’t take me long to go from feeling silly to feeling foolish, and finally to feeling completely stupid. I had been duped. I was flat-out lied to. The cult-like world of vaccine refusal had grabbed me by the throat and taken me for a ride.”

See her influential article that helped me come to my current way of thinking:

I was Duped by the Anti-Vaccine Movement


Demystifying Medically Indicated Newborn Supplementation

I’ve decided to create a resource to help explain why some babies need nutritional supplementation. Breast milk substitutes have been demonized so much in today’s society that some parents balk at supplementation even when their baby depends on it. My hope is to shed some light on the when, why, how, and with what when it comes to your supplementation options. This is in a powerpoint format. I allow this resource to be freely distributed but not sold. This is a resource for moms, and a resource to use if other lactation professionals would like to teach moms. All information is cited within and at the end of the presentation. It is using the most up to date information from The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

The file is located in this drop box link.


The Zika Virus and Breastfeeding

By now, you may have heard that the Zika virus is running rampant is some parts of South America. There have been many confirmed cases of Zika in the southern part of the United States in several states. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, so an otherwise normal female mosquito that bites a person that is positive for Zika, can then continue to spread it. The WHO has a right to be concerned! For people that are not pregnant, the sickness is very mild. However, there is a strong link between the Zika virus and microcephaly. There were 4,000 cases of microcephaly in Brazil, a 2,500% increase from 2014. The earlier in pregnancy a mother is, the riskier it is to her developing baby.

What does this mean for breastfeeding mothers? Many may be concerned that they may transmit this virus to their baby. According to the CDC, there haven’t been any cases where Zika virus has been passed along through breast milk. However, the baby may still be bitten by a positively infected mosquito, and may contract the illness.


Zika virus RNA has been found in breast milk and this could actually benefit the baby. Mothers may  be passing antibodies to the Zika virus through their breast milk, which could act as a vaccine. It is unknown whether this would completely prevent the illness, or just lessen the symptoms. Currently, there is not a vaccine for the Zika virus.

The CDC has a list of symptoms to look out for, but I am unsure if these symptoms would present differently or more severely in babies and small children.

From the CDC:

  • About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).
  • The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
  • Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days but it can be found longer in some people.
  • Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
  • Deaths are rare.

Continue to breastfeed your child, but take protective measures to prevent getting bitten by any mosquitoes. This includes eliminating potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes, making sure there is no standing water outside. Wear long sleeves and pants. Use mosquito repellent, here is an approved list for safe repellents, and limit time spent outside during high mosquito activity. Mosquitoes attack at dawn and dusk, in warm climates, and high humidity weather.

If anyone has anything to add to this post, please comment below.


  1. http://www.cdc.gov/zika/symptoms/index.html
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/zika/hc-providers/qa-pediatrician.html
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html
  4. http://www.mosquitoworld.net/when-mosquitoes-bite/feeding-habits/
  5. http://kellymom.com/pregnancy/bf-prep/how_breastmilk_protects_newborns/

The Smart Changing Pad, Can it Replace Professional Guidance?

How would you like a product that can weigh your baby, track their growth, monitor diaper output, and tell you how much breast milk your baby consumed? When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The $300 price tag doesn’t help either, but you know… PROFIT.

I have to wonder if the creators collaborated with IBCLCs regarding this product. Part of me doesn’t think so. They like to prey on women that doubt their supply by claiming it can do pre and post feed weights. They also say on their website that only 5% of women deal with true low milk supply – not accurate. More like 5-15% as supported by present data. (source) However, this scale is not accurate enough to do appropriate pre and post feed weights. This scale is only accurate to 10mLs, which is a third of an ounce. The scales that lactation consultants use are accurate up to 1-2mLs, and yes, it really does matter and is important that these scales used for these purposes be that sensitive.

Cost is also a barrier here, at close to $300 you could have gotten help from a private practice IBCLC (which is usually covered by insurance). Lactation consultants have the accurate $1,000 scale, the professional advice, the follow-up, the explanation, the encouragement, the referrals, and everything else that comes from our care. What does this company want you to do? Use an inaccurate scale and get help from baby center (this is who they are associated with), a notoriously horrible information hub for baby care online. If you have concerns about your child’s growth, diaper output, or breastfeeding, see a professional, not a company. 



The Wrong Way to Raise Awareness About Public Breastfeeding

Social media. A lovely place where people run with half stories, hate, and attempts to destroy businesses in an attempt to “go viral.”

A place where people who are so starved for attention can easily find it in a 2 sentence letter that is being misread en masse. I never thought I would have to dissect a 2 sentence letter and explain it to people but it appears that I have to.

“Thank you for your letter of November 28.”

Okay, that one is simple. Let’s get to the single sentence that has caused so much trouble.

“I have addressed your concerns with the staff and we regret that you will no longer be a visitor to our Mill.”

It seems that most people on social media are reading that as if they are kicking her out of their establishment. Even I thought that at first, but then I read it again. I read this letter before I read the letter that the mother sent. I was able to gather enough information, from this one sentence, to take a wild guess that the mother stated she would not be coming back.

Then I read her letter, and that is exactly what she said.

Here’s my letter to them in which this VIRAL (!) letter was written in response: (Please share away)

28 November 2015

To Whom It May Concern:

My family and I were visiting your establishment this past week, as we do quite often. While we were chatting with Nancy who we have come to know and like over the last few years, she peered into my baby carrier and saw that I was nursing my four month old son. She told me that I needed to cover up and that last time we were there, I had (apparently) angered other customers by doing the same thing. To clarify, I was being discreet. Had she not looked directly in my carrier she would likely not even know I was nursing. In my 3+ years as a nursing mother I have never once been “called out” on nourishing my child as if I were doing something wrong. I spoke with the manager on our way out of the store and while she was nice in explaining that yes, in fact there had been some sort of situation about it in the past and that’s probably why Nancy had told me to cover myself—so as to not upset other customers, and that as a business it’s hard to maintain that level of respecting other’s wishes. Am I not a loyal customer? She assured me that that she too had breastfed her and children and ‘understood where I was coming from.’

I will tell you where I am coming from. This situation has caused me a ridiculous amount of stress and sadness. The past few days I look at my son and think, “what did we do that was wrong?” And that’s the thing. We did nothing wrong. Of course it would have been different had I fed him in the store with a bottle. A breast is a bottle is a source of nourishment for a child. There is little room for discomfort and shame to be placed on a woman who is simply meeting her child’s need, especially in a “family-friendly” business.

There are many things that upset me about this situation (and that it’s even a ‘situation’ at all) but the main thing as this is reinforcing the stigma of breastfeeding and is not helping to normalize the most natural process. To a new mother, this may humiliate and horrify her to the point it affects her decision to continue breastfeeding. I feel that is not society’s decision to make for her.

As far as my family and I returning to your business, sadly we will not. We no longer feel accepted or welcome there.

With Respect,


The mother’s response to this letter follows:

My family and I very, very regularly visited the Fly Creek Cider Mill. One of our favorite activities for sure, until a month or so ago when I was discreetly nursing my four month old son in a baby carrier only to be told to “cover up because it upsets other customers.” I sent them a letter explaining my rights as a breastfeeding mother and telling them how it made me feel—like I was doing something wrong by feeding my hungry child. This is the passive response I received from them. The lack of regard shown here speaks volumes: Fly Creek Cider Mill DOES NOT SUPPORT NURSING MOTHERS. Please feel free to share or to review their Facebook page in hopes to raise awareness that BABIES NEED TO EAT.

In this, she states that she sent them a letter explaining her rights as a breastfeeding mother. I didn’t see this anywhere in the letter that she shared as the one she sent. I hope that she sent them this;

New York’s Public Breastfeeding Law

§ 79-e. Right to breast feed. Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, a mother may breast feed her baby in any location, public or
private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of
whether or not the nipple of the mother’s breast is covered during or
incidental to the breast feeding.

(Please note that a business has the right to say the mother is not allowed on the premises. If the mother chooses to stay, it then turns into trespassing.)

I’m very glad that they have addressed with their staff the mother’s concerns, however, they do not need to disclose how they addressed it. They’ve taken care of it. Hopefully if the mother sent them a copy of the breastfeeding law that would be all that they needed. Ultimately, it is her choice not to return to that business, but they aren’t going to beg her either.

Does this mean that they aren’t supportive of nursing mothers like she claims? No. Was their letter less than stellar? Yes. Should they have apologized? Absolutely.

But does it warrant a full-fledged social media attack that ultimately tanked their ratings and potentially caused them to lose business? No. And it is painfully obvious that this was not a true attempt to raise awareness about breastfeeding in public. As a lactation consultant, I’ve seen this play out many times, honest to goodness raising awareness about public breastfeeding. I’d like to say that there hasn’t been hate or anger thrown towards ignorant businesses and that everything was rainbows and butterflies and perfect apologies were given, but that wouldn’t be true. A little education goes a long way folks. It is impossible for a business to know every single law in the entire country, and it’s apparent that many businesses do not know about these laws at all. Educate them. Move on.


In my opinion, a more effective way to get one’s point across about public breastfeeding is to host a nurse in. This gets your point across without trying to ruin their business undeservingly.

Can we please remember that these businesses are a family’s livelihood? That maybe, sometimes, people depend on that income in order to survive? And also, that a little bit of ignorance about a law does not warrant an attempt to destroy them. Some of you may not think social media means much to a business, but it is a powerful thing in this day. Ratings mean a lot to a business.

After the business had been drug through the mud, here is the apology that the mother had to force from them because the first one wasn’t enough for her.


This should have been the first thing they sent her, absolutely. But we are adults, we don’t sit there and throw temper tantrums because things don’t go exactly our way. Perhaps it is time for the business to invest in a social media rep if they can afford it after this blow. But to be honest, we only have one side of this story. She can post what she said to the company all she wants, but what we have is a facebook post of something she supposedly wrote. At least we can say for sure that we have the company’s exact words to her.

No mother should ever be told to cover up while nursing her child in public. It is up to us to raise awareness about public breastfeeding without crossing lines. We must do this legally and respectfully, it is the only way to be taken seriously about issues in the adult world. This mom went about this so wrong, that this business now has everything they need to go after her for libel and loss of business. This situation is no longer an attempt to educate, its harassment in its true form.

And last but not least, the final piece in this puzzle proving that this was simply an act for attention. As if the “Let’s make this go VIRAL!” in the first post wasn’t enough of a clue.


This wasn’t an act to normalize breastfeeding, this was a selfish attack to feed off attention she knew she would get.

Feeding On Demand

Nursing on demand can be a wonderful thing. Let us remember that nursing on demand means allowing your baby to feed at the breast as many times as he wants and for as long as he wants.

I want to emphasize that this does *not* mean allowing your baby to go long periods of time without nursing.

On average, a newborn baby in the first 24 hours of life will nurse about 4 times. Most of the time these babies turn out fine, and mom can go on to have a good nursing relationship. BUT, following these guidelines to the best of your ability (what works for YOU!) is extra insurance that your nursing relationship will start off excellent. Ideally, you want to encourage your baby to eat at least 10 times in 24 hours. 


The more your baby nurses;

  • the faster your milk volume will increase.
  •  the faster your baby will expel meconium which harbors bilirubin, that can increase the chance of pathologic levels of bilirubin (leading to jaundice) if not expelled. 
  • the less likely you will suffer from rock hard engorged breasts when your milk increases in volume between days 3-5.
  • the less likely your baby will be readmitted to the hospital for jaundice, hypoglycemia, dehydration, hypernatremia, or excessive weight loss.

What if my baby won’t wake up to eat?

In the first hour or two after birth is when baby will be more alert and willing to nurse. After this, it is common for them to be really sleepy for several hours. In fact, a newborn will typically sleep for about 20 hours in the first day of life. It is still important to watch for early hunger signs such as stirring in their sleep, licking their lips, and bringing their hand to their mouth. Crying is a late hunger sign. Bring your baby to breast if your baby is exhibiting these signs. Ideally, you want your baby skin to skin for as long as possible, this helps facilitate the breastfeeding experience.

What if my baby still won’t eat after watching for hunger signs?

There are quite a few options you can do to ensure your baby is being fed. According to the literature, it is not necessary to supplement a baby in the first 24 hours. These guidelines I am explaining are an ideal situation and should be a goal for establishing breastfeeding. If your baby won’t nurse you can still express your breast milk. It is most effective to do hand expression while your breasts are mainly producing colostrum. Try to do hand expression every 2-3 hours, the same you would do if your baby was nursing. You can hand express into a spoon or in a little plastic medicine cup. You can then use a dropper to feed your baby your expressed colostrum, or save it for a later time. You can also use a manual breast pump, a personal breast pump, or a hospital grade double electric breast pump. Have your IBCLC verify that the flanges fit your breasts correctly, and teach you how to assemble the pump. It is imperative that you don’t use high suction on the breast pump before your milk increases in volume. Using high suction can damage your nipples, breast tissue, cause the nipple to swell, and ultimately cause pain. A very gentle, soft suction stimulation is all that is needed. You most likely won’t get much with the breast pump. This is okay, and it’s normal. To maximize production with a breast pump, use hands-on pumping. This is when you massage and compress your breast as you’re pumping. Express your milk every 2-3 hours, until your baby is able to nurse. Colostrum is thick and syrupy, and can be difficult to express. It takes practice!

Keeping track of nursing in the beginning is helpful for everyone, but why should you worry about it? It helps let us know how nursing is going when no one is there to help you. If we see that baby is nursing frequently for a decent amount of time, and you aren’t having pain, and baby isn’t losing weight excessively, then we have more puzzle pieces to say, “Yes, nursing is going ok for you!”
However, if we see that baby isn’t nursing frequently, is having very short nursing sessions (less than 10 minutes), you’re reporting pain, baby is losing more weight than normal, or is starting to jaundice, then we have those puzzle pieces to get you the extra help that you need. Hopefully from an IBCLC!
Minimizing bumps in the road early on will help establish breastfeeding and prevent negative breastfeeding experiences for you. Nursing isn’t always easy! As an IBCLC, I made a vow to myself not to let these moms and babies fall through the cracks. We must be vigilant, listen to you, and look at the entire picture in order to be most helpful to you.
I hope you’ve found this infograph to be helpful! Let me know if you have any questions.

Edited to include: Explanation of delayed onset of milk production.

There are several risk factors for why milk takes longer to increase in volume. Risk factors include; cesarean birth, excessive IV fluids, first child, traumatic birth, long birth, hormonal issues, and anatomy issues. This list is not 100% complete as there are a lot of risk factors involved. Frequent nursing isn’t a guarantee that your milk volume will increase faster, or even in the normal time frame (3-5 days after birth). If you aren’t noticing significant breast changes by day 3 or 4, make sure you consult with an IBCLC to evaluate your specific situation. In some cases, supplementation may become necessary if milk doesn’t increase in volume between days 3-5. It is not normal for it to take longer. It may be common, but it is *not* normal, and there are specific interventions to help in these situations.



Circumcision Harms Breastfeeding

Before I delve into explaining why circumcision harms breastfeeding, I thought I would take the time to thoroughly define what circumcision is. Circumcision is the surgical removal of the prepuce, also known as the foreskin. The foreskin is protective tissue that covers the glans of the penis. This prevents the glans from becoming hard and keratinized as it is meant to be an internal, self-cleaning organ. It also serves several other functions, to learn more about the functions of foreskin click here. Circumcision is most often times done in the hospital, sometimes just hours after birth, or done for religious reasons on the 8th day of life. It can also be performed later in childhood for cultural reasons or as an adult for medical reasons, which is pretty rare.

“The penile foreskin is a natural and integral part of the normal male genitalia. The foreskin has a number of important protective and sexual functions. It protects the penile glans against trauma and contributes to the natural functioning of the penis during sexual activity.”

Circumcision is a painful procedure (even with anesthetic) and begins with the foreskin being grasped with forceps and the opening being forcefully stretched open. Then a metal probe is inserted into the foreskin opening which tears the foreskin away from the glans which is adhered to the glans like your nail is on your finger or toe. After that a cut it made down the middle of the foreskin with scissors. Then the foreskin is crushed, clamped (if using gomco), and cut off by a scalpel.

To see a video of a circumcision click here.

Could you imagine just being born (or even as an older baby or child) and then being subjected to this treatment? Even with anesthetic this procedure is extremely traumatic for a baby to go through. So how does this directly relate to breastfeeding? Let me explain…

There is a physiologic process that your body goes through in order to successfully begin and maintain lactation. How you manage breastfeeding can make or break your chances of meeting your breastfeeding goals. Breastfeeding already can get off to a rocky start depending on how the labor and birth went. The longer an epidural is in place the greater chance that hormones necessary to start lactogenesis stage 2 will be diluted and not function as effectively. Because epidural medication lowers blood pressure, intravenous fluids must be given to maintain blood pressure. This can cause fluid volume over load which leads to 3rd spacing. This causes your feet, legs, nipples, and other parts of your body to become swollen. This can make it really hard for baby to latch on correctly to feed, leading to nipple trauma, pain, and ineffective milk transfer. Epidural rates in America are really high, so this is already a potential “bump” in the road to a good start at breastfeeding.

Milk volume begins to increase between days 3-5 after birth. This will happen regardless if a mother chooses to nurse her baby or not. The important factor here for a breastfed baby is keeping that baby on the breast as frequently as possible. Ideally the baby should nurse 10+ times per day, and this is for multiple reasons.

  1. Babies are born with a high suck need, which serves two main functions. Recall, “My baby is using me for a pacifier!” I’m sure you’ve heard that said a lot. It’s normal. The more the baby sucks on the breast and consumes that protein rich colostrum, the faster the baby will conjugate their excess bilirubin, preventing pathologic levels of bilirubin, which, if left to accumulate turns into jaundice. Sucking causes peristalsis which helps to excrete the newborn’s meconium, which is full of bilirubin, and is a process necessary to avoid jaundice.
  2. Frequent nursing (10+ times in 24hrs) during lactogenesis stage 1 (the time period before milk increases in volume) helps to ensure a healthy long-term milk supply. Prolactin is a hormone that circulates in your body (that can be diluted by excess fluid volumes during labor) that helps stimulate milk production. Stimulation of your nipples and breasts tell prolactin to plug into prolactin receptor sites located in the breast. The more early and effective nursing that the baby does, the more this hormone will go to the right place within the breast. And this is essential for having a good long-term milk supply.

Now that you’re familiar with the physiologic process of the beginning stages of breastfeeding, and what circumcision is, I will connect the two in the following list…

  1. Circumcision requires time spent away from the mother. Usually an hour before the procedure, and 2 hours after to monitor the baby for excessive bleeding. When a newborn is not breastfeeding they should be skin to skin with mom or dad. This enhances the bond between baby and parents and helps to establish their delicate and new microbiome. It also helps milk increase in volume faster.
  2. Circumcision is a traumatic event that compromises the bond between mother and child.
  3. Some facilities require fasting before the procedure to prevent aspiration from vomiting due to severe pain. This keeps the baby from breastfeeding as much as they should be.
  4. Most baby boys that are circumcised are very hard to wake after the procedure.  Sometimes they will not eat for 6-8 hours!
  5. Urination on the raw open wound in the diaper causes extreme pain which can disrupt breastfeeding due to pain.
  6. Research has clearly demonstrated that pain adversely affects breastfeeding during the early stages.
  7. Most of the time doctors will give the baby a pacifier to cope with the pain of circumcision, and pacifiers should be avoided in the early weeks, until breastfeeding has been established.
  8. Pumping in place of the baby nursing is not as effective.
  9. Ineffective nursing can lead to decreased milk volume.
  10. The baby depends on minuscule, consistent feedings of colostrum in order to thrive in the early days. Inadequate caloric intake can cause the baby to be too sleepy to eat, which can lead weight loss of greater than 10%.

“Newborn circumcisions are a significant source of pain during the procedure and are associated with irritability and feeding disturbances during the days afterward.” – American Academy of Pediatrics

A breastfed newborn baby should be breastfeeding 10 or more times per day. This is best practice to ensure an adequate long-term milk supply and to prevent hyperbilirubinemia, hypernatremia, and hypoglycemia.

“The pain of circumcision causes breastfeeding problems in some babies. After this procedure, a baby may have trouble settling in at the breast, may refuse the breast, or may shut down and be unresponsive.”

Mohrbacher, Nancy. Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple: A Guide for Helping Mothers. Plano: Hale, 2010.

If a baby is not nursing for 6-8 hours because they are exhausted from going through the pain of circumcision…

If a baby is not stimulating the breast helping the milk to increase in volume…

If a baby is not nursing they are not causing peristalsis within their gut to get rid of meconium…

If a baby is not eating it can lead to dehydration and hypoglycemia…

Not only does circumcision harm breastfeeding, it harms the child.

Gentian Violet


Gentian violet is a popular remedy for oral and nipple candidiasis (thrush) in the breastfeeding world. There are some things to consider about this medication in order for you to make an informed choice.

Gentian violet is derived from coal tar and is not meant to be ingested. Gentian Violet
It is carcinogenic and potentially toxic to mucus membranes which can result in ulcers in the mouth and throat. Gentian Violet Use While Breastfeeding

It is imperative that if you choose this to use to treat thrush while breastfeeding you do not use the 2% concentration, 1% has been the recommended dosage. Jack Newman has an article dedicated to the proper usage of gentian violet. Using Gentian Violet

What are some other ways to bring yeast back to normal levels?
Fluconazole medication in combination with all purpose nipple ointment.
Nystatin, although candida albicans has become resistant to this medication.
“Raw Apple Cider Vinegar diluted 50/50 with water and adding 1-2 drops of grapefruit seed oil extract. Mom then uses a qtip to paint the areas directly 3-4x/day” –Dr. Ghaheri
Avoiding excessive amounts of sugar and processed foods.

These are just *some* of the ways to treat thrush. Make sure to link up with your healthcare provider and an IBCLC to see which treatment would be most effective for you!