Breast Milk Versus Airport Security

Unless you are currently breastfeeding and traveling via airplanes these days, you may not have thought much about breast milk counting as one of the liquids banned from carry-on luggage. Lugging the pump around, finding a place to get half-naked and keeping the milk refrigerated seemed challenging enough at work, didn't it? But due to the new ban on liquids in carry-on airplane luggage, taking a breast-pump and milk on business trips has gotten a lot more complicated.

Here's the limited guidance from the TSA site about getting breast milk on airplanes:

Baby formula and breast milk are allowed in your carry-on baggage or personal items. You can take these through the security checkpoints and aboard your plane. However, you must be traveling with a baby or toddler. All items including formula or breast milk will be inspected.

You or your baby or toddler will not be asked to test or taste breast milk or formula. Our Security Officers will not test or taste formula or breast milk.

Florida mom and self-described "road warrior" Dineen Pashoukos Wasylik brought alive how the TSA ban makes working motherhood that much more challenging (these comments appeared originally on DC Working Moms group on Yahoo and are reprinted with Dineen's permission):

Thanks to all who answered my query about how to handle a day trip for work with my pump and breastmilk in tow in light of the new TSA liquids restrictions. I had been concerned about checking the bag because of temperature issues (my flights were to/from airports in Florida). One mom told me she was forced to throw out her cooler packs (the blue ice melts into liquid) as well as her milk by TSA. ... I decided to chance the heat [in the luggage cargo] rather than try to get my milk through security without an accompanying baby.

My trip was today. I checked my Medela Pump In Style Traveler Backpack. I put three blue ice packs in the standard issue black cooler bag, which made it too full to hold the usual bottles. So I transferred the milk to bags after pumping so there was more room for ice and more of the milk was in contact with the ice. ... I am happy to report that despite having to leave the bag in the rental car in the hot Boca Raton sun between noon and 3 (in for a penny, in for a pound!), the cooler packs were still cold (though no longer frozen) and my milk was still cold when I finally got home at 8:30 p.m. I packed my bag and left the house at 7 a.m, so they were good for more than 12 hours! I had a bit of a scare when I arrived at my destination in that my pump did not seem to be on the carousel at first, but the baggage collectors found me, thank goodness. I had to pump at the airport before checking the bag for the return flight (whereas my original plan before the ban was to pump once I was through security and checked in, and I had set the flight times with that in mind). That made me cut things a bit closer than I would have liked with heightened security. ... There was some added hassle with my having to check luggage for such a short trip, but my boss thankfully took it in stride.

Best of luck, road warriors!

In an addendum message, Dineen, and then a second mom, reported that the faceplates on their Medela pumps had been damaged after being checked as cargo on planes, causing the pumps to not work as well.

What strikes me about Dineen's story is the incredible lengths moms have to go sometimes just to feed their babies the liquid gold every pediatrician and study and even the government recommends. What's your most outlandish breast-milk battle tale?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  August 28, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  You Go Girl!
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is it not sad that our society has so stigmatized the bare breast that a woman cannot breast feed her child in public? What has religion and Hollywood done to us?

Posted by: edwin gould | August 28, 2006 7:09 AM

This whole breastfeeding campaign is beginning to wear me down (and I am only pregnant). I don't understand our society, which seems to place such a high value on breastfeeding, so much so that the Government made PSAs about it, yet places so many obstacles in the path. I have been trying to imagine how I will breastfeed and work. I work in an office with large majority of men, with no area besides a bathroom in which to pump. On top of that you now have these stupid travel restrictions. I wish our society would drop the hypocrisy, if breastfeeding is so important than make it easier for breastfeeding women to work and travel.

As for the stigma, it seems in our society it is ok for "Girls to Go Wild" and flash everyone on television or for a frat boy to scream, "show me your t*ts" but it isn't ok to breastfeed. It is like society says, "only sexualized breasts, please!" Whatever. The hypocrisy is just overwhelming!

Posted by: soon to be new mom | August 28, 2006 7:22 AM

You would think that it if it was a one day trip, she could have saved herself the trouble and not pump. The kid couldn't have formula for one day? She couldn't pump some extra for a few days before and freeze the milk? So much trouble for one day.

I stopped breastfeeding because it was too much stress and hassle. There was no private place to pump and I didn't get breaks to do it. At some point, one needs to ask is it worth the stress?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 7:37 AM

To "soon to be new mom," it's really not about you--it's about your baby. So don't expect any favors from society. It's up to you to decide if breastfeeding is important for your baby (and it is) and then you need to be committed to it no matter what the obstacles (and there will be plenty). I'm a breastfeeding mother of a 7 month old, and I've encountered all the situations you've mentioned, but I wouldn't change my committment to breastfeeding for anything. Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Definitely!

The flight restrictions are ridiculous and poorly thought out, but what's new? I'll bet you are smart enough to figure out a solution to that and other obstacles. Good luck!

Posted by: lisa | August 28, 2006 7:38 AM

Lisa, thanks for the helpful comments. I gather you must not work.

Posted by: soon to be new mom | August 28, 2006 7:47 AM

National security is more important than individual desires to breastfeed. If you are that 'committed',then work around all the obstacles or take a job that doesn't require travel. I would guess that the number of breastfeeding airline travelers is a minority of the entire airline traveling universe. As someone has said in earlier blogs, formula is not poison.

Life isn't fair. Balance means give and take.

Posted by: dontfly | August 28, 2006 7:51 AM

If our country was truly that committed to national security, than why don't they implement the type of security that Israel and El Al has done for years?! The current airplane security rules are just for show.

Posted by: to don'tfly | August 28, 2006 7:55 AM

The author probably needed to pump just to relieve the pain in her breasts. I couldn't go more then a few hours in the first 6 months without my child nursing or pumping. When she was sick and did not nurse as often, I needed to pump just to prevent infection or discomfort. Soon to be new mom: They make attachments to the breast pump, that holds the breast shields up. YOu can discreetly slip them under your shirt and pump while you are working. Also, I assume you have at least a cubicle. If so, make a discreet sign , "privacy needed." Best of luck. My employer set a private room aside for pumping. But I had to pump in public bathrooms when I was at conferences. People were very understanding.

Posted by: Lieu | August 28, 2006 7:56 AM

To "soon to be new mom," yes, I work, and have since my baby was 3 months. It can be very challenging to pump and be without your baby, but it is possible. At first it was a bit overwhelming to pump three times a day--at both "breaks" and at lunch. But now it is easy. You can do it--you just have to make it through those first few days/weeks of figuring out what works for you. Again, good luck!

Posted by: lisa | August 28, 2006 8:01 AM

In terms of mothers who need to pump, I think the government needs to find its somewhat lacking common sense. We all want to be as safe as possible from terrorism, but on a recent international flight, my six-year-old was forced to give up her KinderEggs (Chocolate w/ a prize inside) because these were a special version that contained a cream filling!

Having said that, I get a bit tired of our national obsession with breastfeeding, but for another reason. As a mother who adopted a child, I am weary from all the ads and campaigns that basically tell us that we have doomed our children to a life of poor health if they weren't breast fed. And what kind of guilt do you think that places on women (like one of my friends) who discovered she had cancer shortly after she gave birth to her daughter and couldn't breast feed? We all have to make accomodations and sacrifices, even when it's as a result of some poorly thought out government regulation.

I'm sure it will come full circle -- we're back to being allowed to take tweezers in our carry-on luggage. I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before the government lifts the regulations on breast milk.

http://punditmom1.blogspot.com

Posted by: PunditMom | August 28, 2006 8:05 AM

Not certain if my story is outlandish or not, but I am still peeved about it.

I was a victim of hurricane Katrina. I am also in the US Coast Guard. My daughter was only three months old and I was nursing at the time. I was assigned to stand 12 hour watches, but fortunatly, they were at night and I could take a break for 30 minutes every four hours or so to pump (to go any longer would have been extremely painful).

My husband and daughter were in Memphis, so I had to store the milk in a freezer in the kitchen of the hotel I was staying at because they were out of individual ones for the rooms. They were very understanding and considered it a "medical need".

My family and I were separated for about 4 days because that was all of the breast milk they had with them. All of the milk I had pumped and stored in my freezer at home was destroyed due to the week long power outage (I had about a 3 week supply). We stayed together for about three days before I was reassigned to Saint Louis, MO. I flew with the baby and my husband drove the car and in a portable electric cooler, he had a 1 week supply of breastmilk that I had pumped during those many, many long hours we were separated.

Well, the trip takes 11 hours. He drove about 6 hours to Memphis and stopped for the night. The flipping moron dutifully plugged the cooler in once had got inside, however, since it is a cooler and not a freezer, it was all destroyed. Needless to say I was pi$$ed. All he could say and has said to this day is "oops, sorry." He has made no effort to make up for the loss because he says there is no way to make up for the loss.

My feeling is, he needs to do a little more than say oops-sorry. Maybe if he jacked off every four hours for a week while working 12 hour shifts and let me drive around with his issue for 11 hours in a hot car in the summer, then maybe we'd be even, but I don't think I should have to settle for an "oops-sorry" and just get over it!

Posted by: tlawrenceva | August 28, 2006 8:13 AM

As a mom who pumped and traveled for over a year, I'm so glad not to be nursing right now. Mom's worried about it, it is hard, it is challenging, but lots of things in life are that! Right, that is the spice of life. I work in a male dominated field. I've pumped in airplane bathrooms, rental cars, department store lounges (Nordstroms is very nice), bathrooms while lifing my butt for the automatically flushing toliet going off. And I didn't make a big deal out of it, but it was important to me.

People who say, just don't pump while you travel, have no knowledge about breastfeeding. That is like telling someone, don't urinate for an entire day. A nursing mother's body produces milk whether a baby is there immediately or not. That is *why* women pump when the are gone. Yes, it is to get the milk for later use, but full, engored breasts ache just as much as your full bladder sitting in deadlock rush hour traffic.

And, how offensive that I my career requires travel and that I have the nerve to want a baby and breast feed it. REally, I can't believe my own nerve.

Formula isn't poison - my daughter had plenty. Breastmilk is a bomb, either.

And to all future moms out there who are considering breastfeeding and careers that require travel, it can be done, lot of us do it, there are interest support groups with lots of tips, and you might even meet a kindred spirit pumping away in an aiport bathrooms some time. Don't listen to "Don'tFly" you can and should be able to do both.

Posted by: Former Pump'n & Travel'n Mom | August 28, 2006 8:22 AM

To donfly, Breast milk is the best milk for human infants. Formula is cows milk.

Posted by: em | August 28, 2006 8:22 AM

As a Dad who flew with family on the first day of this scare, what annoyed me is the attitude of many of the TSA employees (not all, but many).

We were headed from Dulles to Texas on that rainy morning and they seemed to be overly enthusiastic (almost giddy) about their new 'power' to search any and everything and confiscate whatever was necessary. (This was before 7am, prior to the 'official' decision that formula/breastmilk would be allowed). They seemed to look us over quite a bit before (arbitrarily) deciding that we could mix 1 bottle of formula and keep it, but then we'd have to throw away the water. Without any way to keep the formula cold, it was worthless since we couldn't feed it to him within the hour.

The rest of the passengers got the pleasure of listening to him holler before we decided to just give him loose snacks for breakfast. Great trip!

The real problem is that our Gov't never seems to have a comprehensive plan for ANYTHING, family matters included. Unfortunately, the Gov't manages from crisis to crisis (most administrations, regardless of party) and so every new threat results in upheaval/change/discomfort for all more citizens than should be necessary. As someone else mentioned, if El Al was faced with this type of threat they would not have to change a thing, because their security measures are PROactive, not REactive.

Posted by: Proud Papa | August 28, 2006 8:28 AM

Don'tFly: the day we put "national security" between a mother doing what she feels is best for her baby is the day we have officially become a police state with no regard for individual human beings. Babies' needs are important. The bond between a mother and baby is worth protecting.

Posted by: anon | August 28, 2006 8:31 AM

The biggest problem it seems with traveling is the storage. If someone is traveling for one day, then pump and dump. Why stress yourself over one day? As someone said, it was a national security emergency. It inconvenienced a lot of people.

And to tlawrenceva, wow, such anger aimed at your husband. Your had been through a terrible ordeal. You act as if you were the only one affected. Give your husband a break. He made a mistake---get over it. If you really are still this angry, you may want to seek counseling to help you forgive and to manage your anger.

And yes, wouldn't it be great if society weren't so hypocritical. But don't punish yourselves for the sins of our society. Stop whining and advocate for policies at your workplace to make pumping easier.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 8:33 AM

No one said that you shouldn't breastfeed. But the world shouldn't operate on your desire to do that. Don't fly if it means you can't breastfeed.

'And, how offensive that I my career requires travel and that I have the nerve to want a baby and breast feed it. REally, I can't believe my own nerve.'

Sometimes, you really can't have it all. I would like to double my salary, but I would have to travel which I am not willing to do because i want a baby and don't want to be away on business. For me it's 40 hours or nothing.

Posted by: to anon | August 28, 2006 8:44 AM

Consider that the entire purpose of national security is to preserve the U.S. so that it may continue to function into the future. (Indeed, the is really to only point to having a governement at all, to perpetuate the state). De facto, all laws and regulations aim to pereserve the future, and those living in the future. (Imagine if there was a case where we knew there would be no future generations. The CURRENT way we govern ourselves, if we even bothered at all, would be much different). Anyway, national security and ensuring that children have the best opportunities for nutrition work toward the same objective. When one reduces the efficacy of the other, it shows what idiots we have running the entire system. A full scale protest is called for.

Posted by: preslopsky | August 28, 2006 8:57 AM

>>>Stop whining and advocate for policies at your workplace to make pumping easier.>>>

I work with a bunch of men, 99% of which are not from this country and generally feel women are chattel and belong hidden away at home. Advocating a policy change in my office is difficult since it contradicts many co-workers' strong religious beliefs, which I am sensitive enough to respect even if the respect isn't reciprocated.

Posted by: soon to be mom | August 28, 2006 8:59 AM

This isn't a "travel while breastfeeding" story, but does illustrate some challenges some women encounter. I was in graduate school at Georgetown when I had my first baby. I was, evidently, one of the first women to have a baby during this graduate program and want to nurse (this was in late 1997, early 1998). I carried my "pump-in-style" to school with me every day and lugged it around campus.

When I got there for my first day of school, despite having previously spoken with them and being assured there would be a place to pump, I got a lot of blank looks when I asked where I could go to pump. They let me use their break lounge (had to lock the doors on both ends of the room) the first time, and then hurriedly concocted a plan for me to use the faculty restroom on the second floor. They put a folding chair in there for me to use, so I didn't have to sit on the toilet. This solution was fine with me, the only problem was, the entire time I was in there, I had faculty knocking on the door, wondering what was taking so long, and why they couldn't use their restroom. It was a bigger inconvenience for them than it was for me.

There was one day a week when I had class on the other side of campus and didn't have time to make it back to that building with the faculty restroom, and had to use the regular restroom. The one electrical outlet was actually in the "ante-room" you walked into before the actual restroom, placed in the middle of a mirrored wall. I sat on the floor, in front of the mirror, threw a sweatshirt up over myself (one more thing to carry!), and pumped while people walked past me into the restroom. Thank goodness that was just one day a week!

I was pretty lucky that in most cases, a solution could be worked out. It wasn't a horrible hardship, just a little less-than-ideal.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 9:02 AM

I too am sick of the whole breastfeeding issue, but from the other perspective. Breastfeeding IS the best way to feed your kid until 6 months. PERIOD. The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor and mom's SHOULD do what IS best for their kid. That being said, women should absolutely NOT feel guilty if they can't breatfeed do to sickness, adoption, or things outside their control. Inconvenient facts but facts nonetheless. And, should anyone question, I work, breastfed for two years and don't live in DC.

Posted by: NC Mom | August 28, 2006 9:08 AM

To ANON: Breast feeding is not a "choice" any more than peeing is. If that were the case, then I could "choose" to pee in a bag through a catheter or do what comes natural......geez, get a grip. Aparently, you can't tell the difference between a natural bodily function and an acceptable substitute.

Posted by: tlawrenceva | August 28, 2006 9:16 AM

"To donfly, Breast milk is the best milk for human infants. Formula is cows milk."

If cow's milk is so darn bad for children, why do parents insist on giving it to their children for 15+ years?

I remember people in NW DC whining about their streets not being plowed soon enough after snowstorms because "my children need MILK and I can't get out to get it!" -- as if kids get sick if they skip two days drinking cow's milk. How stupid. Especially when most of those people could have WALKED to the nearest market.

Posted by: Hate cow's milk | August 28, 2006 9:28 AM

"...is the day we have officially become a police state with no regard for individual human beings"

Sorry to inform you, but we ARE living in a police state. Do you really think you have any rights anymore?

What sickens me is all the money we have spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, and all the loss of life, and we are not one iota safer and have lost so much quality of life in this country.

Someone told me yesterday that there is a projected timeline saying that it will be about 20 more years before this cycle we are in -- Middle East terrorism and our reaction to it -- concludes. How much worse is our country going to get in that time?

Posted by: It's all over | August 28, 2006 9:34 AM

"To donfly, Breast milk is the best milk for human infants. Formula is cows milk."

Though usually based on cow's milk -formula is a "formula" of cow's milk and other ingredients that is made to mimic breast milk. They even have formula that is soy based for babies with allergies or vegan mothers.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | August 28, 2006 9:40 AM

We live here and not in the Middle East. It's nice that you respect their religion, but they should have to respect America and our way of life. Here women are not property, we work, we have opinions, we have children and we are equals. I mean should we all just let them take over and change the way we believe. We talk on here about the women's movement; well it's not just white men who counteract it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 9:44 AM

To tlawrenceva : Breastfeeding is not a choice because once you start you have to continue or else your breasts become very painful and you can get sick. So it's not possible to just decide to skip a day because you're travelling. Please make sure you know what you're talking about before making snide remarks.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | August 28, 2006 9:46 AM

I have a looming 1-day business trip to NYC that falls just as my DD turns 9 months old. I am fortunate to have enough bm in the freezer that I can easily pump-n-dump, so storage during the trip is not an issue. I planned on pumping in the airport bathroom on both ends of the trip since I feel awkward doing so at the client. However, does anyone know if it one can get a small hand pump through security? That would be my only luggage, so it is really silly to have to wait in an 1 hour+ line on both ends to check it.

It troubles me that this latest hassle makes me want to give up bf....

Posted by: exasperated | August 28, 2006 9:46 AM

It's silly to suggest a breastfeeding mom just not pump for a day. A woman who suggests that has obviously not breastfed a baby. Breasts become engorged and painful and this may lead to mastitis (a flu-like illness which causes fever). That said, I think pump-and-dump is not an unreasonable expectation in an emergency. SOme babies are allergic to anything except breastmilk, and moms of those babies shoudl carry a pediatrician's note to the airport; it shouldn't be any less respected than a prescription for insulin or something. The story about the unrefrigreated formula is scary. Babies can become dehydrated easily and this makes them very ill. Everyone else on the plane is allowed to drink: it's not fair to exclude babies just because they have a restricted diet. The TSA people should have used some common sense (yeah, right!).

In gneral, it seems the government excludes pregnant women, babies, and small children from their plans. I know people here think that moms advocating for breastfeeding are doing it for themselves, but really it's all about the baby. Recently there was a story talking about the govt not having emergency formula stocks during Katrina. I'm glad my baby is breastfed because in an emergency, I can just whip it out! But moms who can't do that are in a bind. The only way to force gov't to include us, is to speak loudly and remind everyone that they were a baby once too.

Posted by: m | August 28, 2006 9:49 AM

"I work with a bunch of men, 99% of which are not from this country and generally feel women are chattel and belong hidden away at home. Advocating a policy change in my office is difficult since it contradicts many co-workers' strong religious beliefs, which I am sensitive enough to respect even if the respect isn't reciprocated."

I would then say that you are working in a place that contradicts your values and disrespects you because you're a woman. You may want to look elsewhere where your values are respected. (besides, why should their religious beliefs be respected if they cause a situation that is potentially illegal?)

Posted by: to soon to be mom | August 28, 2006 9:51 AM

I breastfed my first child for 2 1/2 years and my second child for 3 1/2 years. Yeah, I know, not the norm. But, I've traveled for work to Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico, all over the US. My Pump-In-Style was a necessity. I did do formula part-time with my first because I wasn't prepared enough, but with my first I had a great stash. The pump was just as much so I didn't get mastitis as to save the milk for my child. Without fail, I had the pump thoroughly inspected by airport security. I guess the wires and cords seemed suspicious.

I've had coworkers drive very long distances with breastfed babies and a caregiver to eliminate the need to fly. I've had some turn down trips. I've had moms and babies sit beside me on planes not knowing if I would be comfortable with them nursing their kids. (It's more common that a lot of people realize.)

TSA really needs to change this rule with the breastmilk, even if they require the mother to taste it. After all, what if a mother pumps midflight and doesn't dump it, but stores it in an empty bottle? This is silly.

And, to adopted mothers - most breastfeeding mothers don't judge you. We all do what we think is best. That's what balance is all about. Doing the best we can and accepting that there are some things that simply cannot be done. My sister 100% formula fed her kids, but is a stay-at-home mom. We don't waste time deciding if she is a better mom for staying at home or if I am a better mom for breastfeeding. We both do what we think we can do best and forget about the rest. :)

Posted by: PA Mom | August 28, 2006 9:52 AM

"We both do what we think we can do best and forget about the rest. :)"

You are brilliant! That is my motto, too.

Posted by: To PA Mom | August 28, 2006 10:13 AM


My most traumatic pumping/travel experience came when my youngest was about 10mo. She was severely food allergic --- her allergens included dairy, soy, gluten, egg, including any trace exposure in my diet through breastmilk, so I avoided all traces of those foods while nursing her. I went to a multiday conference and shipped back daily supplies of pumped breastmilk. I shipped each late afternoon from the conference hotel. The day-before-last, I decided not to ship since I was due back before the package would even arrive. But then, next evening as I was waiting for my (nonstop) flight, thunderstorms closed down the airport til the next morning! I was distraught but there was absolutely no way to reroute or get back. I had managed to build up some stash of frozen ebm at home, but not enough to cover 2 days (the unshipped, *and* the delay)! I am normally undemonstrative but I was beside myself and the rescheduling agent's assurance that everything would be fine, that she'd take something, babies always do, were just ludicrous --- what could she be offered? more solids? pedialyte? rice milk - which she hadn't tried yet and is nowhere near caloric enough? She would be allergic to all nonprescription formulas and the prescription ones are so different in taste that babies older than 3mo usually reject them. I did have some extra frozen ebm from before I'd identified all her allergens --- that would be Russian roulette, any that happened to be contaminated by an allergen would make her sick for a week. My sitter and DH offered extra solids and they did get forced into the earlier stash, which she kept rejecting . . . she was very hungry when I finally got home, but she was still holding out (and this was a baby who had dropped weight percentiles every checkup, by then she was probably down from 90th at birth to 10-20th, just to illustrate my grounds for concern).

I was so worried, I've never felt such acute helplessness and guilt, *knowing* my child was in a disastrous situation without me because of my stupid decision not to ship that last day's breastmilk --- I knew she would suffer hunger and a total disruption/change of her feeding routine, on top of my being gone (she normally did much of her nursing during the night, reverse cycle nursing, common among bf babies of working moms).

I'm so sick of the "just give her some formula, it's not poison" comments. For my baby, formula was poison. For many other bf babies, it might not be poison literally, but it's not what they're used to and they reject it, or only accept it after long hours of traumatic attempts. Why belittle other moms' dedication to feeding their babies their own babies' way, and angst if that way is disrupted or sabotaged? Belittling the need for pumping just sets an atmosphere for not offering minimal accommodations for pumping (clean well-lighted room, power, refrigerator for overnights)

Posted by: KB | August 28, 2006 10:14 AM

I am pregnant with what will be my first - I do not work and I will not breast-feed - I know this is not a popular decision but it is something that will not work well for me. We all need to make the decisions that work best for us - and to remember to not judge those who make other decisions. This is where our society has lost perspective - much too much judgemental about the decisions of others.

Kudos to those who can work travel and breast feed - we have also lost all perspective on the security issues - there is a point where the government needs to get a grip - and the poster who wrote about the government not having an overall plan and just reacting from crisis to crisis is absolutely right - we would all benefit from advance and reasoned planning for a crisis. Is it possible to write a sentence that includes the words 'government' and 'reasoned' in it?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 10:15 AM

I feel like the pump I had(Pump-In-Style by Medela)was really loud- which made it awkard for me to pump at my job.

And to Tlawrenceva-
I'd be pissed too. Whether or not you should just "get over it" depends on whether this was a fluke accident or not.

Posted by: Silver Spring | August 28, 2006 10:16 AM

I like the suggestion that moms travelling without their babies should be allowed to carry on breastmilk with a note from a doctor, but doesn't that just shift the burden onto the doctors?

As the working mom of an 8 month old who has never had formula, my milk is liquid gold! I'll pump and dump if I have to, but I'll do everything I can to get every drop of that milk home safely (including shipping it home on dry ice, which is what i'm going to have to do for an upcoming 4 day business trip). Then again, maybe I'll just take the train to NY instead.

To the mom who asked about carrying on a small pump, I have always carried my pump on planes with me and it is not small. I'm too scared to check it! As long as it doesn't have any liquid in it, I don't see why they wouldn't let you check it now.

Posted by: Amy | August 28, 2006 10:21 AM

>>> but doesn't that just shift the burden onto the doctors? >>>

No, it will shift the burden to the doctors' staff. Doctors are very good at deligating so they never are burdened.

Posted by: To Amy | August 28, 2006 10:31 AM

"I was so worried, I've never felt such acute helplessness and guilt, *knowing* my child was in a disastrous situation without me because of my stupid decision not to ship that last day's breastmilk --- I knew she would suffer hunger and a total disruption/change of her feeding routine, on top of my being gone"

Oh, darling. Your baby didn't suffer a *disastrous situation* because of getting a little off schedule. A disastrous situation is a hurricane/flood that destroys your city or an airplane flying into a building that kills hundreds of people.

Your baby was a little uncomfortable for a while, and guess what, it didn't die and it didn't suffer any permanent damage. Your baby likely will be a little uncomfortable many, many, many more times in its life.

Why must mothers be such martyrs? Lighten up on yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 10:32 AM

A quick tip that may be helpful regarding traveling and keeping pumped milk cold. I was listening to a story about how a live lobster store up in Maine saw its sales go to nothing when the new liquid rules were put into effect - no blue ice containers allowed so customers could no longer carry on lobsters. How the store got around the ban was to pack their lobsters using frozen vegetables (bag of frozen corn/peas, etc.) Apparently, it works like a charm, meets TSA standards because they can see it through the xray (unlike the ice packets). My guess is that a similar strategy would work well for expressed milk for those traveling long distances. My wife used to travel with her pump n style often and I can't imagine what she would do if she were told that she couldn't bring milk with her - as breastfeeding mothers know, that stuff is gold - I still remember look of death I received when I accidentally spilled half an ounce:) Clearly TSA has to accommodate these situations...

As an aside, my wife just stopped breastfeeding our second child, and I just happened to complete my first flight with two kids in tow, including said 14 month old with a bottle in hand. We had no problems and were not asked to dump the milk. I actually made it through with a small bottle of infant tylenol (for coping with an extremely bad teething bout.) Good luck mommies and mommies-to-be.

Posted by: DC Dad | August 28, 2006 10:39 AM

"my milk is liquid gold"

Oh please. It is simply breast milk. Get over yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 10:41 AM

Ah, yes, I can take the train to NYC! Anyone know if Amtrack has power outlets in the bathrooms, for speedy pumping?

Posted by: exasperated | August 28, 2006 10:41 AM

Amtrak customer service number:

1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245)

or email query form:

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/ContactUs

Posted by: to exasperated | August 28, 2006 10:46 AM

Those who suggest pumping and dumping have clearly never had supply issues. I am not going to pour my breastmilk down the drain. Do you know how unpleasant it is to pump? The government should not impose obstacles for families to do what is scientifically proven to be best for their children. On the one hand the government compares not breastfeeding to abuse, and on the other hand creates many obstacles to prevent that from happening. The phrase "desire to breastfeed" is ridiculous. It's not an issue of desire; it's an issue of doing what is in the best interest of the child if a mother is able to breastfeed. I'm sick of women being beat up for breastfeeding. I'm sick of women being beat up for NOT breastfeeding. If people don't like the way a family feeds its children, that's their problem. As for the government, they should get the hell out of my way so I can mother my child to the best of my ability.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 10:46 AM

Here's my funny pumping story. I work in a very secure DOD facility. My only choice for pumping was a chair in the handicapped stall of the bathroom. I would run my power cord out under the stall door. One day there was a classified conference going on in the same hallway as the bathroom I use, so there were many ladies around that did not know me. I came out of the stall when I was done pumping and proceeded to wash my hands and said hello to a lady that was there. She said Hello and quickly left. When I walked out of the bathroom, there was a Navy Commander standing there who asks me what is in my bag (Medela PumpNStyle). Of course I am embarrased and mad to be questioned like this by a complete stranger. I ask him "Why do you need to know?" and he tells me that lady reported me to security because she thought I was typing on a laptop and printing things out in the bathroom! The head of building security (a lady who knows me) shows up, the situation is explained and all is well. Pretty funny actually, though at the time I was very embarrassed!

Posted by: Secure in CO | August 28, 2006 10:47 AM

Wow, I am deeply saddened at the posters that tell a nursing mother to get over it. What kind of cruel thing is that to say to a mother who is concerned about feeding her child. Would you say such a cruel thing to a mother who formula fed her baby, who is under the age of 12 months, and they ran out of formula in the store. Would you tell her just shove some cow's milk in her babies bottle or eat a couple more strained peas. To the adoptive mother- I don't know anyone who would condem or have any problems with an adoptive parent who does not breast feed. Especially if the child came into the family at an age that was too old to adjust to nursing. BTW, if you do adopt a new born infant, it is possible to breast feed. It is the suckling that produces milk, not being pregnant. It is often difficult for adoptive mothers to produce enough milk but it is possible to enjoy some of the benefits of nursing. As far as breast milk not being liquid gold. It most certainly has the cash value equivalent to a high priced item (gold). Breast milk that is sold goes for an astronomical price. So in a sense it is certaily a worthy commodity. But more then anything, I am disappointed in people's attitude toward nursing mothers and their babies. No rational person will say that a formula fed baby is not a healthy baby. Of course you can have a healthy baby who is a 100%formula fed. But breast milk is best for your baby. And if you want to sacrifice the time and effort and your baby loves it. Why not encourage breast feeding. I am not saying go through extraordinary lengths to accomodate breastfeeding families. But goodness sakes, no wonder we don't have some more nursing friendly laws. It seems like some of you posters, would rather have all formula fed babies then give a little inch to a nursing family. Sad, really sad.

Posted by: Lieu | August 28, 2006 10:54 AM

For the practicalities of getting milk home these days - If I was just gone one day, I'd probably pump and dump. More than than...I would either ship it home fex ex with dry ice or pack it in a cooler with dry ice (if available) or blue ice packets. Having a gread deal of experience shipping frozen tamales from Texas to CA in my checked bags, when they were frozen solid, wrapped in just paper sacks, they got home just fine, not even thawed.

As for the whole breastfeeding is best, get over it. Yes, it was best for me. I don't really care what you do, as long as it is best for your family. I'm outraged as someone pointed out that children seem to be an after thought. A lot of parent's I know travel with formula in the premixed bottles. If I'd been a parent and forced to toss that with a baby - they would have STARVED. You can't buy infamil at the starbuck and babies under 1 don't drink milk yet. Think it through people, and obviously we haven't.

As for my own personal right to be a pumping and traveling mother, please, are we going to argue people's right to be the best parents they can? Will we madate all mother's staying home, all mother breast feeding, all father coaching softball, all babies must be formula fed. Families are complex these days-and the creative ways families find to solve them are amazing if people would just stop judging their decisions. I've worked hard to get where I am, I'm the top of my field doing something highly fullfilling, I'm a great mom. I'm not going to stop being any of those things because some people have preconcived notions.

Posted by: Former Pump'n & Travel'n Mom | August 28, 2006 10:55 AM

As to the suggestion to give a baby formula for a day (the ignorance of that comment is astounding): a baby who has been breastfed very likely cannot tolerate formula. If the baby does need to be switched to forumula, it should be introduced gradually. Some children could tolerate it suddenly, but many get sick. Why should a child have to get sick because our government doesn't know how to handle airport security?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 10:55 AM

Except for maybe the extremally allergic baby, I would recommend what my doctor told me knowing I would have to make trips after I went back to work. Early on occasionally have the baby have a bottle of formula - you can pump and store during this time to keep up your milk supply and to get a stash going. This way if your travel plans get messed up; your stash goes bad because of a power failure while you are away; you get sick or injured and are unable to nurse (becuase of the illness or your medication) the child will accept formula and the stress is less for everyone. Also this way if you need to pump and dump the child still is fed. Yes it may not be as good nutrition as breast milk and doesn't provide the illness protection, but I looked on it as the same as when I eat at a fast food place - not ideal but will suffice once in awhile

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | August 28, 2006 10:57 AM

""my milk is liquid gold"

Oh please. It is simply breast milk. Get over yourself."

This is what public health officials and doctors are communicating to mothers. She doesn't need to get over herself when that's what all the experts are telling her. Get a clue about the subject you are commenting on before making a fool out of yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 10:58 AM

Ok, I hate to rise to the bait, but I will just once.

Your compassion stuns me --- what baby wouldn't be graced to have you as a caregiver? Alive, no permanent damage, just crying and hungry for hours, don't sweat it. Wouldn't want to be a "martyr", after all.

For a baby to go hungry for 12 -24 hours is miserable, bewildering, and a health risk for dehydration.

I didn't claim it was a community disaster --- just a personal one, for my child. Of course she's had longer-term illnesses and episodes that turned out, after the fact, to be more acute. But I was able to be with her through those, and I certainly didn't make them worse than they had to be.

I consider sparing my child egregious physical and emotional pain part of the job of motherhood. Even now, with daughters now 9 and 6, healthy and well-fed, I still do.

KB

>Oh, darling. Your baby didn't suffer a >*disastrous situation* because of getting a >little off schedule. A disastrous situation is a >hurricane/flood that destroys your city or an >airplane flying into a building that kills >hundreds of people.
>
>Your baby was a little uncomfortable for a while, >and guess what, it didn't die and it didn't >suffer any permanent damage. Your baby likely >will be a little uncomfortable many, many, many >more times in its life.
>
>Why must mothers be such martyrs? Lighten up on >yourself.

Posted by: KB | August 28, 2006 10:59 AM

Seventeen years ago I was a business travelling new mother who breastfed. I breastfed exclusively until my baby was 6 mos old and stopped breast feeding when my son was 8 1/2 months old.

When I was on business trips, my son got thawed breastmilk that had been saved when I pumped more than he needed. For longer trips, I simply threw out the breastmilk. Half the reason one pumps is to keept the "supply" available. For multiple day trips, the baby isn't getting the milk anyway because you generally can't freeze it and transport it all.

Posted by: Been there | August 28, 2006 11:06 AM

I've breastfed on airplanes, and have had to take my pump on trips to, sadly, pump and dump. (But it served the purpose of keeping the milk supply going.)

I am appalled at TSA for their poorly thought out reaction to most things. (Reacting to the last threat, rather than to the current one. Remember there was a plot a while back to blow up a plane over the Pacific & liquids are being banned now.)

Unfortunately, most of the top rule makers do not travel like most working moms do, or have to juggle all of the competing demands that all "real people" do.

I will ask this though: since breastfeeding has made me incredibly thirsty, has anyone that has to fly back in coach for a cross country flight had problems getting enough to drink while in flight? I usually blow through a big 1.5L bottle or even more on a regular flight to Florida...

Posted by: workathomemom | August 28, 2006 11:17 AM

I wish I had a breastmilk stash in the freezer I could have relied upon, but despite dilligently pumping daily throughout my entire maternity leave the stash is depleted. Just not pumping isn't an option; it would not only mean my baby won't get what he needs, it would also mean my already fragile supply would be further diminished. And I would have been in pain and, quite possibly, have leaked all over my business attire on the airplane!

To the poster who told the woman who called her breast milk "liquid gold" to "get over yourself," you are being quite harsh for no good reason. She is not saying her milk is any more special than any other pumping mom; many pumpers use that phrase as a shortcut to show how important every ounce of breastmilk that they fight so hard for is to them.

Posted by: Dineen | August 28, 2006 11:19 AM

I go with the 'pump and dump' poster. The great thing about breast milk is that supply increases in response to demand. If your baby won't take formula at all then you can add some pump-only feedings in and build up your frozen stash.

I just flew someplace this weekend and the liquids thing was a pain. I've never seen so many women lip glossless in my life.

First they want us to be a flip-flop nation (for easier shoe removal), now a bunch of washouted-out hags.

Posted by: RoseG | August 28, 2006 11:19 AM

To the mom whose doctor recommended she give her baby formula early on just in case of a number of reasons - that is not necessary. I realize this may not apply to everyone, but you can pump and store a stash so that is never necessary. Introducing even one bottle of formula changes the flora (the good bacteria) in a baby's intestine and thus the baby's immunity. It's best to avoid formula for at least the first 6 months of life. I wasn't able to do that with my first child, but with careful planning, I was able to do that with my second. I regret to inform you that your doctor gave you poor advice.

Posted by: PA Mom | August 28, 2006 11:20 AM

I nursed in public (discreetly, of course). I never carried a breast pump, expressed milk in a bottle, cooler, ice packs, etc. When I was out with my baby, it was milk on tap. Every once in a while, my baby got a bottle of formula.

It really doesn't need to be so difficult...

Posted by: single western mom | August 28, 2006 11:23 AM

RoseG, If your supply is steady, then that is great. If you struggle with supply like I do, then pump and dump is like a knife in your heart. I already pump on my drive to and from work, one to two times a day at work, and yet again after my baby is asleep at home, on top of feeding him directly 2-3 times a day on weekdays and for all of his feedings on weekends. With all that pumping and with supplements, I barely keep up with my baby's demand. That's why I worked so hard to find a way. I was not complaining when I wrote out my saga, I was trying to help other moms cope with a difficult situation by sharing one possible solution.

Posted by: Dineen | August 28, 2006 11:27 AM

To PA mom:

Please let the mom whose doctor told her that introducing a bottle of formula every once in while might be a good listen to HER DOCTOR.

There is a reason that she or he is the doctor - do not say that he or she is a bad doctor - there may be a reason for it in this person's life. The vast majority of immunity that a baby gets from breastfreeding is gained in the first week of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is not the only way to have a healthy smart beautiful child. There are many women who cannot or choose not to and the babies will be just fine. Yes - it is good for a baby - but please understand that there are other choices which are just as valid as yours.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 11:29 AM

I am glad most of what I wanted to say has been said. I made a personal decision to breastfeed for both my girls for at least a year(15 mos for first, 13 months for the second) It was extremely difficult, but worth every minute. Did I have to? Of course not. I am extremely happy to not be doing it now with the current security environment. I did travel with my Pump in Style, both as hand luggage and check in(inside another suitcase, with padding) and used EBL from my extra store while away. For long trips I would Fed Ex back milk with dry ice and short ones I would pump and dump. I had to pump, for my own comfort and to maintain supply for my daughter when I got home. Could I have stayed home, yes. Am I indespensible, no. But I enjoy my work and love my daughter, so I tried to make the best of it. If you do not have experience with BF, please do not make uneducated comments like "get over it" or "don't be a martyr". Most BF moms are just trying to do their best for their baby. While you may not pay gold for it, they would by the ounce.

Posted by: sunniday | August 28, 2006 11:31 AM

"I regret to inform you that your doctor gave you poor advice."

PAMom, how are YOU an expert on breastfeeding? Please don't tell people they got bad advice from their own doctor when you have NO IDEA of the circumstances.

You strike me as the sort of person who would hiss to a mother whom you saw not breastfeeding "Breast is BEST!" even though you had no idea why the mother was not breastfeeding.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 11:38 AM

"Most BF moms are just trying to do their best for their baby."

I agree absolutely - but so are moms that bottle-feed - isn't it interesting that that 'BF' can stand for both breast-fed and bottle-fed?

The vast majority of moms try their absolute most to do their absolute best for their babies - whether that is breastfed or bottle-fed. That is what we need to keep in mind and to just make whatever one chooses work - and yes, we do needto make breast-feeding easier for moms who choose to - but also need to stop passing judgement on those who bottle-feed!

If I was to breast-feed, I would not choose to do it in public, but that is what would be right for me - I would not feel comfortable - but if someone else is ok with doing it, then that is fine with me, too. Let's all just tolerate each other!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 11:39 AM

"Oh, darling. Your baby didn't suffer a >*disastrous situation* because of getting a >little off schedule. A disastrous situation is a >hurricane/flood that destroys your city or an >airplane flying into a building that kills >hundreds of people."

In the example in question, the baby was severely allergic to almost all other foods. I know another baby like this and it can be very dangerous. Breastmilk is almost the only source of nutrition and giving in to the temptation to feed other foods could result in anaphylactic shock and death. Babies have a high surface area to volume ratio, which makes them particularly vulnerable to dehydration. Going hungry could indeed result in a disastrous situation for that baby.

I'm not suggesting that we should allow the burden to be shifted from common sense to the doctors, by getting prescriptions for breastmilk. I'm just saying it's a defensive strategy to get around the stupidity of officialdom these days. I think these silly types of rules show age discrimination against the young: i.e. preventing them from access to necessary food and drink. I guess the only way to get around it is to write your representative and get them to write legislation mandating protection of the young.

Unfortunately, I don't think this will happen becuase the young don't vote, and parents of small children are relatvely rare since it's a short (albeit crucial) stage of life. Did you read the "my voice" last week in the WP business section? It was about a suggested protocol for vaccination in the event of a bird flu pandemic. Evidently these researchers suggested that vaccines be reserved for those aged 12 to 49, becuase these people had "developed hopes and dreams". People any younger had not developed such (all-important) hopes and dreams, and those older had already had their chance to live such hopes and dreams. As the parent of two little kids, I was outraged that young kids were to be sacrificed over this Disneyfied version of human worth. But the author of the article, commenting on the researchers' choice of vaccinatees, couldn't have cared less about little kids, because she herself was over 50. Her concern was all about how she's not done living and still has her own hopes and dreams,, and she would hope her 12 year old granddaughter would want to live in a world where older people are still valued. It was wierd, because according to her argument (i.e. that she's still worthwhile despite being over 50, but that it's only becuase she still has H $ D) basically excluded small kids. She could have made a broader argument about compassion, humanitarianism, fairness (e.g. all age groups should have an equal shot, in proportion to their representation in the population, incorporating a lottery) etc. Anyway, my point is, older people just don't seem to care about little kids and since there are a lot of older people, little kids are never going to be served by elected representatives.

Sorry to be so negative.

Posted by: m | August 28, 2006 11:45 AM

OK, I am going to go out on a limb here and I hope I do not offend anyone. My intention is never to offend anyone. But it appears to be a raging war between mothers who choose to BF and mothers who choose not to BF. Certainly not all mothers have a choice to BF (adoptive mothers, mothers with a health condition, children who do not latch on etc...) But I guess I do not understand the fight. If you choose not to BF that is fine. It is a deeply personal choice. But why would you not support a mother who does choose to BF? Why are you against making their life easier and their babies? Why all the hostility? OK, except the medical community and the La Leche League folks, most BF mothers do not go around telling non BFing mothers that they are harming their baby. Because of course you are not. I guess it is just like the WOHM versus the SAHMs. Everyone just wants to fight, instead of helping people have an easier time with the choices they have made.

Posted by: Lieu | August 28, 2006 11:50 AM

Today's blog is (or already has) going to just turn into a breastmilk vs. formula discussion, so I'm not really sure of what the point was. However, Leslie did ask a question at the end "what's your most outlandish breast-milk tale?"....I'm trying to think of mine, but I'm not sure I have one. I breastfed 3 of my babies a total of 56 months and pumped and fed my 2nd child for 4 months, I've worked and traveled with and without babies and with my breastpump, so you'd think I'd have one. ;o)

But anyway - I totally don't get the "problem" with current airline security regarding not carrying on breastmilk. Nobody is telling you to not carry on your pump, are they? So just, as someone else suggested, "pump and dump" for the day(s) that you're gone. End of story.

Posted by: momof4 | August 28, 2006 11:54 AM

'Everyone just wants to fight, instead of helping people have an easier time with the choices they have made.'

I think you have captured the essence of the whole thing - yes - there is an awful lot of unnecessary hostility - it is unfortunate. I do see more hostility from breast-feeding moms towards non-breast-feeding moms - I am not sure why it has be this way.

The world's biggest problems could all be solved be tolerance for others' choices. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if the debate between breast feeding moms and non-breast feeding moms WAS the world's biggest problem? To bring this back to the point of this blog, then no problems at security checkpoints. . .heck - no NEED for security checkpoints at airports (ok - that might be a bit too rosy-eyed but I think you understand my point).


Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 12:00 PM

To the two anonymous posters who are up in arms about someone contradicting a doctor, it's a sad fact that at least some doctors are woefully uneducated about breastfeeding, to the point where they encourage women to formula feed "for the good of the child."

When my daughter was born, the supposed "experts" at my pediatrician's office told me I'd never be able to produce enough milk to sustain the baby, and that I should start supplementing with formula immediately. Instead, I pumped 3x a day, took fenugreek like it was candy, and guzzled mother's milk tea. It was a very rough couple of months, but we perservered, and I'm still nursing my daughter, who's now nine months old. She hasn't had formula since she was five days old, and she's in the 75th percentile for weight.

Of course, we don't know the circumstances of the individual poster whose doctor told her to formula feed. But I think it's silly to assume that, just because a doctor says it, that's it's really the best thing for the kid.

With regard to this whole airline security issue, I've thought of a brilliant plan to make sure not one person ever dies, ever, from airline-related terror. Ready? It's simple. Let's just suspend airline travel indefinitely. Problem solved. After all, isn't national security much more important that a convenient mode of long-distance transportation? If people don't like it, it's their own fault for not simply staying in one place for their whole lives.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 28, 2006 12:02 PM

Right on, Lieu!

My mother (God rest her soul) would be laughing herself silly if she read all this (pardon me) breast-beating. What one mom chooses isn't wrong for another mom who chooses differently. And I'll be a good percentage of the folks writing in were bottle fed like I was, because that was what was in vogue then.

Still, I have to hand it to those who want to feed their child naturally and travel. Hats off to those who deal with the security hassles!

Posted by: nonbreastfed | August 28, 2006 12:07 PM

Has anyone pointed this problem out to the people at TSA?

I actually think that they would amend the rule if they knew this was creating issues. Certainly, these guidelines were created in time of crisis, and they are gradually allowing again things as they learn them to be essential. It seems to me that a mother who can show a valid birth certificate for a child under 12 months (or older with a doctor's note explaining a medical condition), ought to be able to carry on pumped breastmilk. If there is any question or suspicion about the mother being a terrorist, she could be given a private space to demonstrate her ability to produce the stuff on demand. Wouldn't that solve the problem?

Posted by: VAMom | August 28, 2006 12:09 PM

Obviously some people didn't read all my posts. I BF two children, but one was half formula-fed. I also helped my sister care for her children who were 100% formula-fed. I believe that a mother does what she believes is best. But, it is also unnecessary for a breastfeeding mother to give a bottle of formula to a breastfed baby for reasons other than just-in-case. This is related to today's blog. We shouldn't be forcing breastfed babies to be non-breastfed because of these TSA rules. Some of these posts are along the lines of "introduce formula early on just in case you ever have to fly." This should not have to be necessary.

I could go into the reasons that my first child ended up being half formula-fed, many of which center on bad medical advice, but this isn't the time or the place. So, I really do know what I'm talking about. And, I'm not a judgemental breastfeeding mother. Sorry to disappoint so many people who thought so poorly of me. I'm really a nice person who sees the good in people and believes most people try the best they can everyday to be good!

Posted by: PA Mom | August 28, 2006 12:10 PM

"I actually think that they would amend the rule if they knew this was creating issues. Certainly, these guidelines were created in time of crisis, and they are gradually allowing again things as they learn them to be essential."

The TSA / government couldn't really give two shakes. They aren't going to change the rules until they want to.

Come on, you can buy bottles of water in the secured area (hello, it's just water) but you can't bring it on the plane. If that isn't the most illogical rule, I don't know what is.

So, the TSA will change breastmilk before post-security check purchased water??? I don't think so.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 12:15 PM

12:15, I disagree. I happen to think a lot of people in the government really would give two shakes. I'm guessing no one even thought of this possibility when making the rules. Maybe I'm wrong, but I was thinking someone in this blogosphere might actually be able to bring this to the attention of someone at TSA and see what happens. I'm guessing someone here knows someone. And, if not, maybe Leslie would take this on?

Posted by: VAMom | August 28, 2006 12:22 PM

"But I think it's silly to assume that, just because a doctor says it, that's it's really the best thing for the kid."

Right, anonymous posters on an internet chat are much more reliable.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 12:23 PM

I was on a one day in-and-out business trip. Three days earlier, before the liquids ban was announced, I had planned to do what I had done in the past; just carry on my pump and cooler and treat it like a regular work day. The ban put a wrinkle into my plan, just as it did for countless others' plans for travel, especially in those first few days. In the future, I can book my flights with the liquids ban in mind. For this trip, I did not have that luxury.

To me (and this is my personal view, I am not saying others have to make the same choice) just throwing out the milk was NOT an option. Nor was setting myself up for a confrontation at security.

No, no one told me I couldn't carry on my pump, just not the accompanying milk. I decided it wasn't logistically sound to carry on my pump and check my milk alone, so I checked the pump and milk together. It was horribly inconvenient to have to check anything, since this was a one day in-and-out trip. I was concerned that checking the milk would affect it, temperature wise, and make it more difficult for it to survive the trip. Thankfully, that didn't happen. I am glad I tried, and shared my story so that it might help others in similar situations. It actually would have been easier if my trip were longer, as I would have had luggage (and time built into my day to deal with the luggage).

I know lots of people are horribly inconvenienced by the new rules. I just happen to think my (any) baby's nutrition is a *teense* bit more important than whether or not I get to carry lip gloss. And, unlike cow's milk or bottled water or juice or whatever, breast milk isn't fungible and can't just be replaced on the other side.

I am not sure why so many people feel the need to call names and treat me negatively for my decision to take on added inconvenience for the sake of my baby. Just because it isn't the choice you would make doesn't mean it wasn't a difficult situation for me. I don't claim to be a martyr. It isn't about breast milk versus formula. But it is not your (or the U.S. Government's) position to tell me oh, so sorry, too bad, forget everything you have worked for for 7 months, just give him formula. If I decide to give formula, it needs to be my choice, not TSA's.

Posted by: Dineen | August 28, 2006 12:24 PM

"Introducing even one bottle of formula changes the flora (the good bacteria) in a baby's intestine and thus the baby's immunity. It's best to avoid formula for at least the first 6 months of life."

PA Mom - So you're saying that even one bottle of formula compromises a baby's immunity... What are your sources? Links would be helpful. Thank you.

Posted by: MBA Mom | August 28, 2006 12:25 PM

my breastmilk battle tale involves trying to get a little privacy to pump. I requested a lock on my office door and my hr mgr provided me with a door stop instead. I shared an office with another woman which was fine. I put a big sign on the door, please don't come in right now! and this was ignored by one man who pushed right through the doorstop while I yelled "please don't come in" and tried to cover up as best I could. And yes, it does help to be relaxed and calm when you are trying to pump.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 12:26 PM

My best story (not very good compared with some of the others): I breastfed both my kids, but had a hard time for a bit with my first. My mother-in-law, who thinks life should be her way or the highway, sent me an article about the benefits of breastfeeding and then scribbled a note on a post-it saying "What a crock! My kids were fed out of CANS of formula when we spent weekends on the boat, and they all came out fine!" I had to laugh.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 28, 2006 12:29 PM

I have noticed the battle between BF moms and non-BF moms is the most heated, more than working verses at home moms. I am not sure why. BF moms tend to think if you chose not to breast feed you are selfish and a horrible mother. They point to numerous studies, yet as someone born in the 70s I didn't suffer from not being BF. I think all moms try to do the best they can. I can't imagine someone saying, "hmm, what choices can I make so that my child will have the worst possible life?!"

Posted by: To Lieu | August 28, 2006 12:30 PM

"BF moms tend to think if you chose not to breast feed you are selfish and a horrible mother."
I guess it depens on the women you know. Most of my friends that BF, just think it is a personal decision. Maybe they think differently but they keep their big mouth shut. I would be surprised at the ones that think it is so horrible. Because most of them were bottle fed and they are all healthy people. I just try to support my friends with their choices. I never pass judgement on a bottle feeding mother. I do try to educate mothers and fathers on the benefits of BF if they ask. If they don't ask, I keep my mouth SHUT!

Posted by: Lieu | August 28, 2006 12:37 PM

to NewSAHM:

I think it is great that you figured out a way to breast feed your child even though the doctor said it wouldn't work out (I honestly truly do). There are times when doctors are wrong, but most of the time, they are most familiar with their own patient's situations. This person should work with her doctor to find a solution if she does want to breastfeed. She should not be told to disregard her doctor's thoughts, which apparently lie with the best interests if the child. I will be SAHM and will not breast feed as that will be my choice, regardless of what the doctor says.

As far as your thoughts regarding shutting down the airlines entirely to ensure safety, simply brilliant. Anyone who thinks that they will be able to stop every attack is not realistic. Sure, I wish that we didn't have to deal with it, but the answer is to make a plan ahead of time and to make travel still reasonable for the passengers. We live about an 18 hour drive from both families because of my husband's job. I would prefer to fly - it is by far the safest mode of transportation for long distances, even taking into account all of the threats, plans and actual events (Sept 11 and all accidents, too). We usually end up driving because we take the dogs with us (could we make it easier to fly with them, too?). But you can be sure that flying is much more reasonable and convenient, even considering the chances. We cannot prevent car, bike and train accidents, either.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 12:39 PM

"I am not sure why. BF moms tend to think if you chose not to breast feed you are selfish and a horrible mother."

I'm sorry if you've had this experience with a breastfeeding mom, but it simply isn't true across the board. I breastfeed, it's my choice, and I do NOT think women who don't are selfish and horrible. Nor do any of the other breastfeeding moms I know.

I do think that this has become so sensitive an issue that a statement of support for breastfeeding is often interpreted as an implicit criticism of someone who doesn't, and I think that's unfortunate. Breastmilk is better for babies than formula, even the formula companies say so in their ads. Saying that and being supportive of women who breastfeed is not the same as saying anyone who doesn't is horrible. It is just what it is - being supportive of the choice to breastfeed.

There are extremists on both sides of this debate, but like in any other, they shouldn't be allowed to dominate.

And to those mothers who are concerned about pumping at work, you should look into what legal protections you have. I know at least two states (CO and CT) require employers over a certain size to allow a mother two extra breaks each day to pump or nurse, and one of them (CT) also requires providing a private place that's not a bathroom. I believe other states are considering similar measures.

Posted by: Megan | August 28, 2006 12:42 PM

>>> "But I think it's silly to assume that, just because a doctor says it, that's it's really the best thing for the kid."

Right, anonymous posters on an internet chat are much more reliable. >>>

Absolutely, anonymous posters and random women, who volunteer with LaLeche League but have no formal medical training of any kind, are far more reliable than a doctor who knows your personal medical history. Your comment was so funny!

Posted by: what a laugh | August 28, 2006 12:43 PM

My point wasn't that people should take anonymous advice over their doctor's, or that a doctor's advice should be categorically ignored. It just seems to be that a lot of the advice doctors hand out on feeding children is based not on actual medical fact, but on the doctor's cultural and social viewpoints. (And of course, I am an expert. Why, I must have takled to a dozen women about their experiences with doctors and feeding their infants!) ;-)

And to 12:39, congrats on your pregnancy. However you choose to feed your baby, I hope you have a great time and enjoy the heck out of your munchkin.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 28, 2006 12:47 PM

Everyone here who is so passionately defensive about this issue is wasting her energy. The TSA rules are completely ludicrous, whether they apply to breast milk, breast feeding, or hair gel. That is the root problem here.

Ignore the obstinate and ignorant people who have something against women breast feeding and ignore the dumb people who suddenly feel their exceptional situation warrants an entirely orthogonal argument altogether. They're only distracting you from the real problem.

The root cause of the problem cited in this blog entry is not "society" or "social moors", it's the TSA, plain and simple. Quit arguing over the irrelevancies, and focus on the thing that will eliminate the problem.

Write your Senator or Congressman and tell them how inane these rules are. Then write the President and Secretary Chertoff and tell them the same thing.

If you sit back and accept these ludicrous rules and solely go about trying to work within their framework, you will only perpetuate the problem. These clowns will continue to react passively to security threats, they will continue to inconvenience the American public with completely ineffective policies, and they will effectively finish off the airline industry. Yes, I understand the need to figure out the workaround to the immediate circumstances, but think bigger picture, too.

To paraphrase Peter Finch, it's time to get mad as hell, and tell them we're not taking it anymore.

Posted by: Not Crazy | August 28, 2006 12:50 PM

Breastfeed Rev. 2002 Nov;10(3):5-18

The impact of breastmilk on infant and child health.

* Oddy WH.

Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, PO Box 855, West Perth, WA 6872, Australia. wendyo@ichr.uwa.edu.au

Infant-formula-feeding is inferior to breastfeeding because human milk provides specific and non-specific factors that have long-term consequences for early metabolism and the development of disease. Human milk enhances the immature immunologic system of the neonate and strengthens host defense mechanisms against infective and other foreign agents. Some mechanisms that explain active stimulation of the infant's immune system by breastfeeding are the bioactive factors in human milk such as hormones, growth factors and colony stimulating factors, as well as specific nutrients. Human milk may reduce the incidence of disease in infancy because mammalian evolution promotes a survival advantage. In addition, factors in milk promote gastrointestinal mucosal maturation, decrease the incidence of infection, alter gut microflora, and have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory functions. Hormones, growth factors and cytokines in human milk may modulate the development of disease. Furthermore breastfed babies have reduced exposure to foreign dietary antigen. Following the termination of breastfeeding, there is evidence of ongoing protection against illness due to protective influences on the immune system mediated via human milk. Industry continues to attempt to improve infant formula with the addition of compounds such as fatty acids, oligosaccharides, nucleotides and lactoferrin. However, human milk has such far-reaching effects on the infant's immune response that optimal development depends heavily on its provision. All mothers should be encouraged and supported to continue breastfeeding for six months and beyond in order to promote the good health of their infants.

Posted by: To MBA Mom | August 28, 2006 12:51 PM

To MBAmom:Just because you asked. Here is the link from the world health organization. They recommend BF till age 2 with supplemental foods after age 1 (generally solids). http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/index.html

Posted by: Lieu | August 28, 2006 12:52 PM

Work from home, pumping rooms, now flying controversy. There appears to be a huge problem being a working mom and BF'ing. I am a working mom who did BF for 10 weeks while on maternity leave, but stopped before I returned to work. My babies had no problem going to formula, but I accept that others might.

I believe in a woman's right to both work, have children, and bf. It is complicated, and balance is difficult. If the complications of travel and bf become too much, then maybe you just should stop traveling. Just like everyone else, I had to choose between work and stay at home, long work hours or less pay, more work accountability vs less promotion potential, travel or change jobs. It's a trade-off.

Instead of pushing for the airlines to accommodate the bf mothers, why not push the employers to eliminate travel for mothers who are bf? In 32 years on my job, I have traveled once, and I had the option of turning down the trip. Not to be sarcastic, but why is so much travel required - I really don't know since my job doesn't require it. Why can't there be less travel and more use of modern technology - email, fax, tele-conference, video-conference etc? I have heard this argument used as a reason to be able to work from home, so why not as a reason to eliminate travel? Even die-hard bf don't usually go beyond 12 months. Why not an employee benefit - no mandatory travel while the baby is under a year old.

For the woman who had the baby with allergies and had the meltdown at the airport: Why would you ever travel away from that baby with those particular needs? Regardless of whether the TSA decision was ridiculous, what if there were another 9/11 where all the planes were grounded, or weather problems, or mechanical problems that delayed or cancelled flights?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 12:55 PM

The thing I've never understood about this absurd liquids ban - bottle water, cokes, breast milk, formula, whatever - is this. Are the airlines banned from providing beverages on board? I haven't heard that they are. There is also water in the lavatories, unless that has been shut off. So if it's available on the PLANE ITSELF, then what is the point of banning law abiding citizens from carrying on drinks or hand lotion or food for their children for God's sake?? It just makes no sense to me. Ok, so a woman can't take her pumped breastmilk on a plane because getting it through security is too hard. SHE CAN JUST MAKE MORE ON BOARD. What in the world is going on with our government? I was a frequent flier for work before my 3rd trimester this summer, and haven't been on a plane since the new rules came out. Has anyone been able to get a ginger ale or a bloody mary on board a flight in the last 2 weeks? If so, it seems to me that this entire exercise is absurd. Unless we're all strapped in straight jackets to boards and kept hydrated through IVs, I really don't see how this rule prevents access to liquids.

Posted by: question for TSA... | August 28, 2006 12:57 PM

I don't think anyone has said breastfeeding isn't better, just that sometimes we have to go with second best, that occansionly slipping won't irrepably harm are children and that some is better than none (ie, for only 3 months)

Posted by: to MBA mom | August 28, 2006 12:59 PM

I thought it was a problem of putting something into the liquid you were carrying on the plane. But if it is just liquid in itself, it does seem silly because they do still serve beverages and allow water in the bathroom.

Posted by: Lieu | August 28, 2006 1:05 PM

There is an article in the NYT today about the airlines having adequate liquids on board for the passengers. We all know that flying causes dehydration. Apparently there hasn't been that much of an increased demand for beverages on board - personally, I drink a lot of water so I can't understand this. But apparently there has been a large increase in demand for the bathrooms, from people guzzling beverages before they get onboard. Even if it was the last available bit of water on board, I wouldn't drink the stuff coming out of the taps - they use that water to make the coffee and tea - wouldn't drink that, either.

The point is that the rules about no beverages being brought on board just do not make sense. Sure, if they would like to require that the drinks be sealed until onbard (don't know how that would work for coffees and so forth, but we are smart so it could be figured out - have them take a drink of it?), that is fine, but there is not a good reason to ban bottles or drinks that have been purchased after passing through security. This question was brought up on NPR about 10 days ago and the person in the studio couldn't give a good answer. I thought if it the very first day and thought I was missing something - but it is good to know that I am not hte only one who finds it ridiculous.

We do all need to get off of this board and get in touch with our elected officials and send emails to the TSA and make phone calls. It is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil, after all. We need to let them know, en masse, that these rules are terribly inconvenient and that some of them do not make sense. I do not care about having to put my personal care stuff in my checked luggage - less weight to be carrying around anyway, but I do like to have what I like to drink on the plane - too many of them serve Pepsi stuff, all of which, except for the water (ha ha), taste awful.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:11 PM

To KB:

For the sake of your obviously fragile emotional state, I pray that your child never experiences an *actual* disastrous situation.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:13 PM

Anon at 12:55 makes so much sense.

"Why not an employee benefit - no mandatory travel while the baby is under a year old." I see nothing wrong with that idea.

Why not? We are in an era when companies are urged to give more and more employees the option to work from home and also to use technolgy to limit unnecessary travel. You'd think that companies would look at the airline situation today and realize that it would benefit them greatly to find ways to cut travel to a minimum.

Posted by: Shelly | August 28, 2006 1:14 PM

"I don't think anyone has said breastfeeding isn't better, just that sometimes we have to go with second best, that occansionly slipping won't irrepably harm are children and that some is better than none (ie, for only 3 months) "

I sort of agree with this. I'm a breastfeeding advocate and one of those people who will say that if you CHOOSE to not breastfeed that you are indeed being selfish and not having the best interest of your child in mind. However, if you're going to leave your infant and work outside the home, then you might just have to supplement with formula (because you can't pump because of lack of facilities at work, because you can't pump because you can't get any milk that way, because you have to throw away breast milk, or whatever).

It's just one of those sacrifices that we sometimes have to make -you can't have it both ways.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:16 PM

My understanding about the ban is to prevent liquid or liquid like substances from disguising dangerous componants that can be used in a terrorist act. Apparently, a gatorade type drink was going to be used to disguise elements of a bomb, that could be assembled on board and activated.

It isn't a blanket ban on liquids, it is a ban on liquids carried on by passengers. Airline provided liquid, and liquid purchased after the security gate enter the airport/airplane in a controlled envirement from an accredited distributor.

Anyway...that is what I understand the situation to be.

Posted by: liquid ban | August 28, 2006 1:17 PM

There are innocent-looking liquids that can be mixed together to make an explosive substance. They might easily be disguised as hair gel, water, or lotion. That's why the ban is in effect.

But yeah, it's totally stupid not to allow people to carry on water that they purchase in the "secure" area, especially if they require you to carry it on sealed.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:21 PM

My sister's first was born slightly premature, and had to stay in the hospital for a few weeks. Becuase of this, milk milk dried up after about 2 months, even though she pumped as much as she could.

She wanted to breast feed, but had to supplement with formula from the beginning, and eventually switch completely to formula. The other catch, is that since her and her husband were young teachers, the formula scenario forced them into some debt. Breast milk is free (but worth gold?!), formula is crazy expensive.

Btw, my nephew is 4 and doing great!

Posted by: bottle fed | August 28, 2006 1:22 PM

'I'm a breastfeeding advocate and one of those people who will say that if you CHOOSE to not breastfeed that you are indeed being selfish and not having the best interest of your child in mind'

There is something selfish about my choice not to breast feed - it will make me VERY unhappy and I know that feeling will be transmitted to my child right along with the good milk. For me - it is better for my child to know that I am a happy mom and that I love the child - and I that I do not resent anything that I have to do for that child. Therefore, I DO have the best interests of my child in mind.

My brother is an MD, I have two masters degrees. We are both very very healthy. I am not making an uninformed choice. I know an awful lot of people who were breast fed and they are very unhealthy, extremely overweight, lots of allergies, etc.
Working outside of the home is not the only reason that is acceptable for bottlefeeding.

It is the women like you who do not let others make our own choices without passing judgement. Shame on you.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:24 PM

I have read through these posts and I find it very interesting that the people who are posting about "doctors" not knowing what's best or pushing their own cultural mores on mothers seems to assume that the doctors they talk about are all MEN and not women who may or may not be moms themselves.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:24 PM

The WHO suggested guidelines are not for women in predominantly developed countries. They want women in developing countries to breastfeed for as long as possible because the available nourishment in developing countries is appalling. Formula available in Lesotho? I don't think so.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:25 PM


Not to hog the thread, but in my case (professor) I drastically cut back on travel, but presenting papers at conferences to colleagues within my research subfield is necessary to remain fundable, to get your research noticed, etc. It affects your viability to keep your job longterm.

And just to clarify, my meltdown wasn't like a temper tantrum, more like a bit of quiet (but spoken-out-loud) angsting. No flailing or raised voices, I'm a pretty mild-mannered type :-)

This was also pre-9/11. The notion that *all* planes might shutdown for a day or so was not on my radar. And what did happen wouldn't have been an emergency, if I'd just had the forethought to anticipate that the whole airport might be shutdown (I had an early enough flight to deal with a flight cancellation). I could have easily fedexed the last day's shipment of breastmilk before I left for the airport, it just didn't occur to me that it would be a wise move.

I don't think restricting your life by insisting all day-to-day plans are robust against another 9/11 is reasonable. After all, you might be at work on a normal day and get stranded from your baby because an earthquake, explosion, sinkhole, who-knows-what-disaster makes your route to baby impassable (happened to many in the SF earthquake). I don't view that as any less likely to happen than another grounding of the whole US air grid.

If we all planned for that, we'd have lot fewer WOH moms . . .

>For the woman who had the baby with allergies and >had the meltdown at the airport: Why would you >ever travel away from that baby with those >particular needs? Regardless of whether the TSA >decision was ridiculous, what if there were >another 9/11 where all the planes were grounded, >or weather problems, or mechanical problems that >delayed or cancelled flights?

Posted by: KB | August 28, 2006 1:28 PM

>>> I'm a breastfeeding advocate and one of those people who will say that if you CHOOSE to not breastfeed that you are indeed being selfish and not having the best interest of your child in mind. >>>

This is the type of attitude I just can't stand. It really isn't any of your business what other women decide or CHOOSE to do. I wish women wouldn't feel bad because of judgemental stances such as yours. You have no clue about what other women have going on in their lives, so you should really keep your trap shut.

Posted by: soon to be mom | August 28, 2006 1:28 PM

I miss the good old days when you could go through security with your shoes on, smoke on planes, get loaded, and nobody EVER worried about dehydration. Ha.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:29 PM

"The WHO suggested guidelines are not for women in predominantly developed countries. They want women in developing countries to breastfeed for as long as possible because the available nourishment in developing countries is appalling. Formula available in Lesotho? I don't think so."

The WHO recommends breastfeeding for both developed and underdeveloped countries. It might be more vital in underdeveloped countries but the health benefits do not apply just to underdeveloped countries. If you look at the link, it says the recommendation is for world wide breast feeding.

Posted by: Lieu | August 28, 2006 1:30 PM

To Posted by: | August 28, 2006 12:55 PM

Great commonsense post.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:31 PM

"This was also pre-9/11. The notion that *all* planes might shutdown for a day or so was not on my radar."

But pre-9/11 there were plenty of airplane troubles. Wasn't the summer of 2000, the year when all the United pilots would randonly call in sick as a wage protest?

The point is that emergencies happen, and you know that regardless of whether you know the parameters of that particular emergency. I don't see what it is anti-BF/anti-mother and all the other things people have said to today to ask, so, what is your backup plan to feed your child?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:32 PM

It's funny to hear all the breastfeeding moms saying, sure, you should do what's best for you and your child, but then reiterating that, of course, breastfeeding is better. One poster said it memorably:

"It's up to you to decide if breastfeeding is important for your baby (and it is)."

So much for live and let live. (Or is that live and "leche" live?)

What I really wanted to respond to, however, was another poster's question. She asked:

"If cow's milk is so darn bad for children, why do parents insist on giving it to their children for 15+ years?"

The answer to that is simple -- because the dairy industry has a mighty and very wealthy lobby that has convinced our legislators to convince us that cow's milk is good for us. In short, it's not.

Consider:

We are the only species that: 1) drinks milk beyond infancy; and 2) drinks the milk of other species. It's not natural for humans to drink milk, and the range of illnesses and disorders caused by its consumption are proof (even beyond the scientific studies) that our human bodies were not meant to digest cows' (or other species') milk.

The powerful dairy lobby, however, prevents the spread of that message, and our legislators are only too happy to take their money.

Posted by: pittypat | August 28, 2006 1:38 PM

Here is a link to an article that supports the statements by PAmom regarding the introduction of formula to breastfed babies. Please read before you criticise her anymore for what was intended as helpful advice.

http://www.health-e-learning.com/articles/JustOneBottle.pdf

I am not for bashing anyone about their feeding choices. I breastfed, I have friends who formula fed and friends who did both. All good mothers and fathers who want the best for their children. We all make the choices we have to. But stating that breastfeeding is best is not a criticism of others, it is a statement of fact. Whether it is by choice or not, formula feeding is not the same as breastfeeding. It is just fine, and your child will hopefully thrive and grow up to be a brain surgeon or rocket scientist or whatever he or she wants to be. I hope so. But that does not make formula better than or equal to breastmilk from a health perspective. The thing is, nothing that anyone can say here or anywhere can make formula the same as breastmilk.

Posted by: I wanted to stay out of this, but | August 28, 2006 1:39 PM

CHOOSING not to bf is a choice you can make, just as choosing to smoke is. But, let's be honest about the fact that formula is not the best health choice for your child, particularly under six months.

Posted by: Be honest | August 28, 2006 1:44 PM

Thanks for spelling that out, Pittypat. I'm the person who made the comment about people being so adamant abotu giving kids milk. And I do know that the dairy folks have pushed this on us for years, but it seems very few other parents have gotten the info straight. All these breast-feeding advocates probably go right to cow's milk when the child is old enough and push it until their kids are going off to college.

I hated milk as a child and my mom was aware enough not to push me to drink it. I drank water and Kool-Aid (ok, yeah, that was sugar water) and I'm fine. I got plenty of calcium from other sources.

Why not teach your kids to drink WATER? If they need calcium, feed them the vegetables that contain plenty of it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:49 PM

"Formula available in Lesotho? I don't think so"

Have you been to Lesotho? I've traveled extensively in South Africa, and there at least, formula is available and heavily promoted just as it is here. Didn't make into Lesotho, but it sounds to me like you are making assumptions that are misplaced. As Lieu said, the recommendations are world-wide. Breastfeeding beyond the first year provides the same benefits to toddlers here as anywhere else, even if children here may have access to better nutrition and medical care generally.

Posted by: Megan | August 28, 2006 1:50 PM

'CHOOSING not to bf is a choice you can make, just as choosing to smoke is. But, let's be honest about the fact that formula is not the best health choice for your child, particularly under six months'

How can you compare smoking to not breastfeeding? This is the most inane comment I have heard here. We may be encouraged to breastfeed, but the truth of it is that the overall health and well-being of an infant, who will grow into an adult, goes far and away beyond whether or not it is breastfed. There are unhealthy people who were breastfed, there are unhealthy people who were bottlefed, and healthy people who were breast fed and healthy people who were bottlefed. People need to realize that health is something that is worked on over a life-time, and is not achieved by any one factor. Breast feeding may be a small component of that, but that is what it is - one smll component.

The whole breast fed vs bottle fed arguement is absurd - most of the women who are so militant about the breastfeeding thing are the same ones who turn out to be the nightmare PTA parent and the nightmare overprotective parent. I will acknowledge that that might be unfair, but it is SO unfair for someone else to dictate what is best for me and my baby - why wouldn't you want me to screw up so that you can sit back with that smug 'I told you so' smile a few years down the road?

If your child graduates at the tippy top of his/her class and my child is 2nd, THEN and ONLY then can you say anything like that (I think we would all get a good laugh at you!).

What would you rather - I smoked and breast-fed or didn't smoke and bottle fed?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:52 PM

Speaking of breastfeeding,
are you all aware of the
upsurge in RICKETS in
breast-fed only children?
Mother's milk, that "gold
elixir," just doesn't have
enough Vitamin D. Babies should
have sun exposure,
vitamin supplements and/or
fortified formula. See San Franciso Chronicle on 8/28
at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/08/28/BAGS7KQHBF1.DTL

Posted by: SF Mom | August 28, 2006 1:52 PM

I was a formula baby, born in the 70's. At the time there wasn't such the debate. My two siblings were bottle fed as well. My mother was a navy wife, and my dad was sometimes gone for months when we kids were little. My mom CHOSE the bottle for various reasons. My dad was transferred and my family had to move when I was only 4 weeks old. These and other examples are just facts of life that noone but those involved can understand all the details and circumstances that are involved one a woman makes the choice on how to feed her child.

I never once doubted my parent's love for me. My siblings and I are all very healthy. Maybe it would have been better if we were breast fed, maybe we would be taller if we ate more protein, maybe my sister wouldn't wear contacts if she ate more carrots.

UPdate on teh old adage: If you don't want to be hit by stones, don't throw them. Everyone has thier issues and reasons for thier life. Why can't we use this blog to be supportive of each other in the balancing our lives as the column is intended.

Posted by: formula baby | August 28, 2006 1:53 PM

SFMom: Usually pediatricians recommend a vitamin supplement to BF babies. It comes in a liquid dropper. It is specifically to make up for the lack of Vitamin D. In the olden days, BF babies did not get a vitamin supplement. The simply spent more time in the sun because adults spent more time in the sun growing food or gathering food.

Posted by: Lieu | August 28, 2006 1:53 PM

Some of these breast-feeding fanatics are going to have meltdowns when their kids are older and they find out they did something that might possibly have HARMED their children when they were little.

My parents smoked around me and my sister. We grew up healthy, and luckily, once they knew it was bad for us, my parents kicked the habit.

In 10 years other things parents do around their kids, or feed their kids, or whatever, will be shown to be "harmful".

Do your best everyone. I don't think most parents set out to harm their children.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:53 PM

Isn't the issue really about liquid explosives, not about breasts and the whole breast-milk-vs-forumula thing? I thought the whole point of restricting liquids on planes is keeping out liquid explosives disguised as other liquids.

"The biggest problem it seems with traveling is the storage."

Apparently liquid bombs can't be diguised as milk in a breast, but they can be disguised as other bottled liquids.

"For a baby to go hungry for 12 -24 hours is miserable, bewildering, and a health risk for dehydration."

Good point. If I went 12-24 hours without food I'd be pretty ticked off myself. Imagine how much more it would suck for someone much younger and less able to understand what's going on.

"Ready? It's simple. Let's just suspend airline travel indefinitely. Problem solved."

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/27687

"FAA Considering Passenger Ban

"October 16, 2002 | Issue 38•38

"WASHINGTON, DC--Seeking to address 'the number-one threat to airline security,' the Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that it will consider banning passengers on all domestic and international commercial flights..."

"They want women in developing countries to breastfeed for as long as possible because the available nourishment in developing countries is appalling. Formula available in Lesotho? I don't think so."

I heard that often it's because the *water* is appalling, so even if you have very nutritious powdered formula the stuff's hazardous by the time it's ready to drink. Hence some HIV+ mothers of HIV- babies asking "which is more likely, my child getting cholera from formula or AIDS from breast milk?"

Posted by: Maria | August 28, 2006 1:57 PM

My most outlandish breast milk tale:

On my first day back to work after maternity leave, my husband was to take our son over to the nanny share (with oodles of other baby supplies.) I suggested that he load some of the car the night before, since there was a lot to bring over. He declined, saying it would be fine. Well "disaster" struck (his words at the time). He dropped a plastic bottle of breastmilk on the sidewalk outside our house and it shattered. We had to dip into our emergency stash on the VERY first day. Now that my son is 15 months, we laugh about it, but at the time it was extremely upsetting. That first day back from maternity leave is difficult enough!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 1:59 PM

"Some of these breast-feeding fanatics are going to have meltdowns when their kids are older and they find out they did something that might possibly have HARMED their children when they were little.

My parents smoked around me and my sister. We grew up healthy, and luckily, once they knew it was bad for us, my parents kicked the habit."

I assume that since you're posting today, your life isn't over yet. You may still have problems because your parents smoked. It ain't over 'til the fat lady (who preferably breastfed) sings . . .

For those of you who weren't breastfed and think that you came out okay, don't you ever wonder how much smarter/happier/skinnier/etc. you'd be if you'd had mama's milk instead of some hideoous chemical concoction specifically created to make some company money? Study after study shows that you should be wondering about that . . .

Posted by: Yeah, Right! | August 28, 2006 2:00 PM

Gotta love The Onion.

We should all just refuse to travel until the TSA and the airlines come up with security plans that make sense. When a few airlines start to go under, they'll yell loudly.

Posted by: Pam | August 28, 2006 2:01 PM

The worst Breast feeding experience I ever had was at a church. I needed to nurse my oldest daughter. I asked the usher and she told me to go to the ladies' lounge. I started to nurse and some ladies came in. They saw me (i was well covered with a blanket) and started making remarks about how I shouldn't be doing that in a public place. They went a complained to the same usher who I had spoke to. She came back and apologized....By this time, I had stopped nursing the baby because I was humiliated. I went and found my husband and we left the church right then. The usher kept apologizing and I felt so bad for her. I then sent a letter to that church telling them about the incident and last I heard, they were setting up a section for mothers to nurse. So at least my bad experience worked out for the next person down the line. And I think, that yes nursing is great if you can do it, but if you can't, don't beat yourself up. I only nursed my younger daughter for 6 weeks.I started eating dairy and it passed to my milk, and she's lactose intolerant. I was rather upset and my doctor pointed out that I was doing what was best for my baby. He also said that the colostrum( what leaks before the milk comes down) is very important and that she had those immunities at least.
And for those who are being mean..which is happening on both sides:Why beat each other up? Why not uplift each other. Being a mom is hard enough without having people second guess you? But wait..that's a post for another day! lol

Posted by: shayla phillips-mcpherson | August 28, 2006 2:03 PM

>>> For those of you who weren't breastfed and think that you came out okay, don't you ever wonder how much smarter/happier/skinnier/etc. you'd be if you'd had mama's milk instead of some hideoous chemical concoction specifically created to make some company money? >>>

Not really. If you actually believe that intelligence can be measured, mine is two standard deviations from the norm. I have maintained a healthy weight all of my life and manage to do endurance bicycling (110 miles) events. I am generally happy, except when I am around militant BFers! Thank god for the "hideoous chemical concoction" or else I wouldn't have had anything since my mother died in child birth.

Posted by: to yeah, right! | August 28, 2006 2:07 PM

In response to Posted by: liquid ban | August 28, 2006 01:17 PM

"It isn't a blanket ban on liquids, it is a ban on liquids carried on by passengers. Airline provided liquid, and liquid purchased after the security gate enter the airport/airplane in a controlled envirement from an accredited distributor."

According to the TSA website - http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/new-procedures.shtm

"Beverages purchased in the boarding area beyond the screening checkpoint will not be allowed on board, and must be consumed before boarding."


And this, in my opinion, is completely stupid.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 2:07 PM

I think the poster who was mentioned that her parents smoked was trying to make the point we are NOT PERFECT. Sometimes life gets in the way. You have a car accident so the baby has to get weaned early. You need to take strong antidepressents - not good for baby. You let your preschooler drink to much Kool-aid. You feed your kids sugary cereal. You probably let them watch to much TV. You get divorced.

Some things we know better about today, smoking, riding bikes with out helmets, etc. But mainly we are doing the best we can.

Posted by: To Yeah Right | August 28, 2006 2:10 PM

Actually, I have been to Lesotho (but I can appreciate your skepticism since many people haven't). I get that the alleged benefits of BF are for the children of both developed and developing nations [I say alleged because this, like many other health kicks, is probably cyclical. Remember margarine?!] Would I be comfortable getting vaccination shots in rural villages where hygenic medical care is not the norm? Of course not. I was just trying to point out there are different health requirements in developing countries because of the lack of education, labor and supplies to execute proper Western medicine.

Posted by: To Megan | August 28, 2006 2:10 PM

To Yea, Right!

Please don't be like that - what you wrote was completely ridiculous. Don't think that because breast milk is so 'pure' that those babies have it made. There are enough poisons in our everyday environment to make us all very sick many times over - and no anti-bodies that we picked up from mom are going to be enough to protect us.

I know this is a VERY weak argument but my 4 yr old dog, who was breast-fed (haha), is very sick with cancer. He has been fed top notch dog food since he was weaned - mostly made by me. He was diagnosed at 3 1/2. Hmm. . .bad analogy, I will acknowledge, but if breast feeding is so perfect, then how do you account for the little ones that get sick with life-threatening illnesses?

There is MUCH more to intelligence and health and happiness than breastfeeding!

Let's just be LOGICAL - and don't come back and say that I am not by using my dog as an example because I KNOW it is a weak argument (but not for me - he is just like a kid to me).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 2:10 PM

"If you actually believe that intelligence can be measured, mine is two standard deviations from the norm"

You never stated if it is two standard deviations above or below the norm. :)

Posted by: to "to yeah, right" | August 28, 2006 2:10 PM

You never stated if it is two standard deviations above or below the norm.

Above the norm.

Posted by: sigh | August 28, 2006 2:11 PM

The WHO also suggests spacing children at least 2 - 3 years apart to decrease child mortality. Why don't people get all riled up about that, too?

Posted by: The WHO | August 28, 2006 2:13 PM

I wasn't breastfed, and I am currently somewhat overweight and my vision is absolutely horrible. Even at my lowest weight, I was never "slender". I do believe that had I been breastfed, (this was back in the 1970s) my vision would have been much better. The world is one big blur without my contacts.

I pumped milk for my son (he never latched on) for a year, and supplemented with formula for the last 3 months of that year. However, I work at home, so this option was not that difficult for me. It will be interesting to see how strong my son's vision is compared to mine (my DH's vision is only slightly bad. He was BF for 10 mos as a baby -- opthomologist told us that our son could be anywhere between us, vision-wise).

Granted, formula now has the DHA and LHA oils that are for vision and brain growth. But I wonder what component they will find next that is missing from formula but present in breast milk.

Posted by: Rebecca | August 28, 2006 2:17 PM

To the poster who said, "The WHO suggested guidelines are not for women in predominantly developed countries. They want women in developing countries to breastfeed for as long as possible because the available nourishment in developing countries is appalling. Formula available in Lesotho? I don't think so." --

You probably aren't old enough to remember when the Nestle company was boycotted because it was actively "educating" women in underdeveloped African counties that their breast milk wasn't as good as formula.

This was in the '70's, and Nestle was seeing a drop in sales in western countries, as more women were turning to breastfeeding. So, Nestle started trying to create a market in poor countries by giving away formula and telling women it was better for their babies.

Don't know what the situation is now, but I guarantee you formula was available in Lesotho 30 years ago.

Posted by: pittypat | August 28, 2006 2:17 PM

"You may still have problems because your parents smoked."

You know what, "Yeah Right!", tomorrow you might get hit by a bus.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 2:18 PM

"Absolutely, anonymous posters and random women, who volunteer with LaLeche League but have no formal medical training of any kind, are far more reliable than a doctor who knows your personal medical history. Your comment was so funny!"

And as a pediatrician, I can tell you stories of babies who got so dehydrated that they died or became brain damaged because of bad advice from well meaning La Leche league volunteers. There are people who are extremist about breastfeeding and tell parents they must continue to breastfeed no matter what (no matter that the kid cannot latch on or that the mother cannot produce milk for example). And there is a reason that people should listen to their doctors--we go through many years of schooling, training and read scientific studies about health issues. Including breastfeeding. Do all doctors know everything about breastfeeding? Probably not and I am certain that practitioners bring their own biases when they give advice. That is why when seeking a pediatrician for the first time, it is a good idea to 1) ask friends why they like their pediatrician and 2) have a prebirth interview with a group to discuss your values.

Personally, even though I agree that breastfeeding babies is the best (as does the AAP), I would never browbeat anyone into doing it and would be as supportive as possible for any decision. Let's not forget that breastfeeding is hard. If a new mom is so stressed that breastfeeding becomes a burden, then I feel I need to support her in that decision. Usually I try a lactation consultant first which can be helpful.

And to the poster who said that giving a bottle of formula once in a while is harmful (as in changing the flora of the GI tract or reducing the immune benefits), that is not true. What worked best for that working/travelling mother was to supplement, then it is what is best for the family. The fact that she went to great lengths to make breastfeeding work is commendable.

And the 10 month old who could "only have breastmilk" because she was "severely allergic"--I believe that is hyperbole. I see all kinds of infants with all types of food allergies and sensitivities but none that would kill them except peanut allergies (in the under 1 age group). If a 10 month old HAD to get water or juice for the day, it would not be harmed. I know someone will slam me for saying "but how do you know that baby couldn't die"...I do. I see all kinds of hysterical (usually suburban, educated) parents who freak because their kid gets bloody diarrhea or a runny nose from certain foods. The worst food allergy for infants is peanut allergy--as these kids are exposed to other foods, other foods come into play (e.g. seafood).

So I caution people to take what is said here with a grain of salt. Discuss health concerns with your doctor who you hopefully trust. If not, time for a new doctor.

Posted by: anonymous MD | August 28, 2006 2:19 PM

Too many people are taking remarks personally here. This is not a debate. I truly believe that very few BFing mothers criticize FFing mothers for making a different choice, but that the myth of that mistaken belief is very prevalent, sadly. It would be nice if BFing were more accepted in this country, where far more mothers FF versus BF. (See the Mothers Survey, Ross Products Division of Abbott to verify that fact.) With very few exceptions, all mothers choose to do what is best for them and their families. They should be able to do so with proper education and with support from friends, family, employers, and government.

Posted by: PA Mom | August 28, 2006 2:20 PM

"The WHO also suggests spacing children at least 2 - 3 years apart to decrease child mortality. Why don't people get all riled up about that, too?"

Probably because we already do that for our own sanity :)

Posted by: Lieu | August 28, 2006 2:20 PM

"For those of you who weren't breastfed and think that you came out okay, don't you ever wonder how much smarter/happier/skinnier/etc. you'd be if you'd had mama's milk instead of some hideoous chemical concoction specifically created to make some company money? Study after study shows that you should be wondering about that . . ."

No. I wonder a lot of things, like how well I'd play the violin right now if I hadn't quit when I was 15, or whether my beagle is raiding the kitchen trash right this instant, or whether my husband remembered to have the lining of my black sheath dress mended when he dropped it off at the dry cleaner's. Wonder whether I'd be smarter if my mom had breast fed me? That would be a pretty stupid waste of time. 30 years too late to do anything about it now.

Posted by: Lizzie | August 28, 2006 2:20 PM

>>> I truly believe that very few BFing mothers criticize FFing mothers for making a different choice, but that the myth of that mistaken belief is very prevalent, sadly.>>>

Please refer to many above comments, like from Yeah, Right etc. BF mother always criticize FF mothers. BF moms claim they are the best mother while FF moms are feeding their children poison.

Posted by: to PAMom | August 28, 2006 2:22 PM

I pumped and breastfed each of my children while working and traveling for work. It was absolutely important for me to pump while away from my children. If I didn't my supply would decrease. I have pumped almost everywhere and while a hassle it was worth it. I have pumped in gym bathrooms, airport restrooms, convention center empty meeting rooms, hotel staff offices, colleagues hotel rooms, spa lounge areas, department store lounges, etc, etc. The things I remember most are not how long it took me to find extra bottles and bags for trips where I underestimated how much milk I would pump, nor the contortions I went through to get the milk through security and home still cold but instead how important it was to me to be still providing this milk for my baby and how close it made me feel to my baby. People who say moms should just not travel, or forget about working while breastfeeding just don't get it. IT'S POSSIBLE to do both. You just have to be creative and determined. There are a couple of websites (just google) that I found helpful that gave great ideas for working and traveling and pumping for those that need suggestions on how to make this work. Good luck to all moms that are struggling with this now. I wish you all the best!

Posted by: working mom | August 28, 2006 2:22 PM

To Lieu - my sanity is exactly why I don't breastfeed.

Posted by: the WHO | August 28, 2006 2:24 PM

to PA mom:

But bb moms ARE accepted in this country. Yes, they may not be able to bb in every public place (as much as I think it is fine if it is your choice to bb, I think it is polite to do so in private, but I do not say anything if someone is alright with doing it out in public), but there is a lot of support for bb.

There are a lot of things in life that are inconvenient - and I am sure that it is difficult for these moms who have to travel and bb, but if that is something that is important to them, then they need to figure out how to make it work for them. Yes, they should have a place to do it at work that is private and the time, as well, if they choose too. If they don't, they will have to decide how to make it work.

That is what life is all about - figuring out how to make it work - whatever 'it' may be.

Yes, we should all have the support we need - but if we don't, we need to figure out how to make it work.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 2:25 PM

"For those of you who weren't breastfed and think that you came out okay, don't you ever wonder how much smarter/happier/skinnier/etc. you'd be if you'd had mama's milk instead of some hideoous chemical concoction specifically created to make some company money? Study after study shows that you should be wondering about that . . ."

Actually no, I don't wonder. Life is what is it. Best to accept it and make peace rather than always looking at the path not taken.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 2:25 PM

Let's see, Ben Franklin, who most would agree was a genius, had vision problems. I assume he was breast fed.

"There is MUCH more to intelligence and health and happiness than breastfeeding!"

So true.

I can't wait until the children of these breast feeding fanatics go to school. Even the "best" day care and private schools feed the kids what, to me, is a shocking amount of sugary treats. More than half the time the treats are brought in by other parents. Ooo, how much skinnier and healthier all those kids would be if they didn't eat that junk!

Maybe the breast-feeding fanatics (I mean the fanatics, not the women who just support breast feeding) will get all militant on the schools, which wouldn't be such a bad thing. In fact, why don't they get off the breast feeding thing and put their militancy where it might make a huge difference. Many parents truly do NOT know (although most don't have to be convinced that breast milk is excellent for babies) how much sugar and non-nutritious gunk is in most foods they will give their children.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 2:26 PM

To THE WHO: I accept that. After all, a dead mother/father isn't very good for babies either :)

Posted by: Lieu | August 28, 2006 2:28 PM

I remember how, about 8 years ago, I suddenly noticed kids drinking apple juice ALL the time. Mommies feeding kids juice boxes constantly. Guess what? All that apple juice was NOT good for kids. But the "I'm right about everything" mommy league got a craze going for juice. So kids drank a lot of "juice", which was mostly sugar, water, and 10% juice. Some kids had serious dental problems due to all that juice. But did the parents intend for this to happen? Of course not.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 2:30 PM

"Let's see, Ben Franklin, who most would agree was a genius, had vision problems. I assume he was breast fed."

Also, he took air baths. I, a bottle-fed baby, prefer actual baths. I submit this as evidence of the superiority of bottle feeding.

Posted by: Lizzie | August 28, 2006 2:31 PM

"Would I be comfortable getting vaccination shots in rural villages where hygenic medical care is not the norm? Of course not. I was just trying to point out there are different health requirements in developing countries because of the lack of education, labor and supplies to execute proper Western medicine.

Posted by: To Megan | August 28, 2006 02:10 PM

Fair enough, I totally take your point on that, and thanks for the response! Hope you enjoyed Lesotho, it's one of the places I was sad not to see.

Posted by: Megan | August 28, 2006 2:32 PM

The person who is posting about sugar being a big problem with kids is right. Why waste so much time and energy fighting over breast milk, which basically NO ONE says isn't VERY good for your child, when a far more harmful substance -- SUGAR -- is fed to kids every day?

Posted by: Mindy C. | August 28, 2006 2:32 PM

To the poster who wrote, "For those of you who weren't breastfed and think that you came out okay, don't you ever wonder how much smarter/happier/skinnier/etc. you'd be if you'd had mama's milk instead of some hideoous chemical concoction specifically created to make some company money? Study after study shows that you should be wondering about that . . ." --

From your question, can we infer that you believe our happiness is related to how smart and how thin we are? Seems like kind of a narrow scale.

Posted by: pittypat | August 28, 2006 2:35 PM

Damn, I shoulda known the Onion would have beat me to my idea.

I think it's really hard to discuss the whole breastfeeding issue without sounding judgmental and/or defensive, regardless of how one actually feels. It's just one of those issues that is fraught with emotion, so everybody seems to feel a little defensive about their choices (or lack thereof). Heck, I'm a pretty live-and-let-live person, but lately even I've been feeling beseiged for (1) nursing in public, and (2) still nursing my nine-month old. Where I live, I am decidedly outside the norm. It's enough to make a girl intentionally flash some nipple at the next person who sneers "oh, gross" when they see her nursing.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 28, 2006 2:36 PM

'Wouldn't the world be a sad place if we couldn't help each other and support each other and wish each other well every day and for the future?'

But, you see, the sad thing is that we do not help each other and support each other. You are correct, very few bottle feeding mothers criticize breast feeding moms (I am not saying that they aren't out there), but I don't the reverse would hold true.

For the most part, the world is a sad place. See the news every night.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 2:37 PM

To the first 2:22 poster who posted . .

>>>>> PA Mom: I truly believe that very few BFing mothers criticize FFing mothers for making a different choice, but that the myth of that mistaken belief is very prevalent, sadly.>>>>>

>>>2:22 Poster: Please refer to many above comments, like from Yeah, Right etc. BF mother always criticize FF mothers. BF moms claim they are the best mother while FF moms are feeding their children poison.>>>

Yes, I do believe that very few BFing mothers critize FFers, and that, likewise, very few FFing mothers criticize BFing mothers by calling them "militants," and wishing their children harm in the future, unlike what is being posted on this blog today. Most mothers are kind to each other in real life. In fact, I'd bet if you met me and my children on the street, you'd be nice to us and not say one word about BFing or FFing or "militant" or "poison." Am I right?

Wouldn't the world be a sad place if we couldn't help each other and support each other and wish each other well every day and for the future?

Posted by: PA Mom | August 28, 2006 2:38 PM

To 1:22:

"Breast milk is free (but worth gold?!), formula is crazy expensive."

Don't let anyone fool you that breast milk is really free. By the time you buy the nursing bras and pads (so that you don't leak all over creation), storage bags, a breast pump, and maybe a few other things I'm forgetting, you can spend a lot of money. Of course, that doesn't mean it's not worth it. A lot just depends on your situation.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | August 28, 2006 2:38 PM

To Anonymous who claimed: "As a pediatrician, I can tell you stories of babies who got so dehydrated that they died or became brain damaged because of bad advice from well meaning La Leche league volunteers."

My husband is a practicing pediatrician and said "NO WAY IS THAT TRUE" when I called him to tell him what you said. I say that you are either not a pediatrician or a liar or both. Back it up, and then we'll talk. Until then, stop trying to scare people.

Posted by: LauraM | August 28, 2006 2:39 PM

To Mindy: YOu wrote"The person who is posting about sugar being a big problem with kids is right. Why waste so much time and energy fighting over breast milk, which basically NO ONE says isn't VERY good for your child, when a far more harmful substance -- SUGAR -- is fed to kids every day?"
Probably because the American adult can not give up their own love affair with sugar. I know I just might kill someone for the last available piece of chocolate on earth. :)

Posted by: Lieu | August 28, 2006 2:40 PM

Does anyone know the history of formula feeding? Was it perhaps a response to more women going to work outside the home, maybe in the WWII years? I'm asking an honest question.

Perhaps at the time it was designed to help working mothers, since I really don't think the developers of formula set out to "poison" infants or harm them. Although I also don't think it was some great plan to HELP working moms, either. Of course, they stood to make so money, but so do the makers of disposable diapers. I think a lot of SAH and WOH moms would think twice before giving THOSE up, no matter how many are clogging our landfills.

Maybe it's like frozen foods from the grocery. It would be better to raise and can your own, but buying frozen from the store is convenient and still nutritious.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 2:44 PM

PAMom, I think you're right. Though things tend to get heated on the web, I don't think I've ever had a breast v. bottle debate IRL. The moms I know run the gamut in feeding options, but somehow, we all still manage to get along and enjoy each other's company.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 28, 2006 2:47 PM

:-) Thank you, Lieu. I've been really surprised at how involved people are with the feeding choices of parents (BF/FF). I'd never knock someone for Bfeeding in public - it's really hard! So I'm surprised when I bottlefeed and get comments from people. Whoever posted about folks joining together against sugar in schools - THAT is a great idea. I worked my way through graduate school as a substitute teacher and I can't believe how many kids have at minimum 3 - 20 ounce sodas a day (in high school): one in the morning, one at lunch, one afterschool. These kids are uniformly overweight and are setting themselves up for such an unhealthy adulthood! I was really surprised when I was reading one of last week's blogs and saw how many comments of "It's hard to be a parent and feed your kid properly" there were. It's so sad!

Posted by: The WHO | August 28, 2006 2:47 PM

"My husband is a practicing pediatrician and said "NO WAY IS THAT TRUE" when I called him to tell him what you said. I say that you are either not a pediatrician or a liar or both. Back it up, and then we'll talk. Until then, stop trying to scare people"

I have taken care of two babies who died of extreme dehydration and hypernatremia because their well meaning mothers waited to take their children to the hospital on the advice of La Leche league volunteers over the phone. I don't care if you don't believe it. I'm not maligning La Leche league per se. Just people who are extremist, and obviously not knowledgable about the pitfalls of breastfeeding. I've also take care of other infants who also were dehydrated and severely jaundiced because of similar issues (not wanting to supplement when the breastfeeding wasn't working out).

I'll just believe that you really don't have a pediatrician for a husband and that if you do, you didn't actually call him. And if you did and he responded that way, then this only proves that there are ignorant doctors out there.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 2:49 PM

Lieu, I'll fight you for that last piece of chocolate!! LOL!!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 28, 2006 2:52 PM

Make mine Colombian!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 2:56 PM

To the pediatrician who claims to have treated babies who died from dehydration due to bad advice from la leche league volunteers. I hope you are not the same pediatrician who accused me of "starving" my baby in his second day of life (because she misread the weight on his chart--I found out later). I was so stunned by the accusation and the forceful recommendation to supplement with formula that I did so but I also called a la leche league volunteer who worked with me to get my baby and myself working together to breastfeed. I stopped the formula after two days and resumed exclusive breastfeeding with success. I find it fascinating that many pediatricians are quick to recommend formula. Could it be all those free samples they conveniently have lying around from pharmaceutical companies? I think it's important for pediatricians to work together with mothers to do what's best for the baby.

Posted by: working mom | August 28, 2006 2:58 PM

I haven't finished reading everything, but does anyone think it's a little insane that the TSA is banning BM ONLY if you DON'T have a baby with you? You are pretty likely to be bringing it along if you're out and pumping. Whereas (if you're breastfeeding) you don't need a supply, and if you're bottle feeding, you could bring the powder with you and get water on the plane.

I went away one weekend when I was nursing my older child - for about four days I pumped and dumped. I wasn't happy about it, but it worked for me. There wasn't a good way to bring it back home with me, and even pumping, my sister would roll her eyes when I would go to another room to do it. But I completely understand those who would be pumping and wanting to bring the milk with them - it definitely *is* liquid gold. Formula can be, as well - babies don't drink many things, so whatever you get for them, to keep them healthy, *is* worth a bunch...

Posted by: atlmom | August 28, 2006 2:59 PM

History of Formula - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_formula

But we know the info is only as good as the people that put it there. Take with a big grain of salt.


And it really isn't sugar that's the problem - it's high fructose corn syrup and the lack of exercise.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:00 PM

Introducing even one bottle of formula changes the flora (the good bacteria) in a baby's intestine and thus the baby's immunity. It's best to avoid formula for at least the first 6 months of life. I wasn't able to do that with my first child, but with careful planning, I was able to do that with my second. I regret to inform you that your doctor gave you poor advice.

This all or nothing kind of advice is the reason that many women avoid breastfeeding. I breastfed for over 3 years. I had supply issues, and did not have enough to breastfeed my son exclusively, so I supplemented with formula. My son was as healthy as they come, and I attribute it to the fact that he did get substantial amounts of breastmilk for over 3 years. He has never had an ear infection or a temperature over 101 (and even those were rare). Women should not be afraid of supplementing. My doctor suggested it for me, and I am so thankful he did.

Posted by: Rockville | August 28, 2006 3:05 PM


Thank you 3:00 poster for the comment about high-fructose corn syrup. It is the true problem with most foods today.

Sugar is actually expensive, so most of what you find is high-fructose corn syrup these days, made cheap by the subsidies that the goverment pays to farmers. I am not saying that the subsidies are bad - that is not an argument that I want to start - it is just made cheap by the subsidies. Wow - what I would do for a Coke with real sugar! (oops - one of those bad things, I know.)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:06 PM

My cousin's child came dangerously close to a critical situation due to improper breast feeding that went on for weeks. Her son was not taking in the milk although it seemed that he was or he was not digesting it properly, I don't remember the exact problem. He was cranky and fussy all the time. My grandmother saw him and said, "Something is wrong with that baby" and they finally took him to a doctor. The baby was dehydrated and underweight. He was on the verge of being seriously ill. You can't always say "just keep trying!" because sometimes a doctor needs to intervene.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:06 PM

To 2:49,

I'd be curious to know what the guidelines are for when doctors will tell parents that they need to supplement their babies. Are there firm guidelines, or is it left to the judgment of the individual doc?

FWIW, my daughter was just 18 hours old when I was told that I needed to give her formula because my milk hadn't come in yet. They told me she was starving and dehydrated, even though I was nursing every 2-3 hours. In reality, she never lost more than 9% of her birthweight, and I later learned that it's normal for babies to lose more than that.

Of course, this was the same brain trust that took one look at my (clothed) breasts and told me that my body was somehow inadequate to feed my daughter. And that my nipples were too small for her to latch onto properly.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 28, 2006 3:07 PM

To KB:

For the sake of your obviously fragile emotional state, I pray that your child never experiences an *actual* disastrous situation.

I am so tired of the "fragile" comments on this board. If you can't debate someone and all you can say is you are a fragile person, you take things to personal, etc, etc, like we have seen on this board over the last couple of days, then maybe you shouldn't post here. To many nasty anonymous posters chase away people who really are on here to connect with other people and learn something as opposed to just being nasty and mean.

Posted by: get a life | August 28, 2006 3:07 PM

More on formula history

http://www.contemporarypediatrics.com/contpeds/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=111702

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:07 PM

Actually, formula companies target third world countries and the women there so that their product is now seen as superior to BF (just like in the 50s here). So yes, formula is probably widely available in Lesotho.

Posted by: atlmom | August 28, 2006 3:10 PM

I couldn't read all of the comments, but once when my daughter was 6 months old I actually LEFT her to go to a wedding. I was gone for about twelve hours. I had never been away from her for that long (it was a couple 100 miles away) and became so painfully engorged that I couldn't sit upright on the way home! I actually expressed some right into the bathroom sink--down the drain while at the wedding, but it wasn't enough. I feel for the people who endure this. I also gave her Enfamil at 6 weeks--one small bottle, once a day, around 5pm. That was when my body needed a break and my husband came home! I have also expressed into a ziploc bag in the car, transferred it to a bottle and fed it to her while we were stuck in traffic. (I wasn't driving). lieu--you can have the chocolate if I can have the coffee.

Posted by: parttimer | August 28, 2006 3:12 PM

Ok, I meant "high fructose corn syrup" but it's easier to say "sugar". ;-)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:13 PM


Ok, this is my last post on this topic. What was supposed to be my "most outlandish breastmilk battle tale", per Leslie's request, has turned into a belittle-and-dismiss sidethread.

>And the 10 month old who could "only have >breastmilk" because she was "severely >allergic"--I believe that is hyperbole. I see all >kinds of infants with all types of food allergies >and sensitivities but none that would kill them >except peanut allergies (in the under 1 age >group). If a 10 month old HAD to get water or >juice for the day, it would not be harmed. I know >someone will slam me for saying "but how do you >know that baby couldn't die"...I do. I see all >kinds of hysterical (usually suburban, educated) >parents who freak because their kid gets bloody >diarrhea or a runny nose from certain foods. The >worst food allergy for infants is peanut >allergy--as these kids are exposed to other >foods, other foods come into play (e.g. seafood).

I hope you refer your food allergic babies to a pediatric allergist who specializes in food allergy.

Note that you complain about laymen secondguessing doctors, like yourself, but then you blithely dismiss *my* pediatric allergist and pediatric gastroenterologist (who btw called my dd a 'one-in-a-million' baby, which I think *was* hyperbole - if you allow me to secondguess for a moment about my own child - having become involved in allergy support groups and followed research on allergic bf babies, among the (rare) severely allergic set, multiple food allergies are quite common --- combining the two probabilities, I'd say she was more likely one in one to ten thousand).

And you're right, she would not likely have immediately up-and-died. Her allergies were non-IgE mediated, no anaphylactic reactions, but she did suffer a week of colic and green mucusy diarrhea every time *I* had a trace allergen exposure (making her via-breastmilk exposure quite minimal). She did totally stop gaining weight before zero-tolerance elimination of her allergens, and even so she flirted with recurrent anemia and a failure-to-thrive label (per her ped, who actually treated her, unlike you). So yes, this episode was just a setback, it only resulted in her going hungry for a while, and could have resulted in week(s) of illness, which in the past had caused her to stop gaining weight and develop a cascade of new sensitivities.

But heck, since she wouldn't likely imminently die, her mom shouldn't stress or try to keep her fully-fed on foods she can tolerate? Perhaps you should leave some middle ground between hysterical overworrying mom and child neglector, flipping the switch instantly once the kid eventually hits the 3rd percentile FTT threshold.

This was just an anecdote, aimed at pumping moms to share and hopefully avoid the pitfalls out there . . .I think even the mom of a *nonallergic* bf baby would stress if she was unwillingly separated from her baby whose stash of breastmilk was running out . . . as would a ff mom who was stranded with depleting stocks of formula and no way to get more . . . Since when did our standards become suck it up and shut up unless the baby dies?

Posted by: KB | August 28, 2006 3:14 PM

Hey 3:06 poster, "Wow - what I would do for a Coke with real sugar! (oops - one of those bad things, I know.)"

Just wait until Passover season. Corn products are Kosher for Passover. Coke makes a Kosher for Passover Coke (and other drinks I believe) that only uses sugar - no corn syrup. Look for the yellow capped bottles (Passover is April 2-10, 2007).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:14 PM

oops "Corn products are Kosher for Passover"

Corn products are _NOT_ Kosher for Passover.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:15 PM

"Usually pediatricians recommend a vitamin supplement to BF babies. It comes in a liquid dropper. It is specifically to make up for the lack of Vitamin D."

Keep in mind, that there has not been a study to know the long term effects of the vitamins and gut. I opted out and exposed my children to some good ole natural sunlight several minutes a day. Also, I was told this was more for infants who lived in high altitudes. ???

Posted by: RBD | August 28, 2006 3:16 PM

It is probably suv hater, please or any number of the "anonymous" trying to find someone else to pick on now that they have chased scarry from the blog. KB, I wouldn't let it chase you away. They are just looking to pick a fight with someone and that's the only way they know how by making you feel like there is something wrong with you.

Posted by: to get a life | August 28, 2006 3:16 PM

I have looked for those "Kosher Cokes" every year and never see them. Get blank looks when I ask a store manager. And I'm in the middle of DC. Thanks for the tip to look for yellow caps!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:17 PM

Thanks for the heads up on the Cokes with real sugar - I think I will put in on the calendar!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:19 PM

Oh, no! You exposed your child to natural sunlight?! Did you put a sun lotion with a 50 spf on her/him? You can't know that in the future your child won't have problems because you did that.

Ok, sorry. I'm just stepping in to give you the "warning" someone is probably already typing.

Posted by: KLM | August 28, 2006 3:20 PM

To fabworkingmom: I don't think you read my posts too closely. I'm sure you can tell from my posts that I have breastfed before.

Posted by: tlawrenceva | August 28, 2006 3:20 PM

Fructose IS sugar (it is "simple" sugar, elemenatal formula C6H12O6).

And I know that formula EXISTS in Lesotho, I should have, as a previous poster did, specify that I wouldn't trust it as much as I would trust western-available forumla (made with bad water, left out in high heat for prolonged amt. of time, punctured cans, etc.).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:22 PM

I think a lot of the lack of thought about breast pump/breast milk guidelines just highlights that people don't appreciate how pumping actually works - that for a lot of women, if you normally pump at 2 pm and you're on a flight from 12-4, you need your pump to be accessible. (Yes you can express-and-dump, but do people really want breastfeeding women to be sitting in the airplane bathroom doing that? I mean think about it, esp. in turbulence. :))

And I think that part of that is because breastfeeding is relatively invisible in our society. Not only do people often not nurse in public, no one pumps in public (no baby to hide the breast) and very few people who haven't pumped have any clue how it works (I didn't). Maybe that's 'cause the dominant image in our society of "how a baby is fed" is a bottle-fed baby, because of marketing and cultural views about breasts and all kinds of things.

So if we don't want idiot policy we probably have to raise the visibility of /actual/ breastfeeding. And I don't mean beat people who use formula over the head (yeeeeeeesh it's not my business and who cares) but just promote information and images about real live breastfeeding. I wish the current public health campaign had found more positive things to say and show about breastfeeding rather than scare tactics that have really nothing to do with any of the actual recommendations.

I've had the luxury of going freelance and rarely have used a pump so I don't have a lot of horror stories to share, except that clogged ducts (which you could get from not being able to nurse or pump in time) are incredibly painful and really icky looking and mastitis is just gross.

And personally, to all parents who make sure your baby is fed - whatever way - and happy, go you. :)

Posted by: Shandra | August 28, 2006 3:29 PM

"I think a lot of the lack of thought about breast pump/breast milk guidelines just highlights that people don't appreciate how pumping actually works - that for a lot of women, if you normally pump at 2 pm and you're on a flight from 12-4, you need your pump to be accessible."

My wife breastfed and pumped both our kids so I know a bit about how it works.

If you normally pump at 2pm and know you are going to be on a flight from 12-4, you change your pumping schedule by 10-15 minutes a day for a few weeks so you can pump when NOT on a plane. Where do you think you can pump on a plane? Every pumping woman I know did it in privacy (versus actual feeding - done whereever) since there is a big difference between feeding and pumping.

On a plane, where do you clean your horns? In the dirty bathroom?

Other than long distance flights (i.e. transcontinental), the timing issue can be adjusted such that it isn't a needed thing to do on a plane.

Posted by: Father of 2 | August 28, 2006 3:38 PM

"I think a lot of the lack of thought about breast pump/breast milk guidelines just highlights that people don't appreciate how pumping actually works - that for a lot of women, if you normally pump at 2 pm and you're on a flight from 12-4, you need your pump to be accessible."

My wife breastfed and pumped both our kids so I know a bit about how it works.

If you normally pump at 2pm and know you are going to be on a flight from 12-4, you change your pumping schedule by 10-15 minutes a day for a few weeks so you can pump when NOT on a plane. Where do you think you can pump on a plane? Every pumping woman I know did it in privacy (versus actual feeding - done whereever) since there is a big difference between feeding and pumping.

On a plane, where do you clean your horns? In the dirty bathroom?

Other than long distance flights (i.e. transcontinental), the timing issue can be adjusted such that it isn't a needed thing to do on a plane.

Posted by: Father of 2 | August 28, 2006 3:38 PM

Yay, Shandra - just wanted to say I've consistently enjoyed your posts and really appreciate your perspective. I totally agree with you about the focus of the public health campaigns - it seems like the negativity of those ads has only made for a venemous divide, rather than providing support and encouragement.

Posted by: Megan | August 28, 2006 3:39 PM

"I think a lot of the lack of thought about breast pump/breast milk guidelines just highlights that people don't appreciate how pumping actually works - that for a lot of women, if you normally pump at 2 pm and you're on a flight from 12-4, you need your pump to be accessible."

My wife breastfed and pumped both our kids so I know a bit about how it works.

If you normally pump at 2pm and know you are going to be on a flight from 12-4, you change your pumping schedule by 10-15 minutes a day for a few weeks so you can pump when NOT on a plane. Where do you think you can pump on a plane? Every pumping woman I know did it in privacy (versus actual feeding - done whereever) since there is a big difference between feeding and pumping.

On a plane, where do you clean your horns? In the dirty bathroom?

Other than long distance flights (i.e. transcontinental), the timing issue can be adjusted such that it isn't a needed thing to do on a plane.

Posted by: Father of 2 | August 28, 2006 3:43 PM

***For those of you who weren't breastfed and think that you came out okay, don't you ever wonder how much smarter/happier/skinnier/etc. you'd be if you'd had mama's milk instead of some hideoous chemical concoction specifically created to make some company money?***

Um, no. And I feel really sorry for people who do. That's just a sad, pathetic way to go through life.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:45 PM

To the poster asking about the origina of formula feeding --

The first public stance against breastfeeding was taken by American physicians in the middle of the 19th century. By 1867, there were substitute infant foods on the market which, when mixed with cow's milk, were touted to meet the nutritional needs of human infants.

So, no, infant formula didn't emerge as a result of women wanting convenience. Instead, the American and European medical communities -- almost exclusively male -- created a market for it.

Posted by: pittypat | August 28, 2006 3:46 PM

To Rockville: Too many things are being read out of context. I wrote that . . .

>>>Introducing even one bottle of formula changes the flora (the good bacteria) in a baby's intestine and thus the baby's immunity. It's best to avoid formula for at least the first 6 months of life. I wasn't able to do that with my first child, but with careful planning, I was able to do that with my second. I regret to inform you that your doctor gave you poor advice.>>This all or nothing kind of advice is the reason that many women avoid breastfeeding. I breastfed for over 3 years. I had supply issues, and did not have enough to breastfeed my son exclusively, so I supplemented with formula. My son was as healthy as they come, and I attribute it to the fact that he did get substantial amounts of breastmilk for over 3 years. He has never had an ear infection or a temperature over 101 (and even those were rare). Women should not be afraid of supplementing. My doctor suggested it for me, and I am so thankful he did.<<<

The mother I was responding to earlier was not supplementing for supply issues, only because her doctor told her to "just in case" she ever had a problem in the future. Please read everything in context instead of accusing someone of causing others of writing something that discourages breastfeeding unintentionally.

I now see this blog has generated too many comments today for people to follow the logic behind individual's comments.

Posted by: PA Mom | August 28, 2006 3:47 PM

Megan, didn't think of short-notice travel. I would hope that would be to an extreme minimum.

Never heard of the little wipers by Medela. Good to know (well, not really -we're done).

Posted by: Father of 2 | August 28, 2006 3:50 PM

Okay, enough. I think this blog is about balancing and if that's possible. It's not about your quality of parenting measured by whether you breadfed or not. Lots of intolerance here, not to mention misinformation. Good grief.

I've breasfed 3 children, was a la leche league leader, and am a practicing attorney. I've nursed and pumped in a true variety of places. It gets easier to nurse in public, nurse discretely, and stand up for nursing. I have ONCE nursed by first born in a bathroom - gross. I would not pump in one either. Nursing is not something to be ashamed of. Demanding a place to nurse and pump that is private, clean and accessible should not be out of the ordinary. I've never had anyone question or criticize when I needed to take a break from a deposition or a trial to pump. Nursing clothing is wonderful and enables one to nurse or pump discretely. When I pumped in my office at a law firm with my door shut (no lock) each of the male partners knew what was going on. If one knocked and walked in without waiting for a response, then he was a little surprised. (okay, so was the window washer once too). It was not me who was embarrassed but the one who walked in without waiting. I also pointed out that enabling me to pump/nurse meant most likely fewer days missed to take care of a sick child. Ask a childcare provider and she or he will confirm that breastfed children are sick less and recover more quickly. It's worth it for employers to know this too.

As far as traveling, I nursed on planes without the person in the seat next to me realizing it. I was delayed once for 8 hours with a 6 month old and had I not been nursing, everyone on the plane and in the airport would have known I had an unhappy baby. I don't think I'd have packed enough extra formula to cover that one.

Pumping is a pain in the a%%. Lugging a pump, supplies, cold packs etc... is difficult. For any mom willing to do this with the current travel restrictions, more power to you! The extent moms will go to in order to pump and provide breastmilk for their babies is admirable and should be encouraged, not questioned. Shame on anyone who has posted comments critical of women who travel and want to continue to provide breastmilk. For any mom who's ever been engorged and unable to pump or express, I feel for you. This is what I call balance - or trying to find balance. To work, travel, pump, ship milk home, and nurse after returning to work is balancing at its finest. If you can do this, you can definitely balance your work and family. Again, it gets easier.

Formula is not manufactured by formula companies but by pharmaceutical companies. The same companies who give a lot of money and product to doctors, including pediatricians. And give a lot of money to hospitals who will build according to their design - ie. new moms and babies as far apart as possible. And who give free diaper bags and cases of formula to new moms. Incidious? Yes. In third world countries, it is worse. Women are told formula is "better" but then when it's mixed with water teeming with bacteria, the formula is not better than breastmilk. Infant mortality from intestinal illness is far far higher in third world countries where formula feeding has become the norm.

Doctors in the US are NOT always well informed. I've had a doctor prescribe an unnecessary decongestant for me for strep throat because he decided that my child was too old at 13 months to be nursing and thought the drug would help dry up my milk. Inexcuseable. And it didn't work because I knew better than to take the medication. In one pediatrician's office, a nurse who was a good 100 pounds overweight criticized me for not giving my child cow's milk at his 2 year old well baby check up - in spite of him not having been there one time in the prior year for illness. I've had people tell me with a straight face that cow's milk is better for my child than human milk. What?

As with many, many other parenting decisions, breastfeeding is an individual decision made by a woman based on what is best for her and her child/family. Not everyone will reach the same conclusion but everyone should have access to good information and support for whatever decision she makes. And, with many, many parenting decisions, there is middle ground. Many babies do fine with supplemental feeding and still nurse too. There are tremendous variations to breastfeeding and/or formula feeding. It's sad to see how much misinformation is still out there and even sadder to see women attacking each other for their means of providing nutrition to their children.

Posted by: SS | August 28, 2006 3:50 PM

the Israelis run their airline security FAR more efficiently than we do!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:51 PM

Father of 2, appreciate your comments. Of course, if you have to fly on short notice, adjusting your schedule may not be an option, so if you are in the position of pumping in a yucky airplane bathroom, or any other yucky bathroom (how much longer can this sentence get?) I highly recommend the little wipers made by Medela. You can use them to sterilize your equipment after pumping, and they come in handy little pouches like wet wipes. They can be hard to find, but are well worth the search if you anticipate needing to pump in some unuusual places.

Posted by: Megan | August 28, 2006 3:52 PM

The other way to get Coke made with real sugar year-round is to visit Canada, where it's still made with sucrose as a matter of course.

Tastes better, too.

Posted by: SheHoser | August 28, 2006 3:53 PM

How did my response to Megan get posted before her comments????

To anon mom, I read here earlier that frozen peas (etc.) can be used as they aren't gels/liquids. However, you never know what TSA will allow one day to the next.

I'm willing to bet that soon they start allowing drinks purchased in the secured areas on the planes. Airlines are running out of water on the planes (from the reports I've seen on CNN.com).

Posted by: Father of 2 | August 28, 2006 3:53 PM

My friend has a story that makes me laugh...

She was traveling internationally for a conference and had her breast pump in her carry-on. I forget where the conference was, but it was in a country that isn't all that, shall we say, relaxed about the female body. So the customs agent started inspecting her luggage and found this strange contraption and wanted to know what it's for. Because of the lack of a common language, my friend pantomimed the purpose of the breast pump. The customs agent got a horrified look on his face and waved my friend through without looking at anything else she was carrying! According to my friend, the moral of the story is that you can smuggle anything you like into certain countries as long as you put a breast pump at the top of the bag!

(Yes, this was pre-9/11.)

Posted by: Aimily | August 28, 2006 3:54 PM

The original subject, I think, was breastfeeding, flying and the TSA. For sure, I am dreading an upcoming family Thanksgiving trip that will carry us across four time zones. I am hoping to please, please, please get out of this family obligation. But in case we don't. . .
How do people keep breastmilk and/or forumula and/or regular milk fresh without those ice packs?
How do breastfeeding moms (and for that matter, any other passengers) stay hydrated on long flights -- I'm talking 8- and 12-hour flights -- if they can't bring bottled water or other drinks aboard?
It seems to me that if the TSA is going to outlaw these essential items, then maybe the TSA should pay the airlines to keep them on stock so that everyone who needs one can get a bottle of water and/or an ice pack.
All in all, I think the TSA operations are a lot of show and precious little real security. I know for sure that this is not the way the Israelis run their airline security.

Posted by: anon mom | August 28, 2006 3:54 PM

the Israelis operate their security FAR more efficiently than we do!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:55 PM

"the Israelis operate their security FAR more efficiently than we do!"

Because they don't have that pesky thing called a Constitution which prevents racial profiling.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 3:57 PM


Posted by: | 01:53 PM

My parents smoked around me and my sister. We grew up healthy, and luckily, once they knew it was bad for us, my parents kicked the habit.

In 10 years other things parents do around their kids, or feed their kids, or whatever, will be shown to be "harmful".

==================

You made the point that once your parents knew it was bad for you, they stopped.

Apply that to formula---

We now know formula increases risks for tons of bad things (diabetes, asthma, obesity, lymphoma, etc). So shouldn't we, as a society, try to make breastfeeding the go-to choice?

*fine print*
Except in cases detrimental to the well-being of the mother and/or baby.


P.S. Just out of curiousity and not trying to fan flames, but for those of you who decided not to BF, before even giving it a shot, what were the factors that predicated that decision. I am not talking about the ones who did try and had horrible experiences (shiggety latch, baby failure to thrive, mastitis, thrush, whatever, you valiantly tried...)

Posted by: lulu | August 28, 2006 4:00 PM

"To the pediatrician who claims to have treated babies who died from dehydration due to bad advice from la leche league volunteers. I hope you are not the same pediatrician who accused me of "starving" my baby in his second day of life...."

If what you say is true, I am sorry that you had a pediatrician who didn't know that the milk doesn't come in for 4-5 days. Most pediatricians I know would not advise that. But just as you would like for me to take your experience at face value, my experience is my experience. I have pronounced two babies dead whose families sought care too late. These infants were about 2 weeks old and came in extremely dehydrated. They trusted people who let them down. I blame the people who are so ardent about breastfeeding they give give bad advice over the phone.

And I don't disagree. I work with my patients to make breastfeeding work. I also tell them it is hard (especially for first timers) and that they should ask questions and seek support. This is why all breastfed babies should see their pediatricians the day after discharge and at least one more time during the first 1-2 weeks of life.

And why so much anger towards pediatricians--we advocate for breastfeeding. Holy cow.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:03 PM

What the Israelis do is not really racial profiling. That may be a part of it, but it goes beyond that to I guess what one would call personality profiling - they are looking for nervous people, people who don't know the score of the big game the night before, etc. etc. I know there is a word for this but I can't think of it right now. They look for people who will not make eye contact, who fumble with their luggage a lot, etc. There is more to it than racial components.

Apparently the TSA is trying this at some airports here in the US. It makes a lot more sense than what we are doing. Besides, the last time I checked, there was a problem with security at US checkpoints, not at Israeli ones. Something to think about.

I tell you, I have never felt so safe as the time I was sitting in the Zurich airport waiting for a SwissAir flight that was at a gate next to an El Al flight - and I wasn't even going on that flight!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:05 PM

did all the bf advocates have natural childbirth or did any of you have drug assistance (epidural) or scheduled C-sections (not because there was a problem during labor)?

Posted by: curious | August 28, 2006 4:06 PM

For lulu - Didn't want to BF because I didn't want additional stress to having a new baby. Wanted husband to split feedings with me.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:07 PM

The mother I was responding to earlier was not supplementing for supply issues, only because her doctor told her to "just in case" she ever had a problem in the future. Please read everything in context instead of accusing someone of causing others of writing something that discourages breastfeeding unintentionally.

Whether the mother was supplementing for convenience or for supply issues, I still stand by what I said. Supplementing with an occasional bottle of formula is not the end of the world and will not nullify the benefits of breastfeeding. It is not necessary to be so die hard about breastfeeding. My suggestion to people is that you have to make it work for you, but that you should not be enslaved to it.

Posted by: Rockville | August 28, 2006 4:10 PM

The mother I was responding to earlier was not supplementing for supply issues, only because her doctor told her to "just in case" she ever had a problem in the future. Please read everything in context instead of accusing someone of causing others of writing something that discourages breastfeeding unintentionally.

Whether the mother was supplementing for convenience or for supply issues, I still stand by what I said. Supplementing with an occasional bottle of formula is not the end of the world and will not nullify the benefits of breastfeeding. It is not necessary to be so die hard about breastfeeding. My suggestion to people is that you have to make it work for you, but that you should not be enslaved to it.

Posted by: Rockville | August 28, 2006 4:10 PM

Please, let's all stop criticizing the moms who choose not to breastfeed. Choosing not to breastfeed is okay and I don't condemn anyone for choosing not to, or having an unfortunate medical condition that prevents them from doing so. My daughter wouldn't latch on correctly, so I pumped breast milk instead. I couldn't just get on the plane and "make more". I had to pump it; try doing that while holding a baby. I had several relatives give me the evil eye when I gave my baby a bottle of breastmilk b/c they assumed it was formula. It really isn't anyone's business what you feed your child, as long as the child is healthy and happy, there should not be an issue at all!

And to the mom distraught over not being able to get back in time to be with her allergenic child and BF her; you are a good mother who is concerned for the welfare of her child and that's good enough for me.

Posted by: tlawrenceva | August 28, 2006 4:11 PM

1. Breastmilk is not "deficient" in Vitamin D. Staying indoors all the time causes Vitamin D deficiency, especially among people who cover most of their skin with clothes and/or have dark skin and live in northern latitudes. We were not meant to get Vit D through milk, but through sunlight. All babies can be supplemented either through drops or through the bottle; there is no reason to act like breastmilk is deficient in something that was not supposed to be there in the first place.

2. To the pediatrician who scoffs at the risks of supplementing occasionally with formula -- what evidence do YOU have that this is safe? Yes, it may be low risk, but your own organization the AAP recommends exclusive BF for 6 months. That is what babies are supposed to have. I have no problem with people not following those recommendations, because life is complicated and we cannot always do the 100% best thing all the time, but there is no reason to act like that recommendation means nothing.

I am sick of the arrogance of some doctors. I agree that there have been incidences of hypernatremic dehydration among newborns, but often this is iatrogenic because of unnecessary birth interventions affecting lactogenesis, separation of mothers and babies in the first 24-48 hours, and doctors not knowing how to assess good breastmilk transfer. It's not rocket science. I have also personally seen doctors not follow the recommendations to check breastfeeding newborns within 2 days of hospital discharge and again at 2 weeks. This is not LLL's fault. No good LLL Leader would ever discourage a mother from bringing her baby to the doctor, and if someone has evidence of this, they should report it.

Posted by: anon | August 28, 2006 4:12 PM

"Instead, the American and European medical communities -- almost exclusively male -- created a market for it."

I wouldn't be surprised if the first formula customers were male too. Didn't more women die in childbirth back then? If your wife died in childbirth, your new son or daughter survived, and you were one of the 99.99999999% of men who doesn't lactate...

Posted by: Maria | August 28, 2006 4:12 PM

Most of the breastfeeding moms I know get a lot more flak than they give, because they try to feed their babies when they are hungry. Sometimes that can be in a public place where someone else is made uncomfortable by the sight of a baby under a blanket.
I think it is perfectly acceptable to give formula if that is what you choose to do. That said, the data does indicate that the natural way has benefits, even though we have made it appear unnatural in our modern circumstances(pads, pumps, paraphenalia). Do what is best for your child and you...But if I choose to do this(BF) for my child, how about being as supportive? Really should not be a battle, just like should not be battle between WOHM and SAHM. Both pediatricians are correct: we do not give enough support to BF moms early on...either from pushing formula earlier than support, or not seeing the tots early enough to judge if techniques are right. La Leche offers help when other help is not available, though on the extreme side.....

Posted by: Sunniday | August 28, 2006 4:13 PM

You advocate for breastfeeding as a pediatrician. Sure you do -- that's why every new mom is given the bag of formula at both the hospital and the baby's first doctor visit. What a crock of sh1te.

Posted by: NOT | August 28, 2006 4:14 PM

"What the Israelis do is not really racial profiling. That may be a part of it, but it goes beyond that to I guess what one would call personality profiling - they are looking for nervous people, people who don't know the score of the big game the night before, etc. etc. I know there is a word for this but I can't think of it right now. They look for people who will not make eye contact, who fumble with their luggage a lot, etc. There is more to it than racial components."

Yep, and the moon is made of green cheese too....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:14 PM

I had an epidural (tried for natural childbirth, but ended up having to get pitocin, thus I chose to get an epidural, as pitocin is more painful than natural labor).

My son never had any interest in latching on, not right after birth (immediately) or thereafter. He was delivered by a midwife who turned down the epidural while I pushed him out.

A few consultants pronounced him a "lazy sucker"! as I kept trying in the days thereafter.

(I ended up pumping for one year, as I earlier posted).

Posted by: Rebecca | August 28, 2006 4:14 PM

"We now know formula increases risks for tons of bad things (diabetes, asthma, obesity, lymphoma, etc). So shouldn't we, as a society, try to make breastfeeding the go-to choice?"

You're going to have to substantiate that comment with scientific evidence. I am doubtful that you can. Too much BS in this discussion

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:16 PM

Father of 2, you are magic! True enough about short-notice flying, but the same would hold true in the case of unanticipated delays, etc. And I figured the tip about the wipers would be more useful for the current/about to be moms and dads ;)

To Curious - I had an unmedicated, natural labor at a birth center and it was great.

And finally, on the issue of medical advice, one of the things I loved about our first pediatrician was his honesty. When I asked him about his approach to breastfeeding at our first consultation he just said, "you know, it's not something they really teach in medical school and in most cases it's not a medical issue, so I usually refer breastfeeding questions to a doctor/midwife in a nearby town who specializes in working with breastfeeding moms and babies." That seemed like the most honest and straightforward answer he could give.

Posted by: Megan | August 28, 2006 4:20 PM

"You advocate for breastfeeding as a pediatrician. Sure you do -- that's why every new mom is given the bag of formula at both the hospital and the baby's first doctor visit. What a crock of sh1te."

This is not given out at the hospital where I work, there is rooming in in most hospitals as well as lactation consultants and I do not give out formula. Too many angry people on this list. You would do well to take a nap and start over.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:21 PM


Posted by: | 04:07 PM

Didn't want to BF because I didn't want additional stress to having a new baby. Wanted husband to split feedings with me.

=====

It is interesting how we differ. I had to formula feed my daughter for a couple weeks due to a medication I needed to take. I considered formula feeding way more stressful. Especially during the night when it took so long to get the bottle prepared and she was screaming off the hook. I also found it hard to always guage how long I would be away from home and have to bring enough formula and clean bottles. The money factor was also stressful. Made me really annoying when I would crack open some formula only to figure out she wasn't even hungry and now that needed to be consumed or refrigerated. Blah, blah, blah.

That reminds me though. It should be pointed out that expressed breast milk is okay out at room temperature for 8 hours. I am sure I can find a link supporting that. But have patience until then.

Curious-

FWIW, I had an unmedicated birth.

Posted by: lulu | August 28, 2006 4:26 PM

To lulu:

I am choosing to not bb because the thought of a baby hanging onto me and sucking is not one that I care to contemplate - much less see in real life. It just does not hold any appeal for me. It is FINE if one is comfortable with it. I have known this ever since I was a little kid - so it is not something that I just 'decided' now that we are getting to the point of having a kid.

I am having a hard enough time getting through these first months of pregnancy - I can't eat ANYTHING and can drink even less - if I had known, I would not have done it. I always thought we would adopt, but the money just isn't there right now. When it comes to the discomfort of breast feeding, I don't think that I will be able to manage it.

I will admit that I have a few issues about my breasts - they are a little larger than average and I hate that - I had a breast reduction and it helped but I do not care to enlarge them again. They are a part of my body that I am not particularly fond of - I should have made them even smaller. I am going to get reamed for that one - it is NOT a cosmetic thing - it has to do with what I was talking about in para#1. I know that they don't always stay large for everyone, but believe me, they will for me.

But more than that, I know that I will need the more regular schedule that ff will allow - the baby will sleep through the night sooner, something that I will need VERY much. I am a grump when I am woken up - just ask my husband. I will want the flexibility that ff will allow - I am trying to sound the way I mean to come across - I am VERY nervous about becoming a mother. This was a big step for us - I am not sure that either one of really has our head around it yet.

Anyway - there are a lot of aspects to it - just is hard to describe. I think most women find breastfeeding to be much more natural than what I find it. Obviously, it is perfectly natural, but not for me. It just doesn't seem like it is, to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:29 PM

Ladies, you can pump by hand. It is quiet, easy and doesn't hurt like a machine. Once I figured this out, many of the pumping problems went away. No private room, no embarassment, no equipment needed. It doesn't help get the pumped stuff on a plane . . .

Posted by: suzie | August 28, 2006 4:30 PM

Hmm...the recommendations do mean something. I just don't believe that it is my place to order families to feed their children one way or another. My job is to educate and support. How would you like for me to tell you how to raise your child as long as you are not doing any harm? And I can understand that those of you who are attacking me are just baseline angry people misdirecting your anger at someone who has done none of the things you accuse me of.

"This is not LLL's fault. No good LLL Leader would ever discourage a mother from bringing her baby to the doctor, and if someone has evidence of this, they should report it."

Yes it is LLL's fault if one of their providers gives bad advice that leads to the death of a baby. If I remember correctly, one family did sue and prevailed. Why is it so easy for people to believe that doctor's are bad, but that all LLL are brillant and know it all?

And lastly, I breastfed my children. And I used to teach breastfeeding to new mothers. I just don't believe in being an authoritarian about this issue. People are free to feed their children as they like and formula is safe. No one should be made to feel like they are a bad parent for bottle feeding.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:30 PM

"did all the bf advocates have natural childbirth or did any of you have drug assistance (epidural) or scheduled C-sections (not because there was a problem during labor)?

Posted by: curious | August 28, 2006 04:06 PM "

Well, I do believe that breastfeeding is better for baby but I'm also for balancing everything else going on. With my first, I had an epidural. I only breastfed exclusively for a couple of months and then supplemented for another couple of months. But that's what worked for my circumstances at the time.

With my second child, I didn't have an epidural, not that I wouldn't have but by the time I got to the hospital it was too late for that. But hey, that was probably just as well because I think I had a faster recovery time on the second go round. My circumstances had changed sufficiently to allow me to breastfeed exclusively for five months. I supplemented for another month at which point I landed in the hospital for several days for an unrelated medical condition. I probably would have continued breastfeeding for a while (part-time) but you do have to balance things. Being extremely ill in the hospital, pumping and dumping (which I would have had to do considering all the various medications I was taking plus x-rays etc) was just not on my agenda.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | August 28, 2006 4:32 PM

I remember the day in Embryology class when I walked in to see the Professor writing 2 lists on the board. The first was one short column of complicated chemicals. The second list went on and on, several columns of vitamins, minerals, etc.

My first thought was hpoing we didn't have to memorize. I wasn't alone, someone asked if we would be tested on any of this stuff. The professor told us it would not be on a test, it was only a lesson, lol.

We soon learned the first column was commercial baby formula, the second was human breast milk.

"Would you pour water in your gas tank?" he asked.

It's been almost 25 years, an excellent lesson! thank you Professor Johnson!

Posted by: cris | August 28, 2006 4:32 PM

I forgot to mention that it was stressful to breastfeed a newborn until we figured out how to do a good latch.

Also, in defense of La Leche League...

My experience has been that their first three questions were:

1. How old is the baby?
2. How many wet diapers?
3. How much poop?

Those questions told me they cared about making sure babies are actually ingesting the milk.

Posted by: lulu | August 28, 2006 4:35 PM

in addition to 4:29 post, I plan to have an epidural - as many drugs as they will give me. If they would knock me out, I would take that. I am not good with pain - I am very vey nervous about that, too.

There is nothing wrong with knowing one's limitations. . .

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:36 PM

If you had a breast reduction you won't be able to breast feed, unless the surgery has improved over the last few years.

Posted by: to 4:29 | August 28, 2006 4:38 PM

To the 4:29/4:36 poster -

Just wanted to say that I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy, your birth, and parenthood. For what it's worth, I found the first three months to be the toughest, both in pregnancy and as a new mother. Hang in there, it will get better, and you will do fine as a mother. So long as you have a lot of love to give (to yourself and partner as well as baby) the rest will sort itself out one way or another (at least that's been my experience). Best wishes.

Posted by: Megan | August 28, 2006 4:40 PM

Do you ever get the feeling that there are about 10 people posting on this board on any given day, each under 15 different names? (Insert twilight zone theme music here)

Posted by: Hmmm | August 28, 2006 4:42 PM

A very reasonable article on the benefits and hype around nursing (with links to a few scientific articles)
http://www.slate.com/id/2138629/

side comment: Skimming this page makes me think fatherhood is a bit more appealing than motherhood. Why does fatherhood currently come across as a much saner / funnier / less competitive / less guilt-ridden enterprise?

Posted by: Link | August 28, 2006 4:42 PM

A link labeled "HEALTH RISKS OF NOT BREASTFEEDING" (their Caps not mine)

http://www.4woman.gov/breastfeeding/index.cfm?page=519

Posted by: lulu | August 28, 2006 4:42 PM

oh - if I had the option, I would much rather be the dad! You are so right that fatherhood is much less loaded!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:43 PM

"You made the point that once your parents knew it was bad for you, they stopped."

Everyone CAN stop smoking. Not all women can breast feed. And the ones who didn't can't go back now and breast feed.

I'll bet my parents feel guilty that they smoked, although my bro and I are in our early 40s and zero health problems. We're also smart, slim, and have no allergies.

So stop trying to make people feel bad!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:45 PM

The problem I had with the hand pump - slower, more physical effort and harder to express milk. I didn't use a mechancial pump when I had to travel because often I was traveling to outdoor locations (Port - a - Johns don't have outlets). It actually impacted my production and what I was able to pump usually had to be dumped due to lack of refrigeration.

The best use for the hand pump was early on when I might be at a meeting that ran long (the other pump was at my office) and my breasts were starting to hurt and I needed to express some milk. The hand pump could fit in a normal bag.

Posted by: NoVAsinglemom | August 28, 2006 4:45 PM

It is not true that it is impossible to breast-feed after a breast reduction - it all depends. The surgeon said that even he wouldn't even be able to tell me after the surgery - it depends on how it heals inside and all that. Some women can, some cannot. So the option may or may not be there. All I know is that I don't really WANT to bb -

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:46 PM

That was me. Parttimer

Posted by: to 4:29 | August 28, 2006 4:47 PM

I meant that link not as a call to arms but just in response to the person who asked me to back up my statement about the risks. I chose a govt website so as to appear as unbiased as possible.

Posted by: lulu | August 28, 2006 4:48 PM

The problem I had with the hand pump - slower, more physical effort and harder to express milk. I didn't use a mechancial pump when I had to travel because often I was traveling to outdoor locations (Port - a - Johns don't have outlets). It actually impacted my production and what I was able to pump usually had to be dumped due to lack of refrigeration.

The best use for the hand pump was early on when I might be at a meeting that ran long (the other pump was at my office) and my breasts were starting to hurt and I needed to express some milk. The hand pump could fit in a normal bag.

Posted by: NoVAsinglemom | August 28, 2006 4:51 PM

"This is not given out at the hospital where I work, there is rooming in in most hospitals as well as lactation consultants and I do not give out formula. Too many angry people on this list. You would do well to take a nap and start over."

Fascinating. There are only 54 hospitals in the country that don't give out these bags. And you just happen to work at one of them. How exciting for you.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:51 PM

To Curious,

For the first 16 hours, I went with natural childbirth. After they gave me pitocin, I got an epidural. I ultimately ended up having a c-section. For my (currently strictly hypothetical) next child, I'm torn between trying VBAC and scheduling another c-section.

To the pediatrician, I know I sound angry. I am angry, for myself and for the several other women I know who are told by their pediatricians that they have to give their kids formula, get them on a schedule by eight weeks, and embark on a course of "sleep training" (i.e. cry-it-out). If you're not the type of pediatrician that makes such pronouncements to her patients, then I'm not mad at you. I simply don't think it's right for pediatricians to state opinions as if they are facts, and to make moms who disagree with that advice feel like they're doing wrong by their kids.

and to the expectant anon. poster, I'm sorry that you're having such a hard time with pregnancy and with the idea of being a mom. Being a parent is really scary, but it is also really great. If I may offer a bit of unsolicted advice, check and see if your hospital has a support group for new moms. Around here it's called Baby Steps, and it was a lifesaver for me. Not only does it give you a chance to get out of the house, but you also get to connect with other new moms, most of whom are just as apprehensive as you are.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 28, 2006 4:52 PM

A lawyer questioning the ethics of a doctor?! That's rich....

Posted by: To SS | August 28, 2006 4:52 PM

"If you had a breast reduction you won't be able to breast feed, unless the surgery has improved over the last few years."

This varies greatly from case to case. I know women who have had reductions who have been able to breast feed, and I know women who have had reductions and have not been able to breast feed.

Lulu, I know a woman who didn't breast feed simply because she didn't want to. Her 12-year-old son is about 6 feet tall, her 9-year-old daughter is about 5'8", both of them score in the 98th percentile for intelligence, and they're healthy as horses, so I think they're probably okay.

As for this:

"We now know formula increases risks for tons of bad things (diabetes, asthma, obesity, lymphoma, etc). So shouldn't we, as a society, try to make breastfeeding the go-to choice?"

As long as it remains a CHOICE. Women who don't breastfeed are hardly dooming their children to lives of ill health, ignorance, and obesity. For God's sake.

Posted by: Lizzie | August 28, 2006 4:52 PM

I just took a look at Lulu's link &
the government seems irresponsible (why am I not shocked).
"Breast milk has agents (called antibodies) in it to help protect infants from bacteria and viruses." and so forth
As is described in the slate link above these antibodies cannot be absorbed through the linings of the stomach or intestines in humans. While gut-illnesses are important (especially in 3rd world nations) there is no biological mechanism understood to explain the correlation with ear infections, etc. PA-Mom's link you will notice focused on gut-issues... The government link seems to be putting together the science that is well understood with the correlations that are not (hype/scare tactics)

Studies work to control for income, education, home vs. daycare etc. in the breast feeding studies but this is really hard to do. Breast feeding mothers may on average be more inclined to lysol the house? I am waiting for a personality profile of the two camps to be published next...

Posted by: link | August 28, 2006 4:53 PM

"This is not given out at the hospital where I work, there is rooming in in most hospitals as well as lactation consultants and I do not give out formula. Too many angry people on this list. You would do well to take a nap and start over."

"Fascinating. There are only 54 hospitals in the country that don't give out these bags. And you just happen to work at one of them. How exciting for you."


I fail to see why this response is so snide. It is great that this doc works at a hospital that doesn't hand out free samples, and for all you know, he or she may be part of the reason why. Hostility to the doctors who ARE good on breastfeeding isn't going to help make any progress with doctors who aren't.

Posted by: Megan | August 28, 2006 4:54 PM

The reason there is so much anger toward pediatricians is because many of us have had really bad experiences with pediatricians who say they support breasfeeding, but undermine it. For example, my son was over 9 lbs when he was born. He was a big, healthy baby. He latched on immediately, I had absolutely no problems breastfeeding from the very beginning. However, he lost weight in the hospital, as is normal! But, the pediatrician at the hospital read the weight chart wrong, and thought he had lost more than he had. He literally threatened us that if my son did not produce a wet diaper in a certain period of time, he would put the baby in the NICU. He told us to feed him formula. He gave us absolutely no advice about breastfeeding. As first time parents, we were completely freaked out, of course. Luckily the next day, when a more experienced pediatrician saw our son, he said, "This is one healthy baby" So, it all worked out, but that pediatrician definitely left me less trusting in doctor's advice about breastfeeding because he was so intent on getting formula into our son. I've had breastfeeding friends who have had similar experiences with doctors.

Posted by: new york | August 28, 2006 4:55 PM

"Yep, and the moon is made of green cheese too.... "

You must believe that we AREN'T subject to racial profiling in this country and other lies such as that the Constitution will protect you.

My friend who LOOKS Middle Eastern gets pulled for "random" searches. My friend who is blonde and fair but IS Arabic told me he has been searched only once since 9/11, even when they see his typical Arabic name and foreign passport.

No, there's no racial profiling in the U.S.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 4:56 PM

Anon, I know you're going to get a lot of flak and "well-intentioned" advise that's really criticism, but I want to say that I totally understand your feelings and share most of them. I don't publish my private thoughts because I know most women would go into a frenzy over them. Ok, I'm an "unnatural" woman. I've known it since I was very young. I am NOT a man in a woman's body, but a woman who has no interest in pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. Thus, I chose not to have a baby and to adopt -- because I love kids! Don't care about babies, so I adopted a 6-year-old orphan.

Just wanted to support you. You're not alone and you're not a freak. You're entitled to feel the way you feel. Good luck!

Posted by: Diane | August 28, 2006 4:57 PM

I wrote the recent post in which I blamed doctors for cases of hypernatremic dehydration. I just want to apologize for being overly belligerent. I just feel very frustrated that there are so many barriers in the way to mothers trying to establish breastfeeding, and I wish hospitals and uneducated (about breastfeeding) doctors would do what is necessary to enable patients who want to breastfeed to do so more easily.

And I don't doubt for a second that some breastfeeding supporters have been too overzealous and not careful enough in determining when a baby is dehydrated and needs supplementation. However, I know that Leaders are trained to ask about signs of adequate milk intake in newborns, so I doubt that accredited Leaders were at fault in the scenarios described. I have seen many doctors mistake inadequate breastmilk intake for constipation (bf newborns need to be having at least 3 milk stools by Day 3, or else they are not getting enough, and true constipation is impossible in an exclusively breastfed baby). I am sure that most doctors know this, but some doctors just apply knowledge of formula-fed babies to breastfed babies, which is unacceptable.

Anyway, my apologies for venting my anger; I know that most pediatricians just want to help their patients.

Posted by: anon | August 28, 2006 4:57 PM

Plenty of posts today! Nevermind that most are useless. Well, I guess Leslie gets to keep her job for another week.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 5:03 PM

"No good LLL Leader would ever discourage a mother"

Not all of them are "good", just as not all pediatricians are "good". Being in LLL doesn't make you infallible.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 5:05 PM

Going back to outlandish breast-milk battle tales.. I traveled to DC for work this summer and pumped twice daily for a week, dropping off labeled baggies of breast milk with my name, room number, and date at the hotel front desk for storage. I wish you all could have seen the expressions on their faces, particularly the men - priceless!

Posted by: Berkeley Mom, Works in SF | August 28, 2006 5:08 PM

oh - thank you - it is so good to know that there IS a voice of reason out there -I didn't realize that they were so few and far between.

I think that adopting a 6 yr old, in some ways, means you are more of a mom than any of us! You show the true spirit of loving children.

As I posted, I would have preferred to adopt - I am just getting a little older and the money is not there right now. I, too, never felt the need to be pregnant (and now know why!). If we have a second, it will be through adoption, no ifs and or buts about it. Ever since I was 13 or 14 and on the way home from England, I knew that adoption was for me - there were two little Indian babies on the plane, and I still to this day - more than 20 years later - have never seen happier parents than those people waiting for those babies.

Nothing can be greater than giving an orphan a parent and a home. You have given that child a life - more than it ever would have had without you.

Posted by: re:diane | August 28, 2006 5:09 PM

Thank you for pointing out that profiling does happen here - it is not a pleasant thing, but it does happen.

We do need to work out a more efficient way of working security at our airports. I do not pretend to have any idea of how to do this - but it has to be out there.

There is something to be said for the way the Israelis do it - they have not had any incidents for a VERY long time. It is not perfect - but neither is our system, as we have had problems lately.

Anyway - I have never spent so much time on a blog before - I guess I got sucked in because I can't think about doing anything because I am so sick - hungry, but the thought of eating makes my stomach roll. Oh - I hope I can make it through the next few months. . .I am having my doubts. . .

Posted by: to 4:56 poster re: profiling | August 28, 2006 5:14 PM

Leslie missed her chance! She should have called today's blog "Breast Milk on a Plane!"

Posted by: Tim | August 28, 2006 5:14 PM

Leslie missed her chance! She should have called today's blog "Breasts on a Plane!"

Posted by: Tim | August 28, 2006 5:17 PM

To the 5:09 poster --

Thank you for that insight. Taking someone else's child into your home and heart is certainly more selfless than biologically reproducing -- especially in a world that already has more people than we can adequately care for.

Posted by: pittypat | August 28, 2006 5:17 PM

A very reasonable article on the benefits and hype around nursing (with links to a few scientific articles)
http://www.slate.com/id/2138629/

Um, reasonable? Not so much. This doctor doesn't seem to know the first thing about the immunology of breastfeeding. Here is a much better article, also by a doctor:

Posted by: anon | August 28, 2006 5:18 PM

Here's the article:

http://www.promom.org/bf_info/sci_am.htm

Posted by: whoops | August 28, 2006 5:20 PM

Thanks poster. I don't think I'm MORE of a mom. I'm just a mom. I have received some weird comments about my choice to adopt, but I ignored them. My son is great, and he is OURS, just as much as if I had birthed and breastfed him.

I hope you'll feel better soon and have a good birth. Look for friends and support and ignore ignorant criticism.

Posted by: Diane | August 28, 2006 5:21 PM

>>> Leslie missed her chance! She should have called today's blog "Breasts on a Plane!" >>>

I agree! Now if we could have only had an audio clip of Samuel L. Jackson saying "breast on a plane," with the proper expletives of course, that would have probably taken some of the edge off of today's topic!!

Posted by: To TIm | August 28, 2006 5:22 PM

to cris @ 4:32:

I am not sure what point you are trying to get at with your professor's list. Are you saying that formula is better because it is made from processed chemicals rather than natural ingredients? Would you rather consume processed food 100% of the time than a perfect, natural food that is designed and customized for you?

Posted by: Aims | August 28, 2006 5:29 PM

to Diane:

Part of the reason - not the only reason - that I knew I wanted to marry my husband was that he was the first guy who didn't think it was crazy to want to just adopt - or have one of our own and adopt another one. Before we got married, my mother-in-law also said she doesn't really care - if we have kids at all, or if we choose to adopt them ot whatever (I wish I still felt that she was so approving).

I am always surprised by people who think that adopting is strange. My brother thought I was crazy when I told him - he said something like 'you have to be really careful about the kid you get' - unfortunately I didn't think to say at the time that just as many things can go wrong with having a kid.

Anyway - I hope we get to adopt someday.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 5:31 PM

Posted by: | 04:45 PM

"You made the point that once your parents knew it was bad for you, they stopped."

Not all women can breast feed.

*****Obviously, babies who aren't getting any breastmilk because their mother can't produce any (small percentage but does happen) fall into my fine print (that you conveniently neglected to put in)

"*fine print*
Except in cases detrimental to the well-being of the mother and/or baby."

So stop trying to make people feel bad!

**wow, I really am not trying to make anyone feel bad. I am trying to understand what we as a society can do to encourage breastfeeding and I am also trying to understand why women would chose not to (without being hateful or militant).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 5:35 PM

"For those of you who weren't breastfed and think that you came out okay, don't you ever wonder how much smarter/happier/skinnier/etc. you'd be if you'd had mama's milk instead of some hideoous chemical concoction specifically created to make some company money? Study after study shows that you should be wondering about that . . ."

My cousin has "BF" her three kids -- the first two have severe allergy and asthma issues. Never met two kids who used a nebulizer like they do. The third has severe seperation anixiety (can't even stay with dad!!).

Me -- not "BF". I have 4 college degrees, haven't taken a sick day in years (because I simply don't get sick), and I'm at a good height/weight considering I don't exercise a heck of a lot. I also had to wear cloth diapers back in the 70's -- why aren't we discussing that issue on another blog? Do you realize what you're doing to the environment (note -- sarcasm here!).

I feel bad for those moms that can't bring the milk on planes. But, you're not the only ones who are "suffering" from this liquid ban -- I can't bring my lotions on board! I have dry skin (Ooo, maybe that's because I wasn't "BF"??).

I wasn't going to post, but I had to after I read this one. It's not a perfect world.

Posted by: Bottle fed and cloth diapered! | August 28, 2006 5:42 PM

I stand corrected. There are several BfAR sites on the web. My info was probably a little more than a 'few years old'. Like 20! (There are days when I just cannot believe how old I have gotten.)

A vegetarian once said that the only animal that drinks the milk of another animal is the human.

That is because the other animals don't have cereal to eat.

Posted by: parttimer | August 28, 2006 5:46 PM

>>> wow, I really am not trying to make anyone feel bad. I am trying to understand what we as a society can do to encourage breastfeeding and I am also trying to understand why women would chose not to (without being hateful or militant). >>>

One of the main reasons women decide not to breast feed or only breast feed while on maternity leave is because of work. It is hard to balance. Not everyone has a job that accommodates pumping 2 or 3 times a day (facilities to pump in, time to pump, etc.).

Also many women want their husband's to bond with the baby too. Having dads involved is important. Dads can also get up in the night to share the work because often times moms have to work too.

Some women aren't comfortable breast feeding. Brow-beating them probably won't change their minds either.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 5:46 PM

I forgot to sign my name to the 5:35 post.

To the poster that is pregnant now (and not revelling in the glow) I might be your choir to preach to. I hated being pregnant, it was the worst. I felt like my body had been hijacked. I puked everyday until month 7 and then at least once a week until the day my daughter was born. I would go through labor was a breeze in comparison to the misery of pregnancy. I particularly hated the women that came up to me saying, "oooohhhh, I LOVED being pregnant....I never felt so sexy/beautiful/happy/etc." Blechhh.

Best of luck with getting through the rest of the pregnancy and some unsolicited advice--- try hard to make friends with other new moms, while trying to keep your old friends. I wish I had met more women sooner. Life with my daughter got a lot better when I had adults to commiserate with.

Posted by: lulu | August 28, 2006 5:58 PM

"Does anyone know the history of formula feeding? Was it perhaps a response to more women going to work outside the home, maybe in the WWII years? I'm asking an honest question."

The precursors of today's infant formulas were developed at the end of the 19th century for orphans and other babies that couldn't, for whatever reason, get human milk. Before then, those babies would be given cow's milk or other substitutes and often died or were very sick. The first infant formulas used cow's milk as a base but included other ingredients to compensate for the chemical differences between cow's milk and human milk.

Bottle-feeding took off in the post-WWII era and benefitted from the same Space Age zeitgeist (and marketing) that saw instant coffee, Minute Rice, and other processed foods as as more "modern" and "scientific" and the way of the future. By the 1950s, less than 25% of babies between 2 and 3 months of age were breastfed. However, most "formula" used up through the early 1960s was a concoction of evaporated milk, water, and sugar. Commercial formulas like those prevalent today were very expensive and generally available only through doctors. They only became the norm in the 1960s and 1970s as formula companies started marketing directly to hospitals and giving away free samples to new mothers.

Posted by: history | August 28, 2006 6:07 PM

"I also had to wear cloth diapers back in the 70's -- why aren't we discussing that issue on another blog? Do you realize what you're doing to the environment (note -- sarcasm here!)."

Actually, my son wears cloth diapers when he's not in day care, as do a lot of babies I know...some of us are just hopeless new age hippies to the core, what can I say? ;)

Though I'm happy to report that cloth diapers today are waaaay cooler than they were back then, as well as easier to use and wash. Almost cool enough to satisfy the "gear head" tendencies of some of the dads I know.


Posted by: Megan | August 28, 2006 6:18 PM

Rockville --- Do you understand what "all or nothing means?" BFing exclusively for the first 6 months of life is best. It's what the AAP recommends. BFing and supplementing with formula during that time is still better than exclusively FFing (except in the rare cases when BFing endangers the health of the mother or baby). PA Mom wrote that she BF and FF her first child, so obviously she did what she considered second best. That is not an "all or nothing mentality." Did you read her post? All or nothing means quit BFing if you can't BF exclusively. Obviously, that is not what she meant because she didn't quit when she supplemented with formula. I guess you did read her post out of context.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 6:35 PM

IF and its a really big if, there is a real threat from small amounts of liquids, then the fact that a liquid is alledgedly breast milk isn't a rational reason to allow it and not other liquids for a few hour flight. Proper and relatively easy screening methods will exist soon, and I not sure that tasting it proves any thing. Are the bomb components that toxic, I doubt it.
IF the bomb components are very toxic and the effects are immeadiate, then tasting a liquid is a reasonable check. However, if so, then bottled water and the like should be allowed after tasting.

Posted by: Why Not Taste iT | August 28, 2006 6:37 PM


I too apologize for my defensive tone. Thanks for the kind comments, getalife an tlawrenceva. I'm done answering trolls and contentious posts on the details of my personal pumping example.

The details don't even really matter, I support whatever choices a mom makes to feed her baby and keep it healthy. Any mom who weighs all the family- and mom- and baby-specific pros and cons and chooses a method that keeps or gets her baby healthy, I'm happy with that, and moreoever, I *trust* the vast majority of moms' judgment and intentions on that. I'm not secondguessing or judging anyone!

I'd just think that if all was 'easy' for you and your baby, if your baby thrived whatever your choice was and easily adapted to whatever modifications you made for convenience in balancing baby and work --- great, I'm glad for you both! But I wish you'd trust that those of us who chose a different path aren't doing it because we're just anal and gratuitously complicating our lives trying to be perfect ubermoms. Moms whose way of feeding their baby involves 100% breastmilk and pumping are not doing it to slight you, and their efforts and requests for accommodation are not self-indulgent luxuries to be dismissed. Whatever feeding choices are, they're between mother and (healthy) baby, and once that choice is made we should enable it in the workplace and public acommodation. Comments like 'just give formula' or 'it doesn't have to be so hard' or 'lighten up' are not constructive. I'm sure bottlefeeders do feel the occasional nasty judgment from the extreme and intolerant, but pumpers as noted in above posts catch a lot of flak just due to the novelty, unaccustomedness, and ick factor.

Posted by: KB | August 28, 2006 6:41 PM

well said, KB!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 6:44 PM

http://www.slate.com/id/2138629/
Um, reasonable? Not so much. This doctor doesn't seem to know the first thing about the immunology of breastfeeding. Here is a much better article, also by a doctor:
http://www.promom.org/bf_info/sci_am.htm

------------------------

Yikes... I looked at the link you provided and every biomechanism / antibody explanation relates to what goes on in the gut. The Slate article does not dispute this and seems simply to be trying to describe these benefits in a way that makes sense to someone who is reading a news magazine not a journal article.

The point is simply that additional claims for diseases spread in other ways - do not have a biological explanation for how the protection works. (And the statistical significance is not as strong in the face of how many other factors you need to crontrol for.) The paragraph below from the article you suggest seems to go along with that... You can think there are benefits to nursing AND think that the case for nursing can be overstated!

------------------------
Secretory IgA molecules further keep an infant from harm in that, unlike most other antibodies, they ward off disease without causing inflammation-a process in which various chemicals destroy microbes but potentially hurt healthy tissue. In an infant's developing gut, the mucosal membrane is extremely delicate, and an excess of these chemicals can do considerable damage. Interestingly, secretory IgA can probably protect mucosal surfaces other than those in the gut. In many countries, particularly in the Middle East, western South America and northern Africa, women put milk in their infants' eyes to treat infections there. I do not know if this remedy has ever been tested scientifically, but there are theoretical reasons to believe it would work. It probably does work at least some of the time, or the practice would have died out.
------------------
p.s. I am a nonparent who listens to judgement (and worry about judgement) from mom-friends in both camps on how the others are "ignoring health benefits" or "too frazzled" I find the topic interesting from a scientific /statistical point of view... but mostly just think it would be better for women it was a little less contentious.

Posted by: link | August 28, 2006 7:05 PM

My children were born 1989 and 1993. I asked about the drug involved births because I remember that delivering other than completely naturally was looked down upon then almost as much as FF is now. The idea was to endure anything so that there was no chance of the baby being affected by the drugs. Now it seems that there is a large number of C-section by choice for what may be considered selfish reasons. It seems to me that different philosophies regarding birth, feeding, education, and parenting are popular at various times - at least I have seen it since I have been an adult.

Posted by: curious | August 28, 2006 7:23 PM

I was ambivalent about bf when my children were born. I decided to try it but stop if I had trouble, and definitely stop before I returned to work (4 month maternity leave). The first baby was a piece of cake, and the second was hungrier and more demanding, but really no problem (other than being at my breast more often and for longer periods of time).

I had absolutely no desire to pump - ever. I weaned the babies by 3 months. The transition was easy. I used ready-to-use liquid formula. It was quite a bonus when hubby could not only feed the baby while I was busy with something else, but he became closer to the babies, and I could actually sleep through the night occasionally when we shared nighttime feedings.

I had no regrets about starting or stopping BF. When I hear what some women go through, I am amazed. I go between admiring them or wondering why they just don't give it up.

Posted by: curious | August 28, 2006 7:30 PM

For the "non-glowing" expectant mom. I can understand. I had morning sickness for the first five months, then indigestion until birth. Then, my first baby was sensitive to what I ate. I like spicy food, but could have none, or she got gas and was cranky. So another factor in stopping BF was the idea that I spent an entire year eating for the baby and not what I wanted to eat. Selfish - maybe, but also reality.

I don't disagree that BF may be better or best, but that doesn't mean that FF is BAD. I don't have facts/statistics to back that up, but I don't really think that so many pediatricians would accept FF if it was actually as bad as some of the people think.

Anecdote alert - my child who was breast fed for the shorter time is the healthiest of the two children.

Posted by: curious | August 28, 2006 7:42 PM

One point that I have not seen raised yet is BF in a family with multiple children (not multiples but different ages). When I was BF my second, I was very conscious of the amount of time in the chair nursing while the 4-year-old was hoping for time with me. I read to her and sang songs, but after I stopped nursing I was able to do more with the firstborn while daddy bonded with the baby. Or, if daddy wasn't around, I still had more time with the 4-year-old because the baby ate a lot faster from bottle than breast.

I didn't hate BF, but I didn't love it either. It was something I did for a while and then something I stopped. It was never something that evoked so much anxiety and fear of not doing the right thing.

Posted by: curious | August 28, 2006 7:43 PM

The best predictor of good health for our children is good genetics. Should we not have children with partners who have health problems in their families?

Posted by: curious | August 28, 2006 7:45 PM

The best container for transporting breast milk is the breast. Pack the pumping and cooling paraphernalia in your checked luggage; pump before and after you get on the plane. If it's a long flight, bring the pump and an empty container on board and ask the flight crew to ice the milk for you until you can collect your luggage.

Posted by: philamara | August 28, 2006 8:34 PM

My mother is 58 years old. She is the second of four children born to a good, middle class woman. Although I am not a mom, for some reason, my mom and I were discussing breat feeding one day. My mother did breast feed my sisters and me in the 1970's. However, she was not breast fed. My grandma told her once that the reason was because the prevailing attitude in the 1940's was that only poor people breast fed their babies. Breast feeding was considered something that you did because you could not afford formula. My points are simply as follows--attitudes change and there is more than one way to raise a child.
I would like to breastfeed. However, I just think that we all need to remember that sometimes things are just not "that" complicated.

Posted by: WWII Moms | August 28, 2006 8:39 PM

It is probably suv hater, please or any number of the "anonymous" trying to find someone else to pick on now that they have chased scarry from the blog.

Scarry, how can we miss you if you won't go away?

Posted by: to to get a life | August 28, 2006 8:42 PM

For what it's worth, I never had any luck with a breast pump. I always had better results with hand expressing. Either way, though, it was painfully slow.
But if you do hand-express your milk, you can rest assured that the TSA won't confiscate your hands -- at least not yet.
Oh, and to Curious -- please don't knock scheduled C-sections. They are usually done for legitimate medical reasons. (A dramatic example -- a mother who is HIV-positive is far, far less likely to transmit the virus to her baby if she has a scheduled C-section performed before labor.) I speak as someone who did have a high-risk pregnancy (not HIV-positive, thank God) for which a scheduled C-section was considered to be the safest medical strategy.
Whether you're talking about breastfeeding (HIV-positive moms shouldn't do it) or childbirth techniques or whatever, mothers need to have the flexibility to do what is in the best interest of their own health and the health of their children. What is best is very individual; to mix a few metaphors, there's no cookie-cutter recipe that applies to everyone.

Posted by: anon mom | August 28, 2006 8:55 PM

>>>>>"This is not given out at the hospital where I work, there is rooming in in most hospitals as well as lactation consultants and I do not give out formula. Too many angry people on this list. You would do well to take a nap and start over."

Fascinating. There are only 54 hospitals in the country that don't give out these bags. And you just happen to work at one of them. How exciting for you.<<<<<<<<<

This is a little harsh. At any rate, if you give birth at United Hospital, in St Paul, MN (where I gave birth), you don't get a formula bag. They were extremely encouraging of breastfeeding. I did have a lactation consultant who came in to my hospital room when baby was 1.5 days old saying she was appalled that I let baby drink formula in the nursery while I slept. My mother was in my hospital room and just opened up a can of whup ass.

I think the biggest way women are successful with BFing is if they have a good support system around them. My mother formula fed, and thought I was repudiating her choice. I loved the closeness of BFing and was very disappointment when baby weaned herself at 10 months.

By the way, I am brown skinned, neither Hispanic nor Middle Eastern/Pakistani, and I used to get stopped at the US/Mexico border years ago and at airports today "randomly". I feel like saying to the TSA agents "Do you even know what you're looking for? Can you provide me one characteristic of Muslims other than brown skin? And please, root through my dirty undies. Thanks!"

Posted by: MNMom | August 28, 2006 8:55 PM

"Oh, and to Curious -- please don't knock scheduled C-sections. They are usually done for legitimate medical reasons."

I only question the C-sections that are done for reasons that are not quite legitimately medical :). I had 2 C-sections and neither was scheduled, and the reason for each was different.

Questionable to me is avoiding trying vaginal after previous C-section only because there was a previous C-section and no other medical reason for C-section.

It is my understanding that Mrs Cal Ripkin had a scheduled C-section on an "off-day" during Cal's streak. Sounds suspicious to me.

And really, I only brought up the subject to show that women's attitudes about aspects of childbirth/breastfeeding have changed over the years.

Posted by: curious | August 28, 2006 9:16 PM

My wife is Polish and is absolutely stunned at the shame/fear women have of breast feeding in public here. I am not sure why she packed and carried breast milk and a pump, but women have built-in gear for the job. It's the correct temperature and ready to go at anytime.

Although protected directly from indecency laws in 48 states (and infact in many of those states the law encourages breast feeding), I can remember when I worked in a restaurant and would hear the waitresses gossip about how scandalous it was when they saw a woman breast feeding. The guys could not have cared less (if truly they were somehow effected, as a man I would have heard about it).

It's a natural, healthy, clean and beautiful act to provide nourishment to your child. Cover you and your baby if you must, but please do not feel shame or scandal and certainly don't flatter yourself to think every man in the place is watching for some perverse pleasure.

Posted by: Christian | August 28, 2006 10:37 PM

A few posters have commented on how illogical it seems that we can purchase beverages after passing through security but can't take them on board... and that liquids are provided on the planes so, again, why can't we bring them on? I'm no security expert, but it seems to me that a logical reason for prohibiting liquids at the door to the plane is that airline personnel have no way of confirming the source of liquids being brought on, whereas water from a lavatory tap or from the beverage cart is theoretically under the airline's control and they therefore know it is "safe" - i.e. not a liquid explosive.

Posted by: somerville, mass | August 28, 2006 11:29 PM

The c-section rate in this country is now 29% (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-11-15-sections_x.htm). Apparently it increased 40% in 8 years between 1996 and 2004. That is disturbing. That said, most women I know that had c-sections (scheduled or emergency) had valid medical reasons so I would never question any individual about how she ended up with a c-section. But how did we get to 29%, no one can argue they are all medically necessary.

For curious - I tried natural, but after 90 hours of labor they broke my water to move things along and that increased my pain to an unbearable level and moved nothing along. I chose an epidural, a nap, and then pitocin and was so appreciative at the time. I breastfed, but I was very close to giving up at times, and I understand how women make that choice.

I do not judge women who formula feed becase they have to for medical reasons, women who tried but failed to breastfeed, or women who have trouble pumping when they go back to work. And I do not judge the pregnant poster who seems to have some serious issues with the idea of breastfeeding, she has clearly thought it through. I have friends who have gone to extraordinary lengths to continue breastfeeding and I have said to them, enough already, your baby will be healthy and thrive, do not feel guilty about ff. I suffered through moms who told me how easy it was when I was in excrutiating pain from nursing (it got better, but not for a while), so I agree that this is an area where if you do not have something supportive to say, you should keep your mouth shut. That said, I do judge the women who dismiss bf out of hand without thinking about it or trying because it seems icky. The difference between bf and ff for babies is significant enough that parents should consider it seriously and I do think that parents who do not are selfish. Of course, this judgment only takes place in my head, because I do not know why someone chooses to bf or not, that is personal.

As to all the debate about the benefits of breastfeeding, there is more to it than antibodies. I cannot believe we are seriously debating the beneifts of breastfeeding. The medical establishment is on side of breastfeeding now. I never went to a LLL meeting (I did have a lactation consultant), but my sister was a LLL leader, she became one because LLL was the only place she could get nursing support 15 years ago when she had her first child and she wanted to give back. They are zealots for a reason, they do not trust that they have won the war on information and fear the large corporate support for ff.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2006 12:26 AM

To curious: I had an Unplanned C-section. My daughter's head was too big to fit through my narrow pelvis. I was in labor for 31 hours before they tried to do a C-section. I was induced because in the last week of my pregnancy, I had high blood pressure. If I was ever to have another baby, I would probably have a scheduled C-section because the chance of the babies head fitting through my pelvis would be rare. DD's head was only in the 10 th percentile and it still did not fit. So my guess is that unless I had a premature baby, the head would not fit through. To the poster that asked about multiples and BF. You can BF in tandem that means BF either an older child and a younger child or feeding twins. I think it would be extremely difficult to BF triplets or higher order multiples. But it is at least theoretically possible to nurse babies at a time. Most families with twins, that I know, did not BF for very long. Usually shorter then their maternity leaves. Also I know very few people that BF in tandem an older and a younger child. For the most part, most American women stop BF by 12 months. The majority of siblings (none multiples) are born at least 12-15 months apart. There is such thing called Irish twins (children born 10-11 months apart). In theory, one could BF both. I would imagine it would be exhausting and I don't know about anyone else. After 12 months, my younger child would take preference to my older child. I am personally glad I did not have to BF in tandem. But best of luck to all who do.

Posted by: Lieu | August 29, 2006 7:18 AM

"I'm no security expert, but it seems to me that a logical reason for prohibiting liquids at the door to the plane is that airline personnel have no way of confirming the source of liquids being brought on, whereas water from a lavatory tap or from the beverage cart is theoretically under the airline's control and they therefore know it is "safe" - i.e. not a liquid explosive"

If you agree with that logic (which I believe to be the logic used by TSA), then you must assume that either

1) The water purchased in the secured area is not "safe" (i.e. something else could be smuggled in) - which would require poor security at the airport or

2) Bottles can make it past security (i.e. can't guarantee the bottle was purchased in the airport) - which would require poor security at the airport.

So, it seems airport security sucks.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2006 7:39 AM

I read the last few comments about c-sections. One reason for the increase in c-sections is the increase in weight. 15-20 years ago it was normal for a baby to weigh between 7 and 8 pounds. Now anything under 8 seems positively sickly! It's not, of course, it just seems small amongst the 8,9 and 10 pound babies. Better nutrition for mom, maybe too much nutrition at times, has been part of the increase (although I am sure we have all seen the 105 pound mom give birth to the 10 pounder and the overly large mom give birth to the 5 lber). It's hard to get that baby through the allowed opening, and with all of the electrical monitoring, once the baby seems 'in distress', off to surgery you go. If (please god I am not asking) I somehow got pregnant I would have a scheduled c-section because of 2 previous ones (I know about that pain when they break your water--OMFG that hurt.) I tried v-bac, didn't make it. My sister did, and was successful (although to hear her it was a huge mistake!).

Posted by: parttimer | August 29, 2006 7:56 AM

>>>>>>>>Questionable to me is avoiding trying vaginal after previous C-section only because there was a previous C-section and no other medical reason for C-section.<<<<<<<<

C-sections weaken the uterus. This is why doctors recommend that women who deliver via c-section don't have more than 3 pregnancies. The chance of uterine rupture after a c-section is increased, so many doctors prefer to perform a c-section before your uterus starts contracting seriously. Add this to the general litigiousness in America, and it's in doctors' best interests to promote c-sections for followup babies.

My child was born via c-section because her heart rate was going crazy during labor (she had the cord wrapped around her neck). My husband, who is a surgeon, has indicated that even though I want a v-bac with #2, he is medically uncomfortable with that (higher risk of complications).

Posted by: MNMom | August 29, 2006 8:15 AM

Interestng comments. To me, the most interesting, informative and valuable was Anonymous MD. I think that poster is absolutely right. Talk to your doctor, use common sense and be in tune to the maternal instincts.

I had to supplement my breastfeeding with formula, and I had to eventually switch to soy formula for both my babies. My son was losing weight and not thriving with the breastfeeding. And my daughter thrived but was on my breast so much, I eventually supplemented with her too. Sure I was hurt and felt I wasn't "good enough" for not producing enough milk -- especially when others liked to brag that they had "soooo much." But what was I supposed to do, let the babies dehydrate and die because "breast is best?" I got over it, because I realized that I am "good enough" and even more than that when it comes to doing for my kids.

Let's use some common sense here, respect others' choices, stop second-guessing ourselves and commit to raising healthy children instead of making them pay the price for our "dogma" (dogmae?) about what's "best." To the mothers who are able to breastfeed exclusively, God bless you. For those who can't or who choose to formula-feed, God bless you.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | August 29, 2006 9:55 AM

You know, the number 30% gets bandied around a lot as proof that there are too many C-sections in this country. But an NIH panel got together recently and analyzed the data and decided there was no evidence it was really too high a number. And another number that doesn't get bandied around enough is that 97% of all FIRST-TIME C-sections are medically necessary. That means most optional C-sections are the result of a choice between CS2 and VBAC. For which the data don't suggest that VBAC is necessarily better.

As to the breastfeeding debate, I remember this story recently about a young dad of twins who told the mom to starve them because they were such greedy pigs for eating so much formula. They died of starvation. Having done the formula thing once, I can imagine his shock at the cost of formula for two babies. We spent over $1000 on ONE baby over the course of a year. Just consider that many people only make $12000 to $16000 a year. If the mom had been able to breastfeed, this stressor wouldn't have been present. I'm not saying the dad's actions were forgivable (or the mom's); all I'm saying is the relative inexpensiveness of breastfeeding can itself be protective for kids.

Posted by: m | August 29, 2006 10:00 AM

I had a day trip in and out of National Airport yesterday, and I have a 6 month old son. Oh and my trip was to a Very Secure Location in northern VA.

At no point in my trip was the pump an issue (Avent IQ Uno). I took over the restroom on the plane for 20 minutes in each direction (which was more pleasant on the 8:30 am flight than the 5pm) and the nice flight attendants filled my plastic bag with ice. No one at the Very Secure Location looked at my bag or asked me to toss either the ice/water or my milk.

On the way home, I dumped the ice/water in a restroom before security, trusting it to stay cold enough for the ~hour before I could ask the next flight attendant for more ice.

The TSA screener did stop me and question me about the liquid. But ultimately, after swabbing the bag for explosive residue, they permitted me to keep all 9 oz of milk. In the restroom on the other side of security, I pumped another 2, and 4 more on the plane.

I just wish I'd read the "bags of frozen veggies" suggestion before the trip. Next time, I'm packin' peas.

Posted by: Liza | August 29, 2006 11:10 AM

It is expensive, but it is available free to families on limited incomes through WIC (Women, Infants, Children).

I am stunned at the story about the twins. That is so sad.

Posted by: on the cost of formula | August 29, 2006 12:31 PM

It's nobody's business why Ms. Cal Ripken had a C section. That's between her, Mr. Ripken, and their doctor.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2006 1:18 PM

For heaven's sake.

Banning liquids on planes will not prevent a terrorist attempt. It will just make ALL travelers pay for the behavior of--what--less than 100 people in the entire world?

If we are reduced to disallowing breastfeeding moms from pumping and carrying their milk on commercial flights, then we've already lost. The terrorist attackers need to be found before they are shuffling through security.

Sheesh.

Posted by: Micki | August 29, 2006 1:31 PM

"So, it seems airport security sucks."

I'm definitely not defending TSA, and though childless myself I find the extremes the security people go to ridiculous. (My sympathies go out to parents who have had problems!)

I'm not even disagreeing that airport security sucks. AND, another view of my argument above is that the ban on taking liquids onto the planes might simply be a backup system to (attempt to) catch what security misses. Even the best screening system in the world isn't going to catch everything - so a backup/second screening point doesn't in theory seem like a bad thing.

That said, what does El Al do, security wise? Whatever it is, I've heard they do a pretty good job of it...

Posted by: somerville, mass | August 29, 2006 2:50 PM

I agree with those who find the restrictions on carrying breastmilk OR formula onboard ridiculous. Babies have to eat and drink, and you can't simply tell them to wait until they get on board. (Even some adults cannot do that, specifically ones with health issues such as diabetes.)

That said, I am a part-time working mom who (since someone asked: had a natural childbirth) and breastfed my son for 15 mos. (6.5 mos exclusively, primary nutrition until 1 yr, and then a gradual weaning over the course of 3 mos). I work in a primarily male office, and at first the pumping was awkward. But I decided I wasn't going to be intimidated out of my personal convictions, so I'd find an empty office to sit in (or borrow one from a sympathetic coworker for 15 minutes) and pump away. I can only imagine how hard it would be to travel and pump- I turned down all travel assignments. Kudos to the women who make it work!

Although I would say I "support" breastfeeding, I also support moms doing what they need to do. There are certainly some vaild reasons for declining to attempt BFing, including medications/health conditions or a past history of sexual abuse. (In fact, there are some women I've heard of who had scheduled c-sections because of prior sexual abuse that would make the birth process simply too traumatic.) I think for most women though, the goal should be to at least make an attempt. I know from personal experience how hard it can be to BF. I went through nearly 4 weeks of hell with my son due to poor latch, lack of weight gain, jaundice, and nipple soreness. (You haven't lived until your nipples have cracked and bled ~sarcasm~). Although the pediatrician and my own mom fell into the "just give him some formula" camp, I was glad I was persistent enough to seek help through LLL and a IBCLC certified lactation consultant. Once I worked to correct the latch problems, the other problems began to resolve quickly and things got much better. But I gained a real insight as to why women might give up quickly- BFing is HARD!!!

Anyway, my overall point is that all moms have different circumstances and we should not judge one another based on those circumstances. If women (and men) would simply support each other AS PARENTS I think there would be far less debate.

Posted by: anon | August 29, 2006 3:19 PM

"But why would you not support a mother who does choose to BF?"

I am a pregnant woman who will most likely FF after my baby is born. The reason I ridicule people who BF and have problems (boo-hooing about mastitis, mean-old airport security etc) is that many moms who BF and speak of their milk like "liquid gold" like that insipid comment earlier are on a high horse against us moms who choose to FF. And just as a matter of course, I *love* to see people on a high horse fall off and hopefully get a really nice bruise :)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2006 3:39 PM

Slightly off topic here, but maybe one of the reasons for the increase in C-sections is the improved diagnostic technology that gives more detailed information about possible risks. In the old days, for example, there were no fetal monitors to warn you about fetal distress.
Back to the topic at hand, I think the pregnant woman who is proudly choosing formula feeding is going to be in for a nasty surprise if and when she travels with her forumla-fed infant, especially if she travels a great distance.
Those "mean-old airport security" rules are probably more burdensome to formula feeders than they are to breastfeeders. Breastmilk straight from the source was the one convenience I could count on when I traveled with my children. Personally, I don't see how anybody can carry much of anything with them on flights these days -- bottles, liquids of any kinds, snacks, toys, whatever. At least nobody's going to mess with your breasts before you board. Or I hope not. You never know.
(By the way, that suggestion of taking along a package of frozen vegetables is brilliant! Wouldn't work for an 8- or 12-hour flight, but would be great for a two-hour flight.)

Posted by: anon mom | August 29, 2006 4:13 PM

M, no KIDDING about how expensive Formula is! I breast fed for about 6 months before switching exclusively to formula for the last 6 months and I thought that we'd end up having a well fed baby with starving parents! Paying $300 for a portable pump at work(and accessories) and another $100 to rent a hospital grade pump for the home seemed like a steal compared to paying for Formula. Has anyone else done the math? How does something so small end up eating more expensive food (I think we spent about $25 a week in formula) than the parents combined?

Posted by: tlawrenceva | August 29, 2006 4:46 PM

$25 a week is more than both parents combined? You spend $12.50/person a week on groceries? Please share your menus.

Posted by: to tlawrenceva | August 29, 2006 5:07 PM

"I am a pregnant woman who will most likely FF after my baby is born. The reason I ridicule people who BF and have problems (boo-hooing about mastitis, mean-old airport security etc) is that many moms who BF and speak of their milk like "liquid gold" like that insipid comment earlier are on a high horse against us moms who choose to FF. And just as a matter of course, I *love* to see people on a high horse fall off and hopefully get a really nice bruise :)"

Wow, that's nasty. Being proud of yourself for accomplishing breastfeeding, often after many obstacles, is NOT the same as being on a "high horse" against moms for FFing. How would you like it if I wished negative consequences on you for FFing in order to get you to fall of YOUR high horse?

Posted by: anon | August 29, 2006 6:10 PM

I want to clarify several things:

1) La Leche League does NOT tell people that they are "harming" their babies by not breastfeeding them. Go and read LLL publications and I promise you that you will not find that statement, or something like it, anywhere. I am very concerned about the numbers of comments about La Leche League that are absolutely false. Leaders are expressly NOT allowed to give medical advice or to contradict what a doctor says. They are to provide "information and encouragement to women who WANT to breastfeed". Part of LLL's culture is to give information, not advice and LLL believes that each mother knows herself, her baby, and her situation best. (Go to a LLL meeting and they will make a statement like this at the beginning of the meeting.) Now if you don't WANT to breastfeed, you don't need to go slandering a fine organization and spitefully scaring people away from help that they could really use.
2) A mother who breastfeeds her baby cannot go for a day without pumping or breastfeeding. She will get engorged, congested breasts which are horribly painful and will end up with a breast infection as a result. The ability to pump at the *minimum* every 4 hours (sometimes more often) is not about what the baby will be fed while the mother is gone, but it is an immediate health issue for the mother.
3) I don't know whether to believe that an American woman works in a place where "99% of which are not from this country and generally feel women are chattel and belong hidden away at home". If they are Muslims, as some people have alluded to believing, and they truly did believe such and would prevent a woman from having private space to pump her milk at work, then they are IGNORANT FOOLS who don't know a thing about their religion and who need some intervention by both US legal and local Muslim religious authorites.

Posted by: JC | August 29, 2006 7:37 PM

I have mainly good experiences with my work accomodating my pumping schedule, and most of the time I had a decent, private place to pump. I walked in on a few women because they forgot to lock the door on a few occasions. I was even given longer lunch breaks to go nurse my son at noon while he was at daycare.

I was told I was NOT to discuss BF at all at work because it might offend someone. It was a big part of my life - something I spent hours each day doing. Telling me I couldn't talk about it made me feel like I couldn't talk about the baby I loved so much and spent so much time nurturing. It made me feel like someone thought what I was doing was dirty. It made me sad.

I BF my son for 16 months and it was tough because I'd had breast reduction surgery, so I didn't make as much milk as the average woman.

I think the reason there is such a heated debate going on between mom's who BF and mom's who formula feed (notice I didn't say bottle feed, because you can bottle feed breastmilk too - you just don't get the immune system benefits of direct body contact - the mom's body actually responds to bacteria in the baby's mouth and produces antibodies that go into the milk to further protect the child from germs the baby has recently come into contact with - so the argument that the immunity is 90% in the first week is unbelievably wrong) is one that comes from the worst feeling we experience as humans - guilt.

No human being can say that breast milk isn't the best food for a baby - and if they do they are wrong. In this fact, there is a little grain of sand that gets under the skin of anyone who can't, doesn't feel comfortable doing it, isn't willing to spend the time needed to do it, is ill, or has some other reason for not breastfeeding and this causes guilt.

Guilt in a human being is a feeling not many people can really resolve without making excuses or attacking those who don't seem to have their same issues. If someone is thin, the fat person hates them because they feel badly about their own choices. It is redirection of the guilt that fuels this argument. It is human and I choose to look at those who attack me for my choice to breastfeed, pump like a maniac while at work, and BF (gasp) in public as someone who deserves my pity. I know what it is like to be envious that someone else can do something that I can't or don't have the means to do.

The BF mom's feel attacked and attacking the choice you make as a mother will make anyone come out like a wild cat scratching and biting. You tell me I'm making a bad decision in the way I'm raising my child and I'm going to come at you with all barrels. You tell me that I have to compromise my child's needs for your comfort and you will have a fight on your hands.

Posted by: Joy in WI | August 29, 2006 7:42 PM

There are several menus that I choose from. Some are from a book called "Saving Dinner" by Leanne Ely (www.savingdinner.com). Ha! You didn't think I'd call your bluff did you?? Anyway, let's get back to the breastfeeding and airline travel, shall we?

Posted by: tlawrenceva | August 29, 2006 8:17 PM

So off topic, but two days into the chat....why not?

I have heard the "Saving Dinner" cookbook is awesome. Thanks for the reminder.

Megan-

I will see your new-age hippidom and raise you one. I planted an organic garden this year and have saved tons of money. Husband is a student. So I do crazy hippy stuff to save money: hang clothes out on the line, this garden, cook at home, try to walk more...

I had my daughter at a birth center (Birth Care in Alexandria), too. Did you have yours in the DC area?

Posted by: lulu | August 29, 2006 10:03 PM

Back on-topic,

My airline story--

I took a flight to Las Vegas from DC for a friend's wedding. I had to pump mid-way each direction which meant hogging the bathroom for a good 30 minutes. Hard to have a let-down when you are under duress. Anyway, I felt compelled to tell a flight attendant I was just pumping and if someone really needed me to come out, I would. She was so repulsed. Made me feel like the dirtiest sicko in the world.

My 2nd story was on a flight to Seattle. This time with my 6 month old. I nursed her practically the whole time and when it was over someone even said, "I didn't realize their was a baby on this flight!" But the bad, non-breastfeeding related next part made me want to cry.

I had been seated in the last row, due to the oxygen mask issue, and I had to wait for everyone else to get off before I could get up and manuever all my baby paraphernalia and the baby. Did I mention I was flying without the help of my husband? Anyway, the flight attendant was standing in front of the bathrooms and looked like she needed to get past me. So I said, "Oh, I am sorry. Do you need to get by me?" She replied, "No, I have to wait for you."

Had I not been so shocked, embarrassed, and overwhelmed with trying to carry everything and the baby I would have complained. But as it stood, I was exhausted and desperate to just get to my friend's house.

Posted by: lulu | August 29, 2006 10:20 PM

Lulu,

She had to wait for you because it's part of her duty as flight attendant to make sure everybody gets off the plane.

She wasn't trying to be rude, she was just stating a fact. She is required to walk through the plane at the end of the flight, behind the departing passengers, and make sure that everyone got off when they were supposed to, nobody left behind anything suspicious, etc.


Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 11:52 AM

It wasn't the words she used. It was the hateful way she said it. With emphasis on "HAVE TO".

Not, "Take your time" or "Do you need a hand" or even "I need to check the aisles once they are clear". It was the fact that she said, "I HAVE to wait for youuuuuuu." Implying that the waiting was arduous for her.

Posted by: lulu | August 30, 2006 2:14 PM

On flight attendants' attitudes: I've had mixed experiences. Some have been incredibly unhelpful (maybe stretched too thin and stressed out), but on my last flight, on bankrupt Northwest Airlines to boot, the flight attendants were just wonderful to me (traveling alone with two little ones) and to other parents and kids.
However, in general, it seems that parents with kids, particularly mothers traveling alone with kids, have to depend for assistance on the kindness of strangers -- meaning other passengers. Thank God there are some really nice people out there. I don't think this is because the flight attendants are jerks or anything. I think it's just that airline budget cuts have made service terrible all around. When you're traveling with kids, which is miserable enough to start with, you really feel the budget cuts.
As for BF on a plane (sounds like a movie!), my experience has been that other passengers, as well as the flight attendants, are grateful when you do it, because it means that your baby will be quiet and not screaming.

Posted by: anon mom | August 30, 2006 3:56 PM

"It was the fact that she said, "I HAVE to wait for youuuuuuu." Implying that the waiting was arduous for her."

Well, it probably was!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 4:05 PM

I know it was probably a pain in her butt to have to wait for me. However, her attitude wasn't helping me move faster.

I don't think all flight attendants have a bad attitude. I think a tired, late, or just overworked one saw an easy target.

I have worked in service industries and know how annoying it can be when someone comes in just before closing time or just won't leave. However, we were paid to be pleasant not rude. And I was obviously trying to go as fast as possible. I certainly wasn't dawdling. Who wants to be on a confined plane with an infant for even a second longer than necessary?

I know she felt that way too, but being polite or helpful would have gotten me off faster.

Posted by: lulu | August 30, 2006 4:48 PM

if tlawrenceva is still on this blog I thought you might find this quote from the posts food discussion today interesting.

"If your home-cooked meals are working out to $3 per portion on a regular basis -- and you're an omnivore -- then hats off to you"

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 6:19 PM

I don't have children, or a very strong opinion on breastfeeding, but the issue seems clear to me.

1. Expecting a breastfeeding mother traveling without a child not to pump is like expecting anyone not to urinate for a day. That's cruel, and also potentially very dangerous for the woman.

2. This ban does not in any way improve national security. There are endless ways of sneaking explosives or possible weapons past security, given a large budget and creative chemists, which terrorists undoubtable have. Just consider--how many tubes of antibiotic ointment or toothpaste have you forgotten in your carryon that TSA missed? How many nail files? And that would just be relying on TSA slipping up.

So if the ban (a) doesn't really help and (b) makes people miserable, why shouldn't people be upset about it? I'm already upset about the water ban, because I get dehydrated easily and they do NOT give you enough water on planes. Fainting = not my idea of a good flight.

Most TSA regulations, aimed at mothers or at everyone, aren't really effective. They just make flying that much more miserable and dehumanizing. Pardon me if I think there's no reason to do that for so little gain, and that something as expensive as an airline ticket should come with courtesy and dignified treatment.

Posted by: Mel | August 31, 2006 4:56 PM

>>"I'm no security expert, but it seems to me that a logical reason for prohibiting liquids at the door to the plane is that airline personnel have no way of confirming the source of liquids being brought on, whereas water from a lavatory tap or from the beverage cart is theoretically under the airline's control and they therefore know it is "safe" - i.e. not a liquid explosive"

>>If you agree with that logic (which I believe to be the logic used by TSA), then you must assume that either

>>1) The water purchased in the secured area is not "safe" (i.e. something else could be smuggled in) - which would require poor security at the airport or

>>2) Bottles can make it past security (i.e. can't guarantee the bottle was purchased in the airport) - which would require poor security at the airport.

>>So, it seems airport security sucks.

Well, I have had my share of airport security "incidences." I don't know why, but I am constantly pulled out for random checks and I am as white as they come. But I think we should give airport security some credit. Unless the vendors of water and other liquids use a special mark on their bottles how on earth are those security officers supposed to know WHERE that liquid came from? Last time I checked the TSA wasn't routinely hiring mind readers.

Posted by: eljae | September 1, 2006 12:22 AM

I don't blame non-breastfeeding folks for not knowing how breastfeeding works. Heck I didn't know how it worked either until after I had my son nearly two years ago. But please educate yourselves before you make snide remarks about the trials breastfeeding moms experience. I'm not making snide remarks about the trials formula feeding moms experience. (How DO you manage to stumble to the kitchen to warm those bottles of formula in the middle of the night anyway? It was all I could do to stumble to the next room and open my gown.)

ANYWAY, if a breastfeeding mom normally nurses or pumps around a certain time and cannot, she can become engorged, which is quite painful. Imagine not being able to pee when you want/need to for several hours. In some circumstances not nursing or pumping at a normal time can also lead to a plugged milk duct, which is like someone jabbing a needle in your breast, and is like passing a kidney stone through your nipple as duct becomes cleared. If a plugged duct doesn't clear it can turn into mastitis, which fortunately in 18 months of breastfeeding I didn't have to experience. But mastitis is like having the flu. NOT FUN! So to tell a woman "don't pump," is potientially damaging to her health.

Now, a woman who does pump, does have the option of pumping and dumping the breastmilk. However some women have supply issues. Some women don't keep a large freezer stash for one reason or another. And most breastfeeding women simply cannot bear the thought of pouring good food down the drain if they don't have to. Imagine throwing away an entire perfectly good cheesecake just because the TSA says you can't take it on the plane. How would that make you feel?

So figuring out how to ship back pumped breastmilk is a real issue for lots of working (and perhaps some non-working) moms. The most viable option I've heard is to pack breastmilk in dry ice and check the cooler. But it's still an inconvienience and potientially an added struggle for breastfeeding women that I personally feel the TSA needs to at least address rather than turning a blind eye to the situation.

Posted by: eljae | September 1, 2006 12:57 AM

I think it's awesome that these people who can't/won't breastfeed want to impose their beliefs on other people. After all, that's what America is all about these days -- giving up your freedom for the deluded beliefs of a moronic majority.

Posted by: Jeff | September 1, 2006 3:26 PM

I think breast feeding moms are about as sancimonious and annoying as they come. Their kids will be more screwed up from having such wacky jerks for moms than they ever would have been from having formula. Also, if any of these "stupid breast is best" Nazis opened the newspaper once in a while (between patting themselves on the back for breastfeeding, of course) they'd know that part of the plot in England included a young mother using liquid explosives in baby bottles.

Posted by: Heard Enuff | September 1, 2006 3:37 PM

I find it really interesting how this has turned into a forumla vs. breastmilk debate. Some feed formula, some breastfeed and/or pump breastmilk. Each is the decision of the mother, her RIGHT to chose which method is best for her and her baby and there is no one on earth with the authority to tell her she is right or wrong for choosing either way. I have done both and would never condemn another mother for her choice and it appals me that people still feel the need to do this.
The problem here is all about when mom must leave her baby for a few days and how she will travel with her pumped breastmilk. Formula feeding should not even be an issue at all in this discussion as it is IRRELEVANT. A formula feeding mother would have no need to carry mixed formula with her if she were traveling without her baby. But a breastfeeding mother must not only pump to keep up supply, but must then save that milk to feed her baby when she gets home. How dare anyone say "just dump it" why should she have to dump her baby's food out? What if it were formula, how would you feel about "just dumping" a $25.00 can of formula? What if it were prescription protein shakes like the type used before weight loss sugery, its specialized food... its's liquid, yet because it comes in a can a prescription can be obtained and suddenly its acceptable to travel with.
To tell a mother "don't fly" is simply stupid. Not every mother has this oppurtunity, life happens. When my son was 7 months old I had a family emergency requiring ME and only ME to fly to another city for 3 days. This situation could not be avoided as it WAS the difference between life and death for a family member. Should I have just "not flown?" Thank goodness no one told me I could not carry my sons FOOD, my pump, or the cream I used to protect my breasts. To simply "not pump" is also out of the question. If I just stopped pumping for all or part of that 3 days I might NEVER regain the ability to produce enough milk for my child again.
The bottom line here is that many women breastfeed, and many of them are working moms who must travel on occasion. The debate is NOT about weather they should just not breastfeed if they chose to work, or if they should simply feed formula (because it is NOT always that simple), or anything else. The debate here is about HOW to make it possible for nursing moms to travel with the milk they have created with their own body to feed their own baby. It should not matter that formula is available... just because meat is avaialble doesn't mean a vegetarian should have to eat it (no I am NOT a vegetarian.)
So yes, maybe a woman should be able to obtain a note from hers and her baby's doctor stating simply that she is a nursing mother and must provide for her child even when she is away. There should be no age requirment of 12 months, afterall... 12 months is just a number not a cutoff date. In many countries its normal to nurse well into the 3rd year, or more. No a mother should not need a note saying its a medical necessity due top food allergies. Thats a bunch of BS... only allowing children with food allergies to have what natures provides for them? No way. A simple note stating "My patient Jane Doe is a breastfeeding mother and must express her breastmilk while travelling" should be all thats needed. If the woman is truly in question it would not be hard for her to prove her abilites. Sure it would be embarrassing to have to whip out a boob and produce milk, but I would rather produce milk in front of a dozen strangers than be forced to feed my child something other than my own milk when that is the choice I have made. Nothing against formula feeding at all, but what if the situation were reversved and a formula feeding mother were told "breastfeed your baby or starve her?" This is not OK. If you child eats formula great, if your child eats breastmilk great... but NO WAY anyone is going to force me to feed my child anything but what I chose to feed them and by banning lactating mothers from traveling with the milk they produce the government is trying to do just that~ Dictate how I will feed my child and that will never be OK.
For the record I am not a member of the LLL, I have not been successful so far in feeding any of my kids to 12 months because I am a low producer.
I am an advocate of mother's rights because I am a mother. If this debate were about allowing a formula feeding mother to carry formual I would be right here backing up that right as well. No one has the right to tell me what, how, or when to feed my child or myself and that truly is my point.
The rules need to be changed so that no more families are forced to jump through 1000 hoops just to feed their children.

To those moms here told to "get over it" and "stop being a martyr" I am very sorry people are ignorant enough to make comments like that.

Posted by: Mom of 3 | September 1, 2006 3:42 PM

I think breast feeding moms are about as sanctimonious and annoying as they come. Their kids will be more screwed up from having such wacky jerks for moms than they ever would have been from having formula. Also, if any of these "stupid breast is best" Nazis opened the newspaper once in a while (between patting themselves on the back for breastfeeding, of course) they'd know that part of the plot in England included a young mother using liquid explosives in baby bottles.

Posted by: Heard Enuff | September 1, 2006 3:43 PM

>>I think breast feeding moms are about as sanctimonious and annoying as they come. Their kids will be more screwed up from having such wacky jerks for moms than they ever would have been from having formula. Also, if any of these "stupid breast is best" Nazis opened the newspaper once in a while (between patting themselves on the back for breastfeeding, of course) they'd know that part of the plot in England included a young mother using liquid explosives in baby bottles.

This is one of the most offensive statements I've heard any person make to another in a very long time. Firstly I strongly object to the term "Nazi" in reference to something so benign as a mother feeding her child. Nazis in Germany killed, tortured and maimed entire communities of Jews (not to mention hundreds of disabled people) in the 1930's and 40's. Breastfeeding mothers simply feed their babies. Yes, some of us have strong opinions about breastfeeding, but to compare breastfeeding mothers to Nazis is highly offensive and an insult to those people who suffered at the hands of true Nazis. I have never heard of an incidence of a mother being killed or maimed because of her decision to formula feed.

Secondly, why shouldn't a mother pat herself on the back for feeding her child. Breastfeeding is hard. Don't tell me I shouldn't be proud of feeding my son breastmilk for 18 months, especially after he literally bit all the skin off one nipple at about 10 months. It took two weeks to heal to the point I could latch him on that side again and then I never really produced well after.

On the other hand, formula feeding is hard. Due to the bite I had to suppliment with formula for a while. Washing sippy cups and bottles several times a day, always trying to figure out how much formula he needed, and the financial pinch of $25.00 worth of formula were trying. I pat myself on the back for getting through that period too.

Thirdly, I don't open a newspaper or watch the news on TV because it's depressing and frankly I struggle with enough depression as it is without hearing anything else that's going to add to it. It doesn't surprise me that the terrorists in England were planning to use a young mother or a baby bottle. Many of the have no regard for human life. However, the issue here is NOT about formula vs. breastmilk. It's about HOW a nursing mother transports the food she produces to feed her baby. It's an issue that the TSA needs to look at a little more closely and an issue that nursing mothers have to plan for in the future. I think we can agree we all want to be safe while flying, but I think we can also agree it shouldn't mean sacrificing the health and well-being of a mother or a baby.

Fourthly, I am deeply hurt that you would call me stupid or a jerk without even having meet me. Yeah, sure, I'm not the sharpest crayon in the box, but I do consider myself to have average intelligence and I did manage to graduate from private college with a BA in English. As for being a jerk, well, I am generally well liked by most people I meet, so I am assuming that I am NOT a jerk.

I'm not calling you stupid or sanctimonious for the choices you make in parenthood. If you want to formula feed your child, please, by all means do so. Formula isn't going to kill an otherwise healthy baby. It amazes me how defensive formula feeding parents become when the discussion turns to breastfeeding. I generally find that formula feeding parents are ten times more defensive about their choices than breastfeeding parents (who btw, get all KINDS of flak for their choices.)

Finally, my kid might end up screwed up. Lord knows his mother is not perfect and her depression takes ahold of her strongly causing her to retreat sometimes when he needs her most. But I don't believe for a second that he is going to be screwed up because I breastfeed him anymore than I believe he would be screwed up because I formula fed him. How COULD a child be screwed up because of the food choices a parent makes. I just don't understand that logic.

Posted by: eljae | September 2, 2006 10:40 AM

Amen!

Posted by: lulu | September 2, 2006 11:18 AM

I don't care how you feed your child, if you work or stay home. But, if it is a problem to travel while bf, and you are determined that bf is necessary for your family, then maybe you shouldn't accept a job that requires travel. There are many jobs that don't. It seems that there are many people who post here who do want it all - to work, but at the job/career of choice and nothing else, to bf no matter the obstacles, spouse providing equal help at home by the mom's definition of equality, etc.

We all make trade-offs in life - less money for better job conditions, less DI in order to live where we like the schools, move away from family for job prospects, etc.]

If you are that committed to bf, then fine, but don't expect that the world should cater to your desire. You can find a different job, or drive, or refuse to travel.

The responses here are overwhelmingly about the TSA/airlines needing to make it easier for BF. Very few addressed asking employers to provide alternates to traveling. There has been much discussion about employers providing flexible hours, part time, work from home, lactation rooms, and other things to make it easier for working moms. Why not about the traveling - I really don't know because I don't travel for work. Is it the frequent flyer miles, a secret desire to spend a few days away from your hectic lives (even if you're working, going to a quiet hotel rather than home to the chaotic lifestyles of most of us including myself, sounds like a nice respite), the chance to see another city? I just don't understand why there is more discussion to make it easy for bf mothers to fly rather than to make it easy for bf mothers to avoid traveling away from their families.

And for the mother who is so proud of bf for 18 months with all the problems, that does sound like martyr-speak to those of us who said, OK, I tried but this isn't working out well, so I will formula feed.

For those bf mothers who are flying due to some sort of emergency, I do have sympathy for you. I have family in another state. I can get there with a 1-hour flight. It is a 4 1/2 hour drive. When you consider the time spent at the airport before and after the flight itself, flying really isn't that much faster. There are true emergencies, but I think that a lot of the air travel could be replaced by ground travel (we drove to DisneyWorld - 18 hours not as convenient as flying, but definitely possible). My point is that if you are so convinced that you must BF and travel, then look for alternates or DON'T FLY. There are millions of people in this country who don't.

I also wonder how some of these mothers sleep at night. You could walk down the street and get hit by a truck. What about your baby then? Will he/she be doomed to a tragic life because they didn't get that precious golden elixir? I don't think so. A whole lot of you need to lighten up.

Posted by: mj | September 2, 2006 12:05 PM

>>And for the mother who is so proud of bf for 18 months with all the problems, that does sound like martyr-speak to those of us who said, OK, I tried but this isn't working out well, so I will formula feed.

I apologize if I sounded like a martyr. That is absolutely not what I intended. I was and angry and my hackles were up probably more than they should have been. I was just trying to point out that both methods of feeding a baby can be difficult and as parents (mothers especially) we should all be proud of doing what we feel is best for everyone involved. I'm a firm believer in "Happy Mommy, happy baby."

I do have to respectfully disagree with your opinion not to travel by plane if a mother is nursing a child. It is my right to travel however I choose just as much as it is my right to feed my child however I choose. I'm not arguing that nursing mothers should be allowed to carry bottles of expressed breastmilk onto the plane without a child present. But I am arguing that the TSA does need to have a better plan in place than simply "Sorry. Breastmilk without baby present isn't allowed." What that plan is, I don't know. If I did, I'd be writing the TSA with my idea. Perhaps it's as simple as providing an area to purchase dry ice and small coolers (should I be so brave as to suggest this be done at cost!) so breastmilk can be packed well and checked.

I took what should have been a 6 hour trip with my son when he was 7 months old. The trip there took 10 hours and 11.5 on the way back. He and I were both miserable on both drives and I will not subject either one of us to that again until he is a little older. It was not worth listening to him scream bloody murder most of the trip both ways. On the other hand I flew with him by myself when he was about 4 months old and he did great both ways. He got hungry about mid-flight both ways so I fed him, which put him to sleep. Both times he slept until the plane touched down. I would fly with him again tomorrow in a heartbeat.

>>I also wonder how some of these mothers sleep at night. You could walk down the street and get hit by a truck. What about your baby then? Will he/she be doomed to a tragic life because they didn't get that precious golden elixir? I don't think so. A whole lot of you need to lighten up.

I actually had specific instructions written out before my son turned 6 months old what to do if I did get hit by a truck. Getting him to take formula was not as much of a concern as getting him to take a bottle. He refused artificial nipples (i.e. bottles, sippies, straws, etc) until he was 10 months old. Would he be doomed to a tragic life? No. That's just silly. But I did worry about the struggles he and his care providers would have getting him to eat until he was comfortable with a bottle or sippy cup. I got about as much sleep as any new parent, but I did my share of worrying about certain things too. I suspect most new parents worry about one thing or another.

Posted by: eljae | September 2, 2006 1:32 PM

A coworker pointed this out to me when I was asking about the best way to check my milk for a trip I'm taking, "If I were flying with my baby, I wouldn't need to bring expressed milk aboard."

I find the restrictions ridiculous, but then again, I thought it was ridiculous when they started making people take off their shoes. We need to ask ourselves at what point have we given the terrorists just want they wanted.

Posted by: ac | September 6, 2006 1:39 PM

These security concerns have nothign to do with secuirty and terrorism. It's all a ploy and scam for money makers. If the TSA and our gov't wants to ban diaper cream and benadryl and such for children on lans, then let them be responsible for providing it. My son gets ear infections..with no warning. How dare they tell me I can't carry medicine for that. If he spikes a high fever on a long plane ride, it could risk his life and health. As for breast feeding mothers, pump on the plane - I say!!! Maybe if we stopped being so timid and letting our gov't walk all over us, things would get done in a reasonable fashion. This is all over kill. I have to check all this stuff, what if airline looses my luggage it could be hours or days until vital necessites are replaced. And if you are going to remote locations, sometimes those items are hard to replace. my son has allergies and ca;t have certain brands of juice and such. If they want to ban what i can bring are they prepared to handle a health crisis at 30,000ft. Take off the blinders folks. Wake up. 9/11 was a plot by the gov't jsut like Katrina and now airline bans. Take your America back...it belongs to you. And terrorist worries, now instead of pakcing it in eyeliner...they'll just wear padded water bras!!!!

Posted by: Irritated | September 7, 2006 5:41 PM

Any word whether TSA will also ease liquid ban for moms transporting breast milk sans child? Does anyone know of any Web sites where moms can exchange tips on this? Thanks.

In the meantime, Here's my experience of traveling earlier this month on American Airlines in case it helps anyone (for travel Sept. 1 - Sept. 8). It was a very, very challenging trip.

Preparation: Packed sturdy cooler with enough space to store individual bags of breastmilk for weeklong trip along with 1 large and 1 small freezer pack and put in checked luggage. At the hotel, I pre-requested an individual mini fridge to freeze the packs and store milk. Plan to carry Medela pump bag with parts and hand pump parts on to plane.

Then for travel:

I carry on my Medela pump bag through at least 5 airports with no problem (Austin, Chicago, LaGuardia, BWI and Dallas). Bag gets detailed searche in Austin, Tx and BWI where they have to assess what's inside the bag, including the pump component.

The milk:

Depart Austin, Tx (ABIA): TSA checks for liquids at main security gates but not within the secured area. They make an announcement and that's it. I board with no liquids whatsoever.

Transfer in Chicago, Ill.: I pump at airport (family restroom) and store milk in my Medela bag. There is no announcement and no bag check within the secured area.

Depart Laguardia NYC: store milk in cooler, layering the bags on top of each other. zip up cooler and store inside checked luggage that also has clothes and files/paper. No one searches my carry-on for liquids, though none in my bags. But there is several announcements not to bring liquids into the secured area. No other checks within secured area.

~2 hours later, arrive in D.C., and a few bags of milk (some frozen, some not) have ripped from the pressure and spilled milk into my things. But most of the milk made it okay.

Depart BWI: pack week's worth of individual bags of milk in cooler, some frozen, some not, with two frozen cold packs, inside my checked luggage. I wrap socks/small clothing items around the milk bags this time in hopes it won't rip. It helps.

At the airport, they check for liquids at the main security gates and TSA sets up impromptu checks at the actual gates within the secured areas. I see them pulling any bottles, liquids, out of people's bags and tossing it. So I wait to hand pump until I am on the plane (yes, that's a tiny restroom, but I did it before takeoff and during flight).

Our flight is dlayed and my bags don't make my connection. But arrived on the next (and last) flight that night.

The milk arrives ~12 hours after I packed it in my luggage in great shape. No spills. Some of the frozen milk was slightly defrosted, but all cold. When I complained about my missing bag to the AA agents, however, they could care less. So if the bag is lost, don't hope for any sympathy. Lucky for me, it came on the next flight, which was the last flight home that night.

By the way, I realized later that I got through BWI/Dallas Love all with mosturizer in my purse. Oh well.

Posted by: dazed and confused traveling mom, but armed with tips | September 25, 2006 4:03 PM

I traveled in August, after the original liquid ban but before the revised "now you can bring on 3 oz bottles in a 1Q ziplock" addendum. (I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or just roll my eyes.)

Anyway, it was a three day trip and a two hop flight. I checked one bag on the way over, including a soft-sided cooler and 3 or 4 blue ice paks. Took my Ameda Purely Yours as carry on. I pumped during my layover and dumped it, because I didn't have any ice paks (although no one was checking bags at the gate, so I could have kept it without anyone knowing. Of course, they kept warning you that your bag could be searched at any time.) During the business trip, I had a hotel with a fridge (no extra charge if you say it's for medical reasons). I stored the milk in freezer bags BUT kept them refrigerated, not frozen. I used the freezer to keep the ice paks frozen. On the way back, I packed the milk bags and the ice paks in the soft cooler in the checked luggage and again took the pump as carry on. This time, when I pumped during my layover, I kept the milk and I was right -- no one ever checked the bags at the gate. Because bm is OK for 8 hours fresh, I didn't need the ice paks. More importantly, because I didn't freeze the breastmilk in my checked luggage, I didn't have to worry about it thawing and running afoul of the "use within 24 hours once thawed" rule. I just made sure the milk was all still cold - it was - and then froze it when I arrived home.

Of course, the fear was lost luggage. Until this trip I have NEVER had my milk stash out of my control like that, and I agree with everyone else who said, geez, we'll taste it, we'll carry a doctor's note, we'll do whatever we need to to prove to TSA it's JUST BREAST MILK.

I keep hoping the TSA will at least acknowledge the working mothers breast milk issue -- if only to say, you know what, we've considered it and the risk is too great -- but I'll be surprised if it comes up. I have thought of writing my congresspeople though... but between work and chasing two little ones I haven't had the time! ;)

Posted by: Kim in Michigan | October 2, 2006 2:46 PM

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