Monday, July 28, 2014

I said I'd never do this...

I said I'd never get all crotchety about Breast vs Formula.

But I am.

I'm all crotchety.

Because Ms. AlphaParent (MsAP from here on out), up on her high-horse of bullshit,seems to honestly believe that Formula Feeding compares to SMOKING.

Go ahead, check it out.

I'll wait here while you (hopefully) get as steamed as I am.

Remember those papers you had to write in high school - in probably economics, or speech-writing or debate-team or some similar course/extra-curricular -  where you had to convince your reader of something, point-by-point?

If you didn't read MsAP's post (which may be for the better, as you probably have lower blood pressure than I do right now...) MsAP lays out her post exactly like a persuasive essay. (I can't believe I remembered that term from high school English!)

Once You Pop, You can't Stop! 
a.k.a. Point One from MsAP:
"Firstly, a common thread between formula feeding and smoking is consumption patterns. They both follow the addiction model: It’s easy to get hooked, and then you’ve gotta have it."

Well considering she didn't even spend another two sentences on that entire argument, I feel like this was the paragraph where she was mid-writing and thought "crap, I have 3 of the 4 argumentative points I need - ummmm HERE, let's just throw this in..."
Because, seriously? Formula follows an addiction model?
(If you were wondering why your baby was waking up crying throughout the night - it's because they were going through FORMULA WITHDRAWAL!  Oh wait - like they were hungry? LOLZ)

She tried to draw a comparison between tobacco companies dispensing free cigarettes for soldiers to formula companies sending out free samples.

One big difference - tobacco companies used a proven addicting drug (nicotine) in their product that relied on a grown adult's craving said product.
Uhhhhh - I'm pretty sure formula companies only hope to make a consumer brand-loyal, not to get their babies addicted to anything...

Paranoia Paranoia - Everybody's Coming to Get You!
a.k.a. Point Two from MsAP:
Apparently, formula companies are attempting to cover up their ill-health effects.  
 MsAP foresees a grim future for Enfamil's legal department:

"...lawsuits will be filed against formula companies claiming that they are responsible for the ill-health of the obese, diabetics, crohn’s sufferers, allergy sufferers, arthritis sufferers and asthmatics, to name but a few of the possible plaintiffs, who fed for a considerable period of their infancy on their products."

Some background on "Infant Formula" for thought:

Obviously it is a somewhat recent invention.... Hundreds of years ago, women who were unable to breastfeed (or were too upperclass!) used wet nurses (another woman who was lactating and was able to feed an infant.)
Driven by cultural changes and sanitation concerns, wet nursing began to die out in the early 19th century (in America and Europe) and began to be replaced with mixtures based on animal milks.  This slowly transitioned to mixtures based on evaporated milk, and guess what - by 1950 over HALF of all babies on the United States were raised on such formulas. [1]

Did you read that right?

Over FIFTY PERFECT of the babies in the United States.
The BabyBoomer generation was raised on formula.
And yea - google the health of Baby Boomers - honestly, four articles down is one titled "Vast Majority of Baby Boomers are Overweight."

Guess what - vast majority of AMERICANS are overweight.  Specifically, 69% (of adults age 20 and older) during the years 2011-2012, according to the CDC. [2]

Bare with me for the math here:
A 20-year-old in 2011/2012 would be born approximately 1990.  (zomg that makes me feel so old...)
Interesting, considering that breast-feeding rates began to pick up again in 1980 after campaigns and government reports cited its advantages.  And by 1982, 62% of moms began their baby's nutrition with breastfeeding.  Mothers continued to be influenced by attempts of breast-feeding promotions, and formula sales took a 10% dip in the mid-1990's! [3]

Doesn't it seem logical, given the increased breast-feeding rates through the '80's and 90's, that you can't really attribute modern childhood obesity to formula-feeding?  

Let's make it a little clearer:
With formula-feeding prevalent during the 1970s when these children (6-11 years old) were born, 7% of them in 1980 were considered obese. [4]

Get this - It's 2012.  

                        "Breast is Best!"

"Formula is akin to SMOKING!"  (haha)

                and now, 18% of children are obese.

Ok this section has become a novel - and I only addressed the first possible side-affect MsAP mentioned in her future-lawsuits... It's probably in everyone's best interest (especially YOU there, who's already just skimming through the paragraphs thinking, "blah blah - I'm breastfeeding right now, can't be bothered to read!") to move on...

Da Nile - It's a River in Egypt! 
a.k.a. Point Three from MsAP

Remember all those lawsuits that, in the first section, were supposedly imminent?  Well, see - first the plaintiffs need to be able to prove that their afflictions were caused by defendant's product.  MsAP chose to compare nicotine companies covering up the effects that cigarette smoking has to formula companies doing the same: covering up ill-health caused by formula. 

We all know that there was once a time when the effects of cigarette smoking were not widely known or acknowledged (helloooo 1950's housewife - smoking (& DRINKING!) while pregnant!!)
I mean - physicians were promoting cigarettes:

But really - as early as 1953, a study was performed by Dr. Ernst L. Wynder:
He painted cigarette tar on the backs of mice. And guess what grew?
Tumors. [5]

Yes, nicotine companies pled the 5th when it came to taking blame for the number of lung-cancer deaths (the CDC attributes 90% of them to smoking!) [6]

But c'mon - was anyone really fooled when they said this:
Hola1 Hola2

MsAP claims that the effects and impacts of a lifestyle during gestation are not obvious, and even claims that you can't "look at a group of adults and tell whose mother smoked when they were in utero..."
I think the CDC begs to differ, as does the U.S. Dept of Health and Senior Services:
A woman smoking during pregnancy has increased risk for
  • Preterm delivery
  • Stillbirth
  • Low birth weight
  • SIDS
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Orofacial clefts in infants
 I'm pretty sure that without surgery, you'd be able to pick these infants with orofacial clefts out of a group of adults:

And the number of people in your "group of adults" just decreased by the infants born still, or died from SIDS.

Ok Ok - this has turned into an anti-smoking campaign... (Which really, is an we should all be giving our time and attention to, not this bullshit anti-formula campaign...) so just stop claiming that fancy advertising and physician-approval-driven campaigns are just a ruse and a cover-up when it comes to formula...

And lastly, because I absolutely CANNOT leave this one unaddressed:

"Free Will... Or not..."
a.k.a. Point Four from MsAP

She opened her last argument (closing argument for you persuasive essayers!) with this (and this is what started to make my whistle go off, blood beginning to simmer...):

"Like smoking, formula feeding is a personal decision and an expression of one’s freedom."

I couldn't wait to get home and show my good friend Dee this.  Remember her?

She got married in September after a scary battle with breast cancer (complete with terrifying second lump discovered as soon as her hair started to grow back in - thank God it was found benign).
And then she had her little boy a few weeks ago (complete with elevated tempatures and blood pressure while still in the hospital).

I have to say, she was positively ecstatic to be informed by some trite little blog that she was merely expressing her freedom when she chose formula feeding by having her breasts removed (at 25 years old!)
Even huskies get sarcasm...

Yes, there are women that decide not to go the route of breast feeding, for convenience's sake.

There are some women that put a little effort in, and decide formula is just "easier."
There are women that bust their balls boobs in their breast feeding attempts.
There are women that, after busting their boobs, even resort to exclusive pumping for months (ahem AHEM)
THERE ARE WOMEN who never had the option to breastfeed like my good friend.
(Oh, what's that you say? she chose to get the double mastectomy? well, true.  But then she wouldn't even be here to have had her baby... dilemma solved, right??)

Sanity is frequently sacrificed, and the switch to formula is not always taken lightly; but a number of these above-mentioned women are ultimately taking the step to provide better care for their babies in the end. 
A crazed, harried mom who is obsessing over every little mL her breast pump is squeezing out (sometimes over a long pump session!) and is becoming borderline mentally unstable 
queue awkward walk to bathroom with sloshing milk bottles...

"That's a nice clean, empty bottle," you say. 
NO IT'S NOT - that's the meager results from a 30 min pump session!!!!!
This harried woman (who starts to resemble "Johnnie" - "I JUST GOT 1 WHOLE OUNCE!") -
she is beat out by the formula-fed infant with a calm, composed (as much as you can be with dried spit-up down your cardigan you just walked out of the house in!) mother:
 You can't successfully care for your baby until you take care of yourself.  (And I don't mean the physical aspect - I mean, when did you last wash your hair of that dried spit-up?  God only knows how many times I left the house in the first few months without brushing my teeth...)

"Nature vs Nurture" 
a.k.a. MY closing argument
Truly take a group of adults, say my age (*gulp*) - approximately 30 years old (not there for another year!!).  We're talking births in the mid 1980's so let's say you've got a 59% chance of being a breast-fed baby. [7]
I was breastfed.  DH was formula fed.  Can you tell the difference between us?  (aside from the obvious Boys vs Girls parts...)

NO.  We're both private-college-educated adults holding executive/professional-level full-time jobs.  While we both resort to drunken potty-mouthed-foulness on the weekends, we can be eloquently spoken and well-verbalized (HELLO - have you been reading this paper that awesome me has written so far?!)
We're both physically fit (see ass-kickage in recent MudRun!) and enjoy a variety of (mostly) healthy foods.  But we both need corrective lenses - I'm a full-time contact wearer, and E's a part-time glasses wearer (his eyes are better - and HE WAS FORMULA FED! *GASP!)

A study was recently performed with 1,773 sibling pairs where one sibling was breastfed and another sibling was not.  Yes, overall the breastfed had marginally better scores in areas such as BMI, hyperactivity, math skills, reading recognition, vocabulary word identification, digit recollection, scholastic competence and obesity.
But when they compared sibling-to-sibling, which very importantly eliminates any independent factors such as parental education, household income and race/ethnicity, "the benefits were not statistically significant. The exception was that breast-fed children were at higher risk for asthma..." [8]

Did you read that last sentence?

BREAST-FED children were at higher risk for asthma!

Coming from a mom that has done both breast-feeding (and exclusive pumping! FOR FIVE MONTHS!) as well as formula-feeding, there is no right or wrong way to feed your child.

(OK there is - you shouldn't really give them like, lasagne and stuff when they're 4 months old!)

Seriously - I'm sick of all the shit about APing as the only way, and formula feeders are condemned to a life of idiocy... (just to name a few)

More important than whether you're using cloth diapers or not, is how we're doing as mothers.  Are your children happy and loved?

Then congratulations!!

Tony Hawk - you're doing it right!!

****Just an interesting footnote: as this "went to press" (3:30pm ET on 7/28/2014) the comment that I left on MsAP's original post on Friday 7/25/2014 still has not been published.  (A fellow blogger-friend made a comment within seconds of mine on Friday.  Hers was published...)
My comment [paraphrased] was a recap of Dee and her breast-cancer-leading-to-formula story. 
And a "Thanks for turning me off of your blog with one post."

[1] “Infant Formula” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., date last updated (24 July 2014). Web. Date accessed (25 July 2014).
[2] "FastStats" CDC Trend Tables. CDC: National Center for Health Statistics., date last updated (2013). Web. Date accessed (25 July 2014).
[3] "Infant Formula Timeline" Baby Care Articles. ParentsChoice., date last updated (2013). Web. Date accessed (25 July 2014).
[4]"Childhood Obesity Facts" CDC Adolescent and School Health. CDC: National Center for Health Statistics., date last updated (2013). Web. Date accessed (25 July 2014).
[5] "Tobacco Timeline: The Twentieth Century 1950-1999" date last updated (2014). Web. Date accessed (28 July 2014).
[6] "Health and Effects of Cigarette Smoking". CDC:  National Center for Health Statistics., date last updated (06 February 2014). Web. Date accessed (28 July 2014).
[7] "1984 Milk-Feeding Patterns in the  United Sstates" Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. date last updated (08 April 1985). Web. Date accessed (28 July 2014).
[8] "Sibling Study Shows Little Difference Between Breast- and Bottle-Feeding" Time Magazine. date last updated (25 February 2014). Web. Date accessed (28 July 2014).


  1. She is awful. Just awful. If I didn't care about leaving my internet footprint, I'd have other names for her. Great rebuttal to get misinformed, ignorant, troll of a post.

    1. Of course, auto correct you suck!

    2. Thanks - I tried to keep it mature and concise - and not a rambling "YOU SUCK! YOU'RE SO IGNORANT!" type... =P

  2. Yikes. I know everyone says that everyone else is entitled to their opinion but yeesh... she is bashing on people for feeding their babies. You're right, there are people who choose not to breastfeed and people who simply cannot breastfeed. It doesn't make any sense to me that she judges women for formula feeding. And I'm pretty sure the consensus is still that smoking hurts your baby while formula feeding is just fine.