Mar
28

How the Rush To Recommend Raw Milk Formula Harms Mothers

By

Happy Birthday to me!! As part of my birthday, today, I’d like to share with you part one of my own personal story about breastfeeding.  Over the next few days, we’ll post a series on breastfeeding.

Other posts in this series include: The Financial Impact of Raw Milk Formula on Families

My children are now out of the baby stage, so I haven’t blogged much about my experience with breastfeeding and natural family living. My current blog began not long after my youngest weaned. However, there has been so much negative press surrounding breastfeeding in traditional food circles that I wanted to blog about how it can be done successfully, even long term, and even in tandem.

 

What Nursing Did For Me

I’ll soon tell you how breastfeeding helped my children, but today I’d like to tell you what it did for me.

Breastfeeding allowed me to finally come to a point of loving and accepting my body, flaws and all. It gave me the positive outlook I needed to withstand the cultural onslaught that women’s bodies aren’t good enough, no matter their appearance.

You see, when I was a premature infant, I had to have a surgery that damaged one breast and left a large scar. A scar that I deeply hated. A scar that made me feel ugly and ashamed of my body. I wear a prosthesis to hide the damage when I’m dressed, but it’s impossible to not notice when I’m undressed.

To say I lacked confidence in my breasts was an understatement.  Having a large scar on a body part that is deeply part of your feminine identity is very difficult, especially when you’re growing up. It defined the clothes I could wear, it kept me from feeling confident.

A scar that meant a portion of that breast didn’t produce milk as the ducts were severed. Despite it, I was able to nourish two children, even at the same time. A scar that soon faded in my mind when I saw how my children were growing and thriving despite it. A scar that I came to accept as just one part of me, part of my story in life, instead of something that was inflicted upon me. I no longer hated it and came to accept it, even though the scar hasn’t changed- my image of myself and my confidence in my body’s abilities are what changed.

Nursing gave me my confidence in my body back.  It gave me strength I never knew I had.  It convinced me in my ability to persevere despite difficulties.  It gave me the power I needed to stand up for myself and my children. It gave me the strength to go against culture, against popularity and even go in a different direction than my friends. It made me in tune with my children so I could anticipate and respond to their needs before they would have to ask.

Nursing Gave Me…

Nursing allowed me to sleep at night and be the most well-rested mother many of the bottle feeding moms around me had ever seen- they often remarked on how well rested I was then would turn around and chide me for co-sleeping, never connecting the two. Not having to get out of bed to bottle-feed meant I was well-rested and I didn’t have to worry about a sleep-deprived husband crashing his car on the way to work from exhaustion. Because he worked a full-time job with a very long commute, over an hour each way, I was always concerned that he not be over-tired lest he have an accident.

It allowed me to bond with my children quickly, even after a harrowing, extremely difficult birth. It allowed me to anticipate their needs without their asking.  It taught me that there is far more to communication than words. It taught me how to comfort my child in ways that no one else could provide for them.

Nursing also allowed me to slow down. It made me have to take time out regularly, and allowed me to not over-schedule our lives and really enjoy the time I had when my kids were small. I couldn’t prop a bottle, I couldn’t hand the baby to someone else and walk away, I had to sit down and rest.  I believe that sped up my recovery from the births. And I never regretted a second of the cuddle time.

Nursing prepared me for tougher days ahead.  I used to think that the hardest part of raising children was when they were little.  Boy was I wrong! I learned to work with their temperaments to respond to them both in ways that respected their needs while also respecting mine. It’s often said that the first manners a child learns are at its mother’s breast.  It’s a very true statement.

Nursing gave me freedom. I didn’t feel tied down to my children or their paraphernalia. I could drop and go anywhere, with them in tow, at a moment’s notice, only grabbing extra diapers on the way out the door.  I didn’t have to pack half of the kitchen to go somewhere.

Nursing made me a happy, agreeable mama and a much less difficult wife. The hormones involved in nursing helped smooth the relationships with the other people in my household, even those who were not my children.

Nursing was convenient. I don’t like washing dishes. I don’t like interrupted sleep.  I don’t like having to fuss and muss with things. I don’t like packing lots of stuff to go somewhere. It was the perfect reason why the babies couldn’t spend the night away before they were ready.

Christine Northrup said, “Countless women have regained trust in their bodies through nursing their children, even if they weren’t sure at first that they could do it.  It is an act of female power…”  I believe this quote is the crux of the issue- empowerment. The formula-dominated culture is afraid of empowered, capable women who have confidence in their bodies and its purpose.

Nursing let me find my power.

 

Body Image

I’ve written elsewhere on the blog about going through infertility and repeat miscarriage. That experience instilled a doubt into me that my body was capable. That crock of crap was repeatedly instilled into me everywhere I turned- the media, radio, TV, baby books, pregnancy books, nutrition advice, culture, even friends.  I felt assaulted by it at every turn. We are bombarded with the message that women’s bodies don’t measure up, aren’t capable, can’t successfully produce and feed children without constant, necessary intervention. The message was that intervention was common, necessary and was therefore normal.

One of the most difficult moments of my pregnancy was around the 5 month mark, when I discovered the information on the WAPF website about breastfeeding and the raw milk formula.  I remember reading that one evening, having found it off of the Mothering dot com forums, and laying W-I-D-E awake that night, late into the night, worried that I probably would not be able to produce enough milk to feed my child. I spent the night worrying about what I would do if my baby couldn’t nurse- after all, I had trouble getting pregnant, I had repeat miscarriages, my body obviously wasn’t capable of producing a health child and sustaining it without interference, right? I was so afraid of my body failing me yet again and the WAPF articles fed that fear.

“Our interpretation is the following: the diet of modern American women is so appalling, and their preparation for successful breastfeeding so lacking, that their breast milk provides no better nourishment for their infants than factory-made formula.”- Sally Fallon and Mary Enig  Source

 

 

Getting An Education

Thanks to the education I had received about breastfeeding though LaLeche League and other pro-nursing outlets, I was committed to nursing my first child for a year, and even went so far as to look for donors from well-nourished mothers if it didn’t work out- I had had it drummed into my by the WAPF materials that not having enough milk was a likely problem I could face and that it was far more common that what lactation consultants wanted to admit.

As my child grew and I met more nursing moms, I began discovering something critical- lack of milk wasn’t the major issue I was seeing.  It was lack of accurate information to maximize milk production, often sabotaged by bad advice from  everyone and everything being given to the mother.  Schedules, cribs, bottles, pacifiers, ‘me time,’ the rush to get a newborn to sleep through the night and most of what the low-supply mothers were being told to do only made their situation worse, not better.  Their doctors were no help, and sometimes were the source of the bad advice.

These mothers were being sabotaged. When they turned to traditional food baby boards I was on at the time, fixing the mother’s supply issue and temporarily supplementing the baby while working on that issue wasn’t the focus and donor milk from a well-nourished mother wasn’t ever mentioned.  These moms were just told to stop nursing and go to the raw milk formula instead.  If that’s what a mother wants to do and it’s of her own choosing, then that is fine as it is her choice.  But what about all of these mothers I was meeting who did NOT want to wean and weren’t ok with being bombarded with the ‘raw milk formula is just as good as if not superior to your breastmilk’ message and were actually looking for help that they weren’t getting?  What about the mothers who couldn’t locate or afford the very expensive raw milk formula?  At the time, I was paying almost $10 a gallon for milk due to the cost of having to drive to another state- I couldn’t imagine the cost of the formula on a single-income, middle-class family! Or the time commitment involved- preparing formula and washing bottles takes time, and bottle feeding at night is extremely interruptive to the adults in the family getting adequate rest. A mother who is exhausted, strung out and past tired is very likely to stop breastfeeding, but that doesn’t solve the problem of night feedings! The problem just gets transferred from one thing to another and nothing gets solved.

 

Low Supply

In the women who truly had low supply, they weren’t encouraged in traditional foods circles to use a supplemental nursing system or a similar method so they could work on increasing their supplies while still making sure the baby got fed and the baby’s latch wasn’t worsened.  Instead, they had bottles of formula pushed at them in lieu of increasing their supply. Their want to continue breastfeeding didn’t matter. they were told to throw in the towel and just use formula instead.  The mourning, the experience of loss, the pain, the feeling of failure and the other emotions that some of these mothers experience isn’t acknowledged. It gets brushed aside, as if there was nothing else that could have been done.  There is nothing farther from the truth.

This is obviously a failure of both the traditional foods community and the culture at large.  But there is no excuse for it. Pumped milk from a child’s own mother is second choice to nursing directly from the breast. Donor milk from a well-nourished mother is the third best option.  Raw milk formula is a distant fourth.  An even further distant fifth place is commercial formula.

It’s insulting to repeatedly have donor milk treated with disdain in the traditional foods community. To make the assumption that a mother would go to the ends of the earth, as it were, to find grass-fed cows and gather all of the ingredients to make raw milk formula but she wouldn’t possibly be able to screen a donor and have a few medical tests done is ludicrous.  It’s is ridiculous and insulting to the core to assume that a woman can’t be as well nourished as a cow. And it’s representative of our culture’s war against women.  But that war on women’s bodies and abilities and the cultural lies should have no place in traditional food circles.

To discourage these women from seeking help from places like La Lache League so they can continue to nurse as they want to is deplorable, all because LLL doesn’t give real food-style nutritional advice. There’s a biased slant against receiving help from lactation consultants or the LLL in traditional foods circles. There are many non-nutritional reasons why a mother might have low supply.  Nutrition is only one of many.  Let’s not sabotage those women, too.  While studying to become a lactation consultant, I met many women whose supplies came up by changing their nursing routine, improving their latch and other such issues that have nothing to do with food.  Stuffing the mother with all of the nutrient-dense food in the world isn’t going to help a thing if the baby has a problem latching or the mother isn’t breastfeeding often enough.

In my eleven years of doing traditional food, I have met many women who walked away from the movement due to the push for raw milk formula in the community.  It’s horrid to see mothers who would otherwise benefit from the real food movement and high quality nutritional information turned off because of the demeaning breastfeeding information.

 

Opportunity for Confidence

Every woman who wants to nurse should have the same opportunity to experience strong confidence and self-acceptance.  By pushing straight to formula and by instilling the fear that large swaths of women can’t nurse, that ability is lost.  By convincing a woman that other options for feeding their infants are better, they never get to experience the freedom that comes with nursing a baby.

Why are traditional foodists perpetuating the myth that women’s bodies aren’t good enough? That really is the crux of the issue for most women upset by the nursing information posted on the WAPF website. It has bothered me for years and I’m glad that I finally took the opportunity today to speak out about it.

 

Your Turn

Did nursing give you confidence in your body?  Do you feel women who don’t have a successful breastfeeding experience are often sabotaged by bad advice? Leave a comment below telling us what you think.

 

 

 Carnival


Welcome to the Breastfeeding Support Blog Party! Bloggers around the world have gathered together to share posts which provide current or soon-to-be breastfeeding mothers with a wealth of well-researched information, personal stories, and statistics designed to help you have the most successful breastfeeding experience possible. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more about this movement as well as to link to and read more informative breastfeeding support posts.

*******

*******

This gathering of breastfeeding support comes in response to the Weston A. Price Foundation’s (WAPF) continued stance on breastfeeding, which we all have a great concern with. While the WAPF does support breastfeeding as the best option for feeding babies, it does so with a caveat. Breastfeeding mothers must follow the strict tenants of the WAPF diet and mothers who are not following their nutrient dense diet recommendations would be better off feeding their babies homemade formula (based on the WAPF recipe). In addition, they are outspoken against using donor milk.

The bloggers sharing posts today are concerned with the confusion this may cause breastfeeding mothers. Not only does research support the myriad of health benefits of breast milk for babies regardless of the mother’s diet, it also outlines additional benefits of breastfeeding such as better bonding, deeper trust, and a long list of other emotional benefits. Let’s not forget the health benefits for moms!



[boilerplate sig]

Categories : Health

Comments

  1. Amanda says:

    Wow, thank you for speaking up about this. I had no idea that WAPF was so implicated in the institutional system that sabotages breastfeeding for many women. Especially since research shows that quality of the mother’s diet has little effect on the quality of her breast milk. A poor diet in a breastfeeding mom is going to further deplete the mom of nutrients, but is unlikely to harm her baby.

    http://kellymom.com/nutrition/mothers-diet/mom-diet/

    • KerryAnn says:

      I love Kellymom. She’s always a great source of information.

    • Denise says:

      ” quality of the mother’s diet has little effect on the quality of her breast milk. ?”

      Now THAT is definitely misinformation and unchallenged by the writer.

      • KerryAnn says:

        Denise, the quality research out there that hasn’t been funded by formula companies or retracted, or doesn’t contain bad science (poor methodology, flaws in the design) shows that the body pulls the nutrition into the breastmilk before giving it to the mother. There are a few things that can affect breastmilk, such as severe lack of zinc and trans-fatty acids, but we know as traditional foodists, you’re likely avoiding the trans-fatty acids and you likely have a good zinc intake.

        The problem is that many of the studies trotted out when this subject comes up have problems with their methods, such as categorizing babies who receive formula as exclusively breastfed. WAPF does not scrutinize these studies before pointing to them as evidence. And they disregard a lot of quality studies that show the opposite of what they claim.

  2. Genet Harris says:

    YAY!!!! KERRYANN !!!
    YOU GO GIRL !

    I recently turned 41 . . . . AND . . .I found out I was pregnant.
    Now this is my third time around here, so there are certain things I KNOW that will happen.
    I will nurse my baby as I did before. I will co-sleep to some extent and I will cloth diaper. Like many moms, I’ve learned to do what is best and not worry so much about what other people think or the looks they give me. (And that would include the WAP people!)
    Although I adore the WAPF I have always felt there were a couple issues where they held “their own cart” AHEAD OF and above “the horse.”
    Thank you for this great article from a mom’s perspective!
    (hugs)

  3. Jada says:

    Your article could not have come at a more perfect time for me. I am nursing my 6th baby who is barely 2 months old. I worry daily that I am somehow not providing her adequate nutrition through my supply. She follows a sister who I believed I could not nurse past 4 months. Looking back, I now realize, there was probably something more I could have done to increase my milk supply other than nutrition.
    My heart breaks thinking that I was again beginning to give up and lose trust in what my body is created to do in nourishing my babies. I was looking at the wrong sources! I was thisclose to begin supplementing with the WPF recipe for raw milk formula. Now I know where to turn to first! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    • KerryAnn says:

      Jada, you’re welcome. Around 4 months, two things happen around the same time- the breast regulates production and the baby goes through a growth spurt. Both can make you think that your supply is insufficient.

      Nursing on demand, co-sleeping, making sure the baby’s latch is deep and asymmetrical and much more can affect supply. I recommend you attend an LLL meeting (or more) in order to help find out how you can better maximize your milk production if you think it’s borderline. And if you do need to supplement, you can do so by means that allow you to continue nursing so baby. It doesn’t have to be an either/or choice. You CAN nurse long-term and supplement with raw milk formula at the same time, if it’s needed.

      Kellymom and the LLL websites can help, too.

      http://kellymom.com/category/bf/got-milk/
      http://www.llli.org/resources.html

  4. Jessica says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts on this. You’ve perfectly expressed many things that I’ve thought when looking at the WAPF infant feeding recommendations.

  5. Liz says:

    Wow. That’s an awesome article. I couldn’t agree more.

    Our present baby is adopted and receives donor breastmilk. Our nearly two-year old did as well until she was 15 months old. I remember reading on one of these nourishing traditions type websites that homemade formula was better than that. No. Way. I quit reading that site and quite honestly I just try to use common sense when it comes to food. (Okay, I probably depart from a lot of your readers here. I think I like “real food” better than “nourished food.” I guess I realized also that I did not agree with people who seemed to think organic white flour was better than whole wheat. Homemade formula is better than breastmilk? Organic white is better than whole wheat? Sorry off topic.)

    Anyway, your article is SO refreshing. You get it. My older children were nursed as you described and we had lovely natural child spacing. (While I have never worked I did go back to school for eight weeks to finish a degree when my oldest was 8 months old. Since I nursed her at night she just flipped her nights and days around and still was mostly breastfed.) I was rested as you say etc. I miss nursing terribly now that I have to deal with bottles I see again the beauty and wisdom of it all! Thank you!!!

  6. Heather Burris says:

    I LOVE this article for so many reasons!

    1. I felt the same way about breastfeeding. It not only bolstered my confidence in my own body, but in myself – mind and body. To me, it gave me the confidence to nurture my baby the way that was instinctual to me, and in turn mothering by instincts (of which breastfeeding was a huge part) gave me the confidence to be myself and be happy in it. I’ve always been a nerd and though I never really tried to hide this, I didn’t rejoice in who I was before becoming a mother. I believe I owe a huge part of this to breastfeeding.

    2. This has always been my biggest beef with WAPF. It makes me so sad to hear them say that breastmilk from a less-than-optimally fed mama isn’t as good as homemade formula. Partially because I believe that most people are choosing between breastfeeding and commercial formula, and partially because breastmilk can’t be boiled down to solely nutritional. It’s about so much more than that, ESPECIALLY when baby is nursing from the breast.

    3. I started learning more about real food and traditional food…and yes, even WAPF, because of the wonderful mamas at LLL. I didn’t have the knowledge or the resources before my son was born. The people I met at La Leche League fueled my instincts to seek out information and go with my gut about what I read. It’s part of what taught me to question mainstream medicine and nutrition and start looking for answers! So, to avoid LLL because the organization itself isn’t real food/traditional food related is just a double whammy.

    Moms deserve better and I’m so happy to see so many of you standing up for us! Bravo. I don’t know how else to express how wonderfully happy your post has made me! <3

  7. Maria says:

    Did you know that The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes encompasses home made formula? People should not go around promoting it over species specific nutrition. While diet can improve the quality of breastmilk, a less than optimal diet does not destroy the superior nutritional value of breastmilk. In fact, breastmilk has a fairly constant composition, and is only selectively affected by the diet of the mother.
    http://www.fao.org/docrep/W0073e/w0073e03.htm

    Also, the AAP writes: human milk is species-specific, and all substitute feeding preparations differ markedly from it, making human milk uniquely superior for infant feeding.
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/115/2/496.full

  8. Meri Gray says:

    The more time I spend within the lactation community, the more astonished I am at how d*mn easy the whole process was for me. Three times over.

    I believe that part of the problem with women lacking confidence in their body’s ability to function comes from “learned memories,” specifically the things we see and hear as very young children, that we can instinctively draw on as adults. I lived on a small dairy farm when I was young. While the calves were, as conventional dairies have done for ages and still do today, weaned onto bottles at a week or so of age, I spent enough time in the barn to see the babies nursing off their mothers. My mother nursed me and my three sibilings. My aunts nursed all of my cousins. I do not **remember** ever seeing one of them nurse but I must have. I’m second oldest of all the cousins, 🙂

    When my first was born, I picked him up and latched him on. My mother was not there, nor were my sister or SIL who had several years of recent nursing experience between them. The hospital LC didn’t show up for nearly 24 hours. she was next to useless and I credit her for the milk blisters I got within a few hours of her “helping” us. A massive oversupply issue didn’t turn into a problem either – somehow I just knew what I needed to do to control the amount of milk I was producing.

    While my second and third babies were different from the first in significant ways, I never once experienced paranoia that my breasts were not working. I never even needed to seek professional lactation help. Every time I ran into small issues, I thought about it for a few hours and eventually figured out what needed to be done.

    I think that one of the biggest problems today is that many of the women who want to nurse, do not have the learned memories/instincts of their mothers, aunts, sisters, and grandmothers to draw on. In many cases, the chain of bottle feeding goes back so many generations that even the oldest maternal members of the family do not remember a relative who nursed. Or nursed sucessfully for more than a few weeks, at any rate. That is an incredibly difficult history for today’s women to overcome. Yet, the fact that so many are able to overcome bottle feeding/formula family histories speaks well of the next generation of young women, who will inherit from today’s “first generation” nursing mothers some of the knowledge and instinct.

  9. Annie says:

    I was just kvetching about this yesterday with a friend of mine about the Healthy Life Summit and how Sally Fallon is the one talking about pregnancy and post partum health. I am so disheartened by what I see in the real foods community and I’m so thrilled that you spoke out! Keep up the good work!

  10. Leah Segura says:

    Thank you so, so much for speaking out about such an important issue!

  11. […] Raw Milk Formula: The Financial Impact on Families By KerryAnn Welcome to Cooking Traditional Foods! We have a free video class on real food basics. Click here to sign up. Click Here to read the blog. Check out our Recipe Index to find a listing of all of the recipes on the blog by category or see our Article Index to view all of the articles and podcasts on the site by category. We offer a video-based instruction with a Real Food Cooking School, a Lactofermentation class, and a Gluten and Dairy-Free Training Course, among others. We also offer a Classic and a Budget Menu Mailer as well as multiple eBooks. If you prefer to listen instead of read, you might be interested in our podcast. You can also like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter or Pinterest. Thanks for visiting! Join the forum discussion on this postThis week, we’re looking at how the rush to recommend raw milk formula over other options harms families.  Today is part two. Click here to read part one about the impact breastfeeding has on the mother. […]

  12. Can you hear the applause, KerryAnn? It’s me clapping! This is your best article yet. I know I don’t comment enough, I am always on the go, but I do stay up late and read many of my favorite blogs and tonight I was catching up on yours and I just had to take a minute to say WELL DONE!

    This is such an empowering and much-needed post! You are right – it’s deplorable that women are not encouraged and properly educated about breastfeeding and instead are made to question their ability and right to nourish their children.

    Like many, I had a low milk supply with both my boys and thanks to the help of La Leche, I was able to overcome in each case (praise the Lord) by improving latch on, increasing the frequency of my feedings, as well as a few other tactics.

    The main issue I believe for the rise in low milk supply (besides the lack of educational support given to mothers) is that we’re having our babies later in life, as research shows age does impact milk supply, but that doesn’t mean a woman cannot successfully breastfeed, it simply means she needs the right help and support if she’s having trouble, and LLL is definitely a great place to start!

    Saying that a woman must have an absolutely ideal diet in order to properly nourish her infant, is absolute absurdity and I’d like to see the research to back that opinion. If anything, real research studies have shown that a woman’s body will pull nutrients away from mother during pregnancy and breastfeeding to first ensure the baby receives the best of what’s available. So any mother who is simply eating a well balanced diet is going to provide her baby with far superior nutrition than any formula, raw milk or otherwise.

    And one more thing … it is God who created breast milk and there are components in breast milk that researchers still do not understand and therefore simply cannot be replicated by even the best raw milk formula. So it’s just plain ridiculous to think that anything other than what the Lord has specifically created could ever be a better option.

    In closing, I can’t agree with you more that it’s so sad that a group that has done so much to advance the real food movement would make statements that seem to imply that a less than perfect diet exempts a woman from nourishing her infant with the milk that God has created for her to produce for just that purpose.

    Again, I applaud you for taking the time to write this and counter this elitist attitude that is not only misguided but just plain arrogant! God bless you, KerryAnn! I do truly appreciate and am inspired by your courage to share truth!

    Blessings, Kelly

  13. carrie says:

    Thank you for speaking out! Many of us with a strong breastfeeding background dislike Sally Fallon for this reason. Unfortunately I believe she has fallen prey to the sad but common attitude of sour grapes. When nursing does not go well for a woman sometimes she has to attempt to discourage others in order to make herself feel better.

  14. reb says:

    i will add my praise of this post…i absolutely LOVE it. for so many, many reasons. thank you for writing this.

  15. […] to give some personal experience and positive information about the breastfeeding relationship. Click here to read about my breastfeeding positively impacted me.  Click here to read about the cost of raw […]

  16. Kelly says:

    So very thankful for the real foodies like you who are not being sucked into tacitly or openly approving this message from Sarah Pope/WAPF – in being so very let down by many I looked up to over the past week it is a breath of fresh air to still be able to count on people like you Kerry Ann.

    Thank you for the excellent post and for your continued support of nature’s most truly perfect food!

  17. Marija says:

    Thank you kerry for speaking out on this issue. I learned a lot of valuable information from the WAPF but was totally turned off by their promotion of the raw milk and liver formula and the underlying discouragement of breastfeeding. The science on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding is becoming more and more clear that the introduction of anything other than human milk irreversably changes the bacterial makeup of an infant’s digestive system. As an adult suffering from digestive issues and nutrient malabsorption, I know personally how the premature introduction of artificial and processed foods causes long-term health issues (I was fed formula). Many people I know were unwilling to consider other nutritional information from the WAPF website and other resources because of the lack of credibility coming from what they perceived as a dangerous recommendation to abandon breastfeeding in favor of giving raw milk and raw liver which is not even an accurate amount of macronutrients needed by an infant in addition to the other problems. I do wonder if the dairy industry practice of force weaning calves is influencing the mindset of Sally and others at the WAPF- obviously disregarding all phsychological benefits of breastfeeding as well as the two – way interchange of immunities between mother and child. My son nursed until he naturally outgrew it, at age 4.5 years. I believe our ancestors were not whipping up formula in their Vitamix– and a trip to the Museum of Motherhood in NYC reveals that orphans who did not have access to a wetnurse would die when adults gave substitute milks from other species. What I do believe was a valued tradition was cross-nursing (milk sharing before the invention of pumps!) and sharing the care of children in the community.

  18. Crystal says:

    As my child grew and I met more nursing moms, I began discovering something critical- lack of milk wasn’t the major issue I was seeing. It was lack of accurate information to maximize milk production, often sabotaged by bad advice from everyone and everything being given to the mother. Schedules, cribs, bottles, pacifiers, ‘me time,’ the rush to get a newborn to sleep through the night and most of what the low-supply mothers were being told to do only made their situation worse, not better. Their doctors were no help, and sometimes were the source of the bad advice.

    YES TO THE ABOVE!!!!!! I have been a LLL Leader for almost 10yrs now and I am amazed by the misinformation out there I never thought I would have to fight the Real Food movement too so BRAVO and thank you so much for speaking out!!!

  19. Rosemary says:

    Hehe I was thinking of going to my first WAPF meeting this month. Sally Fallon’s husband is speaking. Perhaps I will make a point of breastfeeding my 2yo. I don’t know what I would do without breastfeeding – and I REALLY don’t understand how giving babies any dairy based formula is a good idea when so many have issues with it. I know there’s a stock-based formula recipe too, but why go to all that effort when I can provide my babies with dairy free (and gluten free and anything else free they need) breastmilk? I’m even feeding the 2yo as I type. Let’s hope I finish before his 3.5 brother realises it’s on offfer… I have to say I really can’t see how not breastfeeding (on purpose) can possibly be in line with eating real food – can’t get more real than breastmilk, and it’s certainly what our ancestors would have done!

  20. Jamie says:

    What a wonderfully written article!!! Thank you for speaking up and challenging this notion. As a huge breastfeeding advocate (and a mother who has tandem nursed, practices child-led weaning, and many other natural parenting ideas), I am thrilled that someone who is incredibly knowledgeable about traditional foods finally approached this issue head on. Thank you, thank you, thank you. (Oh, and like you, breastfeeding has given me a much greater appreciation for my body than I could have ever expected.)

  21. Sandra Mort says:

    Alas, Sally Fallon’s ideas about nursing were my initial information about TF. I flat out refused to look into it for well over a decade because of this!!! I have always believed that if she is unable to analyze this logically, she can’t be trusted for any other information, either. Fortunately, I’ve found other reliable sources of information (including you) but have never and will never trust anything affiliated with Sally Fallon.

  22. Jenny says:

    Does WAPF really think that a mother that is eating SAD is going to run around getting raw milk formula ingredients? Get real, it will b conventional formula. I absolutely agreewith this article. My daughter would have been devastated had she read this while nursing her first v live born baby who she NOW knows wasn’t nursing enough. Experience is a great teacher and God is there until we get it. Keep encouraging. I would not listen to the Healthy Summit talks that had to.do with this subject. Totally turned me off!!

  23. Ruth says:

    Here’s another vote of approval. I have found it ironic that WAFP promotes spacing children three years apart without also pointing out that the way all those primitive folks they point to do so by extended “ecological” breastfeeding.

  24. Sheena says:

    I’m a WAPF Chapter Leader AND a big fan of KerryAnn’s. But I disagree with her assessment of the WAPF stance on breastfeeding.

    I have read and re-read the WAPF article that KerryAnn references (http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/successful-breastfeeding-and-successful-alternatives) and I get a different message. The message I get is that nutrition is very important. I don’t get that they are against breast feeding and pushing the homemade formula.

    “Breastfeeding is best. Breast milk is nature’s perfect food for babies. Breast milk contains special substances that give the growing baby immunity to infection and disease. Breastfeeding bonds a mother to her baby, stimulates important hormonal activities in her body, helps her lose weight after pregnancy and protects her against future breast cancer and osteoporosis.” From the same article that KerryAnn got her quote from

    I wonder how many of you read this article. The goal of the WAPF is healthy children and to that end they feel that breastmilk from a well nourished mother (note this could be a donor) is optimal and if she is unable to breastfeed for whatever reason, the homemade formula is a second best choice.

    And here is a little bigger section of the same article for thoes of you who don’t have the time to read it…
    “REALISTIC GOALS
    Instead of engaging in wishful thinking, let’s establish some realistic goals. Top of the list would be to have virtually 100 percent of all women nursing during the first month. The anti-immune factors in the first few weeks of mother’s milk are indeed unique to human milk, and cannot be duplicated or provided in any formula. Ninety-eight percent first-month nursing has been accomplished in Sweden by banning the distribution of free formula samples in the maternity wards. Free samples should be strictly forbidden—not just in the maternity wards, but through the mail and in government programs like Women Infants and Children (WIC), which distributes free formula to low income mothers.

    Second, let’s provide accurate nutrition advice to our young people through sex education classes, childbirth classes and breastfeeding support groups. Future parents need to know that the “average America diet” is not likely to produce healthy children and not likely to give a mother healthy milk.

    Third, let’s tell mothers who are struggling with poor milk supply about the wonderful little device called the Lact-Aid, a little plastic bag with a tube that lets a mother give her baby a supplement through a tube laid over her breast while she continues to nurse. Sometimes just a few weeks with the Lact-Aid is enough to get mother and baby “over the hump” and increase milk supply for the newly relaxed and rested mother. This device has been around since the early 1970s but breastfeeding support groups have only recently endorsed it.

    Finally, let’s accept the inevitable. Breastfeeding for several months should always be encouraged, but in today’s society it is not a luxury available to many. The need to return to work, problems with milk supply, unsatisfactory progress of the infant—these are compelling reasons for mothers to turn to formula feeding (although every effort should be made to allow breastfeeding in the workplace). But mothers need to know that formula made with good quality milk and other whole foods is vastly superior to factory-made formula.

    Above all, let’s keep in mind the ultimate goal. The goal is healthy children—not breastfeeding for the sake of breastfeeding and not convenience feeding with store-bought foods—but healthy children. It is a goal that requires wisdom, dedication, patience, hard work and mutual support among breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers. Above all, it requires knowledge, not deception, and there is no better place to start than with the teachings of Dr. Weston A. Price.”

    I just don’t see what a group of traditional foodies doesn’t like about this.

    Sincerely,
    Sheena

    • KerryAnn says:

      Sheena, if you look at their information as a whole, it is negative towards breastfeeding. They even pull out formula industry funded studies with serious methodological flaws to denigrate breastfeeding in some of their articles. I’ve heard Sally both in private e-mails, in e-mails to the chapter leader’s group and in other locations give inaccurate breastfeeding information and encourage the use of the formula. Furthermore, WAPF has published a post on their Facebook page that has further caused a lot of the uproar. One of their paid employees has given talks that contained little science and lots of opinion. As I state in another post, WAPF has given a big thumbs down to the LLLI and discourages women from seeking help for supply issues- as I stated, many supply issues are not nutritional in nature. So it’s not just the one article, it’s everything the WAPF has put out as a whole.

      • Marija says:

        Yes, its not just that one article that demonstrates their stance on breastfeeding. It is their overall impact. The quick rush to recommend raw cow milk formula is a big part of it. Sally’s recent book about baby care is especially bad on this point, containing false and opinionated information that sadly may influence many new moms who trust her because of her other writing which was indeed really useful information such as Good Fat, Bad Fat, and the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook.

  25. Sarah Smith says:

    KerryAnn, this is a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing your personal story. Breastfeeding is one of my favorite parts of being a mother. Everyone focuses so much on its benefits for the baby but I absolutely agree with you that the benefits for the mother are huge as well. I have a breastfeeding post scheduled for next week, and will happily add a link to this article at the end where I list some more resources.

  26. I began having milk supply issues with my fourth child. Then my twins I barely had enough milk for one baby. I tried ever thing under the sun as far as solid diet, nursing constantly , pumping 10 times a day, herbs, homeopathic remedies and acupuncture.You name it if it was natural I tried it! I couldn’t understand why all of sudden after milk filled chubby babies with my first three I was unable to produce milk.
    I worked with LaLeche leaders tiredly traveling, pumping and struggling.
    My babies were born at home on October 1st 5lbs 13 oz& 5lbs 14 oz and still not 10 lbs by Dec 25.
    I got donor milk and made a raw cows milk formula after 9 months for breast milk hustle! I did eventually figure out the source of my troubles and it was SOY. After 15 years of a vegan diet there was a compound in soy that was literally a d slowly over time clogging my milk ducts. So it wasn’t that I wasn’t producing milk, it was ruined from the beginning . What ever I did produce was not able to get out to even start the wonderful supply and demand cycle and wonderful milk production that sustains happy babies!
    I learned this from Dr.Nartey from Symptometry Root Cause Therapeutics. I went through so much stress over this and had any of the wonderful women who were helping me know about Symptometry things may have been different so I share about it now with everyone so other mothers will be informed. I will share that I am young and healthy 34 when they were born at home with ease like all my other babies. It was really shocking to think I was doing the worst thing possible for my milk supply all those years I thought I was making a very healthy choice.
    I think most vegans don’t have as many children as I did and this is an under the radar things with moms. Now a days many of us eat a lot of soy especially during pregnancy to get enough protein.These are facts so few in the birth community know so I share with everyone now. Here’s to more ease in breastfeeding journeys and less sagas!

    The most important thing about Sally and Sarah’s hard line stance that is good is they convey confidence that your baby will thrive! They are passionate, informed and die hard. They communicate without wavering.
    I don’t think most mamas would just simply make formula because there is nothing simple about it. Major , major real food hustle expense and sourcing.
    They are a beacon of nutritional light an confidence when it is clear you need to give your baby mammals milk.
    I really disliked Sally and WARP for years, but I never questioned her facts! I knew she could prove what she said with proof of nourished baby’s testimonies.

    Once I finally made the formula they sucked it down like champs, we felt relaxed and abundant they could finally have as much as they would consume not only what I had. Their poop barely changed and we would still nurse from me for the 2 oz or so the each got at a feeding.

    I’ll blog about this ! I’m grateful for the hard line stance. She could do a lot to soften and fill in things,but honestly someone has to stay the alternative in a firm unwavering voice and the big bad voice of Sally Fallon is well suited to do just that! Everyone has their role

    • KerryAnn says:

      Courtney, the issue isn’t the presence of the raw milk formula recipe. The issue is the lack of support and encouragement for determining WHY your supply is low and working on it instead of just making the jump to the formula. There are many, many mechanical reasons why a woman can have low milk supply. Jumping to the formula recipe as the community recommends with no encouragement to try to find the reason the supply is low and working with a qualified professional to find those reasons does a disservice to both mothers and babies and can make the mother feel like a failure. That can be avoided in some cases by utilizing qualified help. When the baby must be supplemented, accurate information on the benefits and risks to both donor milk and different types of formula supplementation should be given.

      The hard line in not encouraging women to get help to boost their supply is the issue. This has nothing to do with compassion for the women who have low supply, as the baby must be fed above all else. This has to do with helping the dyad continue nursing as they wish and being given accurate information about all options.

      In addition, their language surrounding the issues is negative, damning and discouraging. Yes, low supply happens to some women. Yes, some women have low supply due to nutritional reasons but many have low supply due to non-nutritive reasons. I saw it often while studying to become an IBCLC. But there is no good reason to denigrate all women and all breastmilk because a small percentage of women have low supply due to nutritional issues.

      In addition, the audience listening to them will be women already on a real foods diet- vegans, by and large, do not pay attention to the foundation’s materials. It is far better, when there is a supply problem that comes from a nutritional issue, to feed the mother and from that both the mother and the baby will be nourished instead of switching the baby to formula. Ignoring the non-nutritive benefits of breastmilk and the lifestyle considerations doesn’t negate their existence.

      The burden of proof is on the people who are making claims about breastmilk that isn’t backed up by solid science from well-designed studies or if there are no studies to back their claims. Personal anecdote is not science, the observations of one person isn’t science, and neither is pointing to poorly designed studies to prove your point when a large body of evidence shows the contrary.

  27. […] part of the Blog Party. There are also over 140 posts linked up as part of this. Take some time to check them out here or link up your own breastfeeding support […]

  28. Jackie Patti says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    I was thinking this the other day, when reading about women uncomfortable to breastfeed in public. 30 years ago, I put a receiving blanket in my arm, my daughter on top, and flung it over my shoulder – discreet, modest breastfeeding anywhere and anywhen – and anyone who didn’t like it could take a flying leap. 😉 I had always been insecure and had fairly low self-esteem, but… feeding my baby came FIRST and I was a tigress about it! Confidence I never possessed became instantly part of my personality.

    The WAPF stuff you’re saying… reminds me of my mother, who had not breastfed any of her 4 children, asking me how would I know if the baby was starving to death if I didn’t know how many ounces it drank? Apparently, she had little faith in my powers of observation; even at age 20 and completely clueless, I simply did not believe it was POSSIBLE for a child to starve to death and me not notice. 😉 I suspect her real objection was that it wasn’t hygienic and not very “nice,” but she knew I wouldn’t buy those arguments!

    I partly co-slept, but it wasn’t called that back then. I put her in the crib, and when she awoke, I took her to bed with me for the rest of the night. The first time she slept through the night was no big deal to me; I was not nearly as sleep-deprived as any of the other parents I knew. All I ever had to do at night was retrieve her, put her in bed with me, stick it in her mouth and go right back to sleep. Her crib right next to my bed, it took less than a minute; I could practically do it without waking.

    While I strongly believe in the health benefits, I believe even more fervently in the emotional benefits. I have fond memories of one day when she was only 2 months old, lying on the couch to feed her, and “talking” to each other, and not getting up for over 8 hours. I wasn’t a biochemist yet and had never heard of oxytocin, but I knew I was floating on a cloud of pure love all day.

    There is something utterly magical about providing food from your own body to your baby, it’s beyond nutrition, beyond biochemistry, just wondrously profound.

Disclaimer



We make a good faith effort to keep up-to-date on the allergen content status of products. However, product formulations change frequently. Always check product labels for the most recent ingredient information and call the company if you have any questions as to the gluten content of a product.

The information contained on Intentionally Domestic and its forum is meant for educational and informational purposes only. We are neither doctors nor dietitians. We do not dispense advice on curing or treating any health ailment or disease. Please consult your health care provider before following any information on this site.

Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with your health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician. Nothing you read here should be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment.

View Our Disclaimers, Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy for more information.

About Intentionally Domestic



Intentionally Domestic (formerly Cooking Traditional Foods) is a blog about nutrient-dense foods, beauty, health, family and lifestyle for women in their 30s and beyond.

Contact us at:
KerryAnn Foster
c/o Intentionally Domestic
PO Box 17846
Asheville, NC 28816