A rant about weaning and a crappy e-newsletter

I still get “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” emails based on my twins’ estimated due date and this one pissed me off. I mean, seriously! It was so full of misinformation and bullshit that I hardly know where to start.

At some point, it will be time for your baby to wean. Here’s how to ease the transition for both of you.
Okay… that seems fair enough. My babies will eventually wean. All babies do at some point. You can get in Twitter fights over when the average “natural” weaning age is, but I digress.

And just a bit further down, this:

But if you’re starting to become uncomfortable about continued nursing, if your milk supply is waning (maybe your baby seems fussy and still hungry after a feeding or isn’t gaining as much weight?), or if pumping at work is posing a problem, it might be time to start gradually switching him over to formula.
Are you kidding me? First off, why would a mother be uncomfortable about nursing her seven-month old? Because he has teeth? Yeah, that’s a scary thing to face, but I promise that it is survivable. If it’s anything else, maybe we need to have a chat about it. There is NOTHING wrong with nursing your seven-month old. Don’t be uncomfortable with it, please. Please please please. And the supply thing. That makes me so mad I could spit. There are a ton of reasons why you might be concerned about supply and I swear I’m not saying that they aren’t legit, but this is what our bodies are designed to do. There are a ton of things that will increase supply, but eight out of 10 times* this isn’t even necessary. Your child can be teething or going through a developmental leap or just freaking grouchy. That happens. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t producing milk.
(*completely made up statistic. I totally made it up.)

Others show less interest and start to self-wean before their first birthday (it’s common between nine and 12 months). If he’s still an avid nurser and you’re less inclined, allow plenty of time for a gentle transition. Try dropping one feeding at a time, giving him some formula before a nursing session, or gradually reducing the time he spends nursing at each feeding.
First off, self-weaning before one is not common. NOT COMMON. It’s not suggested by the AAP or WHO. It’s not necessary. And the truth is that breast is best. I seriously can’t comprehend why you would stop feeding your child your perfectly awesome breastmilk and wean them to formula at seven months for no reason at all. If you can’t pump at work or you are done with exclusive pumping or any one of a number of reasons, I get it. BUT. That’s not what this article is about. This article is about how to wean your infant from perfectly good breastfeeding because he got grouchy and acted hungry one day.

Okay. I think my rant is over. Do you want to read the awful article? Click here.
Do you want to read breastfeeding information that isn’t bullshit? Then please click here instead.

11 Comments

  1. Kelley -  July 27, 2012 - 7:47 am

    What to expect’s article makes it sound like its okay to just give up on nursing! It sounds like its more about weaning for the mother’s needs not the child’s.

  2. Stephanieparis -  July 27, 2012 - 8:06 am

    May I just say Jessica … a-friggen-men!
    CAN I GET AN AMEN!
    Whoo. Took the words right out of my mouth.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I swore up and down by my “books”, called them my bible and what not. That is …. Till I finished them and decided to keep educating myself. Found conflicting advice and decided to get even MORE educated in Breastfeeding. It was with out a doubt the most interesting thing ever, one place will tell you this and one will say the other. but all say Breast is best.

    I have a lot of local moms ask me for
    advice. On feeding and almost all quote “WTE” I get it , it sold millions, an the preggo symptoms (withmyself) were actually somewhat helpful since I had never been. But the two chapters …. On dedicated to Formula, one dedicated to breast yet would lead to formula seemed wonky. I’m glad I read it though because it’s “old school” thinking is exactly how my older family members think – so it prepared me to say “that was then…this is natural” I had my words prepared.

    Ugh I could go hours & days discussing the ridiculousness.

    Thank you for posting this.

  3. Sarah -  July 27, 2012 - 11:27 am

    I’m a wanna-be mom that reads your blog excessively – I can’t thank you enough Jessica for sharing that you wrote for a blog at Kristin’s babyshower. I don’t think I’ve missed a post. I’m really glad that I’ve had my eyes open before I have my first child because there is so much conflicting information out there. It really is intimidating. Why would the writers of such an influential book keep saying things that even doctors don’t recommend? Because honestly, I would have taken their words as gospel because my mother trusted it. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Mandi Cohen -  July 27, 2012 - 12:00 pm

    Ugh, seriously?! Breast feeding mothers need support, not this crap. Especially first time moms who may not know of other resources, are taught socially that this book is amazing. So why wouldn’t they trust it? It’s sad!

  5. JeniferR -  July 27, 2012 - 2:16 pm

    Breastfeeding is HARD work! No one prepares mamas for this. What makes it even more difficult is that most babies DO NOT self wean! Thank you for making this quite clear in your article. I feel little shivers go down my spine when I hear a mama saying that their 7 month old just doesn’t want to nurse anymore. Now, I am not saying that cannot happen. What I am saying is that this is rare! Formula is the worst thing you can feed your baby. IF anyone suggests switching a baby over to formula they would be better off recommending a homemade formula rather than one in a can. It is a load of crock to make mamas feel like formula is just as good as breastmilk. It isn’t. Scientific fact.

    • Stephanieparis -  July 27, 2012 - 2:25 pm

      See what REALLY bothers me is my own pediatrician suggested we start solids & switchto formula at 4 months because & I quote “Breastfeeding is probably getting time consuming”

      I didn’t jump down his throat like I wanted instead I said ” I’m fine, my supply is fine, & henrys hitting his weight marks WE ARE DOING GREAT actually!” got his shots & left. Our next appointment is Wednesday I fully plan on ignoring his push to formula because he feels it’s “a burden”

      Imbisol. If we had more options on pediatricians in my area I WOULD SWITCH. ugh

      • Rubi P -  July 28, 2012 - 1:19 am

        My pediatrician suggested on several occasions that I should feed my little girl formula. The first reason she gave was to help with the little jaundice she had left. But in a whisper and under her breath also said “or you an sit outside and key the sun hit her”. The second time she suggested it was to help her gain weight. On both occasions I stated that I wasnt comfortable with formula and that she wouldn’t get anything from it that she wasn’t already getting from bf’ing. On our third appt. she assumed we switched to formula and added that she had gained weight with the formula. Finally I told her we weren’t doing it and that breastmilk was best for her and kindly suggested she didn’t bring it up anymore. I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. I suggest that if your uncomfortable say something an set the record straight.

  6. Tracey -  July 27, 2012 - 6:27 pm

    That’s pretty disgusting. I can only hope moms educate themselves outside of WTE. I strongly believe women give up bf due to a lack of education. I also think its not a priority to some women and that makes me sad. I am an example of someone who, if I hadn’t educated myself, would have thought I didn’t “make enough milk”. It’s something you have to make happen! It’s easier for some than others and, unfortunately, I fall in the category of “others”. But bf is the main priority in my life for the next 2 years and anything I have to give up or miss out on is worth it because it’s not about me, it’s about my baby and what’s best for her.

  7. Lori S-U -  July 30, 2012 - 6:07 pm

    Thank you for the post, Jessica. And I’ll second Stephanieparis’s “A-MEN!” I HATE WTE and their website. I, too, subscribed to their automated emails when I was pregnant because I had no idea what pregnancy should be like (all of the women in my family had high-risk, complicated pregnancies which was not my situation). I started to get a bad taste in my mouth reading their emails when I was almost two weeks overdue and the emails had been talking about induction since before my due date, as if I should plan on inducing by one week late. Then another email from then after my son was born about how he should get all these vaccines, and that article implied that it was silly to not get them all. Now, I’m not against vaccines, and our baby is getting a few select ones, but there was NO mention of the dangers of the modern, compounded vaccines that haven’t even been on the market for 10 years.

    I unsubscribed from their B.S. list in complete disgust. I’m glad I did, otherwise I’d likely be getting the article to which you are referring in a couple months. Sadly, I doubt this will save me. Both my family and my husband’s family are pretty old school. While my family will keep quiet, my parents-in-law have no qualms about telling me what they think.

    My MIL has already told me that I “pump too much” (I’m exclusively nursing, but pumping and freezing for when I go back to work in a few weeks once the University is back in session); I’m blessed with a copious milk supply and it seemed to really bother my MIL that I was taking advantage of that fact. I’m sure I’ll start getting unwanted “advice” from her and others once our son is a year old, because my MIL has already told me she nursed until one year and then weaned. My own mother is stunned that I haven’t introduced rice cereal to my 3.5 month old. Sheesh. I just need to come up with ways to deflect family members’ unwanted recommendations…

    • Amanda R -  August 3, 2012 - 2:11 am

      I have a MIL like that. My way of dealing is to smile and simple say, “I was just reading an article/study about ______. (whatever it is because chances are that I did just read one because I’m ALWAYS reading articles and studies) And it was saying…. Bluh bluh bluh.”Or “The latest reaserch is actually saying…” It’s helped a lot! And now she pretty much leaves me alone unless SHE just read something to back her viewpoints. Which I’m ok with because at least this time she has some somewhat creditable info. Good luck! 🙂

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