Attachment Parenting Chat at Flopping Aces

During the months that I was not formally blogging I had quite a few nice chats with various bloggers on a variety of topics.  Skook over at Flopping Aces proved to be a kind fellow.

Here is our exchange:

And my responses:


Attachment Parenting is extremely popular in Conservative circles. I breastfed my sons for three plus years each and no, this is not a liberal vs. conservative issue.

As a freedom activist who has organized Tea Parties as well as a natural family living educator, I read Dr. Sears books and used his methods of nurturing with all of our children.

This parenting is for those families who desire a closer bond and is based on sound scientific evidence regarding what is ideal for babies.

The extremely old fashioned notion that mothers who breastfeed have effeminate sons is a pathetic and disgusting campaign that has clearly been linked to 1950′s Baby Formula manufacturers advertising.

Sad to see it here on your blog.

Jenny Hatch



My boys are 18, 15, and 9. So, nothing is going to change in regards to my breastfeeding choices. I did what I did, no regrets. I was taught by my pediatrician that two years of breastfeeding would prevent allergies and asthma (which I suffer from) in my children. None of them have asthma and they don’t suffer from the deadly “allergic to everything” allergies that have defined my life for 44 years.

Was extended breastfeeding worth it? You bet. My children are all way healthier than I am. I didn’t plan to nurse for three years, it was more that it meant so much to them that it felt silly to wean just because of outside pressure, and yes, plenty of people made fun of us for attachment parenting and made dire predictions about how our children were going to turn out because we did not buy into mother substitutes and “let them cry it out” parenting practices.

As for the notion that there is no nutritional benefit to children after a certain period, the absolute ignorance of that statement just takes my breath away. Mothers begin producing all sorts of healing substances that go into her milk as soon as baby gets the sniffles. The science is sound and clearly endorses a mother breastfeeding for as long as the baby wants. The biggest benefit in nursing an older child is that when they would get fevers all they wanted to do was nurse and this prevented dehydration and was the perfect food during the illness. We watched so many friends run to childrens hospital for a variety of infections and illnesses, and except for our oldest daughter having croup that necessitated an ER visit (she was only nursed for three months), all of our other children have never been hospitalized with an infection and three of my children have never been on an antibiotic.

I don’t share this to brag but simply to point out that with my poor health history I should have given birth to five really sickly kids. I believed that good nutrition and breastfeeding could give my kids the gift of health that has always been out of my grasp. If you want to say that my desire for good health means I have deep seeded issues, I can’t change your perception. I like to think that all of the effort has been worth it.


Skook. I don’t know what age is best for weaning. I have researched it and find many different schools of thought. I nursed mostly for health reasons, but my toddlers loved my milk so much and it clearly meant so much to them to keep on nursing, that I just followed their lead. My second daughter nursed until she was four and a half and she was not ready to stop, but I was pregnant and had nursed her already through my third pregnancy. Supplying the food for a four year old, a two year old and a pregnancy was extremely difficult, so I made her wean, but she was very upset about it.

Then I nursed my third and fourth babies together in what is termed tandem nursing. Those two boys are extremely close, milk brothers, and I weaned both on third birthdays.

My fifth child I tried to wean on his third birthday, just to be consistent, but he was so sad. I caved after two weeks and let him nurse until he was five and a half.

As for dominant mothers ruining sons lives, I feel strongly that the mothers who give birth to children without a father around are the ones ruining our society. I am not talking about widows or even divorced moms, I am talking about this generation of women who believe the father is not needed for healthy development. The father hunger in those communities od children is palpable.

I believe the greatest thing mothers can do for their children is simply adore and love their husbands. Praise every good thing he does in front of the children and show affection and normal marital love with complete fidelity. That is the standard I have aspired to and I like to think our sons will follow in Dads footsteps and work hard and someday provide for a family. This is what real men do. Thanks for being kind. I have taken a boatload of grief for my mothering choices. Jen


Breastfeeding is an incomparable emotional experience for mothers and babies. Scientific support keeps getting stronger because solid medical research articles keep affirming the overwhelming nutritional and immunological superiority of human milk for human babies

I have always enjoyed scanning medical databases for new breastfeeding articles but this collection was gathered by Ginna Wall, MN, IBCLC and Jon Ahrendsen, MD, FAAFP who have given their kind permission for its presentation here.

For a frank discussion with your dentist, skip right to the dental caries articles. Families with premies need to look hard at the RSV research and the NEC articles among others. Neonatologists need them, too.

The brain grows better with breastmilk as has been shown over and over again in research about IQ, motor development and vision.

The articles about decreased incidence of malignancy and diabetes are worth a read in their entirety when you have a chance to get to MEDLINE or Pubmed.

An episode of diarrhea was significantly less likely to last for six or more days if an infant was breastfed for three or more months.  Baker D et al.  “Inequality in infant morbidity: causes and consequences in England in the 1990s.”  J Epidemiol Community Health 1998 Jul;52(7):451-8

The risk of developing diarrhea increases as the amount of breastmilk an infant receives decreases.  When compared with exclusively breastfed infants, infants who were exclusively formula-fed had an 80% increase in their risk of developing diarrhea.  Scariati PD et al.  “A longitudinal analysis of infant morbidity and the extent of breastfeeding in the United States.”  Pediatrics 1997 Jun;99(6):E5

Necrotizing Enterocolitis
The benefits of improved health (less sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis) associated with the feeding of fortified human milk outweighed the slower rate of growth observed in this study of 108 preterm infants.  Infants fed human milk were discharged an average of 15 days earlier than infants preterm formula.  Schanler RJ, et al.  “Feeding strategies for premature infants: beneficial outcomes of feeding fortified human milk versus preterm formula.”  Pediatrics 1999 Jun;103(6 Pt 1):1150-7
Among babies born at more than 30 weeks gestation, confirmed necrotizing enterocolitis was rare in those whose diet included breastmilk; it was 20 times more common in those fed formula only. Lucas, A., Cole, T.J., “Breast Milk and Neonatal Necrotizing Enteral Colitis”. Lancet 1990; 336:1519-23

Otitis Media And Uris (Old News And New News)
Significantly increased risk for acute otitis media as well as prolonged duration of middle ear effusion were associated with male gender, sibling history of ear infection and not being breast fed. Teele, D.W., Epidemiology of Otitis Media During the First Seven Years of Life in Greater Boston: A prospective, Cohort Study”. J of INFEC DIS.1989.

In infants who were breast fed until at least 12 months of age, the percentage of any otitis media was 19% lower, and of prolonged episodes (> 10 days) was 80% lower than formula-fed infants.  The mean duration of episodes of otitis media was longer in formula-fed than breastfed infants (8.8 vs 5.9 days, respectively).  Dewey KG et al.  “Differences in morbidity between breast-fed and formula-fed infants.”  J Pediatr 1995 May;126(5 Pt 1):696-702

The risk of developing an ear infection increases as the amount of breastmilk an infant receives decreases.  When compared with exclusively breastfed infants, infants who were exclusively formula-fed had a 70% increase in their risk of developing an ear infection.  Scariati PD et al.  “A longitudinal analysis of infant morbidity and the extent of breastfeeding in the United States.”  Pediatrics 1997 Jun;99(6):E5

Infants who were not being breast fed were 17 times more likely than those being breast fed exclusively to be admitted to hospital for pneumonia.  Cesar JA et al.  “Impact of breast feeding on admission for pneumonia during postneonatal period in Brazil: nested case-control study.  BMJ 1999 May 15;318(7194):1316-1320

Odds of respiratory illness with maternal smoking were 7 times higher among children who were never breastfed then among those who were breastfed.  Woodward A et al.  “Acute Respiratory Illness in Adelaide Children: BreastFeeding Modifies the Effect of Passive Smoking”.  J Epidemiol Community Health 1990 Sep;44(3):224-30

Respiratory Syncytical Virus (RSV)
Breastfeeding was associated with a lower incidence of RSV infection during the first year of life. Holberg,C.J., “Risk Factors for RSV Associated Lower Respiratory Illnesses in the First Year of Life”. AM J Epidemiol 1991; 133 (135-51)
Sepsis in Preterm Infants
The incidence of any infection and sepsis/meningitis are significantly reduced in human milk-fed VLBW infants compared with exclusively formula-fed VLBW infants.  Hylander MA et al.  “Human milk feedings and infection among very low birth weight infants.”  Pediatrics 1998 Sep;102(3):E38
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
Breastfed infants have a relative risk of developing a UTI of 0.38 compared to formula-fed infants.  Pisacane A et al.  “Breast-feeding and urinary tract infection.”  J Pediatr 1992 Jan;120(1):87-9
Cryptorchidism (Undescended Testicle)
This case-controlled study showed a significant association of cryptorchidism and lack of breastfeeding. Mori, M. “Maternal and other factors of cryptorchidism: a case-control study in Japan” Kurume Med J, 1992:39:53-60
Gastroesophageal Reflex
Breastfed neonates demonstrate gastroesophageal reflux episodes of significantly shorter duration than formula fed neonates. Heacock, H.J., “Influence of Breast vs. Formula Milk in Physiologic Gastroesophageal Reflux in Health Newborn Infants”. J. Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 1992 January; 14(1): 41-6
Inguinal Hernia
Human milk contains gonadotropin releasing hormone, which may affect the maturation of neonatal testicular function.  This case-control study showed breastfed infants had a significant dose response reduction in inguinal hernia.  Pisacane, A. “Breast-feeding and inguinal hernia” Journal of Pediatrics 1995:Vol 127, No. 1, pp 109-111
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)
Children who have had JRA, especially pauciarticular JRA, are less likely to have been breastfed than controls, suggesting that breast feeding may have a protective effect on the development of JRA.  Lower odds ratio were noted for increased durations of breast feeding.  Mason T et al.  “Breast feeding and the development of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.”  J Rheumatol 1995 Jun;22(6):1166-70
Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
Feeding practices in infancy may affect the development of various autoimmune diseases later in life. Thyroid alterations are among the most frequently encountered autoimmune conditions in children.  A detailed history of feeding practices was obtained in 59 children with autoimmune thyroid disease, their 76 healthy siblings, and 54 healthy nonrelated control children.  The frequency of feedings with soy-based milk formulas in early life was significantly higher in children with autoimmune thyroid disease (prevalence 31%) as compared with their siblings (prevalence 12%), and healthy nonrelated control children (prevalence 13%).  Fort P, et al.  Breast and soy-formula feedings in early infancy and the prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease in children.  J Am Coll Nutr. 1990 Apr;9(2):164-7.
Pyloric Stenosis
Infants with pyloric stenosis were less likely to have been breastfed during the first week of life.  Pisacane A, et al.  Breast feeding and hypertrophic pyloric stenosis: population based case-control study.  BMJ. 1996 Mar 23;312(7033):745-6.
Children who had ever been breast fed had a lower incidence of wheezethan those who had not (59% and 74% respectively). The effect persisted to age 7 years in the non-atopics only, the risk of wheeze being halved in the breast fed children.  Burr ML, et al.  “Infant feeding, wheezing, and allergy: a prospective study.”  Arch Dis Child 1993 Jun;68(6):724-8
Allergies in general
2187 children were followed to age 6 years to study the association between duration of exclusive breast feeding and asthma or atopy.  After adjustment for confounders, the introduction of milk other than breastmilk before 4 months of age was a significant risk factor for all asthma and atopy related outcomes in children aged 6 years.  A significant reduction in the risk of childhood asthma at age 6 years occurs if exclusive breast feeding is continued for at least the 4 months after birth.
Oddy WH et al.  “Association between breast feeding and asthma in 6 year old children: findings of a prospective birth cohort study.”  BMJ 1999 Sep 25;319(7213):815-9
A birth cohort was followed-up to age 4 years.  By age 4 years, 27% of the children had symptoms of allergic disease.  Family history of atopy was the single most important risk factor for atopy in children.  Sibling atopy was a stronger predictor of clinical disease than maternal or paternal atopy.  Formula-feeding before 3 months of age predisposed to asthma at age 4 years (OR: 1.8). Tariq SM, et al.  The prevalence of and risk factors for atopy in early childhood: a whole population birth cohort study.  J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1998 May;101(5):587-93.

Eczema was less common and milder in babies who were breast fed (22%) and whose mothers were on a restricted diet (48%). In infants fed casein hydrolysate, soymilk or cows milk, 21%, 63%, and 70% respectively, developed atopic eczema.  Chandra R.K., “Influence of Maternal Diet During Lactation and the Use of Formula Feed and Development of Atopic Eczema in the High Risk Infants”. Br Med J. 1989

Cognitive Development
Increasing duration of breastfeeding was associated with consistent and statistically significant increases in 1) intelligence quotient assessed at ages 8 and 9 years; 2) reading comprehension, mathematical ability, and scholastic ability assessed during the period from 10 to 13 years; 3) teacher ratings of reading and mathematics assessed at 8 and 12 years; and 4) higher levels of attainment in school leaving examinations.  Breastfeeding is associated with small but detectable increases in child cognitive ability and educational achievement. These effects are 1) pervasive, being reflected in a range of measures including standardized tests, teacher ratings, and academic outcomes in high school; and 2) relatively long-lived, extending throughout childhood into young adulthood. .  Horwood LJ, Fergusson DM.  “Breastfeeding and later cognitive and academic outcomes.”  Pediatrics 1998 Jan;101(1):E9
A review of 20 published studies on the effects of breastfeeding on infant IQ found that breastfed babies’ IQs may be 3 to 5 points higher than those of formula-fed babies.  The longer a baby is breast-fed, the greater the benefits to his or her IQ. These benefits were seen from age 6 months through 15 years.  Anderson JW et al.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oct 1999, 70.
Children who had consumed mother’s milk by tube in early weeks of life had a significantly higher IQ at 7.5 to 8 years, than those who received no maternal milk, even after adjustment for differences between groups and mothers’ educational and social class.  Lucas, A., “Breast Milk and Subsequent Intelligence Quotient in Children Born Preterm”. Lancet 1992;339:261-62

School-age phenylketonuric children who had, as infants, been breastfed 20-40 days prior to dietary intervention scored significantly better (IQ advantage of 14.0 points, p = 0.01) than children who had been formula fed.  A 12.9 point advantage persisted also after adjusting for social and maternal education status.  Riva E et al.  “Early breastfeeding is linked to higher intelligence quotient scores in dietary treated phenylketonuric children.  Acta Paediatr 1996 Jan;85(1):56-8

In 771 low birth weight infants, babies whose mothers chose to provide breastmilk had an 8 point advantage in mean Bayley’s mental developmental index over infants of mother choosing not to do so. Morley, R., “Mothers Choice to provide Breast Milk and Developmental Outcome”. Arch Dis Child, 1988

Psychomotor and Social Development
Infants (4 to 6 months old) looked at a mobile significantly longer when tested after breastfeeding.  This finding suggests that breastfeeding has a substantial effect on infants’ attentiveness to and interaction with their environment.  Gerrish CJ and Mennella JA.  “Short-term influence of breastfeeding on the infants’ interaction with the environment.  Dev Psychobiol 2000 Jan;36(1):40-48.
Hormones And More
Hormones, growth factors, cytokines and even whole cells are present in breastmilk and act to establish biochemical and immunological communication between mother and child.  In addition, milk nutrients such as nucleotides, glutamine and lactoferrin have been shown to influence gastrointestinal development and host defense.  Bernt KM and Walker WA.  “Human milk as a carrier of biochemical messages.”  Acta Paediatr Suppl 1999 Aug;88(430):27-41.
Erythropoietin stimulates production of red blood cells and is used in the treatment of anemia of prematurity.  Human milk contains considerable amounts of erythropoietin which resist degradation after exposure to gastric juices at physiologic pH levels. Kling PJ et al.  “Human milk as a potential enteral source of erythropoietin.”  Pediatr Res 1998 Feb;43(2):216-21

Preterm infants demonstrated a higher oxygen saturation and a higher temperature during breastfeeding than during bottle feeding, and were less likely to desaturate to 6 months of developing Hodgkin’s disease, but not non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  Davis MK.  “Review of the evidence for an association between infant feeding and childhood cancer.”  Int J Cancer Suppl 1998;11:29-33
A statistically significant protective effect against Hodgkin’s disease among children who are breastfed at least 8 months compared with children who were breastfed no more than 2 months.  Schwartzbaum, J. “An Exploratory Study of Environmental and Medical Factors Potentially Related to Childhood Cancer.” Medical & Pediatric Oncology, 1991; 19 (2):115-21.

Leukemia and Lymphoma
This case-controlled study of 117 Bedouin Arab children showed that breastfeeding for less than six months was associated with an odds ratio of 2.79 for contracting a lymphoid malignancy compared with children breastfed longer than six months.  European Journal of Cancer2001 January;37:234-238.
A total of 1744 children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and 1879matched control subjects, aged 1-14 years, and 456 children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and 539 matched control subjects, aged 1-17 years, were studied.  Ever having breast-fed was found to be associated with a 21% reduction in risk of childhood acute leukemias.  The inverse associations were stronger with longer duration of breast-feeding.  Shu XO etal, “Breast-feeding and risk of childhood acute leukemia.  J Natl Cancer Inst 1999 Oct 20;91(20):1765-72

In interviews with the mothers of 2,200 children affected by either acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the infant-feeding history of each of these children was compared with that of over 2,400 healthy controls.  The investigators found that a history of breastfeeding was associated with a reduction in risk of childhood acute leukemias.  Babies who are breast-fed for as little as one month have a 20% lower risk of childhood leukemia than bottle-fed babies, and babies breast-fed for more than 6 months have an even lower risk — 30% less. Robison L et al.  Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1999;91:1765-1772.

Dental Health
In this study of 260 children ages 3-5, the authors concluded that breastfeeding for more than 40 days may act preventively and inhibit the development of nursing caries in children.  Oulis CJ et al.  “Feeding practices of Greek children with and without nursing caries.” Pediatr Dent 1999 Nov-Dec;21(7):409-16
This study estimated the prevalence of early childhood caries and related behavioral risk factors in a population of low-income, Mexican-American children in Stockton, California.  Data was collected on 220 children ages six years or less using a parent-completed questionnaire and clinical dental examinations.  Mean age at weaning from breast-or bottle-feeding and patterns of bottle use during sleep did not differ significantly between children with caries and those without. Ramos-Gomez-FJ et al.  “Assessment of early childhood caries and dietary habits in a population of migrant Hispanic children in Stockton, California.”  Journal-Of-Dentistry-For-Children 1999; 66 (6): 395-403, 366

This in-vivo and in-vitro study showed that human breastmilk is not cariogenic.  Erickson PR, Mazhari E.  “Investigation of the role of human breastmilk in caries development.”  Pediatr Dent 1999 Mar-Apr;21(2):86-90

Children who were either never breast-fed or only until 3 months exhibited a significantly higher caries prevalence than those breast-fed for a longer time.  Mattos-Graner RO et al.  “Association between caries prevalence and clinical, microbiological and dietary variables in 1.0 to 2.5-year-old Brazilian children.  Caries Res 1998;32(5):319-23

A strong association was found between exclusive bottle-feeding and anteroposterior malocclusion.  Davis DW, Bell PA.  “Infant feeding practices and occlusal outcomes: a longitudinal study.”  J Can Dent Assoc 1991 Jul;57(7):593-4

Among breastfed infants, the longer the duration of nursing the lower the incidence of malocclusion. Labbok, M.H. “Does Breast Feeding Protect against Malocclusion? An Analysis of the 1981 Child Health Supplement to the National Health Interview Survey”. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1987.

Diabetes is less common among breast-fed children (6.9 and 30.1% among offspring of nondiabetic and diabetic women, respectively) than among bottle-fed children (11.9 and 43.6%, respectively).  Pettitt DJ, Knowler WC.  “Long-term effects of the intrauterine environment, birth weight, and breast-feeding in Pima Indians.”  Diabetes Care 1998 Aug;21 Suppl 2:B138-41
Children who developed IDDM in New South Wales, Australia, were compared to healthy children of the same sex and age. Those who were exclusively breastfed during their first three months of life had a 34% lower risk of developing diabetes than those who were not breastfed. Children given cow’s-milk-based formula in their first three months were 52% more likely to develop IDDM than those not given cow’s milk formula. Diabetes Care 1994;17:1381-1389, 1488-1490.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)
Children who have had JRA, especially pauciarticular JRA, are less likely to have been breastfed than controls, suggesting that breast feeding may have a protective effect on the development of JRA.  Lower odds ratio were noted for increased durations of breast feeding.  Mason T et al.  “Breast feeding and the development of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.”  J Rheumatol 1995 Jun;22(6):1166-70
Multiple Sclerosis
Although thought to be multifactorial in origin, and without a clearly defined etiology, lack of breastfeeding does appear to be associated with an increased incidence of multiple sclerosis. Dick, G. “The Etiology of Multiple Sclerosis.” Proc Roy Soc Med 1976;69:611-5
A German study of 9357 children aged 5-6 years of age found that infants fed only breastmilk until 3-5 months were more than a third less likely to be obese than infants fed formula from the start.  Infants breastfed exclusivelyfor 6-12 months were 43% less likely to be obese.  Breastfeeding beyond 12 months was better still, giving infants a 72% lower chance of becoming obese children.  After adjusting for potential confounding factors, breastfeeding remained a significant protective factor against the development of obesity.  von Kries, R.  “Breast feeding and obesity: cross sectional study.”  BMJ 1999; 319: 147-150.
Children who were breast fed for a longer duration were more likely, at age 15-18 years, to report higher levels of parental attachment and tended to perceive their mothers as being more caring and less overprotectivetowards them compared with bottle-fed children.  After adjustment for maternal and perinatal factors, the duration of breastfeeding remained significantly associated with adolescent perceptions of maternal care, with increasing duration of breast feeding being associated with higher levels of perceived maternal care during childhood.  Fergusson DM, Woodward LJ.  “Breast feeding and later psychosocial adjustment.”  Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 1999 Apr;13(2):144-57
Vaccine Response
The antibody levels of immunized infants were significantly higher in the breastfed than the formula-fed group.  These findings are strong evidence that breastfeeding enhances the active humoral immune response in the first year of life.  Papst, H.F. , Spady, D.W. “Effect of Breast Feeding on Antibody Response to Conjugate Vaccine”. Lancet, 1990
The breastfed group had significantly higher antibody levels than two formula-fed groups together. Breastfed infants thus showed better serum and secretory responses to perioral and parenteral vaccines than the formula fed, whether with a conventional or low-protein content.  Van-Coric, M. “Antibody Responses to Parental & Oral Vaccines Where Impaired by Conventional and Low-Protein Formulas as Compared to Breast Feeding”. Acta Paediatr Scand 1990; 79: 1137-42

The odds ratio that a woman with osteoporosis did not breastfeed her baby was4 times higher than for a control woman.  Blaauw, R. et al. “Risk factors for development of osteoporosis in a South African population.” SAMJ 1994; 84:328-32.

Whether or not women had ever breastfed, total duration of breastfeeding and duration of breastfeeding per child were not associated with reduced bone mineral, but breastfeeding for more than 8 months was associated with greater bone mineral at some sites.  Melton L et al.  “Influence of breastfeeding and other reproductive factors on bone mass later in life.”  Osteoporos Int 1993 Mar;3(2):76-83

Mothers who breastfed exclusively or partially had significantly larger reductions in hip circumference and were less above their prepregnancy weights at 1 month postpartum than mothers who fed formula exclusively.  Kramer, F., “Breastfeeding reduces maternal lower body fat.” J Am Diet Assoc 1993;93(4):429-33

Child Abuse
Encouraging early mother-infant contact with suckling and rooming-in may provide a simple, low-cost method for reducing infant abandonment.  The mean infant abandonment rate decreased from 50.3 per 10,000 births in the first 6 years to 27.8 per 10,000 births in the next 6 years following implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative at a Russian hospital.  Lvoff-NM et al.  Effect of the baby-friendly initiative on infant abandonment in a Russian hospital.  Archives-Of-Pediatrics-And-Adolescent-Medicine. MAY 2000; 154(5):474-477.
A retrospective review of 800 pregnancies at one family practice revealed an association between lack of breastfeeding and physical and sexual abuse of the mother and/or her children.  This anecdotal association has not been previously reported, is worth further study using more rigorous methods.  Acheson, L., “Family Violence and Breast-feeding” Arch Fam Med July 1995; Vol 4,pp 650-652

Financial Cost to Government and Families
Food Expense
The cost to supply artificial baby milk (ABM) to one child is between $1,160 and $3,915 per year depending on the brand.  Even mothers on WIC need to buy approximately 200 cans of concentrate to feed her infant in the first year.  Breastfeeding Support Consultants, Information on Infant Feeding Costs, April 1998  (based on Illinois and North Carolina suburban supermarket prices).

Medical Expenses
In the first year of life, after adjusting for confounders, there were 2033 excess office visits, 212 excess days of hospitalization, and 609 excess prescriptions for these three illnesses per 1000 never-breastfed infants compared with 1000 infants exclusively breastfed for at least 3 months. These additional health care services cost the managed care health system between $331 and $475 per never-breastfed infant during the first year of life.  Ball TM, Wright AL.  “Health care costs of formula-feeding in the first year of life.”  Pediatrics 1999 Apr;103(4 Pt 2):870-6
Compared with formula-feeding, breast-feeding each infant enrolled in WIC saved $478 in WIC costs and Medicaid expenditures during the first 6 months of the infant’s life.  Montgomery DL, Splett PL.  “Economic benefit of breast-feeding infants enrolled in WIC.”  J Am Diet Assoc 1997 Apr;97(4):379-85

If women breast-fed each child for at least 6 months, the total projected savings over a 7.5-year period ranges from $3,442 to $6,096 per family.  This translates into an estimated yearly savings of between $459 and $808 per family.  Savings were calculated based on estimates of the resulting decrease in infant morbidity, maternal fertility, and formula purchases.  Tuttle CR, Dewey KG.  “Potential cost savings for Medi-Cal, AFDC, food stamps, and WIC programs associated with increasing breast-feeding among low-income Hmong women in California.  J Am Diet Assoc 1996 Sep;96(9):885-90


Jay Gordon compiled that report on his web site:



I appreciated the animal info. I have also looked to the animal world to learn what is normal and healthy. My brother worked with wild mustangs here in Colorado and he taught me that a foal allowed to be with its mother for the first four years was nearly impossible to break because they are so independent.

Many people believe child led mothering leads to whiny and clingy children. And some of my friends who used lots of neglectful parenting practices told me to my face that my children would never reach independence because I breastfed on demand and never let them cry. We almost never hit them either. I spanked my youngest son once when he persisted in biting his older brother.

I don’t claim to know everything about mothering, but I sure have spent some quality time thinking about it and praying over our lifestyle. I have also read hundreds of books and have written four of my own books. Again, always asking what an ideal birth, breastfeeding, and nurturing situation would look like. I can’t really hold my own family up as the be all end all example because I am a broken person, extremely broken physically and mentally and I know my brokeness has contributed to various emotional and physical problems in our family. I would like to witness what sort of person could be created after three or four generations. As a stockman you have to understand why that would be true.

I am grateful for the Time Mag cover because it has enabled us to have this conversation, and I would presume this chat is happening all over the country.

I put a picture of myself nursing my son Ben after he was born in my third book. It is a pretty explicit picture, but I shared it because it illustrated what is ideal for both the mother and the babe. I gave birth in my bedroom standing up, my husband caught our son, then I laid down on our bed and Paul grabbed the camera and took that picture. So many important things are happening during the first hour after birth. Breastfeeding is good for Mom because it helps detach the placenta and clamp down the uterus, helping to prevent excessive bleeding. And it is good for baby because the colostrum helps clean meconium out of the babies colon preparing it to digest breastmilk. The bonding is also a factor for humans…. lots of studies have been done.

With that birth we also had a lotus birth, which means we did not cut his cord. Up to a third of the babies blood supply can be in the cord at the time of birth, so we just left it attached until it fell off on its own. Here are the pictures from that book if you want to see them: (no excessive nudity, just that one boob shot):

Our family has been rejected on many levels because of my desire to learn and practice what is normal and natural in family life and for my unwillingness to accept and use the medical profession. I am revolted by what is currently
happening to families in the hospitals during childbirth. But I appreciate your willingness to think and engage. If you can believe it, I started down this path because I had a spiritual prompting that I should learn how to mother my little ones as if the infrastructures for birth and mothering did not exist. I share the hows and whys of that all through my books and on my blog.

As for what age is best for weaning, children have the sucking reflex until the age of seven, but when Ben was five, the summer before he started kindergarten, I had a whisper from the holy spirit that it was time to wean. He was only nursing once or twice a day at that point anyway. Some of my friends followed this rule of thumb: Never offer, never refuse” and babes were generally off the breast by four or five. Most of my peers do NOT talk about this though, even to grandparents and pediatricians, because we know the tsunami of rage that will hit. I have been outspoken about birth and breastfeeding because some of us need to be courageous enough to share.

Hope that clarifys,


Thanks, what a wonderful way to end Mothers Day!

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