Jan 082013

“Giving your baby formula is just like child abuse.”- Medical student who is planning on becoming an obstetrician.

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 January 8, 2013  breastfeeding, newborn, OB  Add comments

  76 Responses to ““Giving Your Baby Formula Is Just Like Child Abuse.””

  1. AAAAAARGH!!!!!

    What plant is s/he on?

  2. Ok there is a WORLD of difference between advocating breastfeeding and this kind of ridiculousness. It might not be the ideal nourishment but it is NOT child abuse!! Holy cow!

  3. I feel sorry for all those adoptive parents and foster families who have to “abuse” the children they so want.

  4. OK, I’m a big fan of advocating breastfeeding, but really, this doc seriously needs to learn the difference between ‘optimal’ and ‘an acceptable alternative’. (It applies to every choice that patients and parents make, not just breastfeeding.)
    Also, needs to learn the concept that ‘everyone is different and has different needs, wants, and life situations’.

  5. Umm, no it’s just feeding a baby. Of course, feeding an inferior product which lacks many of the components of breast milk, putting the baby at increased risk for future health issues. But it is far from child abuse. Sometimes it is medically necessary and even life saving to supplement with formula, not all parents have access to breast milk banks or are comfortable using informal milk sharing. Sometimes mothers have to return to work early in order to support their families and cannot pump at work. Every family’s situation is different. This future doc should just get off the high horse now before he/ she starts spouting off this insulting crap to patients.

    • This. Yes, formula is suboptimal. In the case of my children we would have had a hell of a time finding a formula that didn’t give them screaming red butt and acid poops. BUT FORMULA IS THERE TO KEEP BABIES ALIVE. If I had had no milk, you can damn well bet I would have tried every brand available and thanked God I didn’t have to watch my children wither away.

      If he hates formula so much, let him invent a better one!

    • and there are parents who NEED medications that you can’t breastfeed with. (I wouldn’t be comfortable taking my psychiatric meds that say “do not take if you are breastfeeding, pregnant or trying to become pregnant” [also my doctor puts you on BC as soon as this medication is prescribed])

      • I know someone like this, too. She has to take medically and psychologically necessary drugs after she gives birth for a condition that she gets postpartum, that necessitates stopping breast feeding. I’ve seen her postpartum, and it’s 100% necessary. It really makes her sad, because she knows she wants to breastfeed, but for her safety and the baby’s, it’s necessary to take the meds and turn to formula. In her case, formula is the safer choice. It’s not for anyone to judge.

  6. And you’re a moron.

  7. Just another example of medical paternalism. First it’s if you don’t give your infant formula you will kill her/him. Now it’s if you don’t breastfeed, it’s child abuse. Holy moly.
    I’m totally pro-breastfeeding and still am nursing my 2 year old. But dear doctors, there is a difference between formula and let’s say whiskey as infant nourishment. What about the small percentage of women who can’t breastfeed and the large amount of women who get little to no help in the hospital to initiate breastfeeding? Or all those moms here in the US who have to go back to work at 6 weeks postpartum? It’s all so easy to blame the woman.

    • yeah… seriously! one Dr calls cps because you are still nursing a 6 week old, the next because you fed him formula like the first one said to! ugh!

  8. This is *almost* akin to saying that it’s child abuse to give your kids boiled carrots instead of raw carrots. Boiled carrots of course being lesser in nutritional value than raw. To call anything of the sort ‘child abuse’ is asinine.

  9. Yeah, it is….. If your kid is like 10 and has no medical conditions that would prevent you from giving them solid foods. Stupid. Way to give pro-breastfeeding people a bad name!

    • There are a few categories for pro-bfing. he cannot even be considered the most extreme (a lactivist)
      Note: everyone I know who is a lactivist WILL approach mothers feeding their babies with bottles and “inform” them of the damage they could be doing and “encourage” them to bf the next child

  10. Ugh. Want to know what’s just like child abuse? Child abuse. That’s about it. Really, there’s just no comparison there.

  11. Hey, baby doc. Hatchling doc. Larval doc. Whatever. You can do your job without continually creating imaginary disasters your poor dumb lady patients would have stumbled into if not for your learnings.

    • *snort*

      Larval doc!! Heheeheehhehe…!

      That phrase just made me happy for some reason.

    • OMG. I love you. Seriously. Run away with me.


    • Student doctor medical students are called student doctors! We are adults, the youngest you will find is 20. It drives me up the wall when someone treats me like I am a little girl playing dress up in my coat. If you saw me out of the hospital you won’t treat me like a child! Why is it when I am introduce I am reduce to the level of kindergarten because I have to ask the person next to me to make sure I am looking at the right hole!

      • Do you say dumb things like “Giving your baby formula is child abuse?” No? Then you’re a student doctor. Yes? Then you’re a bloviating nitwit and I will call you larval doc. Especially if you use your half-learned and half-assumed knowledge to heap guilt and self-doubt on a client who really does not need any more crap in her life.

        • And also: Read through the archives here. Count the number of times an OB or other care provider told a client something that amounted to “Do this thing that may have irrevocable consequences on the basis of this completely groundless assertion I just made,” often with a garnish of “If you don’t you are a bad person and/or stupid and/or childish.” It’s so prevalent, especially among OBs, that it appears to be a disease caught in medical school. And it needs to stop.

          • Insulting student doctors will not make OB’s with personality issues better it will simply make more OB’s with grudges.

          • Oh no! I must keep sweet with the medical student now or she will take her revenge on some other woman later! I must appease the god-in-embryo that is the medical student!


          • Or you could simply be respectful of other people, I am not saying people should do any more for a student doc then they would do for say the guy at McDonald’s.

          • The guy at McDonald’s is not going to have lives in his hands when he gets out of Hamburger University.

            I used to have a summer job working on commercial fishing gear. The shed boss had one comment whenever a knot was incorrectly tied: “Well, you just killed someone.” And she was generally right. The point had to be made and it had to be made early, firmly and often, because the wrong knot coming lose at the wrong time could cause a crewmember to be maimed or even killed. Niceness was for coffee time.

            Have you skimmed the archive yet? Done that count I mentioned? Noted how many times some kind of nonsense coming out of an OB’s mouth could have had disastrous results if taken seriously? It has to stop. Hopefully in med school.

          • Exactly, Jenny Islander! I’ve actually heard from med school instructors and attendings that they’re extra hard on everyone – frequently publicly embarrassing students, interns, and residents when they make the slightest of mistakes – because it’s moments like that which stick in their minds best long-term. It’s kind of like the notion that people with birth plans always end up in a c-section. It’s not really true (unless a particular set of medical providers are intentionally causing that to happen, of course), but it’s those that end up with problems that result in a c-section that stick in the providers’ memories best. Or the “fact” that all births are SO horrendously dangerous and horrible things happen all the time. It’s the disasters that stick in providers’ memories best, not the successes without all the drama. People remember the unusual and dramatic more often than the normal and calm. So, if a med student does or says something asinine and you react in a way that catches him/her off guard (like embarrassing him/her) or simply shocks the student, it’s going to stick in those memory files longer than just ignoring everything. Anyway, that’s my take on it in every part of medicine.

          • Yes, we do get dressed down. Sometimes publically, by our teachers, nurses, and upperclassmen. There are plenty of folks about to dress me down. I don’t need people thinking they are helping by adding to my list.

          • Insulting blowhard idiots on the internet is totally acceptable. Stop acting like she did it in person. Just because this other person is also a medical student doesn’t mean you have to get all indigent as if you were being criticized. This person (girl) popped off with something that she now owes someone an apology for, Has nothing to do with you.

          • If this was the only time that I saw the whole 24 year old med students are children thing it wouldn’t bug me. It just happens a lot, how would you feel if you walked into your job and someone said “awww isn’t she precious? She looks just like a real whatever the heck you do for a living.”

          • sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away and yet you stomp your foot and .. well just look at how many times you have objected to the use of the term girl on this thread. Learn to walk away. Other people’s opinions don’t matter that much.

          • If an OB will treat a random woman with disrespect because some unknown woman on the internet insulted a different OB, then that person should not be a doctor.

            I don’t agree with name-calling, personally, but if doctors are professionals, then they need to act like professionals. The same way we are to assume the best of our OB until proven otherwise, the OB should assume the best of the patient until proven otherwise.

      • And you know, I think if you were my doctor, I would like you a lot. You listen to people. I suspect if I came into your office with a request, you’d listen to it before telling me you disagreed or you thought it was worth a shot. :-) You ask interesting questions and you hold your own in a debate. I’d like that in my doctor.

        Carry on.

  12. Oh, and another thing.
    As the biological daughter of parents who took in foster children who were truly abused and neglected (think broken ribs and teeth, forgetting to feed the kids), I find this comment extremely offensive.
    Parents constantly second guess their parenting, wondering if they’re being too harsh, too disciplined, too lax, too permissive, making the right food/clothes/school choices etc. To make them second guess even more is just cruel.

    • I felt the same way Sheva; this doctor was trivialising actual child abuse.

      No was I would be comfortable being 100% upfront and honest with this doctor. (My daughter eats fairly healthy but I’m sure I could improve her diet.)

  13. Rule number one is: FEED YOUR CHILD. Rule number two is: Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your child. When you cannot follow Rule number two, refer to Rule number one.

  14. So when a mother under his care goes on to try breast feeding but is has an underlying condition that diminishes her supply, what is she to do? Keep trying to breast feed and risk FTT or “abuse” her child by supplementing with formula? Thanks to this guy, it’s a toss-up.

    • Choice number three: lie to the doctor or risk the doctor calling CPS /DCYF. Choice number four: run from this doctor like a citizen of Tokyo fleeing Godzilla.

  15. This is mine. The girl in question (and I say girl on purpose) is a fresh faced excited med student who had recently caught her first baby. she was incredibly gung ho on all things baby and obstetrics. She was going on an on about how great breastfeeding was (good!) but then whipped out this gem (bad!). the best part of it was that she said it directly to be pregnant best friend who is not planning on breastfeeding. the girl had the grace to blush when she then asked “you’ll breastfeed, right?” and my friend answered honestly that she was in fact planning on abusing her daughter according to this girl’s definition.
    I was livid at the time when I heard this. My own daughter was about two months old and after a bevy of problems (she still has issues sucking) we had to start supplementing and I was feeling just plain awful about that. Also, I felt like her comment trivialized actual horrible child abuse (kind of like when I used to get so angry when people in college claimed an exam ‘raped’ them) I was sorely tempted to email the dean of her med school (post-partum hormones were kinda kicking my bum) and asking said dean if that was the kind of asshatery students at her med school were learning. I didn’t :)
    I will say in this girl’s defense; she is really sweet, just incredibly young and immature and I think she a little bit drunk when she said this. Next time I see her I will resist the urge to squirt her with breastmilk and will instead tell her some things she can do as an OB that will support women’s efforts to breastfeed.

    • When I was a new mom I was so insecure until I had my midwife’s reassurance that I was doing awesome and my baby loved and trusted me. (There was something about having a medical expert who I had utmost respect for saying that really resonate with me.) After that I relaxed and became a confidant and happy mommy! If I had anyone even insinuated that I was abusive I would have spiraled into a really dark place. As a health care provider she needs to choose her words very carefully. I understand that she’s sweet and young now but she could become very arrogant if she isn’t put in her place. I would contact the dean if I were you

    • Why are you referring to another grown women as a girl? Would you like it if she called you a girl? She is a full grown women, not a child. There are no children in medical school. It is beyond crazy making to walk into a patients room and to have them treat you like you are playing dress up. Medical students are dedicated professionals who are learning their craft. We all already have a BA before we even start and some of us are PhD’s in other fields. Ever wonder why some young MD’s are aggressive and seem to be trying prove that they are the doctor and they are to be treated with respect?

      • It’s the flip side of doctors using “girls” for their female pregnant patients, and I dislike it in both directions. I never hear men being referred to as “boys,” but women get referred to as “girls” all the time, like “the girl at the bank” instead of “the bank manager” etc.

      • Not the OP (obviously), but I would wager that the idealism and naivete (not to mention the rhetoric and hyperbole) represented here is more what you might expect from a high school drama queen, rather than a full grown woman.

        Apparently this resident’s mother didn’t tell her that if she wants to be treated like an adult, she should act like one first ;)

        FWIW, I understand your point. However, what this student said made her sound decidedly foolish and childish. If you act like a kid, dollars to doughnuts you will be treated like one.

      • TO me, in the OP’s statement, it sounds like a reference to the way the med student was acting/speaking. Reads to me kind of like something a teenager would say, not a grown adult who has the intellect to be able to get into med school.

        I do want to say, though, that sometimes calling a grown woman “girl” is just the way some people talk. My girlfriends and I all refer to each other as “girl” or “gal” when hanging out/talking on the phone. And I catch myself referring to other women as a girl sometimes also. Nothing intended by it, just not the best choice in words, perhaps.

      • I referred to her as a “girl” because she was acting like a child. It wasn’t a slight against medical students. Calling someone a “girl”, “boy”, “Child”, “kiddo”, “rookie” is a way to give them a verbal dressing down for acting immaturely, and that is precisely what I intended to do. I certainly don’t refer to all medical students as children, just those that act like.
        I recognize that one has had to work very hard to get into medical school, but academic success is in no way an indicator of maturity. People who act like children should be called out for doing so, whether they are med students or politicians, etc.
        I will say as someone who looks like she is 12 and works in a older male dominated profession (I once got asked while wearing a pant suit “shouldn’t you be wearing a skirt?”) that acting aggressively won’t serve you very well. It’s much more effective to just act competently. It’s easier to earn respect that way, although much more frustrating

        • You hit the nail on the head, ANH. I’m someone who’s also blessed with a young-looking face…although back in college and in my first jobs, it wasn’t such a blessing. Especially in my first post-college job where my dad happened to work. It was male-dominated too, which didn’t help. I was routinely overlooked and ignored, despite my polite, professional demeanor. Just “So-and-So’s Kid” rather than a colleague. You just have to keep proving every day that you’re a mature professional by acting like one, not getting snippy or aggressive.

          As far as calling out those who do NOT act maturely and professionally, I’ve had my share of them in the form of colleagues, medical personnel, customers, and more. And when they start that up, I do what I call “turning on my kindergarten teacher voice.” You know, the kind that sounds like you’re saying, “Now Bobby, we use our indoor voices in here. You don’t need to yell and scream,” or “Now Suzie, don’t you think you can be patient a little longer, until it’s your turn?” The effect is stunning. They don’t know how to react, because what you’re saying and how you’re saying it reminds them of being chided at school. So, they calm down a bit and usually start behaving themselves.

          People are stunned that I do that. But I say, you wanna ACT like a 5 year old having a tantrum (or parroting crap like you’re some expert without fully understanding it, etc.)…I’ll TREAT you like a 5 year old! LOL. :)

          ANH, you keep on doing that. Sometimes it’s the moments you end up being slightly embarrassed by a patient that remind medical personnel not to do such stupid things ever again.

          P.S., Just so all posters know, the word describing a mature female human is “womAn” and the plural form of the word is “womEn.”

          • You missed the post where I said I got an Iphone for the holidays didn’t you? I am pleased when I don’t call people wombats.

          • LOL! Yup, I must have missed that one! Sorry, I didn’t want to embarrass or insult anyone (just correct a simple error), which is why I didn’t use a name in the msg. I’m a writer/editor, and if I see something like that, for some reason I instinctively react. I also write resumes professionally, and you wouldn’t believe how many “pubic” relations professionals were not getting interviews! Hmm, wonder why? :) This “instinct” to correct things got in the way big time as I drove up the PCH in Southern California and on every other block there was a Public Storage sign…for some odd reason I’d “make sure” each was spelled correctly. I’m an editorial nut!

  16. Oh, yeah. JUST like.

    I agree with you, anh. I had to supplement with formula from the time my son was ten months old until a year because my breastmilk was drying up and there didn’t seem to be anything I could do about it, and I felt bad enough about it without having an idea that someone out there thought I was “abusing” my child.

    It is HIGHLY, HIGHLY offensive to throw around the term “abusive” when it comes to a child. I’m a social worker, I’ve heard about *actual* abuse, I’ve provided therapy to kids who have PTSD from *actual* abuse, and believe me, none of them were telling me about how their mom fed them formula.

  17. Promoting boob feeding, you med student, are doing completely bass ackwards. I’m think I’ll formula feed just to spite you.

  18. I really think that someone who has never had a child (either biological or adopted) should refrain from discussing parenting, pregnancy, feeding, hell anything to do with children, we all have grand ideas and wonderful plans, then you get pregnant and things start to change, you have no idea (i worked in childcare for years before having children so i had more experience than most and yet i still say i had no idea) until you have a child, until you have a toddler you have no idea, until youve had a 5 year old you have no idea. and then you have a second child and you have to learn a whole new set of rules. as i said someone who hasn’t had children should refrain from speaking

    • Well that’s nice in theory, but really is a pediatrician not supposed to discuss anything to do with children if they don’t have any of their own? Ditto OBs who have never been pregnant (ALL MEN) not supposed to discuss pregnancy?

      I mean, I get your point but it just isn’t realistic.

      • A while ago my women’s group was receiving a lecture about raising children and dealing with specific issues. The speaker was a very young women, I doubt she had any children and I was tempted to ask her if she did when one of the other listeners commented that while the theory sounded great, children can’t all be treated the same because they’re different.

        And no, I don’t take a male doctor in the delivery room seriously. How can I? Or a female doctor who doesn´t have at least one personal experience. How can someone who has never experienced labour tell me what I´m feeling, or what I am supposed to be feeling?

        I’m not sure what a pediatrician adds, in my country we don’t go to a pediatrician unless referred by a GP. There’s a bureau that weighs the children and takes care of vaccines, advice, that sort of thing. I don’t really take them seriously either. They are, technically, doctors but they are notorious for their awful advice.

        • You could just as easily argue that a female OB who had several live births but no C-sections isn’t qualified or shouldn’t speak about something which she has no personal experience. Or that neurosurgeons shouldn’t talk about brain tumors unless they had one themselves. Are you really telling me that you wouldn’t take a heart surgeon seriously if he’s never had a heart attack himself? Medical professionals are trained to treat a wide variety of conditions, the vast majority of which they will never have personal experience for. That makes them unqualified to open their lips on the subject?

          Yes someone might not have [i]personal[/i] experience of a particular condition or status, but I don’t think that means people should “shut up” about it. IMO it’s less important that people have had the personal experience and more important that people are sympathetic, open-minded and non-judgmental.

          • Having a tumor or a heart problem can be diagnosed. Neurosurgeons or cardiologists usually talk about the practical problems, if you have a hard time coping, you’re referred to a psychologist. This type of thing can, IMHO, not be compared to raising children who all have different personalities and parents, who have different beliefs or styles. It is not a “one size fits all” type of thing. There are only a few ways to treat a tumor but there are hundreds of ways to raise a child. If someone has a “degree” in raising children (please forgive me that I don’t know what it’s called since English isn’t my native language) they could argue that a time out works for all children and yet, many children couldn’t care less about a time out. Still, that person may not have experienced that since he or she has no children and may simply go “by the book” which often doesn’t work.
            The same thing is true for labour and delivery. Which aren’t medical situations to begin with (at least not by definition). When I had my oldest daughter, the (male) gyn told me that I was not in labour because they could tell by my behaviour and my CTG. I “should” be feeling and behaving is such and such a way, according to his book.
            we often read here that women are “supposed” to be in a lot of pain, or are told they aren’t in enough pain, or that they are crazy for desiring unmedicated birth. How can a doctor tell me what I’m feeling? How can a man possibly know what it feels like when your episiotomy stitches feel like when they start healing? He can’t, plain and simple. So no, I don’t take him seriously.

            I’m not telling you I wouldn’t take a hear surgeon seriously if he or she didn’t have at least one heart attack. But that is because I think cardiology and obstetrics can not be compared in the sense that both are an exact science. They are not.

            I’m a freebirther and due to my advanced pregnancy I have a lot of spare time on my hands in which I love to read stories about birth. And sometimes I come across a birth story of a dutch midwife (which is like a home birth medwife) who never gained a true understanding of what her clients/patients went through until she had a baby herself and that changed the way she worked because she now fully understood what it was like from the birthing mother’s perspective which, as she experienced, seems much more vulnerable than it does if you’re the medic. I respect that.

            There’s a reason why LLL volunteers for example have to have experience breastfeeding their children. So that they can truly empathize with what a mother is dealing with. Would you trust a lactation consultant who had bottle fed her own children? I wouldn’t.

            So yes when I have a medical condition (emphasize medical) I’ll trust my doctor to know what’s best. So if, in a few weeks, I do decide that my baby is to be born under medical supervision, i will trust the OB or midwife to know what’s best but, as long as it’s not a medical situation I only trust myself.

            As for children, I hate it when my sister, who I see once a year, and works in daycare/primary school, tells me that my toddler is angry, not sad, because she (my sister) knows these things since she studied from books… Big deal. I live with my toddler 24/7 and when i say she’s not angry, she’s not suddenly angry because my sister read it in a book.

            besides I didn’t say they should shut up. I said i don’t take them seriously. And i have every right, and every reason to.

        • I was the absolute BEST MOTHER in the world a few years ago, and I could have told anyone anything they needed to know about pregnancy, birth, breast feeding, child rearing, etc. My hypothetical children NEVER watched television, ate refined sugar, threw a tantrum…… but then I actally had real children and well……. sadly I’m not the expert I once was. (But I am still The Expert on teenagers – for now! :-p)

        • My OB has never been pregnant, and only recently adopted a child after she was found to be infertile. She is the kindest, most empathetic care provider I’ve ever met. She’s caught two of my four kids and empowered me, supported me, and did all she could to ensure I had a safe and evidence based delivery without unneeded and unwanted interventions. I love this woman. She is as good as part of my family and I would trust her with my life and the life of my children. I wouldn’t trade her for Ina May Gaskin.

          • Yup. I’ve had one terrible female OB (blatantly play the dead baby card in an attempt to get my husband to bully me into a preterm c-section), and one wonderful male OB — and the OB who assisted my VBAC had only ever had 2 c-sections.

            I understand that experience is a better teacher than education, but that doesn’t mean the experience necessarily needs to be personal.

        • You’re saying that someone politely pointed out that all children are different, which is obviously true, and that a cookie-cutter solution does not work for anything. Yeah, you’re right.

          But then you say that you don’t want a doctor who hasn’t experienced labor firsthand. I can respect that, although you can’t really guarantee that the doctor you have, no matter how many children she may have birthed, had the exact same experience in labor as you are having/had, considering the wide variety of things like pain tolerance and experiences. Every labor is as different as every child. Therefore, according to your own comments, I don’t think that it logically follows that someone who has a child will necessarily be more caring or more attentive to your needs. They could well be someone who was just wheeled in for a c-section for whatever reason. They could also be one of those people who checks into the hospital with mild cramping and is fully dilated, whereas you’re swearing and cursing and swearing the baby is about to come when you’re at 2 cm. (All that said, I just want a female doctor because I like them to have the same equipment as me because I feel like that somehow enables them to understand me and my needs a little better. But I also understand that that doesn’t necessarily logically follow.)

          Like Jane says below, the issue is empathy. If all of us refuse to be treated by anyone who has not had firsthand experience with what’s going on, we’ll probably be up a creek. As a mental health professional, it’d be pretty horrifying to see some examples play out, such as someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder treating someone else with that diagnosis, or Antisocial Personality Disorder. As long as you do your research, keep an open mind, and never stop learning from your clients/patients, and, as you point out, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, I think you can do quite well treating and helping people in situations about which you have no firsthand knowledge.

          • I simply think that a medical situation is not the same as having a baby. Nor is child rearing (since that was brought up).
            As for mental health, I’ve dealt with problems in that area myself and my employer told me to see a psychologist and that honestly did nothing for me. I know mental health professionals do a lot of good. My sister is very happy with hers. But I felt awkward and weird. Never told the entire truth of what was going on in my mind (depressed and seriously suicidal) and I never told my dr that I smoked pot. I just wasn’t comfortable talking to these things to a stranger. Most people benefit from routine treatment or routine referral. I’ve been an exception to many rules many times in my life. Maybe I often react strongly to “treat A with B”, one size fits all or if the shoe fits… type of things.

            I did recover 100% from my depression and suicidal thoughts, without professional help and without medication.

            And yes I was one of those people with mild cramping, was told I wasn’t in labour. Baby was born 2,5 hours later. On site, since they let me stay for my induction in the morning. During 2nd stage, I kept asking the OB if anything was happening at all because it didn’t feel like it. Took 9 minutes.

            I do think you can help people even if you don’t have firsthand knowledge of a certain situation, but more often than I care to know about, those in the field of labour and delivery are telling women what and how they’re feeling, and what they should be doing, in stead of asking what she needs. They’re not helping.

    • I agree with you that having a care-provider with experience is the best.
      Of course, if a care provider isn’t full of herself and is willing to learn from life and her patients and not just pull information out of her books or a$$, she could be pretty great, too. (Or he.)
      I worked with an OB who said she had one child, by cesarean. I mentally geared myself for a birth where I had to fight against every intervention. It ended up being one of the most respectful, relaxed, beautiful births I’ve ever attended.
      On the other hand, I met a young new nurse without children who made a rude comment about all the whining that new mothers did about the pain they were in. She said she wanted to yell at them to be grateful and stop complaining. I gave her a polite earful.
      And then my favorite – my tiny barely-5-feet-100-lbs-soaking-wet sister had a nurse at one of her labors who was being rude. Sis asked if she’d had kids, and the nurse said no. My sister yelled at her (she never does that…) and said, “Then get out of here and find me a nurse who does!” I wish I could have been there to see that.

    • I think it’s better to say the quality you’re looking for in a physician is empathy. There probably are doctors who had children and yet are giving terrible parenting advice because they can’t connect to the needs of other parents with different children. A doctor could have ten children and yet if they were all low-need children who were raised mostly by nannies, that doctor will have a distorted view of parenting and how easy certain things are. “Your kid has problems toilet training? Mine didn’t, and I hear it was a snap, so you must be doing something wrong.” We’ve all met parents like that, who simply cannot connect to whatever issue another parent is struggling with, and therefore they assume it’s not really an issue at all.

      Whereas you will also meet people who (for example) never had children or never dealt with allergies or never dealt with depression, and yet they are absolutely compassionate, good listeners, good researchers, and able to provide suggestions that meet the needs of the person they’re talking to. “My kids toilet trained without any problem, but I’ve heard that in a situation like the one you’re facing, it’s best to try A, B, and C. Do any of those sound applicable? No? Well, let me talk to Dr. Smith-Jones and see if I can get any other ideas for you.”

      Empathy makes up for lack of experience because then to some extent the doctor accepts your experience as his or her own, and learns from it. Experience without empathy may be worse than no experience at all.

    • ok so i generalised, my bad, it still doesnt make this comment acceptable… i wasnt talking about obs/nurses doing their job, i was talking about them and other people making random off the cuff comments having had no experience. if this brand new doctor had refrained from giving her uneducated opinion and gave her educated one she wouldnt have deeply offended 1 woman struggling to breastfeed and one who never planned on breastfeeding.

  19. Silly girl. However, it sounds like she was had the insensitivity of someone who has no real experience of working with pregnant women and women who have babies. She probably didn’t mean to be offensive. Part of learning is making mistakes and learning from them. Someone needs to tell her that she can’t say things that are (a) inaccurate and (b) offensive.

    • What is with the massive amount of paternalism on this post? Why are you calling another fully grown women a girl?

      • Because a grown woman, intelligent enough to get into medical school, ought to be grown up enough to recognize how inappropriate it is to compare formula feeding to child abuse. Clearly, this med student has a bit of growing up left to do.

        Then again, sometimes a colloquialism is just a colloquialism and not a mark of rampant paternalism.

      • Because she sounds more like a silly child than a grown woman in terms of her naivety.

        Also, I come from a background (British aristocracy) where women are called ‘girls’ no matter how old they are. It’s not paternalism if used in that context.

        You are, of course, fully entitled to disapprove of the over privileged and under educated British aristocracy and its quaint and anachronistic pretensions. I’m not awfully keen on it myself. That, however, is quite another matter.

  20. I’m a medical student & I won’t defend what she said because it’s stupid, arrogant & naive. I don’t support name-calling/bullying/belittling students who might not understand or know complexities of a certain diagnosis or treatment plan, but she definitively needs to be set straight. You don’t make patient feel shitty about their OPTIONS. You are there to inform & let the patient decide. If someone wants your opinion, they’ll ask for it. But ultimately the choice is up to the patient. Bottle feeding child abuse??? I just turned 24, never had a child, not gunning for OBGYN and STILL knew that before med school.

  21. I found this statement incredibly offensive. I had a rough early C-section after my BP rocketed to “you’re going to have a stroke” levels (210/110,) had a husband who wasn’t really interested in helping me with colicky twins, got a hideous infection behind the incision, and got a wicked case of PPD (I have a history of depression.)

    So when I spoke to my midwife and checked “Yes” to “I think about hurting myself” on the little quiz, we both agreed that it was time for me to switch to a BC that had a history of really evening my mood out and making me feel much more sane. This despite the fact that it would also dry me up. If I had to choose between hurting myself or my babies in a hormone-induced psychosis, and them getting formula…belly up to the Similac, girls.

    It worked. Halfway through the first pack, I was leveled out, sleeping better, no longer depressed, more cheerful and interested in my babies. To me, THAT makes me a better mom, though I guess that pinhead thinks I was a selfish expletive and abused my daughters.

    Sorry, that got a little venomous there. It just frustrates me sometimes when people make broad sweeping statements. They’re not taking into account all possible factors. That being said, breast is best, but if you have to supplement, or feed formula exclusively, go you. You’re still loving on that baby.


    • I just want to hug you.
      My psychological history has lead to myself, my husband, my OB group and my psychiatrist to all agree that getting on meds right after birth will help. I’m so tired of hearing everyone’s blasted 2 cents on how I’m not doing right by my children opting out of bf-ing.
      I agree with you: sane mom trumps baby at boob anyday

  22. As a suvivor of abuse (ACTUAL abuse) I am incredibly offended whenever people lable a parenting decision they wouldn’t make as “abusive.” I hear and see people say it all the time, and it never fails to piss me off. I remember once I was at a restaurant with my family and a woman followed me into the restroom to tell me that feeding my child whatever it was she was eating there was abusive. To which I replied, “I was held down and raped when I was three. That’s abuse. Learn the difference.”

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