or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Baby › Breastfeeding › Lactivism › Action Needed: Real Simple Magazine Falsely Representing Breastfeeding
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Action Needed: Real Simple Magazine Falsely Representing Breastfeeding

post #1 of 155
Thread Starter 
I just received the August issue of Real Simple Magazine and was horrified to read their article entitled, "What's the Worst Thing that Could Happen if You..." One of their twenty items concerns breastfeeding.

The article begins on page 136 with "Here are 20 examples of what 'they' say--ironclad conventional wisdom whose time has come and gone."

excerpt: "Don't breast-feed your child...MOST LIKELY: "in the long run, nothing," says Boris Petrikovsky, chairman of the department of obstetrics-gynecology at Nassau University Medical Center, in East Meadow New York. When you're bottle-feeding you know exactly how much food the baby is eating, and Mom may be less tired because Dad has no excuse to sleep through 3 a.m. feedings. "There is also absolutely no conclusive data on breastmilk's effects on brain development," adds Petrikovsky. WORST CASE: "The biggest downside of not breeast-feeding is that the mother misses out on some bonding," says Petrikovsky. And since breast milk is specially designed to meet the nutritional needs of infants and contains antibodies that help protect them from a variety of illnesses, babies who are breast-fed are more likely to have a stronger immune systema and be sick less that formula fed infants."

Please write a letter to the editor at www.realsimple.com, choose the option that you've bought this issue at the newsstand and use "easyfood" as the code to get in as a reader.

I wrote,

"To whom it may concern:

As an educated mother wholeheartedly supporting the simple lifestyle, I was flabberghasted by your recent reference to breastfeeding.

Your August issue featured an article listing best and worst case scenarios to not heeding what "They" say. You irresponsibly quoted an OB/GYN as authoritatively clearing up the "myth" that breastfeeding has long-term benefits over the use of artificial breastmilk.

There have been multiple studies demonstrating breastfeeding's relationship to significantly lower obesity rates, asthma and food allergies and raise IQ points. These are long-lasting, life-altering repercussions.

How could a magazine for educated women seeking simplicity not advocate simple, natural infant feeding? No special equipment or chemical preparations are necessary. Trips and outtings are simpler. Nighttime feedings are the simplest possible.

There was no myth to dispell here. No service, no entertainment provided. Please use only accepted experts in the fields for sources, i.e. World Health Organization, La Leche League International.

I am disappointed that the myth of artificial breastmilk being equal to simple natural human milk was not dispelled.


Bonnie Squires"

I am too nice. Please help.
post #2 of 155
Oooh, that got me hot! Well, I wrote a reply (very off the cuff, not nearly as well thought out as otbonmom's) which I have pasted below, but I couldn't send it to Real Simple. The code (easyfood) was either wrong or expired according to the message I received. Oh well, maybe someone has a code that works??

Well, anyway, here's what I wrote:

I can't believe you are discouraging women from breastfeeding! On p. 136 your article basically says that the "conventional wisdom" of breastfeeding has "come and gone." What a ridiculous statement! If anything, we are finding out more and more all the time about how important breastfeeding is for the health of babies as they grow into children, teens, and adults. Please visit http://www.promom.org/101/ for 101 reasons for breastfeeding. Plus, it lowers a woman's chance of certain cancers and helps her to lose weight after pregnancy. This Dr. Petrikovsky is not even a pediatrician! He obviously knows very little about infant nutrition, and probably is just assuaging his guilt that his own children were fed 100% artificial food for the first months of their lives. You ought to consult with a respected pediatrician like Dr. Sears (Parenting magazine, author of The Baby Book etc.). I hope you're proud of yourself that you have given women reasons to deprive their babies of the best food possible, and instead feed what even the formula companies are forced to admit in every ad is inferior. I am sickened. As a bookseller at a large bookstore who works the magazine rack, I will never willingly place your magazine in a prominent display again. And you can sure bet I'll never buy it again. Excuse me, I'm going to go do something that is truly "real simple," I am going to nurse my baby.
post #3 of 155
Thread Starter 

they need to read your reply. my only idea is to try the code in caps. the other problem may be that they didn't update their website for the new issue so the password is the old issue's. i will look for my old issue and post that code.

again, great reply.
post #4 of 155

Oh no! I liked that stupid rag!

Haven't picked up the August issue yet. I guess they have now revealed that their research is flimsy at best. Who wants to trust them after this kind of crap? Not me. Working on my letter now.

post #5 of 155
Thread Starter 
try this for the code: BACKYARD

that was the code for the june/july issue
post #6 of 155
So what is the reason formula companies have added the new DHA oils to their formulas and have raised the price and have been promoting the hell out of them????

Isn't it because this is in breastmilk and they want it to be like breastmilk??

This doctor needs to go back to school!
post #7 of 155

backyard worked!!

nak-- i guess since aug. issue isn't on the newsstand yet, that easyfood code will be valid when it is. As of today backyard is still it.
post #8 of 155

Here's my letter:

In your article entitled, "What's the Worst Thing that Could Happen if You...", how were you able to find a doctor to tell you that not breastfeeding wouldn't make a difference? The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control all advocate breastfeeding for at least a year, the first six months exclusively.

What's the worst that can happen if you don't breastfeed? According to recent studies, you have a statistically better chance of having breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis if you don't breastfeed. Your child has a greater chance of developing juvenile diabetes, allergies, asthma and ear infections. But if you do breastfeed, it will help you and the baby relax. It makes recovering from childbirth go faster and easier. And in my experience, it makes a beautiful, healthy baby, just the right size and very smiley!

It isn't like breastfeeding is less convenient than formula: it's free! it's clean--no bottles to sterilize! just pull up your shirt and voila!

You fell down on this one. I hope you will do more research next time.
post #9 of 155
Yay captain optimism! The letter I wish I had written!
post #10 of 155
Still trying to get their site to accept my letter.

Here's what I wrote:

In the August issue of RS, Boris Petrikovsky claims that breastfeeding is not all it's cracked up to be. He says that "When you're bottle-feeding you know exactly how much food the baby is eating" and "There is also absolutely no conclusive data on breastmilk's effects on brain development".

The first notion is based on the myth long cultivated by modern medicine that the natural system is inherently deficient -- as if evolution (or God) would have screwed up so massively that the body does not know how much milk to make for the baby. In fact, as long as the baby is allowed to nurse on cue, the body's hormonal feedback system creates exactly the right amount of milk for the baby. There is no need, assuming that the mother is not malnourished and does not have a psychological or physical aversion to breastfeeding (which might affect the amount of milk produced,) to measure the amount of breastmilk the baby gets.

Second, while the evidence for breastmilk's effect on the brain may not be conclusive, it is certainly suggestive that breastfed babies' brains develop optimally. But even if that were not true, there is a plethora of other benefits of breastfeeding for both baby and mother, including increased immune system function, hormonal bonding, and long-term health benefits for the mother including decreased chance of cancer and osteoporosis.

Further, it is outrageous that Real Simple would hold up a chairman of an OB/GYN unit as an expert on breastfeeding! But even if a certified lactation consultant said the same s/he would be wrong, because the research is unequivocal that there is nothing better for both mother and child than breastmilk.

And for what it's worth, if we're talking about simplifying life (which is the focus of Real Simple,) the most convenient and healthiest choice for nourishing an infant is breastfeeding. Those who choose to formula feed may not have to share their bodies with their babies, but they do have to deal with expensive formula, preparing it (which entails cleaning bottles and having clean water at the ready,) and listening to baby's cries when a bottle is not immediately ready. Honestly, who would want to get up in the middle of the night to prepare a bottle? So much easier to just roll over in bed and offer a breast.

It would be fantastic if Real Simple would devote an article to the simplicity inherent in breastfeeding, thereby promoting this most perfect health food and bonding between mothers and babies as nature intended.
post #11 of 155
OMG!!!!!!!!!!! I just received my real simple and just finished reading the article when I came home and checked the boards and here you all are already discussing this.

I think they should add: What's the worst thing that could happen if you.......read an article containing yet again another uniformed person quoting inaccurate info on breastfeeding!UGH

Most likely: YOUr blood preassure will go up, you will feel the need to swear at the person who said these idiotic things knowing that either they don't have kids, they didn't breastfeed their kids and feel guilty, and/or had 5 minutes in medical school on breastfeeding. and HOURS UPON HOURS OF FORMULA SALES REPS BRIBING WITH KICK_ BACKS AND PERKS

Worst case: For the physician would be if someone anyone would just sue the h*ll out of any DR. who would tell them it is ok NOT to breastfeed becasue they don't want to make the mother feel guilty. They certainly don't have any problem telling a new mother not to smoke, or to put her baby in a car seat and telling them all of the hazards of doing or not doing those things.
I want this Dr. to show me the studies and findings where he found his info!!!! Why are we always having to prove our point He should have to prove his!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!RIGHT??????????????

How about the two perks for bottle feeding????? you can see how much they are getting????????? HMMMMMMMMM just look at wet and poopy dipaers and you got how much breastmilk they are getting. I don't know about you all but if my baby would have to compketely wake up and be crying, becasue it would take that for my husband to get up, am i still asleep????? can I sleep during all of this????? Now if he would have ssaid the formula fed baby sleeps longer due to the fact that the formula curdles in their stomach and takes longer to digest so they are not hungry as soon so they sleep longer well now...................maybe you would have found someone who would think that is a plus!!! Not me of course i just roll over and my babies never have to cry!

on the worst case he says that the mother misses out on SOME of the bonding?????? Yeah bonding when I see the babies with the propped bottle stuck in a bucket set aside so as not to be a bother!!!!! It should have read next: babies that have been bottle fed have a weaker immune system and are more sick than the breastfed infants, they have more of a chance of obesity, less IQ points, more of a chance of childhood and adulthood cancers, they smell wierd and their spit up stains, they have more of a chance of needing orthadontia(sp?) work,.............................................

Ok I am so p*ssed about this one thank GOd I can vent here!!!!!!!!!! I could go on and on but I won't preach to the choir anymore!!!!! LOL I will be writing a letter to them when I have cooled dowwn!!! and I really liked this mag! They just ruined it for me!

post #12 of 155
It is one thing for an educated breastfeeding mom to read an article like this, but what about the millions of impressionable pregnant women out there?! Articles like this make mothers not even want to try to breastfeed! And what about all the moms out there who are struggling with breastfeeding and want to quit.....seeing an article like this will not help them out at all! And it isn't even true!! I wonder how much the formula companies paid them to print this load of BS. Even the formula companies will tell you that breastfeeding is best! Hopefull all of our letters will make them retract their false statements.
post #13 of 155
Want to get a look at this @$$ of a dr?


What should we do for him?
post #14 of 155
The thing is, his qualifications look perfectly reasonable. I really meant it when I wrote in the letter, how did you find a doctor to say this. It's just bizarre to me, since it looks like there is such a huge weight of medical opinion in favor of breastfeeding.

The things he said are true, in a strict sense. When he says "probably nothing" bad will happen if you feed formula, that isn't false. It's just vague enough to be true! That "probably" is quite judicious. Indeed, I wonder if the reporter even quoted him out of context?

But there have been studies, even recent ones in the press, that show that adults who were breastfed have healthier blood cholesterol. Look, I found the AAP's press release.

Have you ever found ANY medical studies that show benefits from formula feeding? Over breastfeeding, I mean, not over sugar water or no food at all...
post #15 of 155


Here is the bulk of my letter:

I do not know what made you think that an OB-GYN was an expert on infant nutrition, but I must say that I am appalled by the statements he made and your decision to print them.

I am really disturbed by your decision to say the worst thing that can happen to a formula-fed baby is that mother might miss out on some bonding and baby might get sick more often. The reality is that the worst thing that can happen is that the baby could die. Studies have shown that formula-fed babies have a significantly greater risk of dying from SIDS than breastfed babies do. That is the worst thing that can happen. Is it likely? No. But it is the absolute worst that could happen, and to pretend that the link between formula-feeding and SIDS doesn’t exist is irresponsible.

Studies have shown links between formula-feeding and the following long term effects (in addition to many others): decreased intelligence, higher obesity rates, higher diabetes rates, higher allergy and asthma rates, and higher rates of some types of cancers and intestinal disorders. Those are just the risks for the baby; there are also benefits for mother is she chooses to breastfeed. And you say the worst that can happen is decreased bonding and increased illnesses? My definition of “worst” doesn’t seem to agree with yours.

I find it a little disconcerting that a magazine devoted to simple living can publish information that not only is misleading, but seems to advocate a lifestyle choice that is the antithesis of simple. There is no simpler way to feed a baby than breastfeeding, and formula has no advantages for a baby. It is insulting to your educated, intelligent, simplicity-seeking readership to pretend otherwise.

I have enjoyed reading your magazine for many months; in fact, I requested a subscription from my family when they asked what I would like for my birthday this year. I will be withdrawing that request and my readership if this kind of irresponsibility is what I can now expect from your magazine, as I will no longer be able to trust that what I read is well-researched and true.
post #16 of 155
Thread Starter 
Great letters everyone! It will not be enough for them to print a retraction. They will need to publish correct facts about the elegant simplicity of a breastfeeding lifestyle.

Oh, by the way, their letter policy is to respond to each letter--so, let's keep them busy and get them educated.

As if we needed anything else to fire us up, the article title as listed on the cover is, "20 time-wasting rules to break now" !!!!!!!!!!!
post #17 of 155
I quit reading this magazine a few months ago when the editor wrote a letter about her "self-nurtured" child. Apparently her daughter had started telling people she was self-nurtured to make her mother feel guilty for working so much. The editor admitted to it working at first and then she decided that being self-nurtured was a GOOD thing . She went on to admit that there were many times her children missed out on things because of her career and that she should have done a better job of balancing the two. This doesn't sound to me like someone who bf so what can you expect?? I say buy it at garage sales if you like the articles, just don't give them any of your money.
post #18 of 155
I just want to scream!

post #19 of 155
This is just awful. I was saving the magazine to take with me on vacation... I'm glad you all pointed out the article. I wrote a letter and cancelled my subscription.
post #20 of 155
I can not write a letter. As angry as I am it would not turn out well written just insulting their stupidity. It's so frustrating listening to such crap time and time again when you already have to defend teh things you do to your family and friends now they(family and friends) have som misguided nut to back up their POV. Stupid, stupid.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Lactivism
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Baby › Breastfeeding › Lactivism › Action Needed: Real Simple Magazine Falsely Representing Breastfeeding