A Pediatricians or OB/GYN's Guide to Making Breastfeeding Difficult
Linda J. Smith, BSE, FACCE, IBCLC
1. Tell the mother to "feed on a 4-hour schedule" or "get the baby on a
schedule." This results in a low milk supply and a hungry, frustrated baby
and frustrated parents. Be sure to blame the crying on breastfeeding. If
this doesn't work, warn her to limit the length of feeds, which will
accomplish the same thing.
2. Prevent her from nursing in the first five minutes after birth, when the babies
instinct to latch is the strongest. This will make the latch even harder to accomplish
later in the day.
3. Be sure to "get the baby used to a bottle." This can result in a confused
baby who refuses the breast. It's also a great way to lower the milk supply
and undermine the mother's confidence.
4. Tell her she doesn't have enough milk if:
"The baby wants to nurse again after only 2-3 hours"...OR
"The baby will take 2 ounces of formula after nursing"...OR
"Your breasts aren't full and uncomfortable all the time"
Since milk supply insecurity is the primary cause of lactation failure, this
will introduce an element of doubt and fear to the whole process.
5. Tell her she can't or shouldn't nurse if:
"She wants to eat chocolate (or Mexican food or cabbage, etc.)"...OR
"She smokes or wants to take medication"...OR
"She's going back to work/school in a few weeks"....OR
"She wants to go out in public...nursing requires privacy"...OR
"Her breasts are too small (or large)"...OR
"Her mother couldn't"...OR
"She's too nervous"...
Find as many reasons for NOT breastfeeding as you can, and look for ANY
reason to interrupt it. Put as much distance between mother and baby as
6. Insist that "Dad should give the baby a bottle or he'll feel left out."
This is another good way to minimize the importance of breastfeeding.
7. Tell her it may hurt to breastfeed, and that sore, cracked nipples are
normal. Pain is an excellent adverse stimulus. Don't teach her how to
position the baby correctly. Do give her a nipple shield, give the baby lots
of bottles to disrupt the proper suck, and tell her to rub her nipples with
a rough towel to "condition" them. And be sure to tell her every "horror
story" you've ever heard about breastfeeding, in graphic detail.
8. Tell her to give the baby formula, glucose water and cereal right from
the beginning, to make the baby sleep. This is another good way to insure
inadequate milk supply. Tell her that her milk might be too rich or too
thin. Try and make her think that formula is the "safer" option, and that
there is something wrong with her milk even if she's lucky enough to have
enough of it. This will further shatter her confidence.
9. Separate her from her baby at birth, and show by your actions that water,
formula, pacifiers, and scheduled feedings are the appropriate way to care
for the baby. Since she is especially vulnerable at this time and will
follow your example, be sure to tell her how little breastfeeding matters.
This will help her distrust her instincts even more.
10. Don't teach her the normal course of infant behavior. Don't warn her
about growth spurts and frequency days. Don't call or visit her, and be sure
to abandon her in the critical first two weeks. Blame breastfeeding for
anything you can think of, and make up reasons to stop breastfeeding if
11. Give her plenty of formula samples to take home to further weaken her
confidence. Make sure the literature you give her has many references to
formula, and doesn't tell her how to keep her milk supply up. Make sure she
doesn't call a La Leche League Leader, Lactation Consultant, breastfeeding
peer counselor, or anyone else knowledgable about breastfeeding.
All these tactics, individually or collectively, will discourage