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Dear Abby Readers Respond

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, July 30, 2007

You might remember my post back in May about a Dear Abby column that discussed a new mom breastfeeding in front of guests.

This past week, Dear Abby published reader responses and I was pleased to see that every last one of them was supportive of the mother. (It pained me to see so many focused on using burp cloths or blankets to be "discreet" but it's a start.)

The best response came froma woman in Hurricane, Utah.

DEAR ABBY: After I had my baby, my doctor came into my hospital room and asked if I was planning on nursing my baby. I said I was. He could see my roommate was listening to our conversation, so he asked her if she, too, was planning on nursing. She said no! My doctor, who was known for his frankness, said: "What do you think those breasts are for -- sweaters? Nursing is the best way to go! The milk is always warm, and it comes in cute containers!"

I love the "cute containers" comment. That's just priceless.


  1. Blogger jenny mae. | 9:18 AM |  

    does dear abby have multiple people who respond to questions? sometimes i find the answers given a little inconsistent.

    and they ARE cute containers!

  2. Anonymous sarat | 11:21 AM |  

    It sounds like this doctor didn't ask why the mother wasn't going to breastfeed. Maybe her work environment was going to make it impossible. Maybe she was on medications that could have negatively impacted the baby. Maybe something about her home life was going to make breastfeeding difficult. I think medical practitioners can support breastfeeding without lecturing mothers about how their bodies are supposed to be used. Isn't that up to each woman to decide?

  3. Blogger The Lactivist | 11:27 AM |  

    Well I would imagine it depended on how he said it.

    In my mind, it was good natured joking which makes it funny. :) I highly doubt he was sternly lecturing her if he's using phrases like "cute containers."

  4. Blogger Eilat | 11:38 AM |  

    Lecturing is generally not a good way to get someone to see your point of view. But, I would hope more doctors would think about the health of patients before their feelings. (If she said she was a smoker, she'd probably get a lecture.) Perhaps in addition to pointing out the cute containers (agreed!) or the warm milk (an advantage, for sure) he should have given the mom some information on the health and cost benefits of breastfeeding. Or offered her help to see if she'd like to try. That kind of support is what more moms need.

    btw - there is no link in your post to where one can find the reader responses. Can you provide?

  5. Blogger The Lactivist | 11:45 AM |  

    Doh! I knew I forgot something!

  6. Blogger Mama Sombat | 11:04 AM |  

    Cute containers... sounds like another idea for a t-shirt!

  7. Anonymous sarat | 11:47 AM |  

    I'm not sure if the post I sent last night went through. . . .

    I agree, it sounds like the doctor was joking. But it might not be funny (and could feel like a lecture) to a woman who knows "breast is best," who would like to breastfeed, but is unable to. I know a number of women who are in this position.

    I agree that doctors should take the time to discuss and promote breastfeeding with their patients (I loved that our pediatrition helped me get my son latched on at our first visit), but I don't think that a very brief--and public--joke is a good way to do this.

  8. Anonymous Anonymous | 10:05 AM |  

    Regardless of whether a mother chooses to use her breasts to feed her baby - her body prepares to feed that baby that is grown in her body. Her breasts increase in size during pregnany because the glands are preparing to make mommy's milk for that baby growing inside her. Regardless of her situtation that milk from a healthy mother is the best choice for the baby - maybe not for mom but certainly for the baby's health.

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