Mothering Magazine-an insult to eP’ers

This morning, I continued creating posts for our huge sell-off. I sell items at several different online “stores”, including ebay, DiaperSwappers, and the Trading Post @ Mothering Magazine’s discussion boards. Mothering is an awesome magazine dedicated to Natural Family Living. I refer back to their back issues frequently regarding questions I have about natural birth, breastfeeding, vaccinations, babywearing, and co-sleeping.

Unfortunately, I had an experience this morning at their online trading post that really perplexed and ultimately disappointed me. I posted five 9 ounce Avent bottles for sale. I used these bottles for a limited time while I was exclusively pumping (eP’ing) and supplementing with formula. As many of you know, I had extensive breastfeeding problems and finally managed to find success. In fact, at nearly 15 months, my “flat nipples” are still nursing a tongue tied baby! My breastfeeding story can be found HERE.

Almost immediately after posting the bottles for sale, I was contacted by a moderator and told that my post was deleted. The reasoning behind this decision was based on Mothering’s support of the World Health Organization’s code of “Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes.”

Cynthia Mosher, Mothering’s Discussion Board Administror, has posted the following:

ATTENTION All Trading Posters


Advertising formula, bottles, and pacifiers is a violation of the WHO Code of the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes which Mothering and MDC voluntarily supports. So please refrain from posting such items for sale, trade, or giveaway, inclluding coupons for such items.

Any questions or concerns can be addressed to me by email or PM. Thanks for your help and support in this matter.

~Cynthia Mosher
Administrator, MDC

There’s a part of me that wants to jump up and down and clap for Mothering’s hardcore stance against formula and their militant advocacy of breastmilk. And yet, who are we forgetting here?

We’re forgetting the moms who, because of economic need, are forced back into the workforce at 6 weeks postpartum. The mothers who are sitting in bathroom stalls at their place of employment, closing their eyes and thinking of their child as they let down for a double electric, battery operated pump. We’re forgetting the moms who are hooked up to plastic tubing as they make the long commute home. The moms who sit in the NICU for months with their premies and sick babies. The moms who have scoured the internet for help and resources and have found online communites full of other women who are chained to the breastpump, every 2 hours. Pumping, storing, freezing, thawing, warming, pumping.

After you get the hang of it, nursing isn’t difficult. Rolling over in bed to plop a breast into the waiting mouth of your child isn’t hard. Lifting your shirt as you sit on a bench at the mall doesn’t take any work.

Pumping 8-10 times a day, taking supplements and aids to build supply, waking up in the middle of the night to sit up and pump, cleaning and sterilizing pump parts, buying a pump, renting a pump, buying storage bags, bottles, nipples, bottle brushes. Never being able to leave home for long periods of time without a huge supply of equipment. This is hard. This is the most difficult feeding method. It takes dedication, sheer determination, and fierce mother love to make this sort of commitment.

So to Mothering Magazine, shame on you. Shame on you for outcasting these mothers by your elitist refusal to help supply them with equipment at a reduced price by other helpful mamas.

And for pumping moms everywhere, the resource links:

16 Responses to “Mothering Magazine-an insult to eP’ers”

  1. 1 antropologa January 16, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    Oh, my poor blood pressure. It’s a good thing I didn’t read this while pumping or my letdown would have gone kaput!

    That is just so insulting. For one thing, bottles are not just for formula, and breastfeeding is not just for women who choose or are able never to leave their children’s sides. Is Mothering/MDC intolerant or simply unaware of mothers who pump for their babies at work? Or who simply spend time away from their children sometimes? Or who pump to relieve engorgement? Whose babies are ill in the NICU? Or are trying to build their supply?

    And I find this anti-bottle stance personally egregious as I am an exclusive pumper. My bottles sometimes hold a breastmilk substitute, but 85% of the time they hold my hard-won milk. Would Mothering/MDC prefer my baby starve than take her milk by bottle since she doesn’t nurse well due to tongue tie, flat nipples, nipple preference? Did they want me to just write off breastfeeding (and attachment parenting, etc.) since nursing wasn’t working?

    I’m not using bottles because I want to, but because I have to. And for pacifiers–just because my baby can’t comfort nurse doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve comforting non-nutritive sucking.

    Maybe they feel it’s symbolic: bottles and their accessories don’t fall in line with their view of appropriate attachment/co-sleeping/breastfeeding etc. worldview. But you can still do all these things with bottles if you want to, if need be. No need to be exclusionary.

    I am a breastfeeding mother too–working very hard at it, harder than most. I deserve to the enjoy the support–emotional, and in the form of equipment–from other mothers, even though my breastfeeding story isn’t pretty, common, easy, or ideal.

    Talk about adding insult to injury.

  2. 2 liz January 16, 2007 at 7:44 pm


    I was very lucky that we had the money to buy all the equipment I needed to pump for nine months, incl. the hands-free attachments, etc. But when I was done, I handed everything on to my SIL. She handed it on to her best friend, who handed it on. Pumping is difficult, the equipment is expensive, the support is practically non-existent. I hope Mothering sees the light on this one.

    One side effect of pumping, if you read or blog or whatever while you pump: continued mild let-down 4+ years later.

  3. 3 Erica January 16, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    Oy! I’m sorry you got sideswiped by the Mothering boob police! I have just cancelled my subscription to Mothering because of their hardline stance on everything — I agree with the general idea of a Natural Parenting magazine, but they’re so, well, MEAN about everything — there is only THEIR OPINION, and the WRONG OPINION. So lame. What did me in was the article about how deadly all of our children’s toiletries are… with little or no scientific backup. It’s a waste of a good magazine concept — and their interaction with you really underscores that for me.

  4. 4 Magdalena January 16, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    Awww fuck. See, the more rational side of me wants to believe that this level of insanity doesn’t really exist. It’s like unicorns, you hear about them, but you never see them.

  5. 5 Jenn January 16, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    I can see them not wanting formula posted, but bottles aren’t only used for formula. That’s a shame. I’ve only read one issue of Mothering but I really liked it.

  6. 6 Jess January 17, 2007 at 12:56 am

    Wow, this is so frustrating. It’s almost as if in some circles EPers are treated as a lower caste of breastfeeding women. This when they/we are doing something that is so difficult that we need all the support we can get, especially from organizations that are supposed to support breastfeeding women.

    We recognize the importance of giving baby our milk, which is why we go to such lengths to make sure that happens.

    I am so disappointed in this organization!

  7. 7 Kristin January 17, 2007 at 4:17 am

    Wow, that sucks, and is rather insulting and narrow-minded of them. I like Mothering, most of the time, though I really don’t agree with their all or nothing stances on this kind of thing. I understand the WHO’s push to limit marketing of formula, especially in developing countries. But Mothering should think about who is reading their forums, too — do they think that someone seeing bottles for sale on their forum is actually going to persuade someone not to breastfeed? Ha! For me, if I didn’t have bottles, my kiddo would have starved.

  8. 8 misspudding January 17, 2007 at 7:06 am

    Wow. I had a similar situation with my son. Would not nurse from me but he was allergic to formula. Slowly, over three months, I built up my supply (pumping CONSTANTLY, it seemed), to feed him mostly breastmilk, until I was able to retrain him on the breast (THANK YOU LACT-AID!!!).

    I can’t believe how we have to make women feel soooo bad. Geezus. Come on, we’re all just trying to raise a kid. That’s it! We’re not beatin’ ’em!

  9. 9 S January 17, 2007 at 10:30 am

    These people are morons, have they actually read the code of conduct?

    It says NOTHING about banning the advertising of Infant formula, and certainly NOTHING about bottles.

    Infact, I quote from it:

    “Considering that, when mothers do not breast-feed, or only do so partially,
    there is a legitimate market for infant formula and for suitable ingredients from which
    to prepare it; that all these products should accordingly be made accessible to those
    who need them through commercial or non-commercial distribution systems; and that
    they should not be marketed or distributed in ways that may interfere with the
    protection and promotion of breast-feeding; ”

    At the very worst, if formula ads on the site conclude with the statement you’ll find on any formula tin you are well within the guidelines.

    What a bunch of morons.

    Here is the link to the actual code of practice:

    Finally, whilst I’m on my soapbox, the WHO guidelines are particularly intended for DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, where access to regulated baby formula and clean water and sterile equipment is hard to come by. That is the reason for this guidelines, not any concern about the effect of baby formula on children!

  10. 10 Kate January 20, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Where did you get the lactuca virosa from? Did your midwife have it or did you order it online /What was the strength of the tablets? Please help- I am ep and supply is going down fast. I am already on fenugreek, do you know if I can take both together or if I will even need the fenugreek?

    Thanks so very much1

  11. 12 Lara February 4, 2007 at 4:11 am

    Bottles and teats definitely fall within the scope of the Code.

    However, it seems that Mothering might be a little confused about the difference between “marketing” and “selling”.

    Bottles may not be marketed in a way that undermines breastfeeding and therefore contravenes the Code. Avent advertisements directly comparing bottlefeeding to breastfeeding (complete with faked images) are a particularly good example of Code violations.

    Selling a bottle, in and of itself, is not a violation.

    Do Mothering have a policy not to allow the sales of any item made by a company that breaches the Code? In that case, they’d need to disallow ALL avent items, right down to sippy cups and pump gear…

  12. 13 L February 16, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    The “Code” certainly is not intended primarily for developing countries and it states quite clearly that “breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the growth and developement of infants…”. The link to the code is very useful.(thank you!) Nowhere do I see developed countries excluded from the recomendations. And if one reads article 4 you can see that indeed there is concern for the effect of baby formula on children. Article 4.2 reccomends that pregnant women and mothers of infants should be informed of: “the benefits and superiority of breastfeeding” and “the health hazards of unnecesary or improper use of infant formula”. For anyone who has the time or the interest, reading the Code in its entirety is enlightening.

  13. 14 Gastarbeiter October 27, 2007 at 9:23 pm

  14. 15 Julie January 27, 2008 at 4:18 am

    I am totally disgusted with Mothering now. I just told a forum administrator (abimommy) to please cancel my sunscription because of THIS, or to forward my request to someone who can. I hate, hate, hate pumping, but I want my daughter to be exclusively breastfed, and I work FT. Giving her bottles of pumped breastmilk is the ONLY way to do this! I told them I have no interest in finanicially supporting an organization that shuns pumping mothers. I am so angry over this.

  15. 16 mama41 April 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Well, I hope you had good luck with that, Julie. They’ve got a sick culture over at Mothering. They ban people so capriciously, and have people so in fear of it, that the mods have gallows humor about it — they put up an April Fool’s gag on the forums frontpage where you could choose to ban someone else. (Taking the bait results in self-banning.) I’ve been around teh networks for close to two decades, and never seen anything else like it.

    Which doesn’t in the end speak too well of AP, if this is the big mag for it.

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