Bachmann, Obama and lactation hysteria

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49 Responses

  1. North says:

    Well the First Lady is just doing what First Lady’s do; advocating nice causes. I wish we weren’t further complicating the tax code to do it but ehh what can you do? Maybe her husband will come through on his tax reform rhetori; I’m not going to hold my breath.
    As for Bachmann, I feel compelled as a Minnesotan(immigrated) to apologize for her even though I can’t vote for/against her. I remain, as a Canadian, baffled that the sensible pleasant people in Minnesota keep her around. Perhaps she’s a plant.Report

  2. BlaiseP says:

    It wouldn’t matter what FLOTUS said or did: Michelle Bachmann would have nothing good to say of her.Report

  3. Scott says:


    Sure, lots of things are good for kids (and adults for that matter) but that doesn’t mean that the gov’t has to provide tax breaks for everyone of them. Or does it? I think that is the real point of Rep. Bachmann’s statement, that you seem to so glibly dismiss.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Scott says:

      The point of Bachmann’s statement is that she’s

      1. Reflexively opposed to anything the Obamas do, and
      2. Very, very dim.Report

      • North in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        3. Crazy as a catfish.Report

        • Scott in reply to North says:

          She maybe all three but that does not mean that in this particular case that she is wrong. Besides, if you can afford to have a baby, surely you can afford a breast pump.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

            It does mean Michele Bachmann is a mean-spirited weirdo with nothing better to do with her time than raise a hue and cry over a breast pump tax deduction.Report

            • Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:


              So she is mean spirited b/c she thinks that the gov’t shouldn’t provide silly deductions for every feel good thing of dubious efficacy?Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

                When it comes to Dubious Efficacy, the GOP has much to say about Silly Deductions. While the public tit is hanging out for all their supporters, especially all those good-for-nothing Red States who take in more Federal Dollars than they contribute, their complaints fall on deaf ears.Report

              • Boonton in reply to Scott says:

                Unless I’m mistaken, there is no new deduction. It’s the old deduction you can take for medical expenses (if you itemize). The question was whether or not a pump qualified as a medical expense.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

            … and surely, if you’re a farmer, you don’t need price supports. Michele Bachmann’s farm got a quarter million dollars in corn and dairy price supports.Report

            • Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:


              I agree but legislators of BOTH parties continually vote for farm subsidies. So what is your point then?Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

                That all this Tax Cut hooey is for public consumption only, so much hypocritical flimflam for the rubes. When it comes to nursing from the public tit, Michele Bachmann ought to take some of that money from her PAC and repay the government for those price supports before anyone ought to take her seriously.Report

              • Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:


                So the fed gov deficit is really just an imaginary problem being used to scare all us rubes into voting republican? Thank goodness we have folks like you to save us from ourselves.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

                Woo! (wiggles fingers scarily) deficits! Gosh, it’s so good to see the GOP finally concerned about deficits. Fiscal responsibility, thrift, mhm.

                Now here’s what I propose: Red States can fund their own states. Mississippi currently gets 202% of every dollar they pay, West Virginia get 176%, Arkansas gets 141%, South Carolina gets 135%, and Kentucky gets 151%. There’s some mighty deficit reduction right there.

                That way, in the Blue States, where things are somewhat more prosperous, we can fund our own people and leave you Red Staters to scratch. Your own states can’t fund themselves, because your policies are regressive and simply don’t work.Report

              • Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:


                You must be right as CA, Ill., NY and NJ are all such shining examples of prosperous fiscally responsible blue states.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Well now, California had a bunch of Republicans who decided they weren’t going to pay taxes. That’s true to form for homo republicans, they don’t want to pay for anything. However, they’re not much on actual deficit reductions, case in point, that little harpy Michele Bachmann.

                I think we ought to take the GOP at its word. Less taxes? A fine idea, really. Eliminate all federal subsidies for a given state to the tune of their disproportionate benefit from federal dollars.Report

              • Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:


                So CA’s problems are really all the fault of Repubs as well? It must be a nice fantasy land you live in where Dems can do no wrong.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                California is the textbook example of why Republicans screw things up at a state level. This isn’t as true at a Federal level, but it is true at the state level.

                In California, the GOP refused to pass any tax increases, so Ahnold was forced to gut the state government. No problems. I know LA and the Santa Monica area rather better than I would like: this isn’t a fantasy world. It’s the world where you get what you pay for, not the GOP world where the God-given right to low taxes stands paramount over every other concern.

                Now you’ve tried to pull his away from Michele Bachmann and the Public Tit, but you haven’t shown me how her own hypocritical sucking on that tit is anything we should admire.Report

              • Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:


                I’m the one that pulled this discussion away from Michele Bachmann and the Public Tit, really? Who brought up farm subsidies? You did! Who brought up how red states take more than they contribute. You did! Who brought up how it was the Repubs that ran CA into the ground. You did! At least get your facts straight before you distort them.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                The Public Tit is a bountiful boob and many are the little piggies which nurse from it. Based on my experience with USDA, I have watched that tit with very considerable interest, for it was the first time I ever had to write report with four commas. DoD was the second time, and there are other grunty piglets who nurse from that gigantic tit.

                Like Will Rogers, who famously said “All I know is what I read in the newspapers”, all I know about the Public Tit is designing the databases and writing the reports, none of which reach the Public. All these systems have tables containing information on elected officials, each of whom has his own little herd of piggies, especially USDA.

                Now the government does more than provide silly deductions for every feel good thing of dubious efficacy. It funds them directly. I am no tax specialist; that I leave to my tax guy. But when it comes to the Public Tit, few are more informed than me when it comes to the enumeration of the piggies who feed upon it.

                Michele Bachmann is a nasty creature who feeds on the Public Tit, taking farm subsidies. But when it comes to human tits, she sees breast pumps, which would allow a woman to provide for her own infant, how did you put it — a silly deduction for every feel good thing of dubious efficacy.Report

          • Chris in reply to Scott says:

            Hahaha… good one.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

      If it were the case that Michele Bachmann were remotely interested in anything but tax cuts for her Club for Growth buddies, the glibness quotient might be reduced yea very considerably.Report

  4. I’m actually curious why, given all the breastfeeding frenzy and the backlash against infant formula, there hasn’t been a resurgence of the independent nursemaid market.Report

    • greginak in reply to Christopher Carr says:

      I would bet its real hard on a body to nurse for years. I’d also think people are no longer cool with their babies drinking from others: seems like a serious ick factor, since you don’t know what that person eats and who else might be …umm… stepping up to the barReport

      • Yeah definitely. This suggests that the ick factor of having one’s child drink from someone else’s nipple outweighs whatever losses our children might get from consuming formula, which is very interesting to me, given the widespread belief that breastfeeding is superior to formula.

        And that is in regards to formula today. There was a time when formula was terrible, before we knew about amino acids and vitamins and such, when formula-consuming infants actually died of malnutrition, when there still wasn’t a thriving nursemaid market.Report

        • greginak in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          Just the possibility of commercials and advertising for nursemaids in this day and age offers considerable possibility for amusement.Report

        • North in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          I am not sure Chris but I suspect that a large part of the appeal of breast feeding is the bonding experience with the child. That same consideration would work in reverse against the idea of paying someone else to breastfeed junior.Report

          • Christopher Carr in reply to North says:

            Fair enough. but for families where both parents want to continue working, which I have heard is increasingly common after having a new baby (no one wants to work in my family.), it would make sense to just pay some wet-nursemaid to take care of and feed the child during the day.

            Plus, correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t infants get the full benefits of breastmilk even if the majority of what they consume is formula?Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Christopher Carr says:

      The really important part of breastfeeding is at the start, the colostrum transfers the mother’s immunities to the child via immunoglobulin. Beyond that, it’s a wash: modern formula is really good. It wasn’t always as good as it is today: the old complaints aren’t valid anymore. Still, you have to make it up with clean water, and that’s where the formula solution sorta falls down in the Third World.

      The nursemaid wouldn’t work out today: the only reason it ever worked was because unpasteurized cow’s milk was unsanitary. And cow’s milk was never as nutritionally appropriate as human milk.Report

      • Yeah. I’ve heard that. Still, there is a part of me that is deeply suspicious of modern formula. Our first few attempts at infant formula were complete disasters. We now have a formula which doesn’t result in dead babies, and we seem to have concluded as a society that that:s good enough. So we have widespread consumption of infant formula. We also have widespread diet-related public health problems that are far more difficult to explain than the media and most Americans imagine. There has been a link between these problems and infant formula. It makes intuitive sense that there is something that modern formula is missing, just as previous incarnations missed essential vitamins and amino acids.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          You bring up an important point: there’s far more to this proposition than a few corrections to the formula. There’s also prenatal nutrition: we’re just now finding out how important folic acid is in preventing anemia. Now anyone who eats green leafy vegetables will never encounter this problem but it’s a surprisingly common condition, due to our screwed-up diets these days.Report

      • North in reply to BlaiseP says:

        The other issue for formula in the Third World that I’d heard BlaiseP is that sensibly economic minded mothers who didn’t really understand the principles behind formula would simply dillute it down beyond the reccomended level in essence starving the kid.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to North says:

          There were a lot of excuses bandied about by the formula companies, this was one. Fact is, formula was touted as a miracle food. It wasn’t.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Christopher Carr says:

      Which reminds me of a story from The Treasury of Jewish Folklore.

      A rabbi is telling his students a story about the miracles God performs. “Once, there was a woodcutter who, deep in the forest, found an abandoned infant. It was crying from hunger, but the woodcutter had no way to feed it. He prayed to God to help him and God caused him to grow women’s breasts.”

      “That’s amazing, rabbi, but why didn’t God just cause the woodchopper to find a lost five-ruble coin, so he could hire a wet-nurse?”

      The rabbi gave the student a glance of pure pity. “If God can cause a man to grow women’s breasts. why would he need to lay out five rubles in cold cash?”Report

    • There is a big growth in milk-sharing. Many jurisdictions are setting up milk banks, and there many small networks of mothers who will donate milk to one another when necessary.Report

  5. Breastfeeding your baby is going to make it grow up to be less obese? That seems like a hard claim to substantiate through controlled testing. Diet, exercise, and genetics strike me as much more likely candidates to be significant factors in obesity.

    That’s not to say that FLOTUS is doing anything wrong, or that Bachmann is not daffy. But this is as good an example as any of which I could conceive, on both sides, of A Desperate Search For The Silly Outrage Of The Week.Report

    • Breastfeeding your baby is going to make it grow up to be less obese? That seems like a hard claim to substantiate through controlled testing. Diet, exercise, and genetics strike me as much more likely candidates to be significant factors in obesity.

      It’s not easy, to be sure, but several studies (I can link you to some lit reviews if you’d like) have shown a connection between breast feeding and risk of obesity, controlling for a wide variety of potentially relevant factors.Report

  6. Sam M says:

    Thanks for this post. Our first kids were twins, and my wife suffered through a terrible delivery. She was incredibly sick. She gave breast feeding a shot, but even under ideal circumstances, twins are hard. But she tried and tried and finally, trying to be as supportive as I could, I said, “Just let it go.”

    Letting go isn’t hard. With kids, you aren’t “allowed” to face any risk, however miniscule, without a ton of emotional baggage being foisted on you. “Well,” they say, “if something DOES go wrong, you want to know you did EVERYTHING you could.”

    So even though you have to guzzle a ton of Wild Turkey to have an impact, people look at a pregnant lady who has one glass of wine with her Sunday meal like she’s some kind of monster. God help the lady who lights up a cigarette!

    It’s all so… fraught. And I have noticed that the truly forbidden fruits are those that might conceivably, in any way, provide any sort of pleasure whatsoever to the mother. And that any sacrifice, no matter how terrible the torture or how slight the risks involved, is too much to demand.

    If I could get pregnant, I’d be tempted to go smoke a Marlboro on my porch just to give people the vapors.Report

    • Robert Cheeks in reply to Sam M says:

      Most of the moms in my parent’s generation both smoked and drank when heavy with child. I remember very clearly watching neighboorhood ladies sitting out on their porches on a hot, summer night lighting up Lucky Strikes, Winstons, or unfiltered Camel cigarettes while drinkng a bottle of Iron City.
      But them was real women and they didn’t need no stinkin’ gummint telling them what to eat, or not eat, or how to raise kids. Hell, most of ’em were Democrats ’cause Roosevelt won the war.Report

      • Heidegger in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

        Hey Bob, great to hear from you! Sinister thoughts of abduction from Exterrestrials did cross my mind as well as Left Wing Anarchists carting you off to “get your mind straight” in one of their underground tunnels. They actually have successfully completed tunnels that go clear across the U.S., coast to coast. This is to hide out and wait for the Rapture–The Second Coming, L. Ron Hubbard. Just amazing the extremes that mental misfits will go to, no? Must run. So long for now. (Iron City–great beer)Report

      • “That explains the brain damage of the baby boomers!”Report

  7. Fish says:

    Although you didn’t name La Leche League specifically, I understand why you’d want to skip the comments and avoid the…enthusiasm…of lactation advocates. The League of Evil Breastfeeding Advocates showed up shortly after the birth of my first son and absolutely terrorized my wife, who’d delivered by Caesarian and was having a rough time of it.They spent some time bullying my wife and making her feel terrible because our son wouldn’t latch. It was with great pleasure that I threw them out of our room, and when our second son was born, we both made it clear to the hospital staff that we wanted La Leche nowhere near us.Report

  8. They’re trying to push breast-feeding in Japan right now by pointing out that it’s a great way to lose weight.Report