Diane Wiessinger in Israel

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Diane Wiessinger is a La Leche League Leader in Albany, New York, and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). In her classic essay Watch Your Language, she explains how we undermine breastfeeding by speaking about its “advantages.” She is also known for her creativity in explaining correct latch-on to breastfeeding educators and new mothers.

While Wiessinger is visiting Israel, I plan to combine two of my loves, blogging and breastfeeding, by reporting about her talks. Topics scheduled for tomorrow include “Changing Paradigms in Infant Latch” and “Words Create Reality–Making Breastfeeding the Norm.” (See this site for details.) In her third talk, “Lactation Consultation: Art or Science?,” Wiessinger will talk about different approaches toward a nursing dyad experiencing difficulties, and how to become a “breasteeding detective.”

Here’s my report from the Jack Newman conference in 2006.

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Comments

  1. I’ll see you there tomorrow :). Any chance could get (and then post) a summary of the first two days also ;-)?

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  2. I would love to listen to her lecture about language.
    Is anyone putting her lecture on CD?
    Does it already exist on CD?
    I don’t necessarily want to purchase it for myself, but maybe we could purchase one copy for the area, so that leaders can listen to it then pass it on (like we used to do with tapes)

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  3. very interesting article – the watch your language one. timely as I sit here pumping away like a moo cow! looking forward to your reports.

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  4. mother in israel says:

    Great, Robin! I missed you today.
    Anon, they sold CDs for NIS 10. Email me.
    Katherine, thanks!

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  5. mother in israel says:

    Great, Robin! I missed you today.
    Anon, they sold CDs for NIS 10. Email me.
    Katherine, thanks!

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  6. That article actually really bothered me. I can’t speak to the science because I haven’t seen any of the studies she’s mentioned, but I have a hard time believing that if formula was as dangerous to children as smoking, the medical establishment would still be as accepting of formula feeding as it is now. After 50+ years of formula being around, I don’t think it’s possible for the industry and medical establishment to cover up such findings for that long.
    But what really bothered me was how she framed the nursing “relationship”. I felt there was a subtle implication that if only a mother would throw away all of her personal needs and completely devote herself to her child by becoming a human pacifier, (not distinguishing between nutritive/non nutritive sucking, not looking at the clock, etc) nursing would just work so much better!
    I’m sorry, I’ve nursed all my kids so far and I literally would have lost my mind if I had taken such an attitude. The first few weeks of pain don’t bother me (and it’s a big lie that successful nursing should never hurt. It’s hurt with all of them for at least a week and they all nursed successfully). And the first few months were with all of them were fine. But when my middle daughter took the tack of nursing constantly all day and refusing solid foods until 10 months, nursing was not a pleasurable experience. I didn’t like having to sit down 20 minutes out of every hour and half to nurse a 6 month old. And I really just got tired of being sucked on. I never got the hang of nursing and doing other things, so i constantly felt harried and pressured that I wasn’t getting things done. There was nothing natural, satisfying or enjoyable about any of it, which was why we weaned at 8 months.
    I guess what bothered me about the article was that a mother’s emotional and psychological needs and personal feelings about the nursing “relationship” were completely not a part of the equation. Neither was the reality of everyday life that usually includes husbands, other children and some kind of work.

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  7. That article actually really bothered me. I can’t speak to the science because I haven’t seen any of the studies she’s mentioned, but I have a hard time believing that if formula was as dangerous to children as smoking, the medical establishment would still be as accepting of formula feeding as it is now. After 50+ years of formula being around, I don’t think it’s possible for the industry and medical establishment to cover up such findings for that long.
    But what really bothered me was how she framed the nursing “relationship”. I felt there was a subtle implication that if only a mother would throw away all of her personal needs and completely devote herself to her child by becoming a human pacifier, (not distinguishing between nutritive/non nutritive sucking, not looking at the clock, etc) nursing would just work so much better!
    I’m sorry, I’ve nursed all my kids so far and I literally would have lost my mind if I had taken such an attitude. The first few weeks of pain don’t bother me (and it’s a big lie that successful nursing should never hurt. It’s hurt with all of them for at least a week and they all nursed successfully). And the first few months were with all of them were fine. But when my middle daughter took the tack of nursing constantly all day and refusing solid foods until 10 months, nursing was not a pleasurable experience. I didn’t like having to sit down 20 minutes out of every hour and half to nurse a 6 month old. And I really just got tired of being sucked on. I never got the hang of nursing and doing other things, so i constantly felt harried and pressured that I wasn’t getting things done. There was nothing natural, satisfying or enjoyable about any of it, which was why we weaned at 8 months.
    I guess what bothered me about the article was that a mother’s emotional and psychological needs and personal feelings about the nursing “relationship” were completely not a part of the equation. Neither was the reality of everyday life that usually includes husbands, other children and some kind of work.

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  8. That article actually really bothered me. I can’t speak to the science because I haven’t seen any of the studies she’s mentioned, but I have a hard time believing that if formula was as dangerous to children as smoking, the medical establishment would still be as accepting of formula feeding as it is now. After 50+ years of formula being around, I don’t think it’s possible for the industry and medical establishment to cover up such findings for that long.
    But what really bothered me was how she framed the nursing “relationship”. I felt there was a subtle implication that if only a mother would throw away all of her personal needs and completely devote herself to her child by becoming a human pacifier, (not distinguishing between nutritive/non nutritive sucking, not looking at the clock, etc) nursing would just work so much better!
    I’m sorry, I’ve nursed all my kids so far and I literally would have lost my mind if I had taken such an attitude. The first few weeks of pain don’t bother me (and it’s a big lie that successful nursing should never hurt. It’s hurt with all of them for at least a week and they all nursed successfully). And the first few months were with all of them were fine. But when my middle daughter took the tack of nursing constantly all day and refusing solid foods until 10 months, nursing was not a pleasurable experience. I didn’t like having to sit down 20 minutes out of every hour and half to nurse a 6 month old. And I really just got tired of being sucked on. I never got the hang of nursing and doing other things, so i constantly felt harried and pressured that I wasn’t getting things done. There was nothing natural, satisfying or enjoyable about any of it, which was why we weaned at 8 months.
    I guess what bothered me about the article was that a mother’s emotional and psychological needs and personal feelings about the nursing “relationship” were completely not a part of the equation. Neither was the reality of everyday life that usually includes husbands, other children and some kind of work.

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  9. mother in israel says:

    Hi Abbi,
    Even if you are right that formula isn’t “that bad,” (and everything is a matter of degree) it is still an intervention and not the biological norm.
    I don’t know that the findings are being covered up. Formula feeding is deeply ingrained in western culture, and it’s hard for people–including doctors–to accept that something considered average and normal causes so many problems. Add to this the formula companies who spend massive amounts of money convincing the public and the medical profession of the value of their product. Med students in Israel learn lots about mixing formula and its nutritional components but nothing about breastfeeding.
    Having spent two days listening to the author, I don’t agree that she believes the mother should sacrifice her psychological needs, etc. for the nursing relationship. It is a relationship, after all, and the needs of both parties must be considered. But I will have to look at the article again to see what about it gave you that impression.
    At any rate, I’m sorry that the later months of nursing were so hard for you and I hope things go more smoothly this time.

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  10. mother in israel says:

    Hi Abbi,
    Even if you are right that formula isn’t “that bad,” (and everything is a matter of degree) it is still an intervention and not the biological norm.
    I don’t know that the findings are being covered up. Formula feeding is deeply ingrained in western culture, and it’s hard for people–including doctors–to accept that something considered average and normal causes so many problems. Add to this the formula companies who spend massive amounts of money convincing the public and the medical profession of the value of their product. Med students in Israel learn lots about mixing formula and its nutritional components but nothing about breastfeeding.
    Having spent two days listening to the author, I don’t agree that she believes the mother should sacrifice her psychological needs, etc. for the nursing relationship. It is a relationship, after all, and the needs of both parties must be considered. But I will have to look at the article again to see what about it gave you that impression.
    At any rate, I’m sorry that the later months of nursing were so hard for you and I hope things go more smoothly this time.

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  11. mother in israel says:

    Abbi,
    I wanted to respond again to your comment, which raised a lot of issues. First, here are some links to websites that contain references from medical journals about the risks of formula:
    http://www.naturalfamilyonline.com/articles/312-formula-report-2.htm
    http://www.breastfeedingtaskforla.org/ABMRisks.htm
    http://www.kellymom.com/newman/risks_of_formula_08-02.html
    Regarding the pain: You are right that not all pain is equal. Some pain passes after a few days, and some is a sign of a larger problem. But all pain should be evaluated early, if only to adjust the latch to make the mother comfortable.
    Regarding your 6-month-old baby: It sounds like an extremely challenging situation. Some babies are needier at times than others, just like children at any age. Perhaps an experienced counselor could have picked up a reason, perhaps not. But no one is blaming you for not nursing longer–and in your case, you nursed much longer than average. Wiessinger is talking about the culture and how difficult it is to get accurate information and support for mothers who want to breastfeed.
    Weaning decisions depend on factors such as support or availability of the father, mom’s support circle, norms in her neighborhood/country, older children, work schedule, and more. I don’t believe Wiessinger meant that all these should be ignored. Instead, lots of support and practical suggestions are needed for bf mothers to overcome these concerns.
    Regarding language, she was talking about the language used by breastfeeding helpers and how it affects the mother.
    Here you wrote that the implication of the article is that:
    “by becoming a human pacifier, (not distinguishing between nutritive/non nutritive sucking, not looking at the clock, etc) nursing would just work so much better!”
    1. A bottle-fed baby who is full and needs to suck cannot suck on an empty bottle– Pacifiers were invented to replace all the sucking that takes place during breastfeeding. Some babies need to nurse a lot, and it’s not their fault, nor breastfeeding’s fault, that we lead busy lives.
    2.All breastfeeding is nutritive–the baby is always getting some milk. But a mother can stop in the middle of the feed to answer the door, or do some other task, and the baby will just ask a little earlier next time if he’s not finished. If he’s really hungry he’ll let the mother know. With my youngest, I was overwhelmed and she was fussy, and I had a 2.5yo. I rarely could sit to nurse with her until she let go herself. But when I could, it was a pleasure for me. (That is only my experience–my point is that I worked around the needs of the baby and the family as best I could, but it was far from perfect.)
    3. Feeding by the clock might work for some babies, but causes problems for enough of them that it is not recommended. I messed up my first bf relationship that way. I believe that it’s usually easier to work around the baby’s schedule than to fit him into a rigid schedule, but th

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  12. mother in israel says:

    Continued:
    I believe that it’s usually easier to work around the baby’s schedule than to fit him into a rigid schedule, but this requires a change of mindset.
    I didn’t do much while nursing except eat, read, nap, talk on the phone, or interact with my other kids. I think that’s a lot, and I also typed. But I didn’t do sponja or cook.I looked at it as a time to rest–that doesn’t mean that I loved those stages when the baby wanted to nurse all the time.
    Mothers should feel proud of however long they nurse their babies, and not feel guilty because they don’t nurse longer.

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  13. mother in israel says:

    Katherine–I hated giving solids to babies–I found it time-consuming and messy. But all my kids but one loved eating solids from six months–the other one ate at 7 or so but very slowly. Eventually I got smart and skipped spoon-feeding my kids entirely, I just put the food out on the tray. I recently read that someone wrote a book about it and has that method named after her.
    The post is written and up on Crunchy
    Domestic Goddess. Link in a minute on a new post.

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  14. mother in israel says:

    Oh, and most three-month-olds do develop that kind of schedule no matter what you do (despite what those awful books say). But, as Abbi’s experience shows us, not all do.

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  15. Hannah – I am sure you are busy – but your friends in the computer want to hear about the talks! :) were they good?
    yeah if I had tried to schedule my baby’s feeds I would have been a very unhappy chappy – I basically fed him every time he cried for the first three months. Then only did I whack him onto a three hour schedule, but obviously if he wants it before I do feed him. In contrast a friend of mine fed her baby on a three hour schedule from the very beginning – the babies were born a day apart. Now she is quite sad because having returned to work, and having given formula, she now doesn’t have enough milk (her baby actually lost some weight at his last checkup).
    Abbi that sounds incredibly challenging – a baby that only took solids at ten months – scary stuff!

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  16. mother in israel says:

    Katherine,
    Technically weaning begins with the introduction of solid foods. But I have always thought of baby-led weaning as referring to the toddler period or later, when the mother watches for signals that the toddler is ready to end the nursing relationship–instead of the mother intitiating by limiting feedings or distraction.

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  17. mother in israel says:

    Katherine,
    Technically weaning begins with the introduction of solid foods. But I have always thought of baby-led weaning as referring to the toddler period or later, when the mother watches for signals that the toddler is ready to end the nursing relationship–instead of the mother intitiating by limiting feedings or distraction.

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  18. mother in israel says:

    Katherine,
    Technically weaning begins with the introduction of solid foods. But I have always thought of baby-led weaning as referring to the toddler period or later, when the mother watches for signals that the toddler is ready to end the nursing relationship–instead of the mother intitiating by limiting feedings or distraction.

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  19. yep it is called baby led weaning – sounds fantastic for the busy mother :) you skip purees and spoon feeding and they eat some of what you eat – barring spices salt etc. sounds fantastic – no fighting over meals to get them to eat. they say second third etc kiddies get fed this way by default cos mom is busy :)

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  20. mother in israel says:

    You are right about the calories. I think whoever used that term in what you read misappropriated it.

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  21. mother in israel says:

    You are right about the calories. I think whoever used that term in what you read misappropriated it.

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  22. mother in israel says:

    You are right about the calories. I think whoever used that term in what you read misappropriated it.

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  23. I agree – I thought the name was kind of misleading – but I think they just mean it as a description of baby beginning solid foods, not really as baby stopping breastfeeding. In any case I understood that for the first year, pretty much most of the calories come from breastmilk – solids just being for them to learn how to eat and get used to different tastes. Is that right?

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  24. I agree – I thought the name was kind of misleading – but I think they just mean it as a description of baby beginning solid foods, not really as baby stopping breastfeeding. In any case I understood that for the first year, pretty much most of the calories come from breastmilk – solids just being for them to learn how to eat and get used to different tastes. Is that right?

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  25. I agree – I thought the name was kind of misleading – but I think they just mean it as a description of baby beginning solid foods, not really as baby stopping breastfeeding. In any case I understood that for the first year, pretty much most of the calories come from breastmilk – solids just being for them to learn how to eat and get used to different tastes. Is that right?

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  26. mother in israel says:

    Thanks, Abbi, and I’m glad things are going better.
    I agree that there is a huge difference between introducing formula to a newborn and to a 6-month-old. There are a couple of issues though–formula is expensive, and has some strange ingredients. Also, the more bottles given to the baby, the more likely formula can bring about an early weaning. Overfeeding of solids can cause the same problem and even bottles of expressed milk. Ideally, the number of meals should gradually work up to 3 over several months. (I’m not saying this to criticize, I also gave 3 meals to my older children–this is for the benefit of readers.)

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  27. mother in israel says:

    Thanks, Abbi, and I’m glad things are going better.
    I agree that there is a huge difference between introducing formula to a newborn and to a 6-month-old. There are a couple of issues though–formula is expensive, and has some strange ingredients. Also, the more bottles given to the baby, the more likely formula can bring about an early weaning. Overfeeding of solids can cause the same problem and even bottles of expressed milk. Ideally, the number of meals should gradually work up to 3 over several months. (I’m not saying this to criticize, I also gave 3 meals to my older children–this is for the benefit of readers.)

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  28. mother in israel says:

    Thanks, Abbi, and I’m glad things are going better.
    I agree that there is a huge difference between introducing formula to a newborn and to a 6-month-old. There are a couple of issues though–formula is expensive, and has some strange ingredients. Also, the more bottles given to the baby, the more likely formula can bring about an early weaning. Overfeeding of solids can cause the same problem and even bottles of expressed milk. Ideally, the number of meals should gradually work up to 3 over several months. (I’m not saying this to criticize, I also gave 3 meals to my older children–this is for the benefit of readers.)

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  29. Hey MII
    Thanks for the more detailed response. I’ll be completely honest and say when I first read the article, I was feeling a bit sensitive because I just started Eli at a metapelet in the mornings and he was having trouble nursing when he came home ( he did start a bottle of formula in the mornings, in addition to solids). But things have settled down and are much smoother now in the nursing dept.
    I don’t know if other people see it this way, but I think there is a difference between formula for newborns and formula for 6 month olds, since at six months, most babies are starting solids anyway, so their digestive tracts must surely be in a different place than they are as newborns.
    I agree, most babies do seem to fall into some kind of pattern in terms of timing of feedings (at least my first and third did.) I can’t imagine forcing a newborn to wait for food because it wasn’t time yet!
    Thankfully, Eli loves his solids and is up to eating three nice meals a day and it takes the pressure off of me (that’s another issue that my friend who is the mother of twins told me and I agree with- exclusive nursing means everything is on the mother in terms of feeding baby. It is a lot of pressure. She fully recognized it when she had to feed her twins bottles and felt this great relief that she could share the feeding burden. Her first two children she exclusively bf’d).
    Though he still wakes a lot at night, i’m actually grateful, because we make up for missed nursing from the morning.

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  30. Hey MII
    Thanks for the more detailed response. I’ll be completely honest and say when I first read the article, I was feeling a bit sensitive because I just started Eli at a metapelet in the mornings and he was having trouble nursing when he came home ( he did start a bottle of formula in the mornings, in addition to solids). But things have settled down and are much smoother now in the nursing dept.
    I don’t know if other people see it this way, but I think there is a difference between formula for newborns and formula for 6 month olds, since at six months, most babies are starting solids anyway, so their digestive tracts must surely be in a different place than they are as newborns.
    I agree, most babies do seem to fall into some kind of pattern in terms of timing of feedings (at least my first and third did.) I can’t imagine forcing a newborn to wait for food because it wasn’t time yet!
    Thankfully, Eli loves his solids and is up to eating three nice meals a day and it takes the pressure off of me (that’s another issue that my friend who is the mother of twins told me and I agree with- exclusive nursing means everything is on the mother in terms of feeding baby. It is a lot of pressure. She fully recognized it when she had to feed her twins bottles and felt this great relief that she could share the feeding burden. Her first two children she exclusively bf’d).
    Though he still wakes a lot at night, i’m actually grateful, because we make up for missed nursing from the morning.

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  31. Hey MII
    Thanks for the more detailed response. I’ll be completely honest and say when I first read the article, I was feeling a bit sensitive because I just started Eli at a metapelet in the mornings and he was having trouble nursing when he came home ( he did start a bottle of formula in the mornings, in addition to solids). But things have settled down and are much smoother now in the nursing dept.
    I don’t know if other people see it this way, but I think there is a difference between formula for newborns and formula for 6 month olds, since at six months, most babies are starting solids anyway, so their digestive tracts must surely be in a different place than they are as newborns.
    I agree, most babies do seem to fall into some kind of pattern in terms of timing of feedings (at least my first and third did.) I can’t imagine forcing a newborn to wait for food because it wasn’t time yet!
    Thankfully, Eli loves his solids and is up to eating three nice meals a day and it takes the pressure off of me (that’s another issue that my friend who is the mother of twins told me and I agree with- exclusive nursing means everything is on the mother in terms of feeding baby. It is a lot of pressure. She fully recognized it when she had to feed her twins bottles and felt this great relief that she could share the feeding burden. Her first two children she exclusively bf’d).
    Though he still wakes a lot at night, i’m actually grateful, because we make up for missed nursing from the morning.

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  32. WHere is Diane Weissberg from LLL talking? I would like to go to one of her talks.
    TY, A

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  33. mother in israel says:

    Ariela, she left on Tuesday. But if you email me I will direct you to the person who runs the seminars, so you can be informed next time.

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  34. Thanks for the post.

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  35. We have written on so many parallel topics. I just met Dianne at a LLL conference and blogged about her. I blogged about each session of LLL.
    Yes, it is worth making home made food… It will save you medical bills in the long run.
    I have also blogged about my container garden (and need to do an update).
    See you later.

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] Hi, readers of Crunchy Domestic Goddess. My name is Hannah and I blog at A Mother in Israel about life with my six kids, parenting, and homemaking, along with social commentary about life in Israel. I also volunteer as a breastfeeding counselor. Last week I attended a conference with breastfeeding expert Diane Wiessinger. You can read my introductory post here. [...]

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