The world of medicine is like a bubble. A lot of people THINK they know what goes on there, but unless you're down in the trenches it's unlikely you do. So here is my semi-anonymous blog, here to tell you what really goes on in the life of a medical resident.

Friday, May 30, 2008


So since I have to disappear for 15 minutes midway through my workday, it's pretty much common knowledge at work that I'm breastfeeding. Hell, it's not like I'm doing it with a preschooler... my kid isn't even 6 months old yet. But possibly because my kid looks older (95th percentile in both weight and length, for God's sake!) I still get the occasional raised eyebrow. But no one says anything at work. It's not like I'm taking a lunch break (God forbid!) or something equally decadent. I'm hooking myself up to a machine to be milked like livestock. 

Coming back from a recent pumping 'break' (thank God no one was using the urodynamic testing room!) the surgeon I was working with wasted no time in getting back to pimping me. Keep in mind this is the same man who tested my medical knowledge with such meaningful questions as 'how many times did my hand touch the suture needle?' and ' which hand do I use to hold the scissors?'. 

Him: "Here's a question for you... how long is breastfeeding recommended in Scandinavia?"

Me: "Well, the WHO recommends 2 years..."

Him: "I'm not asking about WHO, I'm asking about Scandinavia."

Me: "I have no idea."

Him: "Six weeks, at the most. There are high levels of toxins in women's breastmilk there, so breastfeeding is viewed as unhealthy. Interesting, isn't it?"

Me: "Whatever."

I was not about to justify the fact that I breastfeed my son to this bonehead. 


Blogger Elizabeth said...

He's not only an idiot, he's also wrong. Wrongity-wrong-wrong. As in, Scandinavia is widely cited as having the highest breastfeeding rates in Europe, with 80% of women still breastfeeding at 6 months.
The first Google hit for "Scandinavia breastfeeding" is

There are places where there have been concerns about PCBs, which like other fat-bound toxins, accumulate in milk. This includes cold places like Alaska which, you know, is just the same as Scandinavia because there's lots of snow. However, further studies have shown that even with high PCB loads, the health benefits of breastfeeding end up evening things out.

You could blink your eyes and say sweetly "Wow! Could I have the reference for that? It's so startling, given Scandinavia's reputation as the breastfeeding capital of Europe."

5:55 PM

Blogger Christy said...

Good thing you don't live in Scandinavia then isn't it. Some people should simply mind their own business as far as I am concerned.

2:20 AM

Blogger Tor Arne said...

elizabeth is right, that guy didn't have a clue. Here in Norway the recommendation is minimum 12 months, longer if you wish. I've never heard mention that PCBs or other toxins should limit how long you breastfeed. Ridiculous.

3:33 AM

Blogger Swedoz said...

I know surgeons can come across a bit thick sometimes but really. As I recent (medical) immigrant to Sweden that has to be one of the more stupid things I've heard said about this part of the world.

1:11 PM

Blogger webhill said...

He's totally wrong. Show him this:
It's a full-text journal article about breastfeeding in Sweden which explicitly states that recommendations were officially something like 4-6 months of exclusive BFing and then to gradually introduce solids - at the time of the paper, which was in the early 2000s.

6:12 PM

Blogger Lisa b said...

thank you elizabeth. not that it matters but I had a feeling bonehead was wrong.

7:29 PM

Blogger Couz said...

Thanks, elizabeth! Thankfully, I'm not working with this bonehead again. Although with this ammunition (and thanks to you too, webhill!) now I kinda wish I was...

9:50 PM

Blogger slh35661 said...

These are the things said to us that you have to say, "Just consider the source." Obviously the source is a nut.
I just found your blog and have enjoyed reading the posts. I am linking it to mine.

3:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breastfeeding is a personal decision for you and your family. It is for you, your husband and the Bean to decide. Do not listen to idiots like this bonehead OR the militant breastfeeders who will shame you because you are ready to wean before they think you should.

Breastfeed on sister! The Bean will let you know when it's time to stop. No one knows better what's best for your Bean than you.


3:38 PM

Blogger Dragonfly said...

What a (horrible, sexist, ignorant) jerk. And doesn't he realise how much money you are saving the health system in future by breastfeeding? For both you and the Bean.
Good luck with the boob food!

3:40 AM

Blogger Lala said...

The WHO recommends 2 years????? Seriously??? Isn't that waay too long? I thought 6months was the recommended.

And more proof that surgeons are pompous asses.

8:19 AM

Blogger Couz said...

Yup. WHO recommends at least 2 years, CPS (Canadian Pediatric Society) recommends at least 1 year. Not exclusively... you're still supposed to introduce solids after 6 months.

4:10 PM

Anonymous Lisa said...

He is an idiot. I am not in the medical profession whatsoever, but do read lots. I BF my daughter (till about a month ago, thank goodness)... she is 3 1/2... she just would not give it up. Of course, it was only right before sleep (most likely due to habit and needing that bonding/closeness before sleep)- Cannot imagine the raised eyebrows I would have received!

I finally drew the line after the last 2 years of wanting my body back.. Bean will decide when it is time, and if not, then mom can say "enough!" :)

PS, I have been reading your blog for quite a long time- do not remember how I stumbled upon it, but it is always interesting, and I really love someone who speaks her mind and shows her human side :)

11:21 AM

Blogger Doctor S. said...

I'm just so thankful I don't have to deal with surgeons much anymore. They successfully persuaded me by 'role modeling' not to go into their profession, and now I am so thankful I did not. Pimping is what happens when an idiot surgeon tries to perform the Socratic method, but hasn't a clue. Check out my blog: Maybe we can blogroll each other ;)

11:41 PM


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