Whoopi Goldberg Calls People Who Help Moms Breastfeed 'Boneheads' (VIDEO)

Rant 237

mom breastfeeding in hospitalThere is a new breastfeeding initiative in NYC that I am so very proud of yet it's being met with a lot of criticism and controversy. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley put together a program to encourage breastfeeding starting in hospitals, to help women nurse their babies by offering support and lactation consultants -- making more hospitals "baby friendly". It will also help educate the public and help nursing moms in the workplace.

People are upset about it. And perhaps the loudest person who opposes this is Whoopi Goldberg. On The View she said to Bloomberg on his initiative, "Very nice, but back off." She even called the lactation consultants who come to your room in the hospital to help moms nurse boneheads. There's more ... plus video.

Whoopi seems to think that the women who try to help moms nurse actually demand that a woman breastfeed in a militant way. I cannot speak for everyone's experience, but my twins were born at NYU Langone, which already was considered a "baby friendly" hospital. There was no one demanding that I nurse my babies. They helped me. I went on to breastfeed my twins for almost a year and a half (and also had to supplement with formula) and I'm proud of myself. I credit the help I had early on, too.
Whoopi, however, seems to know nothing about breastfeeding. Just that she hates it. She admits she didn't even try ... and quips that was because her kid was born with a tooth. This was a really lame attempt at a joke. You can breastfeed when a child has teeth. I did.

But the breastfeeding initiative she is bashing helps tons of women. And why oppose something that helps people? You can personally not be on board with it, but to speak in such a public forum (on The View with millions of viewers) and be such an influencer to speak out on something that helps babies thrive is just so irresponsible.

Watch the clip:


If Whoopi didn't want to breastfeed, if any mother doesn't want to nurse her baby, just deny the help. Say no. Get formula. Is it really that hard? Why does it bother those moms so much that there is help? Is it their guilt from not wanting to breastfeed? It makes no sense to get annoyed at something that helps babies get the best start in life. Maybe you had a little help to birth your baby ... you may need a little help to breastfeed, too. And if the moms who don't want help feel those trying to assist are too pushy, remember it's for good reason. Any mom who tries breastfeeding and hates it can easily switch to formula. But a mom who starts with formula and decides a week, two weeks after birth that maybe she should have tried nursing her baby, it's often too late. Breastmilk is supply and demand. No demand, no supply.

Remember, breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing. Even just nursing for the first few weeks is so incredibly beneficial. Even just nursing for the first few days. Why NOT try? Why are so many women so against trying something that is good for them and their newborn? Help me understand that. Have some women bought into a certain part of society's view that breasts are sexual objects and sexual objects only?

I really felt for Sherri Shepherd when she talked about how her milk wouldn't come in and having her baby born at 24 weeks. I love how she encouraged women to at least try, saying it was the most amazing experience of bonding when her son tried to nurse. But she tried. It didn't work for her, but she tried. Moms deserve that experience. Especially in the haze we sometimes feel just after birth -- a little nudge can be helpful.

When Elisabeth Hasselbeck complained how "the league" came in all night long telling her she has to breastfeed when she thought she had to sleep, I was shocked. She has three kids; she knows newborns have to eat every two hours. They had a direct food source in the womb, so we still need to keep them fed even through the night.

Maybe it's Whoopi's guilt speaking. But sadly, her guilt and voice carry a lot of weight because she is on TV. She should really choose her words more carefully. Why ruin another woman's chance at success by offering help? This breastfeeding initiative is just that -- help. Help in the hospital. But it is more than that -- it's help so they can nurse in public without scorn. Help to be able to still breastfeed after you go back to work. We need this help, and deserve it.

I say thank you to Mayor Bloomberg and Dr. Farley. And thank you to the lactation consultants who helped me. Boneheads, you were not.

What do you think of Whoopi's comments? Did you appreciate getting breastfeeding help?

Image via edenpictures/Flickr

breastfeeding, natural parenting


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nonmember avatar Shandeigh

I actually agree with Whoopie for once... These lactation consultants are very pushy. I had a breast reduction when I was 19. I was told at the time that I would not be able to breastfeed. When I had my son.. they basically would not take no for an answer and forced me to try to pump. The result was a lot of pain and frustration... and a new hatred for hospitals.


People feel the need to defend themselves because of people like you who treat those of us who can't or don't want to as lower class citizens. Also, if this is all you got out of what she said, all the more power to her. All she said was "back off. It's up to the mother." And it is.

Also, I feel you really threw Elisabeth under the bus. She probably wanted to sleep BECAUSE she has three kids. Once she gets home, bye bye sleep. She knows what to do by now. Give me a break. These people are nothing but busybodies. People who want to breastfeed will and those who don't, won't.

Littl... LittleManMama

Sometimes the lactation consultants can be unhelpfully helpful. One grabbed my SIL's breast without asking first and actually bruised her. Needless to say, she did not succeed. Another demanded my friend hold her in the cross cradle position instead of the cradle position. Her baby was over 9 pounds at birth and it was far more comfortable for her to hold the baby--who was latching well--this way. If it ain't broke... As for Elizabeth Hasselbeck, even when they are newborns, you don't necessarily need to wake the baby to nurse. And if all is going well, it could seriously be annoying to have yet another person interrupting you, particularly when you are trying to get some much needed rest. Maybe that's what she meant. For me, the IBCLC was a life saver and we would not have succeeded without her. I agree with you about Whoopi though. More power to her for not breastfeeding but I don't see why she would be against this support.

Littl... LittleManMama

Jafe, I have to disagree just a little bit. Sometimes those who want to breastfeed need help to make it happen. I don't see why the 2 are mutually exclusive. How does it hurt to support those who want to nurse succeed?

Torra... TorranceMom

Another example of the pot calling the kettle black.


Then those aren't the ones we're referring to littlemanmama! Obviously. Where did I say not to help those who want it?

nonmember avatar Abby

Perhaps they're against trying because they were molested or assaulted and have panic attacks when someone messes with their chest. maybe they're against trying because they need vital medications which can be transfered through breast milk and can be harmful to babies. Maybe they're against trying for no reason other than it's not for them. Maybe they're against trying and the reason is none of your damn business.

Angel... Angelanscalf89

I breastfed both of my children with my daughter it was only for the first 3 weeks or so and i wasnt producing enough milk so she needed formula 2. It was very very painful yet when I had my son 20 months later i was determined to make it work. I breastfed him for 6 weeks without bottles or formula until I went to work then I pumped it was painful and uncomfortable and hard because I have large breasts. the first time he had formula at 8 weeks he spit it out and it took awhile to ween him but I was in so much pain by then I couldnt keep doing it. If I had another baby Id breastfeed for awhile again because even though I didnt do it that long i still tried

nonmember avatar Niki

Sorry for those of you who had bad apples. I intended to breastfeed, and did, but I didn't have anyone come help me at the hospital and I was clueless. Those first few days are crucial. Thank God a nurse tending to me who wasn't a lactationist took it up on herself to show me, and she was sweet, gentle and unassuming.

This, along with Whoopi's outrage at people who dare be peeved by smoking (because apparently being able to smoke wherever you want is dear to her heart) have made me mute her ramblings at times and think to myself "Just shut up you ignorant woman."

Anything that will help women breastfeed, and any laws aimed at protecting non-smokers from smokers' toxic habits, is golden in my book.

AliNo... AliNoelle

My experience with the hospital LC's was a good one. With my first son I had no idea what the heck I was doing and wouldn't have made it as long as I did without them.

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