The Weston A. Price Foundation’s Dangerous Breastfeeding Advice Should NOT Be Ignored

So, you may be asking, “What is the Weston A. Price Foundation?  Why do I care what they say about breastfeeding?”  Well, let me give you a quick description about them:

They are a non-profit that advocates “whole foods and traditional cooking techniques using farm fresh, true organic ingredients.”  They “…educate the public on the nutrition research of Dr. Weston A. Price and the benefits of buying local foods for their nutritional value.”  They promote nutrient dense diets and the use and benefits of raw milk.

This sounds fantastic right?  Eating healthy IS super important.  We aren’t debating that at all.  But if you dig into their information about breastfeeding, it leaves you scratching your head and being very confused.

On their website, they state:

“…the diet of modern American women is so appalling, and their preparation for successful breastfeeding so lacking, that their breast milk provides no better nourishment for their infants than factory-made formula.”

They only cite a handful of studies that they feel supports their stance on this.  They also talk negatively about the La Leche League.

Last week, one of their chapter leaders and board members, Sarah Pope, of The Healthy Home Economist, gave a presentation on breastfeeding at the Village Green Network’s Healthy Life Summit.  Sally Fallon, co-founder and President of the WAPF, also gave a presentation, but I missed it.

The description for Sarah Pope’s seminar was this:

“Is Breast Really Always Best?”

“Breastfeeding is critical for baby’s health, but only if the mother is eating a nutrient-dense diet. Learn how to eat for your baby’s optimal health, and what to do if you can’t breastfeed.”

Breastfeeding advocates politely voiced their concerns over the language and information in that statement on her Facebook page and were met with very rude and defensive comments.  The supporting studies for her claims were never given.

So, we watched the presentation and it was full of anecdotal evidence and personal opinions.  Pope was adamant that if you did not have a nutrient dense diet, that you should not breastfeed and if women had issues breastfeeding, they should just use the WAPF’s homemade formula.  She also did not recommend donor breastmilk as an option because the mother’s diet was unknown and breastmilk from milk banks was pasteurized and that “denature[s] proteins, destroy[s] enzymes, etc.”  Never once did they discuss how a mom could change their own diet or how a mom that is having breastfeeding troubles should seek out an IBCLC or other breastfeeding professional for support.

On Pope’s Facebook page, she made unprofessional and offensive comments in reference to the breastfeeding advocate’s concerns:

Sarah Pope, the Healthy Home Economist, calls breastfeeding advocates "Nazis"

Sarah Pope, the Healthy Home Economist, calls breastfeeding advocates “Nazis”

Pope continued to use offensive language in other messages:

Sarah Pope, the Healthy Home Economist continues to use offensive and rude language

Sarah Pope, the Healthy Home Economist continues to use offensive and rude language

For someone who is a representative of a large and influential non-profit, this is very unprofessional.

Outrage over these claims about diet, nutrition, and breastfeeding were also brought to the Weston A. Price’s Facebook page.  One person asked WAPF for their stance on breastfeeding and breastmilk to see if they felt the same as Sarah Pope.  Here is what they had to say:

Weston A. Price's stance on breastfeeding and breastmilk

Weston A. Price’s stance on breastfeeding and breastmilk

Breastfeeding advocates are demanding to see studies and proof for these claims.  They keep telling us that they’ve done their research and we want to see it.  But, as you can see in the above WAPF statement, they say the studies are in their new book, meaning you have to buy it to read their research…

So, I’m sure many of you are thinking that we should just ignore their claims and ignore their stance and to not draw any attention to it.  Normally I agree with that line of thinking, but I feel that this is different and this definitely needs to be addressed.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is large, influential, and very convincing to their members and followers.  They state that they have over 16,000 members, and 450 chapters worldwide.  Their Facebook page has over 54,000 fans and they have over 15,000 followers on Twitter.

Many of their chapter leaders and board members have blogs and Facebook pages.  Sarah Pope’s blog receives over 1 million views a month and she has over 41,000 fans on Facebook.  Nourishing Our Children, who has Sally Fallon as an adviser, has over 22,000 fans on their Facebook page.

The Village Green Network is the PR/advertising network that WAPF uses.  They claim to have “500 blogs and 7 million monthly visits”.  Ann Marie Michaels, the founder of the VGN, put on the Healthy Life Summit where Pope and Fallon presented.  Michaels runs the blog, Cheeseslave, and her Facebook page has over 22,000 fans.

Natural and nutrient dense diets are very popular and people are seeking out more information.  They are drawn to the info on the WAPF’s website, Facebook page, and the other associated pages.   Many of these fans are mothers and this breastfeeding misinformation, combined with the complete lack of appropriate breastfeeding support, is extremely dangerous.

This is a call-to-action for health professionals, breastfeeding advocates, and natural food advocates to voice concerns and outrage over this misinformation.  We need to all demand to see their proof and studies they are basing their claims on.

We need to continue to support and educate mothers and provide evidence-based information. Our voices need to be louder than theirs.  Let’s drown them out.

For more information, please read the Best for Babes Foundation breakdown of the “booby traps” in the WAPF’s breastfeeding info:  “From Karo Syrup to Goat Milk – The Formulas May Change, but the Booby Traps Remain the Same”

This entry was posted in breastfeeding, breastmilk, formula, lactation, lactivist, recipes, supply, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

121 Responses to The Weston A. Price Foundation’s Dangerous Breastfeeding Advice Should NOT Be Ignored

  1. Kari says:

    THANK YOU!! As a former follower of HHE, WAPF, etc, I will continue to let all the FB pages involved in this travesty know how awful and dangerous this misinformation is before unfriending them. They are just a much of a problem as the formula companies, in terms of sabotaging breastfeeding success. Thank you for helping bring to light their scientifically unsound, even dangerous advice, and for letting us know who is connected with this chain of WAPF-connected pages and blogs.

  2. Sarah says:

    Great blog post, scary, but great. I used to like them until I found out their stance on breastfeeding.
    The Nazi comments, well, she should be ashamed of herself!

    • doulamuse says:

      I completely agree. It’s a sad state when you digress to name calling and racial/cultural slurs. 😦

  3. Jodine Chase says:

    This is dangerous advice. It is not benign. Thank you for raising these concerns. I hope Fallon and Pope recant and atone.

  4. I cannot BELIEVE she used the term “breastfeeding nazis.” How unsupportive and offensive.

  5. Cheryl says:

    thank you for sharing this important information. i like the emphasis on bone broths and fermented foods from wapf, but their breastfeeding information is inaccurate and harmful and deplorable.

  6. I am sitting for my IBCLC this July and have been a CLC for over a decade. Her comments and advice are disturbing and so very, very dangerous!

    Thank you for bringing awareness to this. I had no idea this nonsense was being spouted by Weston A Price!!

  7. valleygirl says:

    I follow Sara’s blog….and she has had many other controversial subjects in the past as well and I have been tempted to unfollow MANY times in response to her rude comments to some that were questioning or second guessing what she presented as fact. Granted she does have her fair share of rude posters….but she IS very unprofessional, immature and rude in her follow up comments and it really bugs me. Yet I learn a LOT from her blog so I feel a bit stuck? I do not agree with the breastfeeding advice until I also see studies on this. I agree that a baby raised on breastmilk from a mother eating a SAD diet is going to be less nourished than another eating nutrient dense…but to the point to say it’s better to make formula or buy store bought? That doesn’t sit well with me. Women have been doing this for thousands of years and my gut just tells me that the one that will suffer with lack is going to be the mother. I believe the body is going to make what it needs to make and pull from the mothers diet AND body to do so in order to provide for the child. To me that is what nature does. But again, I haven’t researched nor seen an actual scientific study on either side to actually say with certainty. I can assure you, however, that even if I were blasted for my opinion I would certainly reply with maturity, professionalism and integrity which is not what I can say for Sara Pope. 😦

    • Kay says:

      If you want to learn about breastfeeding try That was my baby bible and it addresses everything from breastfeeding to sleep to colic to weaning and beyond 🙂 It would be better to unfollow her and use the power of the internet to Boycott people like this. I Boycott Nestle and while I know I won’t change the world I’m making a stance for something I believe in. Just thought you would like to know about an alternative from this dangerous woman if you want to find advice from a reputable source.

      • valleygirl says:

        I don’t follow her for breastfeeding advice…I am way beyond those years. I follow for other nutrition teaching, ways of making and preparing foods, growing your own food and sourcing it, all the way up to keeping the home and healing the body naturally from common ailments. But thank you. I did use kellymom and it is great and very helpful and perhaps can help someone else here.

    • eatonguac says:

      You are correct. The milk that a mother produces is specific to her baby meaning that her body knows what nutrients the baby needs and will take them from her body to supply the baby.

      And the milk she produces for one kid will be different then the next because every baby has different nutritional needs and her body instinctively knows what baby needs. Formula can’t do that.

      • Maria says:

        It is your opinion. The statement about mother’s body knowing what nutrient baby needs does not make any sense. How would it know? Nature will protect mother first then baby, so baby will get what it can from mother, but if mother really deficient in something needed for her survival, baby will not get it or will get in very small amounts. That is dangerous for the baby and the mother.

        What you said is applied to age of baby. Mother’s milk changes through time to meet certain nutritional needs of baby, but it does not KNOW what baby is missing. Nutritional dense diet is ideal for both, of course. Tough milk from mother eating the best she can would be okay, I think. Mother eating only junk or plant base diet will not really nourish her baby. There are so many mothers who fail to produce milk or have too little of it for baby. Is not that a red flag? We are starving nation and need some changes. I think lactation consultants should encourage mothers to eat well, but they don’t. They just say: “Pump more and make your baby nurse constantly”. Baby who does not get enough milk and works very hard to get it will not thrive.

        I do not agree that mother should feed her baby with formula anyway. Baby will certainly needs supplementation if mother is deficient in key nutrients for what ever reason, but do not replace breast milk with formula unless she is on dangerous drugs or has occupational exposure to dangerous chemicals.

    • Rachel says:

      There are many other fantastic blogs out there with lots traditional foods information to share. She’s not the only show in town, just one of the loudest 🙂 She is not a scientist or researcher, formerly a computer programmer, (nor is Ann Marie) and doesn’t know how to back up what she’s saying. She cited only two studies in her talk, one which shows that the levels of proteins and immunoglobins do not change regardless of diet, and stated this was the ONLY study supporting this. The other spouts her opinion as evidence, her “common sense” as fact, and she has multiple times shown herself to be actually very uninformed about what she’s attempting to write about. Her home birth piece and herbal birth control come to mind off the top of my head. Anyone can write about how to make bone broth or the nutritional value of organ meats. That’s way different then discussing the value and benefit of breastfeeding or using another species’ of milk for infant nutrition.

    • PattyLA says:

      She is far from the only source of the information that she shares.

  8. I too am offended by Sarah’s “tone of voice” and rudeness. At LLL we say take what you want and leave the rest. Well, I will take what I want from WAPF and leave the breastfeeding info behind. Every mom who has a SAD can change her diet over time and may choose to integrate more of WAPF ideas. But if she is treated with scorn for where she is at with her diet right now, why would she want to hear what they have to say? It’d be a turn off. How very sad. I think that the immunities factor alone is reason enough to breastfeed! Not to mention the bonding! (And I could go on and on here with LOTS more!!) To call breastfeeding advocates nazis is extremely bad form. My five kids are grown; I didn’t have a perfect diet way back when they were little; I probably never will; and I embrace much of the WAPF diet now. Shame on Sarah for not choosing a more considerate choice of words. We can be respectful of others’ opinions without saying we agree with them. She could be respectful of the differences in opinion on health benefits of breastfeeding with a SAD vs WAPF diet. We are only on this path call life once. Let’s be kind to one another!

  9. Pingback: The Weston A. Price Foundation’s Dangerous Breastfeeding Advice Should NOT Be Ignored | unlatched. | B'earth Angel Doula Service and Birth Arts

  10. Amber Rife says:

    Translate as: if you aren’t nearly “perfect”, which most people aren’t, buy OUR formula.

    • LYM says:

      Amber, neither the WAPF nor Sarah sell formula. They do not even sell the recipe for it; it’s free online for anyone who wants it.

      • Tina says:

        But the ingredients in their formula are pretty much sourced from people associated with WAPF

      • The Village Green Network sells formula kits through Radiant Life.

      • The Village Green Network sells formula kits through Radiant Life…

      • They just sell all of the very specific ingredients for it in monthly increments for parents convenience. The price before raw milk nets them around $1,300 per baby that is switched to WAPF formula.

      • LYM says:

        Fascinating; I didn’t know Radiant Life sells that! I haven’t been to their site since starting to buy my fCLO directly from Green Pastures in bulk (that stuff has changed our family’s health in a massive way). I’ll be sure and note this the next time a friend or family member pulls out all the stops, but is still unable to breastfeed exclusively. This could be a life-saver, if they also feel they don’t have the energy for making the formula themselves, and are about to start using commercial formula, with all its processed, GM loveliness.

        One question, though: it appears this is a Radiant Life product, not something sold by the WAPF. Do you have a link showing that this is something other than just another convenient product sold by the Lemoine family?

      • unlatched says:

        We are in the process of researching it, but I know Nourishing Our Children gets 10% of sales by using this link:

    • Kristie says:

      The recipe is free, there is nothing to buy 🙂

      • KindFoodFarm says:

        Yes, Thank you Kristie! Again, why are people criticizing entrepreneurs who are dedicated to making nutrient-dense, nourishing, pure foods more widely available? I don’t get it.
        Sandrine Love of Nourishing Our Children is also a friend of mine, and I know her to follow the highest ethical standards. After her initial post on breastfeeding, she got a lot of feedback, some of it critical, and she had the humility to report that to her readers as well, and to ask for their guidance. She has no children of her own, yet cares passionately about nourishing children and has made that a huge focus of her life. I think she is to be commended for that. She is extremely open to learning from others and from her mistakes. She does much good in this world.

  11. LYM says:

    “At LLL we say take what you want and leave the rest. Well, I will take what I want from WAPF and leave the breastfeeding info behind. ” Ditto that.

    Yes, mother’s poor diet *can* impact her babies’ health. It happened to all of my nurslings, until I turned my diet around. We bf’ing advocates would do well to acknowledge that a nutrient-dense mother’s diet will make better milk than if that same mother had a nutrient-poor diet, at the same time that real food advocates would do well to acknowledge that no one actually has any data showing whether even the most malnourished of mothers has worse quality milk than a mother on the highest quality homemade raw Jersey milk formula.

    Promote breastfeeding *and* diet, realize that Sarah Pope is not the WAPF or Weston Price, and encourage a more respectful dialogue all around. Sarah is not currently doing a great job of that, nor is the the author of the article on this website, who is inciting hysteria among lactivists like myself.

    • F. says:

      Sarah is insinuating in all her posts that breastfeeding advocates do not care or do not agree that a nutrient dense/whole diet makes for more nutritious breast milk and therefore healthier children. I don’t think *any* bf advocate would disagree with her on that (yet that is what she seems to think and gets stuck on). The problem is with the claims that if one does *not* follow a strict whole-food, nutrient dense diet, one should give store-bought formula to their infants instead because that would be ‘better’. That is a completely false statement. Not only has hundreds of peer-reviewed research proven otherwise, the subjects (mom) of all that research, were likely women who ate a typical ‘American diet’ as those who eat nutrient dense/whole represent only a small slice of the population. She is not only open to dialogue and or responding in a gentle and professional manner, she has stooped so low that she is calling people names without even being provoked. I have lost a tremendous, tremendous amount of respect for her, and will find someone else who advocates for healthy nutrient dense whole diets to lean and glean from. I’d certainly not want someone like her as a role model or mentor…

      • LYM says:

        Actually, F, for the first ten years of my breastfeeding career (it has been 15 years consecutive now!), all I heard was that when you’re pregnant, if you don’t get enough nutrients, the baby will suffer, but that when you’re nursing, the body will fill up the milk first, and the mother second. They implied or directly said that it’s nigh unto impossible to make nutritionally deficient milk unless you, the mother, are clearly malnourished.

        It appears that Fallon has made the extraordinary claim that *vegan* mothers (and no others) would be better off with commercial formula. I can’t agree there, and Pope has made no statements of agreement with this.

        I agree entirely on the demogoguery.

      • Well put! Thank you for stating it so well. I agree with you: “I don’t think *any* bf advocate would disagree with her on that.” We are actually in agreement that nutrient dense breastmilk is superior to the breastmilk of a mother whose diet is typical ‘American diet’. Finding common ground and actively listening to those who respectfully disagree with you makes for good communication with the public. Her behavior is not respectful and that is a turn off. Who wants to read her responses when they are so snide to others? It all goes back to “do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.” She isn’t doing that, imo.

      • Dawn says:

        Actually a number of breastfeeding advocates commenting about the presentation said specifically that you could drink and even do drugs while breastfeeding, and it wouldn’t effect the milk, and that diet had no effect whatsoever.

        As long as there are extremists on both sides spouting untruths, the very real problem of fully breastfed babies with rickets, pernicious anemia and baby teeth coming in already totally rotten (among other problems) will continue.

    • Rachel says:

      Actually Sarah Pope is on the board and Ann Marie’s The Village Green Network is the mouth piece for WAPF. So yeah, I’d say they do speak for WAPF.

      • Dawn says:

        Actually Village Green is an advertising network for real food and green products. Like BlogHer, but specifically green. They are not affiliated with WAPF in any way, though WAPF pays them for advertising, as do many other corporate sponsors, like Paleo Pit Paste and Jovial Foods.

      • KindFoodFarm says:

        Sarah Pope certainly doesn’t advocate store-bought formula as an alternative to breastfeeding. Her advice is good. I don’t care that she is sometimes not the most tactful person. Take the good information and ignore personal failings. Getting hung up on someone’s human weakness so you miss her very important message (nutrient-dense real food for all, including babies — ideally via the breast, but if that’s impossible, use the WAPF formula) is just cutting off your nose to spite your face. Also, Village Green Network is AnnMarie’s company, she does not speak for the WAPF, though she has been a presenter at more than one annual conference (as have hundreds of other food, nutrition and health professionals). I know AnnMarie personally and I used to work for her. I don’t see why people have a problem with entrepreneurs making quality real food products and services available to a wider audience. My understanding is that AnnMarie is currently on the outs with WAPF leadership over some disagreements. She’s a smart, talented person with a real passion for real food. She’s currently breastfeeding her own little boy and is very supportive of breastfeeding.
        Again, no one speaking for or supportive of WAPF principles advocates commercial baby formula over breastfeeding. That is misinformation to the point of being libelous. At best someone has misunderstood something. The reasons why some women have difficulty breastfeeding are various and sometimes complicated; providing a homemade solution for those women is a service. Get over yourselves.

  12. LYM says:

    At what point in the presentation did Sarah say that if you do not have a nutrient-dense diet, you should not breastfeed? Beginning, 1/4 in, halfway, etc.? I’d be very interested in hearing those words for myself.

  13. Jay says:

    LYM, can you read above? Its all right here.

    • LYM says:

      Wow, thanks for the thoughtful reply, Jay. No, nowhere in this article is Sarah directly quoted as saying that if you do not have a nutrient-dense diet, you should not breastfeed. Whether Sally Fallon or the WAPF said it is not what I asked. On FB, Sarah is saying the opposite of what she is paraphrased above as saying, so I would like to know at what point in the hour-long presentation she actually says that, because either the paraphrase is wrong, or Sarah Pope is speaking out of both sides of her mouth.

      • Laura says:

        LYM, I don’t have the link handy but if you look for Sally Fallon’s breastfeeding story, she speaks about how a mother should have a nutrient dense diet with “no room for error.” She also has only anicdotal evidence that her babies who were fed the WAPF formula are healthy while her neighbors kids who were bf’d were sick. Obviously, diet is very important in health but it is not the only reason a kiddo might be “more sickly” than others! I too wish to see the data behind their claims. WAPF might not sell formula but they partner with organizations that sell many of the special items needed for the formula (everything but the milk and water!) and the bloggers get paid via those organizations. Follow the money- Sarah Pope is indeed getting paid to promote the WAPF formula recipe.

      • LYM says:

        Laura, I asked for where *Sarah Pope* says that it’s better to use formula if you can’t eat a nutrient-dense diet. I’m not asking for what Sally Fallon said.

        The ingredients in the homemade raw milk formula are not specialized or hard to find, with the exception of the high quality CLO. I seriously doubt Dave Wetzel is making Sarah Pope rich enough to keep her in her blogging frenzy. The words I’ve seen her say are that homemade formula is important *if* you are one of the rare few who cannot breastfeed – not that everyone who isn’t eating XYZ perfect foods should just give up and switch to the formula. You are starting to sound like the conspiratorial anti-dairy vegans when you claim that those who disagree with you do so because they’re benefiting from it financially.

  14. Grace says:

    I questioned them just a few days ago on the issue and Sandrine Love (one of the administrators of their Nourishing Our Children page) shared a link to the chapter on breastfeeding. There are many elements that I have problems with, not the least of which are the lack of real references and what seems to me to be an over emphasis on breastfeeding problems. In discussions on that page, what I often see are jumps to suggest their formula before suggestion a lactation specialist. Lot’s of “we know you can’t nurse, just make this formula” instead of, have you covered all your bases before giving up? When they are questioned, they are very defensive and very adamant that their book is so well researched that it trumps the entire body of breastfeeding knowledge that has been amassed over time. I’ve never had anyone be unkind to me, but then I always approach my comments gently.
    Here is the link I was given. You can draw your own conclusions.

    • LYM says:

      Agreed. Many have speculated that there must be some personal history with Fallon to have her so cavalier about breastfeeding. “Yes, cover all your bases before giving up breastfeeding, for yours and your baby’s sake!” should be the loudest message, before ever suggesting any kind of formula.

      • Grace says:

        I wish I could tell you how many mama’s in their discussions are making statements like “my baby was starving” “my baby nursed too often” and are being met with the same mantra (to the effect of ) “If your baby is eating often or having trouble nursing then you aren’t truly nourishing them with your milk.” My line of questioning the other day flat out stated that they have no scientific evidence that a mother’s milk is sub-standard –meaning what they are telling mothers is based on nothing more than their book, no tests to validate the claim. They didn’t even respond to that. Just gave me the link to their book. The same day I posed the question, they created a closed forum for parents who want to “truly nourish their children, not just feed them” Too much dodging and hiding for my taste.

    • Tina says:

      I have heard from WAPF members that Sally was unable to breastfeed and rest is history. Sour grapes

  15. Lisa C says:

    I don’t see how the WAPF breastfeeding guidelines or Sarah Pope’s presentation in the Healthy Life Summit are “extremely dangerous.”

    Let’s review the guidelines:
    -Breastfeeding while on a nutrient-dense diet = ideal.
    -Homemade formula using the WAPF recipe = not ideal, but good nutrition.
    -Breastfeeding on a nutrient-lacking diet = not ideal, wide range of possible outcomes.
    -Commercial infant formula = even less ideal, wide range of possible outcomes.
    -Breastfeeding on a vegan diet = wide range of possible outcomes, including infant malnourishment and possible death.

    Seems like a reasonable order to me. Maybe vegan could be higher on the list with the qualification that it is done correctly and only by individuals suited to such a diet.

    I want to know what is extremely dangerous about this advice. It’s not going to hurt breastfeeding rates, if that is what you are concerned about. If anything, it has the potential to increase breastfeeding success for those who endeavor to do it. Our bodies need good nutrition to function at their optimum, including the function of breastfeeding. Without enough good nutrition, a mother may be unable to breastfeed successfully. I have spoken with many mothers who were unable to breastfeed and it was always due to some health issue. This is different than giving up due to lack of support.

    For those who are unable to breastfeed, WAPF provides a formula recipe that is superior to commercial formulas. It’s not an “easy out” as the mother would have to put together the recipe multiple times a day, as well as source the ingredients. But it is a way for a mother to better nourish her child than buying commercial infant formula.

    • “For those who are unable to breastfeed, WAPF provides a formula recipe that is superior to commercial formulas.”
      Really? Says who? Based on what evidence? As an IBCLC, my professional opinion is that it is dangerous, immoral and, in many places, illegal to advise mothers to tinker with their infants’ diets, where there is a safe and evidence based alternative to human milk.

      • Dawn says:

        If I couldn’t breastfeed, I would gladly use the homemade formula recipe over that powdered, BPA-ridden processed junk any day. Even organic formula contains BPA and genetically engineered DHA. Industrially produced formula is the ultimate in processed, chemical food, and has only existed a short time in human history. In contrast, many mothers have used homemade, nutrient dense formulas and gruels for thousands of years. I’d much rather give my child nutrient dense whole food, which is in keeping with my food values generally.

    • eatonguac says:

      No, she doesn’t suggest the homemade formula if you can’t breastfeed. She put it at #2, above breastfeeding if you don’t have a stellar diet, which is wrong.

      The advise is dangerous because there are soooo many benefits to breastfeeding other then just providing baby with food. To suggest homemade formula over breastfeeding with a not so great diet is ridiculous. Scientific studies have proven that a mothers body takes the nutrients it needs to properly feed the baby. Her body instinctively knows that the baby needs. And the milk she makes for one child will be different then the next. Our bodies are so powerful!

      Yes, a healthy diet is very important when pregnant and breastfeeding, I don’t see anyone saying otherwise, but she implies that unless you are following a strict WAPF approved diet, don’t breastfeed at all, and that’s just wrong.

      • Dawn says:

        So what DO we do about the rapidly increasing number of fully breast fed babies who have rickets, or dangerous B-12 anemia, or whose baby teeth come in already rotted? Similarly, what do we do to prevent all the mamas who can’t breastfeed (or supply enough milk) because of health problems related to malnutrition? If mom is totally low on Vitamin D (for one example), the breastmilk isn’t going to magically contain it. So how DO we deal with these problems? My midwife and my naturopath see these problems every. single. day.

      • Lisa C says:

        So you are worried that a WAPF follower is going to make homemade formula instead of breastfeeding? If a mother cared enough about nutrition to go to the trouble of that, I would think she would be willing to go through the trouble of eating a good diet herself. If she’s like me, she would want the best for her child, and the best is clearly to breastfeed while eating well. I don’t think I need to eat strictly as you say. WAPF gives ideal guidelines but they never say you have to be perfect about it. And yes, they DO say to do the homemade formula if you can’t breastfeed. I don’t think they expect you to continue eating a crappy diet.

        I wish I had known about this diet when I had my son. It could have saved me a lot of heartache over health issues suffered by both me and my son. I don’t believe breast milk is the same regardless of diet. I ended up having to give my son vitamin supplements while he was breastfeeding. I had fallen into the trap of thinking my milk provided everything he needed and ended up kicking myself for it when he showed nutritional deficiencies. My body was so low on nutrients that I became unable to function properly and I was sick. Now that I have the WAPF diet I am well, and I have much more confidence in myself to provide enough nutrients for my next child. If it weren’t for them, I’d probably never gotten well enough to HAVE another kid, let alone breastfeed one.

        Just the perspective of someone who actually follows WAPF…

    • Human breast-milk is designed specifically for humans. It contains live cells that we are only beginning to learn what they do. Breast-milk has antibiotics properties that kills infection, and there is not another animals milk that does that. They are starting to realize that breast-milk kills cancer cells Humans milk is also designed specifically for the baby nursing. If the baby starts to show signs of an infection the moms body starts to send the exact antibodies that the baby needs. Our bodies will also respond to the saliva of our babies and send the perfect milk for their perfect stage of growing. Male milk is even different than the milk designed for female babies. Human breast-milk is not only food but is medicine and you will not find another animal that will deliver exactly the antibodies that a human baby needs.

      So yeah, it sounds totally reasonable that a homemade formula made out of an inferior mammals milk is somehow better than human milk >.<

    • Eric says:

      Well said, This comment pretty much summed it up well.

    • I totally agree with Lisa. I do follow WAPF, and I also breastfeed. I have the homemade formula ingredients on-hand in case I ever need to supplement, but so far (10 months) I haven’t had to. People are putting words in the mouths of both Sarah and the WAPF. They have NEVER said they are against breastfeeding. They are just stating a truth that is inconvenient for many to hear – that if you’re truly concerned about nourishing your diet, the SAD is not going to cut it. I don’t see the big controversy. True, I think Step 1 is to encourage ALL mothers to breastfeed. But Step 2 is to discuss the role that diet is playing in the quality of breastmilk. We are all working towards the same ultimate goal here.

      • Eric says:

        I had to spend 20 minutes reading the articles, comments, posting by healthy home economist. Truly a very bad smear article by ‘Unlatched’ who is misguided or ignorant. I would advise folks to subscribe to thehealthyhomeeconomist blog or facebook page and see the big picture of what Sarah Pope is about. You will see that she is nothing like what is described in Unlatched. Also found this on her facebook page – Thanks to everyone who has sent notes of positive thoughts and encouragement my way today. I realize there is much in the way of lies and rumor going around about me personally and about the WAPF right now. I won’t be reading or responding to any of it as it is a waste of time to argue with these people. It is a calculated campaign of misinformation by some as the result of my position and that of the WAPF that diet greatly affects the quality of a mother’s breastmilk. I myself breastfed my children for 2-4 years and never bottlefed. I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. I am NOT in support of commercial formula nor do I ever advocate its use. I will never change my position that diet is important to breastmilk quality no matter how much internet harassment may come my way as a result. Science and historical evidence tell us that wise mothers eat a nutrient rich diet while breastfeeding and this is my position that I will continue to teach along with how to make a nutrient dense homemade formula in the event a concerned mother finds herself in the unfortunate situation of being unable to breastfeed. Thanks for everyone’s continued support and encouragement as we fight the good fight for Traditional Diet amid the sea of misinformation today!

  16. Pingback: the Healthy Home Economist, Weston A. Price Foundation, and Breastfeeding.

  17. Thank you thank you thank you for exposing the sanctimonious, selfish bitchiness that is healthy home economist. She is a danger to society.

    • Eric says:

      Hi Kathy,

      I don’t think it does good to calling people names and such. I know Sarah Pope and I can tell you that she is a wonderful lady. If you take the time to read her posting and get to know her, I’ll think you’ll find out the same. Furthermore reading the article and opinion written here by Unlatched, I see many inaccurate statements. It is a very poorly written article and I think a few of the comments posted here shows that.


      • S. says:

        Eric, there were several comments deleted on the HHE page where breastfeeding advocates were called Breastfeeding Nazi’s. I used to be a follower of her page, but after all the vitrol I have seen expressed to people, not anymore. Everything written on this page is based in truth, and the evidence is there to back up that truth. Unlike the view that vegan milk is inferior to commercial formula.
        Have you checked to see how much people get paid at WAPF, very interesting, it’s not altruism, it’s a job.

  18. Lisa C. What HHE and WAP fail to recognize is that they should not be pushing a homemade formula on any one who is trying to nurse. They should be providing women with ideas on how to eat best for making breastmilk. PERIOD. They should not be putting women down for trying to nurse and telling them they are not eating right and should make formula instead. Their formula recipe may be better than commercially made formula but that is not the point. The point is that healthy home economist comes across as a judgemental and condescending know-it-all who has zero tolerance and even less respect for anyone who does not follow her ideals to the letter. She is not trying to help women who are having breastfeeding difficulties. She is trying to tell the average American woman that her diet is not good enough to breastfeed, that even if she is making breastmilk it is not healthy enough for her child and she should stop and use the WAP formula instead. And she is comparing women who strongly want to nurse their babies, despite the GMO food in their diet, to Nazis? She is reprehensible and vile.

    • Eric says:

      Maybe Sarah is passionate and going overboard with statements ‘Nazi’, but I think you are too with your statements such as ‘condescending know-it-all who has zero tolerance…’ Reading HHE and WAPF, I know that you have misinterpreted them saying they are pushing a homemade formula and that they are not providing women with ideas how to eat best for making breast milk. Actually they provide TONS of information for making breastmilk. They also believe in breast feeding but that if you have the improper diet, you may not be nourishing your children. That is not rocket science here.

      My advise is to take the time to read all the information on the WAPF page and you’ll find that this person who wrote this article from ‘unlatched’ has cherry picked a few statements but failed to look at the whole picture from WAPF.

    • Lisa C says:

      I have not expressed any support of Sarah Pope’s rude behavior. I only mentioned her in the context of her presentation in the Healthy Life Summit, which I thought was fine. She was being interviewed in that and answered the questions she was asked. It was a limited time frame and a narrow topic–not meant to cover everything in regards to breastfeeding. As for her behavior concerning what she has felt to be harassment, I cannot support that. However, her unprofessionalism toward perceived harassment has nothing to do with the issue at hand, and I don’t know why it’s been discussed here. It seems like people just want to attack her and WAPF rather than do something productive. Bad-mouthing well-meaning people is NOT productive. If you all truly believe that she is misinforming people, then you must also believe that she is misinformed because someone who is as passionate about health as she is would not intentionally misinform people. She has taken a stand on something that she believes in and there is NOTHING wrong with that.

  19. I think that new mothers learn over a long period of time how to have a better diet. We come from all sorts of backgrounds… and WAPF is one way to learn about improving our diets. When it sounds strident and almost militant, it’s a turn off. Many moms will take a while to learn new things about nutrition. The idea that “without enough good nutrition, a mother may be unable to breastfeed successfully” is ridiculous in my opinion. I don’t need studies to know that with my “not too good” typical diet when I was 25 y.o. was just FINE for my babies! The lifelong benefits of breast-feeding are much more than just having a diet of grass-fed organic beef, etc.! Vegan mothers are not endangering their babies… and commercial formula can also have the possible outcome of death. Just read about Nestle’s in other countries to learn about how awful (and devastating) their products can be for some babies!!

  20. Wow, I had no idea about this. I discovered WAPF over a year ago and have been following Sarah Pope’s blog for over 2 years. We’ve been on a mostly WAP diet for three months so far and it’s been life changing for us. But I had no idea about their stance on breastfeeding and I am appalled by Sarah’s comments! Not even sure what to think, it is obviously not acceptable. Breastfeeding is by far the best and certainly better than formula even for the average mom eating an okay diet. Yes, a nutrient dense diet free of processed foods and garbage is better, it would be silly to think otherwise, but it is dangerous to advise moms not to breastfeed just because they don’t follow WAPF diet!

    • Lisa C says:

      Despite Sally’s list showing the order of what she believes is healhiest, I’ve never actually heard her or Sarah say not to breastfeed if you aren’t on WAPF diet. They are both big breastfeeding advocates.

  21. megan gillard says:

    the whole ‘gmo cow= bad milk no gmo=good milk’ is TRUE
    and I agree with a moms diet needing to be good food
    BUUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT that doesn’t mean if you eat doritos your baby will get ALL of the chemicals. theres an extent (which they crossed) on how important your diet is to your babies.. and in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM is formula even COMPARABLE to breastmilk whether that a junk food eating mother or a ‘perfect’ eating mother. so wrong!!!

  22. Ebony says:

    I am very confused at why anybody thinks what Sarah said about breast feeding is wrong??? She may have approached it incorrectly, but I feel like its common sense that diet effects breast milk and lactation. What you eat even effects the taste of breast milk… I despise when credentials without any basis are thrown about like “I have a background in biochemistry” does that actually means something?… I have a DEGREE in NUTRITION and we learned that doctors as well as other scientific professionals are NOT required to take a nutrition class, so therefore recommendations about nutrition would prove futile… If you want a healthy baby, it starts with you.. Next people are going to say its okay to drink alcohol an breastfeed as well… Sarah’s approach was wrong, but her message is totally correct…

    • blog says:

      For one thing, vegans are completely healthy and fit mothers, and their breast milk is best for their babies, but the WPF is actively attacking vegan mothers, claiming that their breast milk is worse than commercial formula. If you were trained as a nutritionist, you know this to be false. WPF is not a legit group. They are a hate group, aimed at vegans and everyone else who has different ideas about nutrition. They are like Christian fundamentalist, except their god is raw milk and grass-fed beef.

      • Laura W says:

        YES! I roughly follow a WAPF diet, but have distanced myself from the foundation itself for mainly two reasons: 1. Their dogmatic, religious zeal about their diet/god. 2. Their views on infant feeding.

        Thank you for this post. It *is* a big deal when a major organization is promoting misinformation about breastfeeding.

  23. It is laughable to compare us to cows that eat a GMO diet. Humans are the highest evolved mammals and our bodies do miraculous things to match that evolutionary level. >.<

  24. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, just unsubed from both of WAPF and Sarah Pope’s Blog……I am horrified she is talking this way and horrified at the dangerous information being shared by both the WAPF and Sarah…….

  25. Lacey says:

    How easily could you call this woman a “diet Nazi” if you were so inclined to use such language?

  26. Becky says:

    Wow… Yes a mom that eats halthy is better than one that eats junk all the time , but a mom who eats junk food 24/7 is still a lot better than formula or cows milk.

  27. Xaka says:

    It seems to me that the other benefits of nursing are being completely overlooked. Even if one wants to debate the nutrition angle (which I don’t, as I’ve seen enough research documenting that even malnourished, starving to death mothers can produce adequate milk for their babies), there are still the other things that make nursing nursing. (I don’t like to call it “breastfeeding” as nursing is about more than the milk!)

    Nursing helps develop proper facial structure. How anyone representing WAPF could be so disingenuous as to “forget” that is beyond me. Dr. Price talked about facial structure all the time! There is no nursing substitute on the planet that will help develop the face and mouth like nursing. Dr. Price must be rolling in his grave!

    • KindFoodFarm says:

      You are cherry-picking your “evidence” here. The WAPF certainly does support breastfeeding, and not just for nutrition. Yes, the mother’s body will prioritize the needs of the infant. That is no reason not to support the mother’s health as well by advocating for a nutrient-dense diet *for her.* That is why WAPF recommends spacing children at least three years apart, so the mother can rebuild her own nutritional stores, to meet her own needs and to be there for her children as they grow up. Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift to children, but it’s not the only thing children need from their mothers.

  28. Laura W says:

    BTW, I listened to the entire Healthy Green Living Sally Fallon talk and 15 minutes of the Sarah Pope talk. 15 minutes was all I could stomach. Sarah literally used the phrase, “garbage in garbage out” referring to the breastmilk produced by breastfeeding mothers on what she considers a suboptimal diet. She constantly refered to her “common sense” telling her various things about breastmilk and infant nutrition.

    There are human stem cells in human breastmilk people! All breastmilk, not just the milk of ideally nourished mothers. You’re not going to get that from raw cow or goat milk. Just do some light reading on breastmilk composition, its uniqueness and perfect design as optimal for human infant nourishment does not end with stem cells. Yes, I absolutely agree that the mother’s diet has some impact on some aspects of breastmilk composition, and the milk of a well nourished mother will be better than the milk of a mother eating a SAD. But there are certainly numerous factors (like immunoglobins and stem cells) that are largely unaffected by diet. Even certain nutrients will be drawn from the mother’s own bones and tissues to compose her milk and nourish her baby if she’s not consuming adequate amounts in her diet, calcium is one example.

    Sarah and Sally also both made the unfounded claim that “no traditional cultures practice tandem nursing.” See the mommypotamous blog for a nice response to that claim.

    Both talks came across much more strongly as, “breastfeeding isn’t as great as they say it is” versus, “breastfeeding is the perfect food for your baby which is why you should make every effort to be as well nourished as you can during pregnancy and lactation.” And that is a huge problem.

  29. Emily says:

    I am a member of WAPF, I try to eat a WAPF diet, I’m currently reading the book mentioned above, and also a breastfeeding mom. I listened to some of the summit, but not this presentation. Although, I did buy the whole set of presentations, so I could go back, I guess.

    Here’s what I think: This is all a little ridiculous. I love LLL–my mom was very very involved while I was growing up–but LLL does claim that all women’s breastmilk is just right for their babies. Now, in some ways this is true. Human milk (like any real milk) is a very “busy” food–there is A LOT happening in it with enzymes, immunity, food for gut bacteria, and who knows what else (nobody knows yet). I read an article recently that was talking about how milk naturally adjusts to meet a baby’s needs continually. In this way, breastmilk IS the perfect food for our babies. It is made specifically for their individual, changing needs. That is incredible!

    At the same time, this really is a matter of chemistry–if you’re eating a diet of soda and potato chips, why would you expect your milk to contain nutrients that you’re not consuming to begin with? And, do you think babies that get milk from moms that have a poor diet really just don’t need those other nutrients? Of course they do! It makes a ton of sense that the quality of our milk depends of us eating well.

    I do also think that there are important relationship benefits that come from nursing.

    So, everyone agrees here that breastmilk from a nourished mama is best for a baby. This is not such a conflict of interest.

    A really poor lady that has a terrible diet is not going to be able to afford to make the WAPF recommended formula. If you can’t afford good fresh food, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to afford fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil, or raw milk (if you live somewhere where it is usually pasteurized). So, that’s out. But you’ll see on the list that breastmilk lacking in nutrients is still listed before commercial formula. The only kind of breastmilk that is below commercial formula is vegan breastmilk, and that really isn’t such a shocker, because babies have died from that.

    I also doubt that anyone is going to feel like they should quit breastfeeding because of this recommendation. Wouldn’t it just kind of serve as a reminder that it’s important to eat well for you–and your baby that is depending on you for nutrition? And, if you feel like you need to quit breastfeeding because your diet is not good enough, really, you’re going to be committed enough to source all of the random ingredients–and follow advice that is kind of unpopular in society right now–even though you were not willing to do it for yourself? (Probably not, so then we move down the list and your milk is still best for your baby.)

    I think of this advice more as advice for mamas who are unable to breastfeed. If you can’t breastfeed, what is best for your baby? Donor milk is still higher on this list than commercial formula (as it should be). Nutrient-dense formula is a more controlled, careful option. It is still based on raw milk, so a lot of similar properties will be there (which would be absent in a commercial formula).

    So…why the conflict between breastfeeding advocates and WAPF?

    If I had to stop nursing for some reason, my plan would be to obtain donor milk if possible, and also supplement with the WAPF formula.

    I’m only a few chapters into the book, and so far my opinion is that Sally is right on with nutrition topics, and not always right on with general parenting topics. But, eh, whatever, I don’t follow her for parenting advice, so that information just kind of seems like sometimes not very good advice.

    It seems like you’re interested in knowing what sources she cites in her breastfeeding discussion in the book. The relevant chapter is Chapter 7, Nourishing Your Baby. It is 30 pages long (pgs 121-150), and includes information about breastfeeding and about the homemade formula. I thought maybe I would type the list of references for you, but actually there are 71 sources cited (pgs 317-319), and it’s late as I’m writing this, so if the author of this blog post would like to e-mail me at my e-mail address that I’ll put with this comment, I don’t mind somehow sharing that portion of the book if it isn’t against copyright to do so.

    • Eric says:

      Well said. I would advice folks to read all in Nourishing Traditions listed here and all the information from WAPF before making any judgement here.

      • S. says:

        So there are actual studies that back up putting GMO formula over a vegan mothers breastmilk?

        Please do share?

    • Susan says:

      No. They haven’t. Babies have not died from vegan mothers breast feeding them. Prove it.

      Stop spreading the propaganda and just prove it.

    • Lisa C says:

      Exactly. This is why, even if milk from undernourished mothers is still better than the homemade formula, I don’t think it is dangerous advice. It just seems so unlikely anyone would not breastfeed because of it.

      • Bethayn says:

        Babies have, however, died from consuming unpasterized milk. My niece was two years old when she passed away from drinking contaminated unpasterized milk. I do believe unpasterized milk is easier on our digestive system but just as with raw meat, care needs to be taken with regard to contamination. If I am not milking the cow myself how can I be certain fecal matter has not contaminated the milk? Teets must be sterial and great care given to ensure fecal matter does not drop from the animal into the pail. Anyone who has milked a cow knows cows are not free from fecal debris. They walk though their fecis, lay in it, and are not shy to drop it even while being milked. For those who would use unpasterized milk need to make this choice knowing all the facts. Unpasterized milk holds the risk of being containated with the ecoli bacteria. milk from a mother who is undernourished is still much better for an infant then any formula is. If a mother is so severely undernourished that she is not produceing milk then a person may want to focus on the past 9 months and how this situation has already damaged the life of the child. Breast milk is the best choice and if we are concerned about the nutritional value in our breast milk then our diet should be our first priority before considering formula. Ceasing to nurse simply because we are not willing to care for our own nutritional needs makes me wonder if the infant will eventually receive the same treatment? I nursed each of my three children until they were 18 months. I will be honest, had breast feeding been difficult for me, I would have forced myself to stick it out for 3 months but I cannot be certain I would have continued much more beyond this. There are many factors involved when making the choice to breast feed. I have witnessed many mothers who do not find ease with the whole nursing experience. Disrobing, retreating to a space of solitude for hours at a time begins to seem more like a jail sentence then the natural bonding between mother and child. It leaves little to zero time left in a day to spend with other children or for life in general. Breast feeding needs to be a decision a mother makes keeping in mind her emotional, mental, and physical well being. Yes, mothers milk is best choice especially for the first few months.

    • “The only kind of breastmilk that is below commercial formula is vegan breastmilk, and that really isn’t such a shocker, because babies have died from that.”
      Prove it.

  30. Jen says:

    I think it’s easy to become angry over any advice which points to anything negative related to breastfeeding when people are fighting very hard to bring it back into our society. But we have to also understand that the health (mis)information that has plagued us for the last hundred years is causing high incidence of disease in this country. We are not as strong or as healthy as we were a hundred years ago. Processed foods are weakening and killing us. Look at our children today, they aren’t as healthy. We are talking about inter-generational, chronic malnutrition at the deepest levels. No, our breastmilk isn’t as healthy because we’re not as healthy. Vegan breastmilk lacks B12 among other nutrients (sorry, can’t find the study I’ve read). This diet is new and experimental, not one of the traditional diets breastfeeding mothers have had.

    As a vegetarian mother, vegetarian through pregnancy, I had a *very* healthy pregnancy and baby. However, my health crashed when i started nursing, I couldn’t continue in that diet, and I was making myself sick. Surprisingly? I had trouble nursing, which was absolutely devastating. I supplemented with the liver formula for almost a year, and have just fully weaned my daughter at 33 months. When going through this challenge, LLL had nothing to explain why I was starving all the time and couldn’t feel satiated. Nothing to say why my teeth were suddenly weak, and why I was scared to lose one. My lactation consultant said, oh, you’re milk will come back, no need to worry. It never came back to 100% and I had nothing to go on, except the WAPF who were willing to discuss what others in this mindset wouldn’t dare to: that when malnourished, you can’t breastfeed appropriately, that it might make the mother and possible the baby depleted and undernourished. They gave me options that I could use instead of commercial formula. They saved my life.

    There are ways to take this information for what it is, as support for those who need it. As a light in the dark regardless of popular opinion or dogma. Is it 100% true in all situations? No, nothing ever is as we are unique individuals. Should this information be considered? Yes. Because it does apply to some. I will add, however, that I would suggest keeping up breastfeeding, and supplementing with something to help support proper nutrition–if the mother can handle it.

    • Lisa C says:

      Well said Jen. By attacking WAPF they are driving people away from information that could be very valuable to them and could even help them be more successful in breastfeeding. I’m defending WAPF because I see the value in this traditional wisdom. I believe it could help a lot of mothers with breastfeeding. I don’t care if the homemade formula is in second place or third place on this list because I don’t think it matters. What matters is getting mothers to eat better. What matters is healing our world of the massive nutritional degeneration that’s going on. We are in a crisis. People are willing to believe that diet before and during pregnancy matters and that a child’s diet after weaning matters, but somehow diet during lactation is exempt? Does that not stare reason in the face?

  31. angela says:

    Ive been following the healthy home economist for over a year, I dont see why some women are so defensive about her information. I think it makes great sense and I plan on breast feeding my second child with the help of weston price diet. She is trying to help women not hurt them. She is a big advocate on breast feeding.I get the sense that women are reading into her information and waiting to pounce on her every word! Why cant we all get along and support it each other and stop ripping each other apart. Isn’t this the time for feminine energy to rise and women harmoniously work together.

  32. The thing I find most amusing is the way they place vegan breastfeeding mother’s milk at the bottom of the list of what to feed your baby. I find this utterly hilarious, because I have breastfed two enormous babies who are so seldom ill & so strong that if a famine came, or some plague, they’d be the kind of kids who’d survive. They fulfil the WAPF criteria of “healthy plump babies, strong sturdy children”. far far more than any advocate of wapf i’ve ever met’s kids do! This is merely just an absolute slating of vegan mothers. terrible, ugly, revolting. I already know WAPF is a load of crap, conjured by the meat & dairy industries of USA, but the complete lack of knowledge about breastfeeding & the fact that there are so many devotees blindly following their advice on “health” feeding of their babies means it stops being funny & starts being dangerous.

  33. (Another) Becky says:

    This isn’t a surprise. The WAPF nutritional advice is flawed on many levels, and at times contradicts known science. The breastfeeding and formula advice is only one piece of flawed advice from a very unreliable organization. It is in no way an aberration.

    • sborganic says:

      Hi Becky,

      That is a very general blanket statement with no details. That’s like me saying ‘Becky comments here has no validation and science and her opinion is flawed and she is from an unreliable organization’.

      I advise you to start here by taking a tour of the Weston A. Price Foundation and explain exactly what is flawed or unreliable and such :

      I think it’s open your mind!


      • (Another) Becky says:

        Thank you, I’ve read multiple things about the Weston A Price Foundation. There is, in fact, so much wrong with what is advocated that it is difficult to know where to begin. The very foundations of the theory are not evidence and science based. Price made some informal observations, without any attempt to control and analyze them apart from his impression. His opinions weren’t uncommon at the time, but they have not been validated and confirmed through later research, an essential piece of the scientific method. “Traditional” peoples in fact have eaten a very wide variety of foods, and there are a number of diets that can support human life, although malnutrition is also rife among all traditional peoples. Most traditional diets are in fact heavily plant based, as is recommended by nutrition experts today.

        The foundation now is extremely selective in citing research. Its assertions are far from the consensus of evidence of a number of issues, such as healthy level of vitamin A, healthy fats, desirability of organ meats, safety of raw milk, etc. Of course, science is never static and as new evidence arises conclusions may be changed, but selectively citing evidence is sure not to give you the answer.

        Science is now in agreement on a healthy diet — avoiding added sugar and refined grains, eat a wide variety of plant based foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts, as well as lean meats. Don’t eat too much. Be active and get plenty of exercise. This is where the consensus of evidence points. WAPF makes multiple claims that either contradict the known evidence or simply have no scientific evidence to support them.

  34. LYM says:

    (Another) Becky, yours is the standard vegetarian straw man argument against WAPF. The foundation does *not* promote *one* diet; it specifically lists out the principles which *all* diets that Price studied had. Whether fish & fruit in the South Pacific or fat & grease in the Yukon, they all had the fat-soluble vitamins, animal proteins, and certain other things in common (like being completely unrefined), and lots and lots of things that varied. There is not one traditional diet on earth that doesn’t fit the characteristics listed. (The vegetarian friends I know who have read Price’s work for themselves, instead of filtered through the WAPF, have agreed with this.)

    The *only* claim that vegetarians would actually take issue with is that animal products made up some portion of every diet studied. That portion ranged from moderate to heavy, just as vegetable consumption ranged from rare to heavy. Yet, despite the fact that the WAPF is almost single-handedly responsible for the current growing focus on eating unprocessed foods & sourcing humanely-raised animal foods and traditionally-raised plant foods (if you haven’t been following them for the last 15 years, you may not have noticed how this trend happened), vegetarians (who are, thankfully, increasingly decrying processed pseudo-foods made from processed soy), who have so much in common with WAPF ideals, choose to focus on the one area of disagreement and beat it to death. (Yes, it is again this one area of disagreement causing the current brou-haha … in addition to certain demagogue personalities – the listing of vegan milk below commercial formula is far more responsible for the outrage than re-iterating the long held principle that breastmilk quality varies with nutritional intake of the mother.)

    How much good could we do if the ethical omnivores worked together with the vegetarians on the points we have in common? There are SO many of these.

    (BTW, traditional peoples ate the lean muscle meats, yes, but they also ate nose-to-tail, including the fatty short ribs & oxtail & tongue. Whole darn thing, no waste. And wild/grassfed animals are naturally leaner than CAFO grain-fed animals.)

    • (Another) Becky says:

      I’m not a vegetarian and do no promote vegetarians and do not promote vegetarianism. And this, ” Yet, despite the fact that the WAPF is almost single-handedly responsible for the current growing focus on eating unprocessed foods & sourcing humanely-raised animal foods and traditionally-raised plant foods ” is simply not true. Eating whole, unprocessed foods has been promoted by multiple groups for decades. WAPF has been and still is a fringe movement.

      Traditional diets all include foods, you’re right. That’s pretty much what you said, However, animal products have most typically been a small part of traditional diets, due to their relative scarcity. The fact that traditional diets include these foods doesn’t tell you what parts of those foods are helpful, or if any are harmful.

      • sborganic says:

        Hi Becky

        “The very foundations of the theory are not evidence and science based.”

        I would advise you to read Dr. Price book ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’ as well as go through the Weston A. Price Foundation tour if you haven’t gone through the Vegetarian tour.

        What is science based? Approved by the FDA or USDA like GMO that they say is not harmed?

        “Most traditional diets are in fact heavily plant based, as is recommended by nutrition experts today.”

        How did you come to that conclusion? Dr. Price thought that the traditional diet was mostly vegetarian prior to his 10 year research on traditional cultures that were unaffected by processed food and ate locally. You will find lots of information in his book. This is truly a priceless work that cannot be reproduced today.

        “The foundation now is extremely selective in citing research.”

        How so? I would also advise reading Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Tradition to get a better understanding of WAPF, traditional diets and such.


      • (Another) Becky says:

        “What is science based? Approved by the FDA or USDA like GMO that they say is not harmed?”

        Actually, I don’t believe that there is good evidence that GMOs are harmful. Science based is based on the consensus of the scientific evidence. It is based on hypotheses being tested, challenged, and research being repeated and confirmed or refuted. Ideally the FDA and USDA conclusions are based on science, but of course issues like politics play a part as well.

        “How did you come to that conclusion?”

        The research available on hunter gatherers, among other traditional cultures. There’s been a lot of research done since Dr. Price’s time.

      • LYM says:

        Animal foods were decided *not* a small part of many diets. Between meat, fat, organs, fish, gathered shellfish, eggs, & dairy, it’s hard to find a society that didn’t eat copious amounts. If you ever go on a weeklong backpacking trip, it’s pretty fascinating to think about what you’d eat along the way if you had to hunt & gather. It’s easy to feed a large group for a week with one killed game animal. But in the wild, the only plants to eat are leaves & tubers most of the time. No fruits & vegetables grow as large as we’ve hybridized them to grow, including bell peppers, corn, strawberries, apples, onions, and many, many more. I recently read a fascinating article on how the “gather” in hunter/gatherer really referred to gathering easy catches from water, like clams & mussels. The idea that meat was scarce is simply nonsense for much of the world.

        Notice I didn’t say that the WAPF was the *only* group promoting whole, real food. I said it’s the only largely responsible for the rapid growth in the last 15 years. Those groups, yes, were a tiny unheard minority for decades. The “eat real food” message and the “source your meat sustainably & responsibly” message are no long tiny & unheard. They are changing even the biggest supermarket chains. The internet is a huge part of this growth, too.

        But again, chose to discuss only the parts of my message with which you disagreed. Can you think about what is in common with me, with Weston Price, with the Weston Price Foundation, and then consider why you still consider WAPF a “fringe group?” What are they saying that makes you so convinced their message is a “fringe” message, instead of 99% compatible with the rest of the real food movement, which now includes vegetarians, paleo, and more perspectives? What do they promote, other than “vegans shouldn’t breastfeed” and “having lots of organically raised meat is not bad for you,” that makes you consider them completely unworthy to be one of the voices that is heard speaking up for real food?

  35. Ellen Mary says:

    Okay, here is a super fun question: how could you possibly have the time and money to craft a specialty formula in your kitchen, but not to feed yourself @ least adequate foods?

    • That’s an interesting point, made even more interesting when you take into account that there is already a costly and “convenient” package put together for families to make the formula easily…hmmm

  36. Pingback: Hey Weston A. Price Foundation – Language Matters: How NOT to be a Breastfeeding Advocate | unlatched.

  37. Amy Manning says:

    What’s shocking to me is that everyone is so surprised! I’ve been following this raw milk trend and their “science” behind advocating raw milk is just as absurd and alarming as their stance on breastfeeding. I’ve been writing to them, on blogs, etc., for years, but no one seems to really give a darn until we start talking about young babies. What about all the children who’ve gotten so ill their life has been altered forever?

  38. Kylie says:

    As a vegan mom who has nursed two very robust children for a total of five years, and still going strong, I just find this offensive and ignorant. My son was born 7 weeks early, and I produced so much milk, the NICU nurses couldn’t believe it. He put on a pound in 2 weeks–growing from four to five pounds—and was able to nurse directly from me by the end of it. This is just an anecdote. I am vegan because I have studied nutrition and take nutrition seriously. I’ve been seeing Weston Price popping up all over the place on Facebook, and I’m very curious about the beginnings of it and the funding behind it. Of course, I believe in the power of whole foods, but I’m very skeptical of an organization that pushes a lot of meat and dairy considering the evidence linking meat consumption to cancer and heart disease.

    • That “evidence” supposedly linking meat consumption to cancer and heart disease is not very strong or compelling and there is certainly evidence to the contrary. For instance, studies often lump natural meat with processed meat, including pizza, which may have meat on it but is mostly white flour. In addition, many of these studies are analyses of records of food eaten, based on people remembering what they ate in the past and writing it down (as opposed to keeping a daily food journal, which would likely be at least somewhat more accurate). Most or all of these studies focus on macronutrient composition of the diet with little regard to quality of the food. One major contribution the WAPF has made to nutritional knowledge is to raise awareness of the issue of quality and source of food, not just labels. Many studies are of lab animals fed franctionated food components being fed to rats and then wild extrapolations made about the applicability to human diets of whole foods. For instance, the China Study, notoriously shoddy work, was on animals fed casein, a milk protein, and the results were extrapolated to mean all animal protein is harmful, when in fact the data showed wheat-based diets were more harmful. There was also an issue of exposure to toxins that is usually left out of discussion of the study. There are several in-depth debunkings of Colin Campbell’s shoddy work out there, by Denise Minger, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson and others if you care to look into it.

      I’d also recommend the very enjoyable and educational video by Tom Naughton called “Science for Smart People” to help understand the flaws in nutrition studies. Nutritional research is notorious as one of the least scientific areas of the sciences.

      It has been known for 100 years that cancer feeds on sugar. There is more to say on that subject but it’s too late at night and I’m too tired, but the WAPF’s work on industrial seed and vegetable oils should be of interest to anyone concerned about cancer and inflammation.

  39. I’m a WAPF eater here about 80% of the time, understanding that, hey, sometimes I just want takeout! So I’m really upset that I just found out about this whole breastfeeding debacle. It shouldn’t surprise me, I’ve seen tactics and bad behaviors like this by Sarah Pope, Anne-Marie of Cheeseslave, and several others from VGN. It’s a big turnoff, truth be told.

    You say it seems like they have a financial interest in getting women to stop breastfeeding? Any blogger on VGN does, in fact, have a financial interest, in a sense. They all receive income from clicks and percentages of sales to items from the VGN marketplace which includes this item:

    Why breastfeed with your undernourished, completely insufficient breastmilk when you can simply make your own homemade baby formula? Oh and look, I just so happen to have a nice sponsor with a kit packaged up and ready for you with everything you need in order to make it.

  40. Sbnaturally says:

    I think so many folks here have misconstrue and have no idea what the Weston A. Price Foundation stands for. The Foundation has reply to this entire topic in their latest quarterly journal which is on line here

    I advise you to read the whole journal and all the journals for the last 12 years as well as everything on the websites to truly understand this whole matter. What they advocate is common sense.

  41. Pingback: TPV Podcast, Episode 49: Paleo Philosophy – Part 2 | Paleo Parents

  42. The misrepresentations in this blog and in many of the comments about the WAPF are disappointing and misleading. That is not to say I don’t share the disappointment of how some WAPF board members have conducted themselves, but there is a certain amount of cherrypicking of data going on here as well and taking things out of context.

    The WAPF and all related bloggers that I have read, and I’m personally acquainted with several of them, strongly support breastfeeding. Let there be no mistake about that. They also strongly support a nutrient-dense diet for pregnant and nursing mothers (and, well, everybody!) so they may enjoy good health themselves and so their bodies can support the nutritional needs of their babies. It’s my understanding that a mother’s body prioritizes the needs of the fetus and nursing baby over those of the mother, hence the traditional practice, endorsed by WAPF, of spacing children by at least 3 years so as not to threaten the mother’s health and so she can give the strongest nutritional support to each subsequent child.

    Anyone construing the WAPF position otherwise is misinformed, has misunderstood, or has their own agenda.

    There are circumstances where mothers find it difficult to breastfeed, in whole or in part, and the WAPF formula recipe is intended to help those mothers out by providing an alternative to commercial formula. Just look at the recipe and compare it to Infamil or whatever and see if you can’t tell the difference.

    Certainly any nursing mom on a SAD diet is encouraged to improve her own diet ASAP. Why one would eat crap but give her baby a formula, no matter how nutritious, I don’t know. Why not improve your own diet *and* breastfeed? My understanding is the formula is not intended to be a “cheat” allowing mothers to feed their babies well while continuing to eat “SADly” themselves, but to help for the care of adopted babies, for mothers who simply have trouble breastfeeding or producing enough milk, who have to be on some prescription drugs that are contraindicated for breastfeeding moms, etc. This is a matter of the individual’s choice and no one should be shaming women for being less than perfect.

    I do find Sarah Pope’s tone to be at times rude and condescending, she is definitely the “shoot from the hip” type, but she also puts out a lot of useful information. If you don’t like her style, definitely stay away from the Healthy Home Economist. I read her only occasionally myself.

    I would *NEVER* put Nourishing Our Children in the same category. Sandrine’s discussion of the whole breastfeeding/formula issue was never less than completely respectful and nondogmatic, as is her style, and she is extremely supportive of mothering and breastfeeding. Read her recent post about “Why Do I Care?” if you want to understand her perspective. I know she took some heat for even hosting a discussion of the issues surrounding formula and nursing mothers’ diets, which I think was unfair and unfortunate.

    AnnMarie of Cheeseslave is also very supportive of breastfeeding, having breastfed her own daughter. She is also the shoot-from-the-hip type but is a good person. I have my disagreements with her stance on various issues, but I briefly worked for her and consider her a friend (along with Sandrine).

    As to Village Green Network, this is a blogging network that accepts only the most ethical sponsors with high-quality products that are nutritionally superior and environmentally friendly, etc., such as Radiant Life. I think they would all be shocked to know that anyone thinks they would hope even one mother would forego the chance to breastfeed her baby in order to instead buy the formula package, even if it resulted in a few dollars of affiliate marketing income to each blogger. Really, people. That is absurd. They could sell crutches but it wouldn’t mean they were hoping more people would break a leg. Get a grip. Don’t assume the worst of everybody.

    It’s always easy on subjects we are passionate about to paint anyone who even slightly disagrees with us as evil or at least less than well-intended. This happens on both sides, every side, of every argument. Let’s not mistake the human foibles we all share for evidence or lack of evidence. Try to separate the message from the messenger, if you don’t happen to like the messenger.
    And let’s remember, we all here support breastfeeding and healthy babies! 🙂

  43. Rbrock says:

    Sarah pope is also giving out incorrect medical advise regarding Rhogam injections. She has no medical degree and has never treated any patients with rh sensitized pregnancies so speak to your own physician before you consider her incorrect medical advice.

    • sborganic says:

      Rbrock – I wonder how many bad advice you gave in your lifetime. You haven’t even stated why her advise is incorrect. I would love to read everything you blogged in the last 10 years and cherry pick all the bad advise you’ve given. Also she’s given her opinion and last time I checked, I believed this is a free country. I didn’t realize that you have to be a physician where everything he/she says will be correct advice. I’ve seen more share of bad physicians with bad advice in my lifetime.

  44. Pingback: Kristine Rudolph » For the Love of Cod (Liver Oil), Can’t We All Just Get Along?

  45. Pingback: Dangerous Breastfeeding Misinformation | Planting Godly Seeds

  46. Ashley says:

    I agree that the healthy home economist has behaved unprofessionally and it is ghastly to recommend conventional formula ( which contains heavy metals, gmos, corn syrup & sugar ) is better than donor milk. That being said, it would also be unfortunate to say that until we see proof through studies that diet has no effect on breastmilk quality. This is simply not true, and while breast is ALWAYS best i feel that common sense needs to be mentioned here, not so much a study. I agree however, that women should be supported to breastfeed no matter what. Very disappointed in WAPF. Great post

  47. Heather says:

    I’m sorry, but a healthy diet IS essential. Those of you who disagree with her about diet being important to produce healthy breast milk (I am leaving the name calling and blunt way she is speaking out of it and focusing on the nutrition alone) are probably the same people who do not believe that if you are not eating organic, whole foods non-refined grains and animals who are allowed to eat the grass and bugs (like nature designed) and not given antibiotics then you are absolutely not getting the nutrition you think you are and you are actually eating very toxic foods. If you would like the research – read Nourishing Traditions – and you can borrow it from the library for free. That book explains it all AND references all of the research used to back up what they say.

  48. I realize this is an old post but I’d still like to comment on it and hope someone will respond. I’ve read many articles on Sara’s blog and I agree with those who have said she seems to be rude and unprofessional at times. When I first started watching some of her videos I would think to myself that she seemed to have an attitude and was talking down to people unnecessarily (such as in her video on homemade breakfast cereal). Now I’m seeing there’s a back story I was unaware of! Anyway, while I definitely wish she would respond better in some of these instances I don’t understand what you’re saying is so dangerous about her. Let me explain. She says emphatically many times that breastfeeding is best and that she breastfed her children for 2 plus years each. I only hear her recommending homemade formula if breastfeeding for some reason is not an option. The info she provided never made me feel like the homemade formula was best. In fact, I almost felt judged by her for not breastfeeding because she recommended that so strongly. She does mention that you should have a good diet while breastfeeding and if a person doesn’t have a good diet then she talks about how to change that. I truly don’t understand how eating a balanced diet while breastfeeding would be seen as not that important. Even without sources to cite this seems like common sense to me! As someone said, we’re so concerned about grass-fed cow milk and so forth so why wouldn’t a woman’s diet affect her milk also? Another woman stated that she believes your body would deplete you and still provide for baby but what if there’s just nothing of value to draw? Even if there were, mother would suffer greatly. And I must address this that she was very, very hesitant to recommend any store bought formula for any reason! She only mentioned one brand that MIGHT be an option and only if breastfeeding and every other decent alternative were absolutely not an option. But to what I was first saying, are you stating she’s dangerous because you feel her homemade formula will harm baby or is lacking in some way? Because I just don’t see how anything she says discourages breastfeeding or is harmful. By the way, due to medical reasons I stopped producing milk for my son and began buying formula from the store. He seemed fine but would break out in a rash from time to time. I think it’s interesting to note that he always had a rash on his face and legs when I was breastfeeding him (perhaps something in my diet was lacking – I try to eat healthy but struggle to avoid sugar and at times fast food – but I continued to breastfeed anyway until my milk was gone). Anyway, I just felt so guilty over it because of all the chemicals and sugar so I tried so hard for weeks to bring my milk back up to par but just couldn’t so I ended up coming across her recipe. My sons face has cleared up and his legs seem to be improving also. If there’s an issue to report on her recipe, then I’d be interested to know about that but this article seems like it’s just something personal to me.

    • KindFoodFarm says:

      Rachaelshaabani, I am so pleased that you had success with the homemade formula. Your example is exactly what the formula is for: to help those who, for various reasons, are unable to breastfeed but want to control the quality of the formula they feed their babies instead. I happy it worked out for you. Congratulations and best wishes to you.

  49. Emily says:

    This is disappointing. Surprisingly the experience can be the same on the other side of the argument. My experience with LLL was horrible and I will never get help from them again. I struggled and constantly sought their help and was met with impatience and basically treated like an idiot. I’ve spoken to many moms who experienced the same. I won’t let these people turn me off of something I believe is healthy but I’ll find a more helpful source.

  50. Jennifer Stimson says:

    OMG how irresponsible. I am interested in them as an RD since I keep hearing dubious nutrition info out there which also is negative about science and RDs and/or nutrition science. They are a huge umbrella organization for other groups. And, Dr. Oz follows this stuff, or rather Mercola, which also follows Weston Price. Horrible!!!!

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