Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Why buy the formula when you get the milk for free?

So the vast vast vast majority of new mothers produce milk when their babies are born. I think we all know that. (I hope we all know that.) It's free, plentiful (after you get going initially), and studies show its the best thing for your child to eat in those early months. Many mothers still opt to buy formula to feed their children instead. Quite frankly, bottle feeding is just easier, especially in that first few weeks.

New York City hospitals are trying stop new mothers from bottle feeding. Their approach is to ban advertisements and stop the giving away of free formula packs at their hospitals. I've got to scratch my head on this one. The milk that's free anyways will be used more often than the formula that has a free sample up front and then massive costs down the road just because that initial free batch of formula is no longer available? Somehow I doubt it. What you feed your kid is your own business provided you're not seriously endangering them. But come on! Are you really going to switch because of lack of sample packs and posters? If so, then maybe you should shelve that idea to become a parent for a while.


the lady said...

I take it this means you never heard about what the La Leche League was going to try. They wanted to get WIC to only supply formula to people who COULDN'T breastfeed (and they'd have to have a doctor's order for formula), not only to lower costs but to increase the percentage of breastfeeding moms in the USA.
of course there was also the idea of spreading posters of pregnant women snorting cocaine with the tagline "if you wouldn't think of doing this to your baby, why would you ever feed it something that wasn't in it's best interests" (i'm paraphrasing).
from my frame of reference, here's what i know. breastfeeding is damn hard work. it doesn't come easily and it too has a price, just not a monetary one. i'm all for breastfeeding but i can't stand the societal pressures we try to put on women to breastfeed. i tell my patients all the time, "breastfeeding can be a great thing, but if you don't want to do it--it will never work for you. because it doesn't just come naturally and it comes at the expense of a lot of sleep and nerves."
but the formula companies will not pull out of free sampling at hospitals because we pitch their products. and being the state sponsered WIC formula makes your profits roar and the only place that people find out which formula is WIC sponsered is in the hospital.

Leigh C. said...

There is quite a breastfeeding gestapo out there, and decisions such as the one made by New York hospitals are designed to drive new moms out of their minds more than they already are. I myself was sooo grateful when my son lost interest at six months - once again, my body was my own. There are many, many other issues involved in the decision to breastfeed other than the costs and the baby's health...and the mama's mental health ought to be a BIG consideration. That alone is worth its weight in gold.