Only about 5 percent of babies are born in hospitals where mom isn't sent home with a big bag of formula coupons and free formula upon discharge. I was lucky enough to have my kids in one of those few, but many people aren't. And lactation advocates say it's just the first of many steps the formula companies take to undermine breastfeeding.
It seems silly, right? Moms have the right to refuse the bags and they help the moms who do want to use formula. But that is exactly where they get you. One bad night with a baby who won't nurse and mom will be eyeing that free formula and think, "Well, as long as I have it ..."
The formula companies, of course, say otherwise. Haley Stevens, a scientific affairs specialist for the International Formula Council, told USA Today that not offering new moms formula samples "is really irresponsible." She said:
We agree breast-feeding is the best, when you can do it. There's no question. But if one size doesn't fit all, it's good to have a backup.
She's right. And formula is expensive, so it's good for moms to have some that is free. But therein lies the problem. It's free. But it's finite.
The free formula and the coupons only feed baby for a few days at best. And once that runs out, then mom is on her own and must pay for the rest. Formula isn't cheap. But breastfeeding is. And as one lactation activist said: Giving free formula is like handing someone "divorce papers at their wedding."
Maybe I wouldn't go that far, but we all know that feeding formula even once, especially in those crucial first days of breastfeeding, sets up a poor supply. It's like a domino effect for breastfeeding moms.
Breastfeeding ought to be assumed. If a mom can't or chooses not to for whatever reason, then sure, she can have free formula. But they should be the ones to ask. The hospital shouldn't decide for them.
For many women, this is a very touchy subject and there is no judgement if a woman chooses not to breastfeed. But to undermine the moms who are on the fence? Seems wrong. And if this is a financial thing, women should be taught early on that the cheapest way to feed a baby is through the breast. It's free all the time!
Did you get freebies from formula companies?
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