No More Free Formula in Hospitals Is Best for All Moms

Rant 255

baby bottle

If you have your baby in a hospital, there are many ways the scenario will play out. But one thing is almost always certain -- you will have access to free formula. Lots of it. Even if you are nursing and baby has that sticker on the little rolling crib that says "I'm a breastfed baby." Now I wasn't always sold on the idea that this is a bad thing. If a mama is formula feeding, why not be able to get a whole bunch of expensive formula courtesy of the hospital where you (or your insurance) spent a whole lot of money to have a baby there? Makes perfect sense. But then I started thinking some more.

Those formula companies who place their products in hospitals ... do they have an ulterior motive? And, most worrisome, for the mom who really wants to breastfeed, those first moments and days are very important, and if formula is there to tempt her to just let the nurses feed the baby, it can derail her breastfeeding efforts.

There is much more to it than just some free stuff.

Dozens of health and consumer organizations are sending letters to hospitals around the country demanding that they stop giving out free formula supplied to them by the formula companies. They believe it's like an endorsement for the formula and can halt a mom's breastfeeding success. I agree. Some hospitals have already ended the free formula deal and and many are calling themselves "Baby Friendly" and helping moms breastfeed. This is what we need everywhere.

Way back when my mother had me, people actually believed that formula was better for baby than breastmilk. We all know that isn't true unless of course mom is hooked on drugs and baby shouldn't be anywhere near her breastmilk. But this was was preached to consumers by formula companies and the medical community who just weren't up to speed with their research.

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I'm sorry but the natural milk you produce to feed your baby just isn't as good as this artificial stuff we put together in a factory. Wow. Could you imagine if someone told you that today? Mama knows best -- and mama makes the best milk. We know this now. This is fact.

New moms are also more vulnerable when in a hospital setting. At least I think so. Just going through labor or a frightening delivery by c-section, you are healing and learning your way through those first moments of motherhood. You have all these nurses around you, food delivered, fresh water given just by ringing a bell. And if you are tired (which you most likely will be) and the temptation of formula is right there to feed baby instead of your breast, you may take it. It's like giving a crying child what she wants even if she shouldn't have it. And yes, it's easier to go that route, but once you get home, there is no more bell to ring for water. No more meals delivered, no nurse to mix up formula and feed your baby for you. If you started in the hospital as a mom who wanted to breastfeed but used the formula because it was easier, the reality sets in when you get home and there are piles of bottles with all of their parts to wash.

Breastfeeding isn't easy. But it is worth it for so many reasons. And ease of use is one of them. When you are really tired once you are home and baby wants to eat, breastfeeding is easier than making a bottle of formula. We don't have to get into the benefits for baby's health and mama's health because we all know them by now, but let's just say it surpasses what you can get in a bottle any day.

This isn't about bashing formula. Because I think it's fantastic and I both breastfed and formula fed my twins. This is about giving a mom who wants to breastfeed the best shot at succeeding. This is about helping her most in the beginning when she needs that support the most. This is about what's best for mom and baby. Because we all deserve the best -- or at least the best shot at trying.

What do you think of an all-out ban of free formula in hospitals?


Image via nerissa's ring/Flickr

breastfeeding, natural parenting


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ameri... americangirl086

This article really irritated me, when I had my son I couldn't breatfeed because I wasn't making enough milk in time so I did both for him and my two other kids nothings wrong with the companies giving out formula espcially for those of us who choose to formula feed or cant breastfeed don't forget that our economy has gotten worse and that little bit of help goes a long way just because alot of people have money and can afford either lactation devices or formula not many of us can. so we need other options stop trying to dictate to other what people what you think is right, just be yourself and you have the power to say no if you don't want the samples but don't taked that all away from the ones that really need it.

nonmember avatar Nikki

If this was truly about marketing then you would want all free samples banned. But you aren't complaining about the free pampers theyre giving you!

nonmember avatar Shantel

In my hospital you get the choice between two bags. I understand that some women can't breast feed but for those of you that can and say (not to anyone inparticular) that ur thankfull because its free and formula is expensive...breast milk is free have you forgotten that? I don't understand that studies show people in low income places choose more to formula feed. Breast milk is free, its silly to say your thankfull becsuse you got some for free. Also, pumping doesn't show you a fraction of what a baby gets from your breast because the pump doesn't work the way a breast does so if you say I only got one ounce in the hospital how can my baby live! That is a lot to have especially from a pump within the first few days aftter giving birth. If you choose to formula or breast feed that's your choice but don't say u did.y try to breastfeed you chose formula and were glad it was free samples cuz its expensive becauze if you did try you may have been able to and then saved yourself 25$ a can on formula. O and btw wic gives breastfeeding mothers stuff too

nonmember avatar Cassi

I like the fact they provide formula. It's really all in the woman's desire to breastfeed to avoid formula only. with my last baby I had to supplement with formula after feeding to insure my daughter was eating enough to get ruid of her jaundice. Same with my second, I wasn't producing enough milk and she had gotten dehydrated had to be given fluids intravenously. My son, my first was an emergency c section, I couldn't handle the ousin and he was up every yeo hours couldn't handle breast feeding. It's all up to the woman and some women need to formula feed. Take that and some babies may be malnourished or put on formula any way because of certain circumstances. And breastfeeding isn't easy in the middle of the night. I have fallen asleep more while breastfeeding then just giving her formula just to keep the baby fed and so the father can feed her too while I get some rest. It's all up to the mother but thank goodness they provided formula during my stay in the hospital after my c sections.

nonmember avatar Shelly G

I had a baby seven weeks ago. I stated that I wanted to breast feed. No one offered me formula. I have a friend who had a baby in the same hospital who did not want to breast feed. She was given a couple minute long "we really would like to encourage you to breastfeed" speech, then emphatically stated that she would like to formula feed and was provided with formula. The lactation consultant met with me on her rounds, my friend was given the option to meet with the lactation consultant, turned it down, and was not pestered for her decision. This is how I feel it should be at all hospitals - the lactation consultant felt more readily available than formula for me and my friend did not feel bullied or belittled for her decision to formula feed.

nonmember avatar Ashley

this is absolutely ridiculous! No one has the right to push what THEY think is best on other ppl bc it works for them by taking away resources. This is like forcing women into doing what one group thinks is right. I couldn't breasted my youngest daughter or new son because of medication I HAVE to take, I don't need a bunch of moms with a bunch of opinions telling me what is best for my child. Mind your own business.

nonmember avatar Lauren

Why doesn't everyone just mind their own business. If you wanna breastfeed ten breastfeed if you want to formula feed then formula feed. But for the mothers who have to formula feed everyone should stay out of their business and allow them to get the free formula from the hospital. You spend so much on the insurance you should be entitled to all the free formula. Everyone needs to realize that everyone is entitled to do what they want with their own kids and if it isn't your kid and it doesn't affect you then just shut up and mind your own business!!

nonmember avatar Alicia

As a breast feeding mom who could not produce, the complimentary formula the hospital sent home with me was a God sent at 3:30 in the morning after my newborn cried for hours nonstop!!

I think this is a wonderful thing they offer and I know that next time I have a baby I will not try breast feeding, so why worry about another thing you have to pack when it's there and available from the hospital!! Formula is soooooooo expensive!!!

nonmember avatar Leia

I breast fed my son for a year, but still fully support formula!!! The only reason I breast fed was because it was free and came easily to me. If breast is best then why did I have to supplement my son with vitamins and my friend who gave her daughter formula did not. My son has severe allergies and is very small. My husband and I have actually talked about using formula with the next baby because it seems to be a better source of nutrition.

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