Hospital Bans Formula Freebies in Latest Breastfeeding Victory

baby bottleThere are a lot of ways you can describe formula. Expensive. Annoying to make with the cleaning of the bottles and the mixing if you get powder. What is needed if you don't breastfeed. And contraband. As of now, in Massachusetts, new mothers will not be getting free formula samples to take home with them. And it's all an effort of encouragement. To help babies get the best start. To help moms.

I believe some time around the advent of formula, the master plan was to get people to think the synthetic breastmilk was better than the real thing straight from mama. But the thing is, we didn't know very well back then. We painted things with lead, made things with BPA, you know, did things that have jeopardized our health, unknowingly.


Then somewhere along the line, breasts became completely and totally sexualized and breastfeeding rates plummeted. Which takes us to today where 57 percent of Americans think breastfeeding is an obscene act.

The push of free samples -- that subliminal advertising, that mother's little helper all too tempting for a new mom who may be struggling with nursing her first baby -- is what derails many from giving their babies the best stuff on Earth. The stuff that comes from mom, pure and perfect and everything your baby needs. Breastmilk.

The hard truth is that studies prove that mothers who breastfeed and get those free formula samples when leaving the hospital are less likely to be breastfeeding by the time baby was 1 month old. It's like the anti-breastfeeding serum. And Massachusetts isn't the only state to say no more. The ban on formula samples is happening in many places around the country and soon we may be a no free formula samples in hospitals kind of country.

I realize some will blast all this. Question what the mothers who can't or don't want to breastfeed should do. Act as if the world is ending because *gasp* free samples of formula won't be coming home with new moms in their hospital stash right next to all the extra absorbent maxi pads.

I want to say this: I love formula. It's fantastic. It should be more awesome and companies should be more careful about making it as safe and as great as possible. Many of us need it. But if you want free formula samples, contact the formula companies. You will get them sent to your home and coupons and all that jazz. The banning of the free samples from the hospital is something I applaud even though I know how needed formula is because hospitals should have their patients' best interest in mind. And if a mom wants to breastfeed and has the free sample formula in her home and in a moment of insomnia decides to give baby just one bottle, that one act can ruin a woman's chances of breastfeeding until the recommended 6 months by the American Academy of Pediatrics, or the World Health Organization's 2 years. We shouldn't be ruining chances when it comes to this. There shouldn't be a free temptation, given to a mom at a tender time, a whirlwind moment filled with overwhelming emotions.

Formula is great, and needed, and so necessary for so many. This isn't an attack on formula or those who use it. It's instead an effort to help breastfeeding. At no one's expense.

What do you think of the push to ban formula freebies in hospitals?


Image via nerissa's ring/Flickr

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