Hospitals Discontinue Formula Freebies Because Moms Aren't Capable of Making Their Own Choices


I breastfed all of my children. I'm a huge advocate for breastfeeding, I feel it is very important, and I urge all new moms to try it. But I can in no way get behind the decision of some Delaware hospitals to no longer give new moms formula samples when they check out. 

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How you decide to feed your child should be your decision. No one else's. Which includes your partner, your parents, your pediatrician, and the hospital staff. As much as I personally loved breastfeeding my kids, despite the times when I hated breastfeeding my kids, I was so reassured and happy I had the backup gift bag of baby formula on hand when I left the hospital with a mewling newborn in tow. To be honest, it gave me the confidence I needed to breastfeed. I knew my baby wouldn't starve because if I failed at breastfeeding because I had what I needed to be able to feed them right away. Not every mom can breastfeed. Not every mom wants to breastfeed. 

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The argument the decision to "ban the bags" makes is that by giving out these formula gift bags, hospitals are sending the message, whether intended or not, that it's an implicit endorsement to give your baby formula. But I personally never saw it that way. For me it was just a freebie that I received when leaving the hospital, along with those amazing absorbent pads they stick under you so you don't bleed all over your hospital bed postpartum, which make excellent diaper changing pads when you bring your baby home. Plus, they usually included a bottle starter kit which was always handy when you started pumping and bottle feeding or using formula as a supplement to breastfeeding. 

I'd like every new mom to make a solid go of breastfeeding. We all know the health benefits to both mom and baby. But what worries me is the idea of a brand-new mom waking for a 3 a.m. feeding and becoming terribly frustrated at nursing and having nothing as a backup because she didn't purchase any formula before going into the hospital. Having a newborn is isolating and scary and hard enough without panicking if your milk won't let down or your breasts are so engorged you can't make the baby latch on properly or for whatever reason. Not every mom succeeds at breastfeeding right away. It's a lot of trial and error. For me, having a can of free formula on hand made me more willing to give it a try because I knew my baby just wouldn't starve. 

Hospitals will still have formula on hand for those moms who don't want to breastfeed. The hospitals no longer giving out the free samples include those in Delaware, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. A quarter of hospitals nationwide have all ready joined this cause. 

I just hope these hospitals stick a certified lactation consultant in a gift bag to send home with new moms instead.

 

Image Via wk1003mike/shutterstock

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