Choice is a Red Herring



Like cigarette smoking, breastfeeding is a public health issue, not a freedom of choice issue. Obviously, US women feel free to choose not to breastfeed; most of them do. If women were actually intimidated into breastfeeding, we would have a breastfeeding culture. Instead, we have a bottle-feeding culture in which 67% bottle feed. Only 33% of mothers breastfeed. If there is, in fact, any social pressure to breastfeed, it certainly is not effective. I would argue, that the social pressure is to bottle-feed.




The tragedy is that the breastfeeding choice issue is a formula industry tactic. Here’s how it came to be. When, in December 2005, the Massachusetts legislature became the first in the US to prohibit formula sample bags in hospitals, then Governor Mitt Romney pressured the Public Health Council to rescind the ban. The council successfully resisted his pressure until he fired and replaced three members just prior to a vote on the ban; in May 2006 it was rescinded. Less than two weeks later, Romney announced a $66 million deal with Bristol-Myers, the world’s largest formula manufacturer, to build a pharmaceutical plant in Devens, Massachusetts.


In June of that year, Massachusetts state representative Helen Stanley (D-Second Essex) introduced House Bill 2257 to protect a new mother’s right to receive formula sample bags in the hospital. The wesbite,—created to oppose the Massachusetts ban—hosted a petition in support of this bill.




At the time, the website,, was registered to eNilsson, an international web consulting firm whose clients included Romney for President. Now it openly states that it “was made possible by a grant from the International Formula Council. “A mirror site,, is copyrighted by the International Formula Council.




The US accounts for half of the $8 billion a year global formula market. The formula industry spent $50 million dollars in one year to undermine the US Health and Human Services Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign (June 2004 to April 2006). In 2006, the formula industry spent $100 million on formula advertising in the Philippines (nearly half of the Philippine Health Department’s entire annual budget of $239 million) to overturn new health department regulations that would have prevented formula companies from targeting children under two with advertising.




It is naïve to believe that the formula industry’s distribution of formula to you is an innocent gift. A “gift” of formula is like a “gift” of a pack of cigarettes when you’re trying to quit smoking; it will undermine your resolve. The formula company has bought your name and address from the hospital, without your knowledge, and will now solicit you for sales. Do you really want this commercial intrusion into your life?


Free formula samples are a social justice issue because they involve the exploitation and objectification of women, the very issues that feminism resists. These are issues around which all women and all thinking citizens should be united. When one spouts the choice issue while, at the same time, feigning support of breastfeeding, one becomes an unwitting pawn of the formula industry. Does it really need any more help?


And, don’t forget to sign the Public Citizen petition. Nearly 13,000 have signed it so far.


Peggy O’Mara  (101 Posts)Peggy O’Mara founded in 1995 and is currently its editor-in chief. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has lectured and conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League International, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four.



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54 thoughts on “Choice is a Red Herring”

  1. Great article! Thank you for that.

    One small tic – hospitals that sell patient info are in violation of HIPAA. Big penalties for doing that. Most likely the contact info comes from Birth Registries and from any purchase mom makes for maternity or baby items. Even if you pay cash, you get coupons on the back of you register receipt!

  2. Quite right, Peggy! Comment from a mother from a country where breastfeeding is the norm, having her baby in the UK: ‘The midwife kept asking me (ante-natally), do I want to breastfeed my baby? Of course I said, do you think I want my baby to starve? Then, gradually, I realised that the other mothers in the group were all making a decision – and some of them would not breastfeed their babies at all! In my country, we give the supplement if something goes wrong, but everybody breastfeeds of course!’

  3. I have no children (yet), but many of my friends are family-making right now, so I buy a lot of shower presents and such. Somehow along the way, my name has ended up on a mailing list which has been sold to numerous formula manufacturers. At first, this was simply annoying – Oh great, more junk mail to feed to my recycle bin. But then, one day, I received a request to take a survey about “feeding choices” and be entered into a prize drawing. The mailer about the “survey” looked like official documentation, not your typical glossy advertising, and it was full of technical sounding language, as if the end result was for research.

  4. Great article! It is understandable that even a threatened decrease in market share from intentions on the part of public health/governmental institutions to increase breastfeeding leads to the formula companies pulling out all the stops to throw money at the problem. Sad, though, that these companies are able to buy and bamboozle their way into the public heart and purse, by robbing women and baby of their right to breastfeed. And in the name of choice? These companies are restricting the choice of good health for women and their children.

  5. I’m expecting baby #6 in june and recently purchased maternity wear from motherhood and ever since my order I have been getting e-mails from Enfamil and now recieve Parenting Magazine (which I hate) so they must sell info to the formula companys also because I Do not use formula

  6. I work in a hospital. It is against the law for the hospital to sell your address to a formula company. If the artical is correct then they are in big trouble!!!!

  7. I breastfed all three of my girls until they were 2, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. However, I don’t think getting some free samples of formula in the mail is robbing anyone of their right to breastfeed. Nobody is making you use the formula. You’re a grown up and can make up your own mind. We have a cultural bias toward breastfeeding in this country. It’s not the samples, it’s people’s preconceived notions towards breastfeeding and societies’ attitude toward it. Until those change, it doesn’t matter whether you get a sample at the hospital or not.

  8. In light of the election, this is so important.

    I also appreciated the likening to the cigarette, very appropriate.

    It reminded me of my mom’s stories of birthing in Romania. Each mom had to prove she could nurse, by hand-expressing some milk to show the hospital staff. It def took some resolve if u wanted to breatfeed.

    I am so thankful to have been able to nurse my 2 little ones till they were at least 2 years. I feel that it was a huge investment in their health that was totally free. For those thinking it is hard work, I remember at first wondering if I’ll be able to do it for 6 months, but really it becomes effortless after the learning curve.

  9. I just want to also make note of when babies are born in the hospital and are “small”. (My sister’s child was 5lbs. and 3 weeks early (because of an induction..turns out the Dr’s were hypochondriacs and everything would have been fine if they let her go into labor naturally…anyway, that’s a separate story) They gave her a bottle of formula to “fatten him up” when he was in fact normal weight for his age. She never breastfed after that because she was worried that he was too small. The boy had meat, anyone could have seen he wasn’t malnourished.

  10. Yeah I think Motherhood Maternity is a big culprit in selling the names and addresses (and due dates) to formula companies. I received two free canisters of the crap…I almost threw it out but ended up keeping it to show the childbirth class I teach. One of the first ingredients on the “sensitive” one is sucralose….mmmm…yeah yummy, give that baby some sugar! *gag*

  11. I agree they shouldn’t be offer in hospital. however I received free samples in the mail and I ended up having to supplement with my son. He had a tongue tie in the beginning which was clipped at three weeks but it did take a while for my supply to catch up and he’s now 13months we are still nursing strong.

  12. There seem to be two issues at play here. The first: that formula companies are actively and aggressively trying to convince new mothers to use formula. Of course they are — their financial continuance depends on it. I don’t agree with the tactics in place by formula companies. Formula companies have done some very nasty things.

    But then there’s the choice issue, which I vehemently disagree with and feel like this article veered away from in favor of discussing the politics of formula. We can argue that formula companies are influencing that choice dynamic, but you cannot uniformly strip mothers of options by (ironically) telling them that they don’t have a choice — they just think they do. First, it assumes mothers can’t make an active, informed decision for themselves. Second, even done with the best of intentions, telling mothers that the choice to formula feed is the wrong one is still robbing them of a choice.

  13. Yes, but if you are a mother unsure of her decision, or are struggling or have family members pressuring you to use formula, and you have that can sitting there. You might be tempted to use it, and that right there is a very slippery slope.

  14. I think that hospitals should be allowed to give away free samples of formula. When my twins were borne at 37 weeks they couldn’t even suck out of a bottle let alone breastfeed. We had to feed them with a syringe for the first 48 hours. After that they started eating out of a bottle but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get them to latch on. So when we left the hospital I told the nurses about our situation(we were both laid off, our employer had gone out of business 2 weeks before I had them)they gave us enough formula to last until the boy’s wic started. If it wasn’t for the nurses we wouldn’t have had the money to buy formula. I continued to try and breastfeed every feeding but after 30 minuets of trying to get baby a to breastfeed then 30 minuets for his bottle then the same thing with baby b, by the time I was done I had 45 minuets before I had to start all over again. I tried for 3 months but they never wanted to latch on. So looking back I don’t know what we would have done if the hospital hadn’t helped us so much.

  15. Actually sucralose is NOT sugar, but rather the chemical name of Splenda so even better lets have the first ingredient of their formula be artificial sweetener! Sucrose is real sugar. When I got cans in the mail I took them to the food bank. I figure if the mothers are not breastfeeding at least I can help make sure they have enough formula and don’t have to water it down to get through the last week of the month until they can cash their next WIC check. My children nursed for 18 and 35 months and I try to encourage all to at least try.

  16. I’m pretty sure that formula companies were using “choice” as a tactic way before 2005. It’s not Mitt Romney’s fault that formula companies are not exactly ethical when it comes to their marketing.

  17. You’re right, it is a choice and we’re big girls and ought to be well enough informed to make that choice before the due date. But it does undermine the ability of *most* women to breast feed if that can is sitting around just in case. I gave birth to my first at a hospital and got my free can like everyone else even though they knew I’d be nursing. My milk took a while to come in, pediatrician was encouraging me to pump and get some milk into that baby somehow. But there’s that can on the shelf and my hungry baby and my husband (who is very supportive of BFing) asks if he should mix some up. If I’d had the strength I would have thrown it at his head and I did toss it in the trash the next day. So even in a situation where I’ve made up my mind to BF, just having it there in the house let those words out of my support person’s mouth instead of offering to get me some water or take the baby out for a little walk so we could try again in a few minutes.

    If I’ve made the decision ahead of time to use formula, I should have to bring it to the birth place with me along with baby’s first outfit and a car seat.

  18. But we could find a way to be compassionate in difficult circumstances without making policy that is bad for most because of just in case issues, kwim? you don’t make policy based on worst case senario, you stay flexible for that. you make policy to benefit the majority, and the reality is that a study recently out of UCDavis has proven that handing out free formula lowers bfing rates. so, do we keep handing it out for the rare hard case, or do we ban it but then realize that some ppl need help and stay flexible enough to help them. besides, we’ll never work towards more available milk banking if we are seeing formula as so acceptable, and donor milk is higher on the list for baby feeding than formula, so mom’s in situations like yours would benefit more from more readily available donor milk.

  19. i would dfinitely say the social pressure is to bottle feed. we hear breast is best but you should see the lookss i get when i breast feed my baby anywhere outside of my home. I knowno one would look twice if i was feeding her out if a bottle, and what new mom wants to attract negative attention to herself? you only ever get three months of maternity leave, and you are supposed to breastfeed exclusively for six. society puts us in a position that makes formula easy and normal, and breastfeeding the exception.

  20. I completely disagree with the formula companies marketing strategies, and I do agree that that does contribute to a decrease in bf rates. I think that women should still have the choice to do what they want though and no matter what the formula companies do, it is still going to take a huge change in the societal view of breastfeeding to make a difference. That is an interesting point about the breastmilk banks though, if bfing was the ‘norm’ breastmilk banks would probably be much more popular.

    I really do think that we should protect people’s rights to make their own decision though. For example, many children are fed McDonald’s on a fairly regular basis and the marketing that McDonalds does towards children is extreme. I really do think that McDonald’s does WAY more harm to children then formula feeding, but nobody’s trying to stop McDonald’s from marketing to children.

    I take every free sample of formula and donate it to the food bank. What we really need is a change in society’s view. It took about 3 generations to move from bf to formula feeding, and it may take that long to move back again. We’ve made HUGE increases in bf rates in one generation. Change is happening, but it’s just a bit slower then some people want.

  21. Just to clarify, WIC doesn’t provide checks that can be “cashed.” They provide grocery vouchers. And WIC supports breastfeeding. I breastfed my twins with help from WIC.

  22. I’ve been breastfeeding my son for over two years. I received formula samples in the mail, but I’ve never given him formula. I’m glad to have been able to do so, but I don’t think (in fact, I KNOW I’m not) I’m doing something sooo much better for him than all the formula-feeding moms out there do for their kids.

    What’s really important is that whether a mother chooses breastfeeding, pumping, and/or formula for her child, she doesn’t catch flak for it. If mothers don’t end up breastfeeding because they received free formula samples, they probably weren’t too concerned about breastfeeding anyway, and that is perfectly fine. The benefits of breastfeeding are widely publicized, and I do think it’s great (for me, it was cheap and convenient!) but honestly, the benefits are variable and can easily be overcome by individual circumstances (and whether you like it or not, “I don’t want to” counts).

    As long as the formula is mixed properly, it just doesn’t matter. Some women can’t breastfeed. Some women just aren’t interested. Not everyone wants to be an Earth goddess, and it doesn’t mean they love their kids any less.

  23. Just to clarify, “I’m glad to have been able to do so” in my previous comment was in reference to breastfeeding for two years.

  24. Maria, I agree! (except with the comment about Republicans…not exactly sure what you are getting at…). Overall very well stated!

    I will say it is annoying that the “breastfeeding gift” from the hospital, for those Moms who choose to breastfeed, includes formula. Its a marketing technique, but a mom could choose to leave the gift at the hospital. I usually take mine and donate it. I am currently breastfeeding my third child and will do the same with all my children.

  25. I had to to supplement with homemade formula, when I went back to work. Two years later I’m still breast feeding. I kept looking at those formula samples sent to me, and there was no way I could stomach feeding that to my son.

  26. “Only 33% of mothers breastfeed.”

    What? I would like to know where that stat came from. It’s terribly irresponsible journalism to throw out a stat like that (which is probably false in the first place) without any further info. I would hope the author knows that breastfeeding isn’t a simple Yes/No issue. MOST women breastfeed at least for a while. The number who breastfeed for a short period and/or combine it with formula is obviously different than the number of who breastfeed exclusively for an entire year. Huge difference. If you want to see the stats, go here:

    You’ll see nearly 75% in 2011 breastfed for at least a bit, and 44% at 6 months.

    Hmmm. Makes me wonder what else is incorrect in this article. (And before you think I’m some formula-company plant, I’m a mom of three who breastfed each child for more than 12 months, though I did supplement with formula ocassionally. I feel breastmilk is best but I don’t equate formual with rat poison either, as the sentiment on some of these comments seems to be.)

  27. Who in the world ever thought of feeding babies milk that comes out of mother cows and is meant for THEIR babies?

  28. Totally agree…cespecially as a first time breastfeeding mom…. There were times when I just wanted to give up. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life… Plus you’re going through the baby blues and your husband just wants to be supportive and maybe just maybe it will bring you some sanity to just give them a little. I know what poison it is and I was even tempted to use it… Then they have you hooked. They do it on purpose and are counting on the hardships of new mom hood to get you to do it.

  29. my mom, being from romania, has told me the same thing. She was unable to nurse due to lack of milk-production…so she had to have imported special formula brought in from Hungary I beleive. It was a big hassle! She did have a ‘wetnurse’ for a while though.

    Your rite: its a HUGE for their health. God gave us our ‘girls’ for a reason!

    Many women chose formula out of convenience. We are a society of convenience. Its a shame we care more about ourselves than our children, which are gifts.

  30. Something about this first paragraph doesn’t sit well with me.

    She says that if we intimidated women into nursing then we would have a breastfeeding culture. WHy is the method what makes the culture and not the action itself? In countries where most women nurse, they are not being forced to do so.

    To me, forcing women into this is not only counterintuitive, but also rather demoralizing. This is just another hinderance to changing hearts and minds. We will never make change by trying to prohibit access to formula. The free samples didn’t make a woman live in a society where she has to go back to work, where she doesn’t have the support for nursing, where she can’t even feed her baby in public without people giving her the side eye.

  31. LOL! Just because there ARE laws such as HIPPA or any other set of rules/policies in our country, does not mean the government would not be able to disregard those rules/policies if they wanted to. It’s not like people in government has not ever done anything illegal, before.

  32. I like your comment, Rachel! It’s good to have the formula to supplement only if needed when your mammary glads aren’t working correctly, but other than that women should sacrifice their pride for the health of their baby.

  33. True. But at least in my state, the birth certificates are public record, and even if you don’t register for anything, they can get your info that way.

  34. Yes it’s a choice to breast feed or formula feed. However, by the hospital offering “free samples” it implies that hospitals endorse formula. That it is a healthy choice. In a place that is there to service HEALTH, such samples have no place in that institution.

    In the situation where baby cannot physically breast feed for one reason or another, formula should be prescribed as a medication at which time the hospital can give you some. But unless there is a medical need for formula, it shouldn’t be offered.

    If you want to feed formula, ask the companies directly for samples. A mothers choice should initiate the contact to formula companies (or any other product), not the other way around. If I’m breast feeding I no more want formula samples than a 20-something wants samples of denture creams.

    The fact that Romney is putting money in front of health is another indicator as to why the American public cannot afford for him to take office. In a country where obesity is running rampant and is quickly becoming the Number 1 cause of health issues, bankrupting those trying to pay those bills (diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, joint replacement, etc.) it’s disgusting that he has those sorts of ties to formula companies. The health care of Americans NEEDS them to breast feed.

    The default should be that a mother is going to breast feed. Should she want to formula feed, start shopping.

  35. I doubt the author is saying that women SHOULD be intimidated to breastfeed, but is instead arguing against the idea that women are intimidated to breastfeed and that there are “nipple nazis” or “breastfeeding mafias.”

    Also, with regard to Trish B’s comment, please read While there may be a correlation between obesity and Type 2 diabetes, more fat folks WON’T get diabetes than those who will. Nutrition and physical activity are important for ALL individuals. Let us not forget that the diet industry is a $60 billion dollar PER YEAR industry, and like formula companies, it is predatory and causes us to doubt our bodies. Let us not perpetuate weight stigma!

  36. I agree Jennifer.

    Also if a Mum is under that much pressure from peers or family they’d cave in to Formula anyway. As soon as I knew I was pregnant I was intending to BF (as long as I produced milk) After I gave birth, I received mailings, coupons and samples and gave them to the other Mums who were formula feeding. In my experience all the NHS (UK) staff promoted BF and all new Mums were shown how to BF, the benefits (for Mum and Baby) explained and support information (eg LLL) for afterwards was given out.

    Still – having all this information, some Mums chose to FF without giving BFing a try!

    Even without the information about the benefits of BFing, Formula + all the necessary equipment is expensive and such a faff in sterilising bottles and preparing!! All the adverts for a certain brands of Formula states quite clearly that its no substitute for BF and exclusive BF is recommended for the first 6 months of baby’s life (as per WHO).

    What more can be done? More support? Education at schools? More media attention? Famous people speaking out? I don’t know!

  37. TrishB, while I agree with most of your comment, I think it’s important to point out that our current administration is also putting our health at risk for financial and personal gain (i.e., appointing someone to head up the safety of our food who worked for Monsanto, allowing the FDA to put their stamp on things that are known to cause health issues, and so on). While I don’t agree at all with Romney’s push to alleviate the ban, his crime is certainly no worse than those being perpetrated in Washington everyday.

    I am currently breastfeeding my third babe, and am thankful to have had minimal issues with breastfeeding. However, I can remember in the first few weeks with my first, having cracked nipples due to incorrect latch and being so exhausted from adjusting to his schedule, thinking about those free samples of formula sitting on my shelf that might mean respite from pain or a nap while someone else fed my son. I never used it, but the point is that no company would give their product away for free to every new baby in the country unless they stood to profit greatly from doing so. Clearly they do.

    There needs to be a massive movement to educate expecting moms about breastfeeding and support in the early weeks, and a massive shift in the way we as a nation view breasts (pun intended). Just as an example, at a nearby mall they provide two “nursing rooms”, lest anyone feed their baby out in the open, and on each door there is a picture of a bottle.

  38. I completely agree that breastfeeding is better and I would love to see a cultural shift toward breastfeeding that would pressure women, through peer (and expert) example to breastfeed more than formula feed.

    But in a time when choices are being taken from women, one by one, I vehemently disagree with framing it as women “not having a choice” or “intimidating women into breastfeeding.” How is that any better than the shady marketing tactics of formula companies? When it comes to our body, EVERYTHING is a choice.

    Imagine a woman who has been sexually abused. She may not feel comfortable connecting with her baby in a way that brings back those memories. A woman must always have a choice and while I certainly support gentle social pressure and working to garner more support from hospitals and more responsibility from companies, shame and intimidation and talk of “taking choices away” is not acceptable.

  39. Studies have shown that smokers who have premature babies produce less milk over time and they find that their supply declines rather than increases, which also contributes to early weaning. There is also concern that the baby’s weight gain and growth will be slower as a result of an increase in number of cigarettes that you smoke.

  40. Right on target. The problem is that American culture does not value personal sacrifice ESPECIALLY for one’s children!

  41. I was told, when my son was less than a week old, to feed him only every 3 hours. I didn’t listen because I believe in feeding on demand. Still, doctors,nurses etc kept trying push into forcing my son to wait 3 hours before he could eat again. Thing is, he’s following perfectly on schedule w his growth. He’s not a chubby baby, in fact,at 3 months,he’s quite muscular. He doesn’t have any excess gas, bloating or digestion problems. Also, my son is a fussy baby,one who really lets you know when he’s unhappy. He’s highly sensitive as well as very active-when he’s awake,he’s usually just a blur of motion. If I had forced this child into the 3 hour feeding schedule,he would have been screaming all of the time. Also,I truly believe that he would not be growing as well as he is,and I probably would have been told that I don’t have enough milk,or some other such thing,and then would’ve been pushed into supplementing w formula,which I very well would’ve done for wanting to be a good mom. Along w this,the bond of trust would’ve been severed between us,because of forcing him into a schedule I know in my heart would not have worked for us,knowing my son the way I do. This sort of scheduling works for some,but not all mothers and babies. I think it’s very irresponsible telling all new moms that feeding MUST be done this way.I’m sure many women have ended up feeling like failures and so frustrated that their baby is so unhappy and not thriving well. Yet,the formula companies end up w more and more women using their formula because of things like this.

  42. I believe strongly in breastfeeding.

    I think the money and lobby of the formula companies is a terrible thing.

    I think that “pumping” has actually made public breastfeeding even more ‘taboo’ because the unspoken expectation is that you pump in private, put the milk in a bottle and feed the baby that good breast milk from the BOTTLE in public.

    However, I believe in choice. I don’t believe that any woman should be coerced into breastfeeding any more than they should be coerced into formula feeding. I believe in choices both prior to birth, during birth and after birth.

    I think that the very biggest problem lies not with the formula companies but with the lack of support for working mothers in this country both in terms of maternity leave and access to good facilities to pump at work. Blaming formula companies is easy. But possibly not where the true problem lies.

    I nursed both my kids. But with my first I went back to work. In a small business, no place to pump, no time to pump, surrounded by unmarried men with no kids who tried to be understanding but just didn’t get it. Result? I lasted 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding, 3 months of a mix of nursing and formula and then we were done. With my second I didn’t go back to work. The result? No pumping, no bottles and he nursed until he was 2. It wasn’t anything to do with me, my kids or the formula lying around. It was all about time and the demands on me as a working Mother. I’m about to have baby number 3. I’ll be back at work after 2 months (yep..that bad economy thing) and I’m crossing my fingers we can last a full year.

  43. While I understand the fight against formula companies as they are in the wrong on so many levels, I thought this article was wrong. I have nursed three babies (and will be nursing a 4th) for various lengths of times due to work and supply issues. While heartbreaking I was thankful for the option of formula. It was worked best for us at that time. We live in a free society and women are free to feed their babies how they choose. Instead of banning formula samples from the hospital we should be educating new moms on making the best decision for their children and themselves. We should be pushing bfing education in hospitals instead of fighting against formula in hospitals. It seems much more productive to focus on the goal then trying to “destroy” formula. Then these newly educated women can make the best choice for them. To do otherwise is so controlling. This idea of banning anything just puts Breastfeeding and those who support it in a bad light.

  44. I am truly disappointed with this petition to ban formula samples. I understand that supplying mothers who want to breast feed can cause them to quit prematurely since the free sample is there waiting when times get tough. But banning them is really a bit too much! I nursed my first 2 children, but have since had to have a double mastectomy due to cancer. I will not be able to nurse this last baby and feel sad enough about it. I’m glad that the hospitals and formula companies are able to make this time a little easier for our family.

  45. When I had my first child, I tried breastfeeding for 2 days straight. My son was born weighting 5lb 9oz, almost a premie at full term, he had trouble latching on and what made it even worse, I never produced any milk while I was pregnant with him. All that happened was my boobs got bigger than they already where. On the 3rd day, I asked the nurse if there was something I could give him, just so I knew he was eatting. When we got home, I tried breastfeeding, for three weeks having to suppliment formula after everyfeeding because he wasn’t getting anything. When I finally started producing milk, 3 weeks post partum, it was only on one side and was anywhere from 2oz-5ozs a day. A DAY! NOT AN HOUR, A DAY! I ended up placing my son of formula just because my body didn’t produce milk and when it did it wasnt enough. When I found out I was pregnant wiht my daughter. I wanted to breastfeed. Months before she was born I knew I was producing milk because I was getting the let down feeling and my breast ached and I managed to breast feed her for 18 months. Now Im pregnant with my 3rd, another boy. Once again, im not getting any milk, not let down, nothing. Im in my last trimester. By this time with my daughter, I couldn’t wear a bra because when I did I would leak a little or within minutes my breast would hurt. This is turning into my 1st son all over again. Now im more experianced, and I can try other things to help produce milk, but to ban it, what about the first time moms, who are stuck in the hospital and like myself, arent producing milk? Or is it breastfeed or nothing, let the child starve?

  46. I completely agree with you. I wasn’t able to nurse my first son because I never produced milk, and now im pregnant with another son and it seems like its happening all over again.

  47. I think we would do well to start a campaign for hospitals to give out samples of breastmilk storage bags, nursing pads, nipple cream and the like. Focusing on the positive goes further than focusing on the negative. How can we influence change – ask for what we want not for what we don’t want. Whatever you ask for is what you’ll get.

  48. This is disgusting and makes me so mad. Whilst it’s ok to say that we are all adults and capable of making our own decisions, I don;t beileve this is true in any way. Those who are most vulnerable are so easily influenced by the advertising and so called “advice” from friends, family etc. Just this week I’ve seen it happend a few times. ne mum who I gave so much informatin to, had her baby and by day 3 she posted on FB she had “failed” at bf and giving baby bottles. Why you ask? Baby was a bit sleepy and not feeding when she “should” Who gave her this advice to put her on the bottle? No one!! She just thought that was what she should do! Exactly what the formula companies WANT mothers to think, It’s a cure all for everything from not sleeping properly (ie like a baby SHOULD be sleeping!) to being “hungry”. Since when were these issues a problem?? If Women/ parents actually understood what was normal and what to expect and what the real difference is between the 2 methods of feeding, I am sure more would make an actual informed choice and chose to perservere. I wish the government would grow some balls and make decision based on the best interests of the health of babies and the cost to the health system instead of bowing to powerful pjharmacuetical companies. It’s a worldwide disgrace.

  49. Just because there ARE “laws” doesn’t mean they don’t get broken 50 times a day! In fact we know they are violated REGULARLY! Just having disposable diapers in the hospital violates all local laws. We can go outwards from there. We could spend an hour discussing it. But they’d still do it in the name of profit and saving (insert here). And we can’t pass a law like they did in some countries where they can not market or advertise for a certain age group, because someone would argue that too! All we can seemingly do is advocate, in our own ways, day by day, in our own lives! Until someone wakes up and sues the formula companies for the COST of all these lower income babies being fed pig fodder and having problems. WOW then we might see something!

  50. Let us not forget that the *free* formula has to be paid for by SOMEBODY – and in this case it is paid for by the mothers who buy the formula in the stores.

    The cost of formula is exorbitant. It is basically sugar and milk powder, with some chemicals and oils thrown in, and the profit margin is huge. If giving out freebies did not bring in more customers, why do you think the formula companies would do it?

  51. to the ppl commenting about babies born too weak to latch: that is what formula was invented for. it was invented to save babies who were left orphans and no access to a wet nurse and for babies who were too sickly to feed and who would have dwindled away, and for those rare cases where the mother simply couldn’t produce.

    formula has NOTHING AT ALL to do with a normal, healthy mother and child.

    in afghanistan – AFGHANISTAN!!!!! – babies are routinely breastfed until at least 2yrs of age and formula is available only by doctor’s prescription. that’s how it should be done here, too.

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