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Honestly?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

This is a CLIP to an article, not even the article in full. While I don't agree that firing people for that reason alone is right, how can we really know that's what happened? 

 

Obamacare TAKES your freedom to choose. While I do not think formula should be freely given to new mothers, I also don't want a larger majority of my medical freedoms taken, which is exactly what obamacare is. Obviously, I couldn't possibly agree with any one person's political views, but I think you need to present more information than a short paragraph when you share information like this. 

 

And we all have our choices, just because you receive formula, doesn't force a woman to use it. 

post #2 of 33

Yes, honestly.

 

There are many ways that you can verify that Romney really did fire the members of the health council who wanted to halt the practice of hospitals marketing formula to new mothers, and for that reason.

 

Obamacare does not take away any medical freedoms.  In fact, it ensures women's access to comprehensive gynecological care.  It also ensures that people with pre-existing conditions are covered.  And that young people can stay on their parents' insurance longer.  Et cetera.  However, I'm not sure that discussion belongs in the lactivism forum.

 

More information was provided than one short paragraph.  Read the whole thread again and check out all the links that are given in it. 

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1354925/we-must-never-forget-that-this-happened

 

Obviously when hospitals market formula to mothers who have just given birth, mothers are not *forced* to use it.  However, it has been proven that the marketing of formula to new mothers results in a reduction in breastfeeding rates.  (Also, if this tactic didn't "work," formula companies wouldn't waste money on it.)  When medical staff markets formula, it implies a medical endorsement.  Hospital staff routinely handing out formula to all new mothers, whether they ask for it or not, is like a pulmonary physician handing out cigarettes to all patients.  Can you imagine someone saying "just because your doctor gives you cigarettes doesn't mean you have to smoke them"?

 

Hospital L&D units should not be in the business of marketing formula.


Edited by Sustainer - 10/31/12 at 1:48pm
post #3 of 33

On the one hand, I do think Sustainer is overreacting on the formula front.  Formula is not poison, and plenty of families have genuinely been helped by it.  Object to the marketing - sure.  Breast milk is better - no argument, I pumped a ton of it.  But you lose me with the formula = cigarettes thing.

 

On the other hand, Obamacare is based on Romneycare.  Romney was pretty pleased with that system back when he signed it into law, but since then, he's done his best to disavow pretty much all of Massachusetts.  When asked what parts of Obamacare he would repeal, Romney doesn't really come up with answers.  If you don't like these health care systems, I am afraid there is no candidate for you in this election.

post #4 of 33

I did not mean that formula is poison, and I know that in some situations it is useful, which I admit could not be said of cigarettes.  The point I was trying to make with the comparison is that most mothers have a real choice to make between two options.  Breastfeeding is the biological norm and it is what young mammals need.  Formula is inferior, inadequate, and contains high fructose corn syrup and other unhealthy ingredients.  Whether a child is breastfed or fed formula has a huge effect on whether the child is likely to become a healthy or unhealthy adult.  Lack of breastfeeding is one of the biggest risk factors for poor health.  Hospitals should not be pushing the unhealthy option!  This is the aspect of it that I think is similar to when doctors participated in cigarette commercials.

 

I think it's misleading to say "breastmilk is better," as if formula is fine and is the standard to be compared to.  Breastmilk is just the standard norm.  It's not "above" what children need or are supposed to consume.  Formula is worse -- much worse.  Substandard.

 

http://www.motherchronicle.com/watchyourlanguage.html

post #5 of 33

Lack of breastfeeding is correlated with poor health - it's also, however, correlated with lower incomes and higher parental stress levels, which are pretty big confounding factors in determining the roots of poor health. 

 

Formula strikes me as not nearly so much of a problem as childhood poverty, and the lack of guaranteed or compensated parental leave.

post #6 of 33

There are many things that can contribute to poor heath, but lack of breastfeeding is one of the biggest.  It is so important for a developing baby to be breastfed, for so many different reasons.  Breastfeeding accomplishes so many important purposes.  No part of a human being, whether physical, mental, emotional, psychological, can develop properly without breastfeeding.

post #7 of 33

That's a very extreme, biologically essentialist position, and I feel it's thoroughly contradicted by my observation of the children around me.

 

My closest IRL parenting allies are the dads down the street, who have two adopted boys.  Those kids are doing at least as well as my kids.  Arguments like yours hurt families like those, particularly the children (we're not really drowning in foster placements for babies recovering from substance abuse).

post #8 of 33
Formula has it's place, but for humans breastmilk is the actual standard. Formula is inferior to breastmilk. Cow's milk is for cows. Goat's milk is for goats. It is the standard for the young to consume milk designed by nature for that species.
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sustainer View Post

There are many things that can contribute to poor heath, but lack of breastfeeding is one of the biggest.  It is so important for a developing baby to be breastfed, for so many different reasons.  Breastfeeding accomplishes so many important purposes.  No part of a human being, whether physical, mental, emotional, psychological, can develop properly without breastfeeding.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

That's a very extreme, biologically essentialist position, and I feel it's thoroughly contradicted by my observation of the children around me.

 

My closest IRL parenting allies are the dads down the street, who have two adopted boys.  Those kids are doing at least as well as my kids.  Arguments like yours hurt families like those, particularly the children (we're not really drowning in foster placements for babies recovering from substance abuse).

 

I agree with MeepyCat in response to the statement above.  It is a very harsh, broad statement to make, and kids like those MeepyCat mentioned would be examples of children who might need formula, and might do ok in spite of it.  However, I see 100+ year olds every other day in the paper and on tv swearing by alcohol and cigarettes for their longevity - they did fine, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea, ykwim?

 

I think we have a looong way to get around the apologist/consumerist rhetoric of patting people on the back saying, "It's ok, formula is just great!"  It's not.  And when the vast majority of babies in this country are on artificial milk, something is very wrong.  When all new mothers are sent home from the hospital with free formula samples, something is very wrong.  It should be the exception (as in the cases you cited), not the rule.  

 

I would argue that we are hurting all babies everywhere when we pretend it's all good, when we make it easy for mothers to quit by feeding them feel-good propaganda about formula, just so nobody feels like a failure or gets upset because they didn't give their kid the best.  We need an honest focus on what makes sense for babes, clear wording about the deficiencies and risks, and more support and tools to help people get there - not more kid-glove handling and free formula samples, IMO.


Edited by pickle18 - 11/1/12 at 2:27pm
post #10 of 33

It's just like everywhere else on MDC, where users complain that their parents/grandparents/etc. fight their healthy, natural choices with the age old, "I raised you with corporal punishment/scheduled bottlefeedings/CIO/meat and potatoes/junk food/chemical cleaners/disposable diapers, etc. etc. and you turned out just fine."  Well...maybe, maybe not...but I think we should all try to make sure that more babies wherever possible are drinking milk from humans. shrug.gif  And that requires a serious alteration in our current cultural communication biases.

post #11 of 33
As parents, we aim for the very best, but often find ourselves forced to compromise, to accept that someetimes we can give our children the best, and sometimes we have to settle for sufficient.

Formula is sufficient. It's not perfect or best, but there are plenty of families who find that it'spreferable to some of the alternative compromises. Those families are doing their best to raise healthy children, and they are not helped by the language you ladies are throwing around, in which it appears thatformula is like smoking - you *might* get lucky and survive it.

I have never heard a credible claim that anyone could tell the difference between the kindergartners who were breast fed and the ones who weren't. As people get older, it does not get easier to tell the difference.


I'd like to live in a world where parents receive enough societal support to make the decisions they genuinly believe are best for their families. I suspect that more people would breastfeed under those circumstance. I don't think it's feel good propaganda to acknowledge that soome would still use formula, and their kids would not be meaningfully harmed by it.
post #12 of 33

I apologize for the poor metaphor - it wasn't meant as a direct comparison (smoking=formula) but more of another example of how we rationalize unhealthy choices after the fact (ends justify the means).  I believe in a world where we won't sugar coat the facts, so that all families can truly make the best decisions.  A world where breastmilk isn't depicted as some super awesome extra luxurious option, with formula as the normal baseline.  Formula is inferior and deficient - it is artificial, a poor substitute.

 

If some families still choose that, when they know all the facts, that's their choice - I respect that.   Just like if families want to raise their kids on a bunch of junk food, sodas, artificial additives and GMOs - that's their choice.  The kids will survive - their diet will be "sufficient."  But I don't see any reason to pretend that humans were meant to live just fine on Cheetos.  I'm not going to go out of my way to avoid offending them, patting them on the back and saying, "It's ok, you did your best to make the best dietary choices for your family.  Healthy food is perfect and optimal, but this is perfectly ok, too." Um, nope. 

 

The choice of two in this country puts breastmilk and formula as nearly equivalent - like you're buying the same car, but if you want to, you can spring for the extra (implication: unnecessary) features and get breastmilk.  That is a false comparison.  

post #13 of 33
So it's not a comparison between formula and cigarettes anymore. Now it's formula is like the food you can buy cheap in the grocery store (you know, the GMO stuff). Which is also just like giving your baby diet coke.

That goes a long way towards making advocates for breast feeding sound clueless about their personal levels of privilege.

The women least likely to breastfeed in this country aren't shrugging at the marginal benefits of mothers' milk in order to do something easier. They're headed back to waiting tables in order to keep a roof over their heads. If you make it clear at the outset that you're espousing an unaffordable standard, they won't feel obligated to hang around waiting to see if you have something useful to offer.
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sustainer View Post

There are many things that can contribute to poor heath, but lack of breastfeeding is one of the biggest.  It is so important for a developing baby to be breastfed, for so many different reasons.  Breastfeeding accomplishes so many important purposes.  No part of a human being, whether physical, mental, emotional, psychological, can develop properly without breastfeeding.

 

If this is true, then I am a stunted and undeveloped human being because I was never breastfed, only formula fed (due to being adopted).

 

ETA: If the #1 factor that influences women's breastfeeding decision is the "message" they get about the relative values of breast milk and formula, then I suppose statements like this are useful, and people like me will just have to deal with a lifelong feeling of being a defective and substandard human being.

 

If, on the other hand, other factors are more influential (social class, access to breastfeeding support, cultural support for breastfeeding, etc.), then messages like the one above are scare tactics that probably do more harm then good.


Edited by CI Mama - 11/2/12 at 8:22am
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

So it's not a comparison between formula and cigarettes anymore. Now it's formula is like the food you can buy cheap in the grocery store (you know, the GMO stuff). Which is also just like giving your baby diet coke.
That goes a long way towards making advocates for breast feeding sound clueless about their personal levels of privilege.
The women least likely to breastfeed in this country aren't shrugging at the marginal benefits of mothers' milk in order to do something easier. They're headed back to waiting tables in order to keep a roof over their heads. If you make it clear at the outset that you're espousing an unaffordable standard, they won't feel obligated to hang around waiting to see if you have something useful to offer.

 

I think at bottom we disagree that the benefits are marginal.  Nothing I've said is an attack on low income women.  I completely agree that there needs to be improved access to breastfeeding support, supplies, etc.  I don't think we are going to get there unless we get real about the fact that babies need breastmilk.

 

In my mother's generation, all babies were bottlefed as a sign of higher economic status - only those who couldn't afford formula nursed their babies.  Historically, breastfeeding was associated with low income.  Nowadays, it's assumed only upper middle class SAHMs can breastfeed - and that's just plain false.  Lower income, working women need more support - but the bias toward formula is also deeply cultural.  Many lower income, foreign-born women in this country, for example, still breastfeed their children.

 

My friends include single moms working hard at low-paying jobs to support their families - I am absolutely sympathetic with their challenges.  I think the best way to support them is to improve their access to education and resources.  Formula is expensive - either they are paying for it, or the state is.  How could we help people to reallocate those resources toward breastfeeding counseling/supplies?  What would the maternal and child health impacts be?  

 

To me, formula vs. breastmilk is absolutely no different than any other public health issue.  It is why I fight for awareness of food deserts, and I try to help people find healthy alternatives to ubiquitous convenient junk food for the same price.  Healthy habits aren't impossible on a tight budget.  This isn't about privilege - it's about making it work, at any income level.  Breastmilk is far cheaper than formula.

post #16 of 33

I really really feel that even though this whole things seems like it is geared towards the mothers it is more geared to the staff.  I was in the hospital for months. My son spent a week int he nicu for jaundice. I cannot count how many times I was offered, and even forced to give my son formula and even told the benefits while waiting for him to be born. They would do it without my knowledge if I was a few minutes late for a feeding even when I had breastmilk in the nicu fridge. I pulled a few bottles out of his mouth in that time.

 

Don't be confused. This isn't really geared towards mothers more towards the staff to try and bring this behavior of giving babies formula and not supporting  a mother trying to breastfeed to an end. And to also educate them on how nutrition in that first few days should be.

post #17 of 33

Painting breastmilk as a luxury, as a privilege, is rhetoric we need to change.  Breastmilk should be no more of a privilege than clean air and water.  Where income level restricts that, we need to work on it (again, as with any public health issue), instead of handing over formula in resignation and saying it's ok.  Baby humans should have human milk - except in cases of adoption, and other areas where that is extremely difficult or impossible.  That is what formula is for.  Not for the vast majority of babies in this country.  

 

Beyond low income families, many mothers simply struggle with breastfeeding difficulties and a lack of support - formula is everywhere, and despite the costs (financial and health) many moms choose it - why?  Because it's the socially acceptable choice.  IMO, we've overcorrected from providing formula by prescription in cases where it is truly needed, to trumping it up as a perfectly great alternative for any/every mother.  Why shouldn't we challenge that?  

 

Of course, some mothers might feel dismayed, offended and betrayed.  Many in previous generations feel that way about CIO now, too.  One usually does when the truth hasn't been imparted by trusted medical providers.  That's no excuse not to start to turn the ship.

post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post

If this is true, then I am a stunted and undeveloped human being because I was never breastfed, only formula fed (due to being adopted).

ETA: If the #1 factor that influences women's breastfeeding decision is the "message" they get about the relative values of breast milk and formula, then I suppose statements like this are useful, and people like me will just have to deal with a lifelong feeling of being a defective and substandard human being.

If, on the other hand, other factors are more influential (social class, access to breastfeeding support, cultural support for breastfeeding, etc.), then messages like the one above are scare tactics that probably do more harm then good.

Well, you're in good company, as there are many of us across the country who were fed formula! My family is also very much for formula. I breastfed my son against much criticism. I am proud of that, and feel I am intelligent *in spite* of my formula foundation. Maybe if I'd been breastfed I'd have the Nobel Prize for some wonderful accomplishment. Ah, well. I can dream!

My point is, we shouldn't waste time and energy feeling outraged at the shifting of the emphasis from formula to breastmilk. We should be helping the process!
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

My point is, we shouldn't waste time and energy feeling outraged at the shifting of the emphasis from formula to breastmilk. We should be helping the process!

 

I agree! I am just wondering what is truly most helpful. I found the PP's statement that no human being can truly develop without breast milk to be very unhelpful.

 

On the other hand, I think a different PP made a good point about getting staff to change because that can be very influential. If institutions such as hospitals supported breastfeeding by accepting is as the norm and providing comprehensive support to women to get a good start in breastfeeding, I believe that would make a substantial difference in breastfeeding rates.

 

Similarly, I think that all work places should provide support for breast pumping and breastfeeding. In my peer circle, it seems that figuring out how to work and breastfeed is one of the biggest challenges women face. Women with good work/pump situations seem to do the best. That is all anecdotal, of course. But can you imagine a world where every working woman felt like she was fully supported in doing what she needs to do to breastfeed her child?

 

I was very fortunate that in my community, there are many ways that breastfeeding is supported. I got a lot of encouragement and help at the hospital, and there was an excellent local breastfeeding clinic that provided a lot of emotional and practical support for me. I really needed it because I developed a breast infection early on, which combined with post-birth trauma and sleep deprivation, was incredibly difficult for me. I was referred to an OB that specializes in lactation issues...the only OB in the county, mind you...I had to drive 45 minutes to get to her. And that opened my eyes to the fact that few OBs have training in lactation issues and know how to help women. So I'd like to see better training and interest among OBs in lactation issues.

post #20 of 33
I'm glad we agree that working together is good!

My personal experience was of poor support and actual interference at the hospital following my son's birth. It didn't really matter that the hospital sent us home with formula --except that the pediatrician knew about it, and pushed for us to use it!!

I think the issues are :

1. Lactation consultants should attend the birth and help those who want to breastfeed get the best start.
2. There should be special handling of breastfed newborns, that aids the breastfeeding relationship. Included in this is absence if bottle feeding (to check sucking ability) and separation of mother and baby.
3. INTENSIVE education of pediatricians on the benefits of breastfeeding and how to provide medical care and information without formula.
4. Lactation consultants must be covered by *all* health insurance.
5. Employers must provide decent accomodations for pumping. Bathrooms are not acceptable.
6. Breastfeeding bras and tops should be covered by health insurance.

And finally, I think maternity leave needs to be longer than 6 weeks, regardless of the child is being fed! I watched many women return at 6 weeks that were walking zombies! Under those conditions, sleeping while someone else gives the baby a bottle would be very appealing!
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