Please don't ask for references, my laptop died.
Originally Posted by Mom2Boy&Girl
Honestly? That kind of inflammatory statement (re: the "dangers" of formula) will only serve to alienate and malign mothers who have had to choose formula over what they KNOW is best -- breastmilk.
There are a million ways to promote the benefits of breastmilk. But making the mothers the bad guys in all this is incredibly short-sighted. I'm sure you know that there are a number of valid reasons why a mother can't BF or supply BM to her child. And it's not always about selfishness or lack of willpower.
So how about contacting your congressman about BF-friendly workplaces ... or extending short-term disability (like here in NJ) terms to longer than 6 weeks so that a better BFing relationship builds between mother and baby ... or eliminating "freebies" in doctors offices and hospitals so that moms that are on the fence about whether they want to BF are encouraged to at least try breastfeeding first? For women to choose BFing first, and to continue to BF longer, our society needs to take some serious steps in creating a BF-friendly environment.
That's my opinion, anyway. I breastfed my son for 22 months, and am still BFing my 15mo daughter because that is what I chose to do after educating myself ... but I might have made a different choice if I was not a SAHM or if I had a medical condition that required me to stop BFing.
And even after all my research on the subject, if someone told me how "dangerous" formula is to babies, I would have rolled my eyes at them. Formula is second best, for sure, but dangerous? Come on.
I smoked for 10 years even though I knew all the dangers. I just didn't believe them until I saw a friend of my grandfather hooked up to oxygen and looking like Death was standing at his shoulder then not being able to catch a breath or be as physically active without being winded really made a difference. My mother threatening us as children to cut our hands off if we ever smoked didn't make an impact, but seeing and feeling what it actually does to your body did. All the "Smoking kills" stuff didn't phase me. If someone had told me that I would be huffing and puffing up a few flights of stairs at less than 30 years of age, then I would've listened. The way things were portrayed was that the risks were after a lifetime of smoking and only caught up to you when you were old anyway and you have to die of something when you're old...
As to the valid reasons for giving only formula by a birth mother, the only truly valid one I recognize without going into excuses or misinformation is that the mother medically can't by either being dead or having a medical condition where it would either put her or the baby in danger. Or if the baby has a metabolic condition where they can't digest certain parts of the milk. Adoptive mothers can breastfeed even if it's not exclusively. It's hard and takes dedication, but it CAN be done. Even working moms CAN breastfeed partially if not completely. It's not about making someone the bad guy (or mom), it's about owning your choices and admitting when you're making an excuse rather than doing the right thing. Generally if you feel bad or guilty about something, then there is a reason for that that probably began with an excuse of some sort. If you have a true reason for not breastfeeding AT ALL, then you have no reason to feel guilty or bad and should tell all comers to shove it with confidence.
I understand that some mothers have valid medical reasons that formula is necessary. That is not as common as some people would have you believe. Heck, for at least 3 cases in the past month that I personally know of, myself included in this, have been told to formula feed by HCPs who had either bad information on the medical condition or medication prescribed, or were too lazy to investigate other more involved (on their part) treatments. I have run into only 2 cases in the past year where breastfeeding was completely contraindicated because of the medical condition or medications. One was a transplant recipient, and the other had rheumatoid arthritis and would be unable to care for herself let alone her child off her meds. I also understand the need for some women to go back to work. This doesn't mean they have to make an either or choice. Even some breastmilk helps protect babies against the risks of formula feeding, even if it's just once a day. Both of the above reasons are more about lack of support than anything else.
Yes. Formula is dangerous, as in it carries certain risks.
First is that you don't know what they say is in the can is actually in there. Most of the formula recalls I've read involve an Oops in that they didn't put key nutritional components in that batch that had somehow resulted in an infant being injured by not having that vitamin or mineral in their diet.
Second, since you aren't feeding from the breast, you're running the risk of food poisoning from either tainted water, not quite clean feeding tools (bottles, cups, etc), or by leaving mixed formula out at room temperature too long. Even the most fastidious mom can miss a spot or be too tired and not sanitize properly, or premix formula to carry along and be out longer than expected. Then there is the issue of contaminated formula, which is especially common if you're using powder instead of concentrate or ready to feed. Nothing you can really do about it when it comes to your house with the bugs already in the can especially if you're not mixing with hot enough water to kill it.
Third, artificial feeding methods have been shown to increase ear infections.
Fourth, your FF baby is 4 times more likely to die of gastrointestinal or respiratory infection in the first 2 months of life than a BF baby. Don't know about you, but knowing that my BF baby is 1/3 less likely to die because of her diet seems significant to me. I mean, if my OB was freaking out over a less than 1% chance of uterine rupture with my VBAC attempt, shouldn't we really jump for joy and sing it from the rooftops at a 33% lower risk of death for our children?
I can support and encourage women who know better to breastfeed all day long, but if they aren't getting the support at home or work or otherwise, then all my cheerleading, books, brochures, and websites are not going to amount to a hill of beans even if breastfeeding does come easy for them. Formula is a medical food made for the most part by drug companies. Why is it so unacceptable to talk about it and treat it like any other drug which carries risks and benefits?