Formula sample saved our breastfeeding journey - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 04-24-2012, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know this is going to upset a lot of people but I really wish the formula debate was not all black and white. I fully intended to have a natural home-birth with the skin to skin breast crawl and all, but fate was not in my favor. Due to complications I ended up with a C-section and it took forever for my milk to come in while my body fought to survive. Our baby also had to have CPR due to the anesthesia. When we got to work on breastfeeding, our baby had a lot of trouble latching on. When he did latch he would scream and wail because there was no immediate gratification. Every attempt at feeding was a miserable challenge and we always had help. Our lactation consultants and nurses we've been told were some of the best. To teach our son to latch and stay on the breast we used a supplement tube by the nipple with formula. By the time I was able to go home he had graduated to just a shield with a few drops of formula inside to get him started. A few days later he was able to go without the formula. With a little training he was able to go without the shield soon after that. What started out as a painful nightmare for both of us has turned into a wonderful nursing relationship and I am so proud of my baby for figuring it out.

 

I started out on this journey so anti formula/hospitals and read everything and did everything so I would be an informed advocate for our baby. This experience was so humbling that for a few days I felt like I was being punished for being so judgemental/opinionated. I don't really think it works like that but I am still greatly humbled and wish for others sake's that my fellow crunchy friends would not perpetuate this fear of all things unnatural. Sometimes we momma's need a little help.

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#2 of 16 Old 04-24-2012, 08:04 AM
 
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To be clear, how did formula sample save your bfing relationship? There was no formula available in any store?

 

If your post is in response to this thread http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1350357/jezebel-likes-formula-samples-please-respond

maybe you should read the Public Citizen info and WHO recs about formula marketing, it has nothing to do with value of breast vs. formula.

 

Who said bf vs ff is black and white?

 

Why does it seem MDC is the forum supporting natural parenting where it is now the trend to judge, make assumptions, and stereotype people interested in natural parenting? 

 

 

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 my fellow crunchy friends would not perpetuate this fear of all things unnatural

I wish the people around me, in my daily life, didn't have fear of all things "unnatural" - you know, like bfing a 2 yo. uhoh3.gif Love to stop hearing about that.

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#3 of 16 Old 04-24-2012, 09:21 AM
 
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I am happy you had a positive outcome.  My first child after a epi-free birth didn't latch or nurse and it was a huge struggle.  The LC did put a little formula on his tongue and a tiny bit in the syringe to try to get him interested in nursing.  It didn't work but to me has nothing to do with using formula.

 

I feel like we're all comparing apples to oranges lately.

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#4 of 16 Old 04-24-2012, 09:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by slmommy View Post

To be clear, how did formula sample save your bfing relationship? There was no formula available in any store?

 

 

 

ITA with this.

 

The issue is with the marketing of formula in hospitals, not the availability for those who request or need it.


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#5 of 16 Old 04-24-2012, 05:22 PM
 
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How come everyone is so upset about a thread going off topic? Seriously, it happens all the time. Maybe because the off-topic part brought up stuff people would rather not think about?

 

Thanks for this, OP.

 

nak.

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#6 of 16 Old 04-29-2012, 01:15 PM
 
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Thanks, OP. But where did you get the sample in your story?

 

My hospital has formula on hand, too. My son was born vaginally and latched on right away after birth and nursed for hours. Later that night, though, I hemorrhaged and was in and out of consciousness all night. They fed my son formula overnight and I'm happy they did. The next day, he was fine and back to nursing, and he's only ever had breastmilk since then.

 

So of course I agree hospitals should have formula on hand! My hospital did. BUT I didn't get an advertising sample from my hospital as I checked out, which is the issue of contention. I wasn't advertised to.

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#7 of 16 Old 04-29-2012, 09:53 PM
 
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I don't really mind the free formula samples at the hospital. You know what we did with them? We threw away the bottles that weren't BPA free, kept the ice packs and insulated bag, and gave all the formula samples we'd received at the hospital and in the mail to people who chose to FF. I understand that it is advertising and offers the temptation when a Mom is struggling to BF, but I also believe the real reason that many Moms end up FF despite intention to BF is lack of real life support. It is hard to choose to parent differently than the people around you, and if you look at statistics FF is far more common. Making a big deal about free samples will not change that, and will likely merely arise ire. I think lobbying for real breastfeeding support and better education for doctors and nurses would be a better start.

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#8 of 16 Old 04-30-2012, 09:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rtjunker View Post
 I think lobbying for real breastfeeding support and better education for doctors and nurses would be a better start.

 

Well, yes. There are things like the WHO Baby Friendly hospital initiative, for instance. My hospital was designated Baby Friendly and I really felt the difference. But one of the requirements of a Baby Friendly hospital, I think, is that they don't hand out the formula samples. It is an important symbol to the doctors and nurses that they, as a group, take the breastfeeding thing seriously.

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#9 of 16 Old 04-30-2012, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, OP. But where did you get the sample in your story?

 

 

The hospital provided formula while we were there but also sent us home with a package of premixed single serve bottles. They only carried Enfamil and not wanting to mess with his diet, we continued with the same brand, so in that sense advertising in hospitals works. We saved money and time at the store so I appreciate the package. I know a lot of people who have benefited from the free samples, mostly ff moms, but I wanted to point out that bf moms can benefit from formula too. I feel the debate over the samples has become a platform for people to demonize formula and formula companies. The petition may have started out being about formula *samples* being forced on bf parents but if you read the comments on the petition you will find that it is largely anti-formula. I've noticed this in my community as well. My fellow hippie friends would *never* let that *poison* encroach on their bf relationships and in the next breath will tell me how a free sample seemed to question whether they would have success with bf-ing. Most lactivists know how formula can disrupt bf-ing based on many failed bf-ing stories. I thought the conversation was lacking stories about formula coming to the rescue of bf-ing. I hope other people will share their stories too. Thanks!

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#10 of 16 Old 05-01-2012, 10:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MichelleZB View Post

 

 

Well, yes. There are things like the WHO Baby Friendly hospital initiative, for instance. My hospital was designated Baby Friendly and I really felt the difference. But one of the requirements of a Baby Friendly hospital, I think, is that they don't hand out the formula samples. It is an important symbol to the doctors and nurses that they, as a group, take the breastfeeding thing seriously.


I think the approach of banning formula samples is ineffective, because it makes people defensive and less willing to listen or consider breastfeeding as an option. The way I look at it, there are three groups of people. Those who are going to BF no matter what, they've done the research, and free formula samples are going to be thrown away or donated. The group on the other end of the spectrum would never consider BF, and are pleased to get formula samples at the hospital, and are offended that someone is trying to take that away. Then there's the middle group who might consider breastfeeding if they had the right support, or are going to try breastfeeding, but like having a just in case option to FF. The middle group is the only one that may be swayed with advertising one way or another, and likely what truly determines whether they FF or BF is the support of their community, family and friends. This middle group could be pushed further away from breastfeeding, if they begin to associate breastfeeding with crazy liberal activists who claim formula is evil.

 

A reasonable alternative to completely banning formula samples in hospitals would be to only make them available to mothers that specifically ask for them.

 

The hospital I gave birth in is supposedly baby friendly, they've switched to all natural Earth Mama Angel Baby products for baby. They have a birthing center, where I was supposed to give birth, but due to overcrowding I ended up in L&D. Even in L&D standard procedure is skin to skin contact right after birth, babies room in with mom, unless mom asks for baby to be taken to the nursery. They have portable weigh stations so that my baby never left my sight, though I did have to ask for that, because the nurses find it easier to take baby to the nursery to weigh and check. And Lactation Consultants were available anytime, and visited me to ensure I was doing well with breastfeeding without me needing to request they do so.

 

To me all of that is still just lip service. The nurses and doctors have obviously been educated on breastfeeding, they're trained to promote it, but in informal conversations with said staff most did not EBF themselves. A few nurses seemed truly supportive, one told me she hoped she'd be able to EBF when she had babies. Others seemed annoyed that they had to deal with one of the "birthing center patients".

 

Less than 10% of women in my state EBF until the recommended bare minimum of 6 months, around 30% are EBF at 3 months. Almost 70% breastfeed some, according to the CDC Breastfeeding Report Card. These statistics tell me that 90% of women are likely to find that free sample useful at some point, possibly more.

 

Unless our culture changes to normalize and support breastfeeding most women are not going to choose breastfeeding, many can't feasibly, due to the need to return to work, and the difficulty of pumping. Some of these women do not make that much money, so a free sample is very welcome. Beyond that breastfeeding is difficult in a society like ours. We are not raised watching women we know BF, older generations pass down wives tales that inhibit BF. Often fathers aren't supportive of BF, because they feel jealous of that bond, or just think it's gross, and have never been around BF women, so truly believe it's their right to help feed the baby with formula. Until we can get fathers, grandmothers, workplaces and society to support breastfeeding mothers, silly wars on formula won't make much of a difference.

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#11 of 16 Old 05-02-2012, 05:53 AM
 
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yeahthat.gif

 

I know there is some evidence that not having samples does actually help BFing rates a little bit, but it seems to me that a. they could reserve samples for those who actually want them, like you said here, and b. there are so many other important things we could be addressing that this issue is trivial in comparison.
 

I wish that the discussion wasn't so focused on how to get people to BF at all costs, but instead how to help women decide what course of action to take and to achieve their own goals. Not everybody even WANTS to BF for that long. Sometimes because they don't know it's a good idea, sometimes because they don't have support, sometimes because they just don't want to be physiologically tethered to their child for that long. And I don't think we accomplish anything by beating people over the heads with the metaphorical "everybody must BF" stick. We have to meet people where they are and address their own concerns and needs. That's the only way that we'll improve BFing rates and help moms achieve their own BFing goals.

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#12 of 16 Old 05-02-2012, 09:08 AM
 
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 like you said here, and b. there are so many other important things we could be addressing that this issue is trivial in comparison.
 

 

 

I feel the exactly the same way! yeahthat.gif


 

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#13 of 16 Old 05-03-2012, 08:17 PM
 
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To the original poster, I'm glad that you were able to make use of the formula samples or coupons for supplementing.  I'm not sure what your understanding of the 'ban' is- there are a lot of misconceptions, but it is very likely that the ban would not have effected you-- you could have still received formula for supplementing and coupons, etc.  Maybe in the future there will be another option-- more milk bank donors so processed donor milk could be shared with parents needing to supplement (now there is barely enough for the NICU's that critically need it). 
 

It is interesting to note that all around me, hospitals are voluntarily 'banning the bag,'  This is great but now they are moving to the OB's and midwives offices where the same ethical conflict exists.... but people just love to give and receive 'free' gifts.  So yes, they can be popular.

 


It's so simple....    "Hospitals should market health, and nothing else."  Ban the Bag Campaign

 

  

I got   formula and coupons delivered to my door for both births, and I only requested them for my first birth when I really didn't know better.  I went home from the hospital with 3 'breastfeeding' bags sponsored by formula companies and went home to a big box from one company.  For the first month I got at least one package a week.      I occasionally still get samples sent to me, or coupons just because my name is still on some baby lists because of my volunteer work.  The compaines are quite eager to throw samples and coupons out there.  

 

Being able to drop a ton of formula bags at a hospital and letting hospital staff hand it out to new moms certainly gives the formula companies an upper hand and some credence.

While that may seem trivial  it is certainly unfair.   I'd love for breastfeeding advocates to have the same marketing budget as a formula company!   

 

IMO, the ban restricts the appearance of a doctor, nurse, midwife or hospital of 'endorsing' formula (or a brand).  It removes the problem of a formula company providing 'breastfeeding friendly' bags that have subtle information that undermines breastfeeding (often by making it sound difficult, cumbersome, and unpleasant).

Even if a person wants to use formula it weds the family to a much more expensive name brand, even with the free samples and coupons.  In the beginning you don't want to mix up brands and so, as the poster said, you end up buying what you were given at the hospital which might be a lot more than a competing or generic brand.  So the ban may also save formula feeding families money.

 

Instead of giving formula companies free access to a 'captivated' audience (ie women in a hospital) they have to use (and pay for) other channels--- ie sending directly to their doorsteps....  Or maybe the'll move to more and more Ob's and midwife offices.  In most cases the formula companies seem to be throwing money out the door to reach mothers.

 

 

You can't fault them for jumping at this opportunity, but it is okay to step in and question the boundaries here.  The formula companies are hardly going to be hurt by this.   The hospitals in my area have voluntarily banned the bag, including the 3 main hospitals I researched or used for my births.  I think several hospitals are hoping The WHO Baby Friendly designations will be a bigger payoff for the hospitals than opening their doors to formula companies free gifts.


Jessica

I forgot to post the Ban the Bag website
http://banthebags.org/bag-free-hospitals

http://banthebags.org/about

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#14 of 16 Old 05-03-2012, 08:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rtjunker View Post
 I think lobbying for real breastfeeding support and better education for doctors and nurses would be a better start.

I agree- -but right now the formula company have so much money they can afford to direct market and gift their formula to hospitals.  It's not easy for hospitals to decide to go Baby Friendly (the initiative) because they have to give up formula sponsorships (my understanding is that before, formula companies would give them the bags and free formula for in hospital use- now the hospitals have to buy it).

 

 Formula is a profitable business.  Where's the money going to come for the breastfeeding education and support?  

Jessica


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#15 of 16 Old 05-04-2012, 07:48 AM
 
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I do see how banning formula bags at hospitals could be a good idea, all the advertising preys on women at their most vulnerable time. I also recognize that some studies have been done that support the opinion that getting rid of the bags in hospitals can lead to slightly improved breastfeeding rates.

 

I guess I just hate the mommy wars that can erupt from this sort of activism. I personally don't want my DD to  ever have formula.  Sure I've looked up studies and researched it, convincing me that I am right that breastfeeding is far superior to formula, and that formula is full of crap that I would not want to give my child. There are also studies that claim formula is a reasonable alternative, and many mothers decide that formula is right for them. Since becoming a mother, I've had far too many people telling me what I should do, or how I'm doing it wrong, or that their way is the "right" way. It's the thing that has surprised me and annoyed me the most. For me that approach makes me less willing to listen.

 

I don't want to be the one telling other mothers that their choices are crap. That they're uneducated and I know better. I'd much rather educate by doing, by showing gentle support, by talking about my choices and advocating for breastfeeding in a more positive way, instead of feeling the need to try and knock formula companies down a peg. I want to raise breastfeeding up. So I nurse in public, in front of my formula fed nieces and nephews, who honestly react not at all and seem to think it's perfectly normal. I talk about how lovely it is to look down at my DD smiling up at me, about how glad I am that I get to feed my baby like that. How amazing it is that our bodies know just what to do. I talk about how tough it can be, too, and how we all really need to support one another. I try not to compare with formula, I know that formula is not an optimal choice, but it does no good to criticize, and honestly as stated above, formula companies have tons of money to advertise, if hospitals ban the bags, they're just going to come up with new innovative advertising campaigns. As the old saying goes you catch more flies with honey.

 

It may be wrong for a hospital to accept funding or support from formula companies, just like it was questionable when Pepsi gave funds to my high school for installing Pepsi machines. Sometimes those funds are needed if they can buy a new roof so that trash cans are not littered around hallways to collect water as it pours through the roof every time it rains. Those funds saved can go toward buying better equipment so that mothers and babies lives can be saved, or so that women can have more comfortable labors, nicer rooms, more staff on hand for support.

 

Maybe breastfeeding advocates could come up with ways to fund raise for hospitals to make up the lack hospitals will feel by becoming more breastfeeding friendly. Maybe breastfeeding advocates should go themselves to volunteer at hospitals and give support to new mothers, have more lectures, more events, seek out new mothers the way formula companies do, to educate on breastfeeding. Give free gifts, since apparently that's what our culture responds to. Get breastfeeding gift bags INTO hospitals, bags with lanolin and breast pads, maybe a manual breast pump, and information about breastfeeding and how to get support. information about how much more cost effective breastfeeding is. With enough effort you can get breastfeeding supportive companies to fund much of it. Is this already happening? I haven't seen it. Breastfeeding groups need to advertise and compete better, instead of complaining about how much money or how powerful formula companies are.

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#16 of 16 Old 05-04-2012, 07:43 PM
 
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Yes there are volunteers distributing breastfeeding bags


Laramie Breastfeeding Bags Project
https://www.facebook.com/groups/106888179344869/
 
 an article on the program:  http://www.nursingfreedom.org/2010/11/suggestions-for-starting-breastfeeding.html

T
here's a woman near me that organizes one:

Boobies for Babies in Cape Cod MA

http://www.mymammasmilk.com/Boobies-For-Babies.html


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