pediatricians and formula - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-18-2005, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do they get money from formula companies? I know they have free samples to give out but do they themselves get anything? It seems so many peds are so pro-formula. Clearly there is a lack of info in the general public about BF vs FF but you would think peds would know and care.
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Old 02-18-2005, 11:45 PM
 
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They do get free cans to pass out as samples. My girls' ped is very pro bfing. So was the old one. It was the nurse practioner who kept giving me formula to try, not the ped, when I was still pumping for my dd's full time.

My second dd did better on formula because of some major GI problems but even her Ped GI told me that she nursed her own kids and that breastmilk was most easily digested for most babies.

My dd's current ped, whose dd was tube-fed for a few years like mine is now, said that he didn't have to pay for any formula for her because he got so many free samples of it. He just had to call up the companies and said he was a ped and he got the samples just like that. I'm talking Pediasure, not infant formula. I was amazed! I was complaining about the cost of the stuff at the time.

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Old 02-18-2005, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm. So they sell out for a few cans of free formula? I dont get that.

FWIW my ped's wife BF all 4 of their kids and wore them in slings... he is super cool and I love him. He lets me make the decisions, and just gives me the information to do it. I love that.
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Old 02-19-2005, 02:52 AM
 
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I think that for many doctors, formula is easier for them to deal with- they can quantify it, control it, they know exactly how much is going in. I think it's part of the whole scientification of childbirth and childrearing.,
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Old 02-19-2005, 03:51 AM
 
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The AAP gets money from formula companies. There have been studies published that confirm that pediatricians aren't trained in breastfeeding management, don't promote breastfeeding, give inaccurate advice, and that texts used for pediatricians are inaccurate.

: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons

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Old 02-19-2005, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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the whole scientification of childbirth and childrearing

... one of my biggest irritations. I was getting my hair done yesterday and there were two women next to me talking about how they couldnt BF. It was the usual reasons... I was DYING for them to ask me if I had kids. LOL
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Old 02-19-2005, 12:30 PM
 
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I was in the hospital for almost a month after my sons birth. As it was a tiny mtn. hospital and we were the only ones there constantly I saw a LOT. I know the formula reps bought pizza for the entire nursery staff WEEKLY! The catch was that they had to have at least 10 nurses or docs in the room and listen to the guy/gal preach the goodness of formula. I also know they got the crap FREE by the crate load. The funny part was... a few of the nurses really enjoyed dumping the formula down the drain so that pumping mama's could use the empty containers!!!! LOL.

also, I worked for ortho surgeons before my son was born. I know that the drug reps would also do the pizza thing and the lecture thing and then give the docs thousands of dollars in free samples that they oculd pass out to their patients- thus making the patience more apt to come back to that doctor- and to believe what that doctor was telling them... I'm guessing the formula pushers do the same. :
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Old 02-19-2005, 06:48 PM
 
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An interesting article from a few years back:

http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/1999/07/19/formula/
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Old 02-20-2005, 07:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by edamommy
...I also know they got the crap FREE by the crate load. The funny part was... a few of the nurses really enjoyed dumping the formula down the drain so that pumping mama's could use the empty containers!!!! LOL.
:LOL

My SIL is pro FF. She told us that if we thought we might ever formula feed we should buy it now so our coupons wouldn't expire. I've never FF but I get coupons thrown at me. I don't know how I got on their maiing list, but every month I get a fancy packet from nestle and I can't buy anything from safeway without getting enfamil coupons.

Heather Mike Married 8/1/99 Mom to Charlotte Aug 04, Nov 06, and Katherine Oct 07
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Old 02-21-2005, 02:10 AM
 
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The doctors do not make any money from the formula companies that they pimp for. I have written a letter to our ped about it (and drug ads in their waiting room) that I just need to type up and mail.
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Old 02-22-2005, 12:52 AM
 
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They don't make money from formula companies. Much of the time the formula companies send them cases of stuff that sits in their closets.

Look, I realize I am probably going to have to retire from the boards for being really politically incorrect here. My dad is a pediatrician of 35 years. He's pretty AP and extremely pro-breastfeeding. As a rule he doesn't give out formula samples, he advocates against Nestle and tells his patients (some of whom he knows are ff) not to buy it. But I do know that in cases where he has poor patients (many of his patients are Spanish-speaking new immigrants who are barely making ends meet) whom he *knows* are already formula feeding, he will try to get them formula. Why? Because if he doesn't, he knows they will over-dilute what they can afford, etc. Is it a great thing? No, and he visits them in the hospital and gives them info on breastfeeding and the name and number of local resources (in their language) they can access. But for whatever reasons, in many cases (not just the Spanish speaking ones) there isn't much he can do to change their minds. So all he can do is make sure what they have is safe and adequate, as best it can be. When you have to worry that the mom of a sick baby isn't compliant about basic instructions, it's difficult to also convince that mom to breastfeed exclusively. He's run into more than one situation of failure to thrive where the moms told him they were bf'ing because they knew he wanted them to and they should, but were really over-diluting formula and the babies ended up malnourished.

My pediatrician (well, former, now) was pretty okay on bf'ing issues and they don't hand out formula samples, but his junior associate was/is clueless and absolutely irresponsibly ignorant of a variety of issues related to bf'ing. Is she "pimping" for a formula company? No. She's totally uneducated about it. She has no experience with it. They learn next to nothing about it in medical school, and have very little contact with bf'ing in residency. Pediatricians learn to treat illness and disease in children.

But, you know what? They are the least paid, least respected, and probably most overworked segment of doctors. I think that the overwhelming disgust and utter lack of respect people (here too) display for pediatricians (and doctors in general, frankly) is unfortunate. By and large, doctors' -- and especially pediatricians -- main goal is to care for their patients as best they can. Trust me, as the daughter of a pediatrician and the wife of a surgeon (paying off enormous school loans and struggling desperately to start a viable practice), most doctors are not raking in the bucks from formula companies, drug companies, or insurance companies. They do the best they can with what they have. And much of the time, welcome information that helps them be better physicians -- including about breastfeeding! You'd probably be surprised how thankful my ped was when I gave the office the Hale's book (on medications and mother's milk); it's unutterably sad and irresponsible that medical schools and the medical literature simply do not provide access to this kind of information. But most doctors aren't out to discourage breastfeeding. They don't know better, and they should. Do I wish pediatricians were more open and better educated about bf'ing and alternative strategies for curing ear infections/vaccinations, etc.? I surely do. But I feel I can articulate my position without casting the doctor into the role of villain or "pimp."

But I think it's wrong to assume evil intentions on the part of doctors, or even the baseness of doctors' money-grubbing at the hands of formula (or drug) companies. It's rarely true. Do residents like drug companies' pizza lunches? Yeah, they work 100 hour weeks and like the free pizza. I don't think my dh could name a single drug or company that provided them -- he just ate the freakin' pizza. Wrong? Maybe. He sure doesn't go on junkets, never did. But like I said, most doctors' intentions are to do the best they can for their patients. And "pimping" for formula companies doesn't enter into it, and would really insult a lot of well-meaning physicians.

I'm sure this isn't really articulating what I mean to say, but I gave it my best shot. Now I'm going to retire from mdc because I'll be seen as hopelessly allopathic-doctor-influenced.

 "Now bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible." (William Shakespeare -- Julius Caesar)

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Old 02-22-2005, 12:55 AM
 
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I guess I'm lucky- I have never received a sample from my ped. He's totally AP and his wife is a LLL leader
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Old 02-22-2005, 12:49 PM
 
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Gaby'sIma, hugs. I think we've "talked" before. I'm a surgery resident, and I can confirm everything she said. For the most part, the docs who go to those things are just overworked and want some free pizza/nice dinner out/a new pen since they've lost the dozen pens they started out with that morning. Unfortunately, there is some lingering effects from the propaganda, which is why I've started avoiding those things, but honestly? I so rarely go out to dinner that I sometimes still go. Plus, it becomes a political thing since they most often hire prominent, well-respected intelligent docs to give the lectures, which are at least superficially balanced. You go to network, also.

I'm getting OT, though. Basically, yes, it is mostly ignorance and minimal emphasis in medical school and training. There are so many important things that barely get touched on, though. It was truly staggering the amount of information I learned, much less all the stuff that there wasn't time to cover. If you ask any doctor about their particular area of interest, he or she will say that they didn't cover it in enough depth.

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Old 02-22-2005, 02:08 PM
 
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Nicole, i think you are bang on.

My doctor has never once suggested we use formula. my hospial required that you sign a release before they would give you samples (i didn't sign it, obviously). I do think there is inadequate training but i don't blame peds for this. many seek out additional training and should get props for this-- at the very least many will call in the LC.

i think we (with infants) tend to forget that we are not the sole clientelle of our peds. they have 18 years of children's medicine to keep up with, not just 24 months. this is especially hard when you move from a mw to a doctor, i think-- it was for me.
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Old 02-22-2005, 02:55 PM
 
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Don't you go retire, Nicole!:LOL I think you make a lot of good points and bring a needed perspective to the discussion. I can see how well - intentioned peds are caught between a rock and a hard spot. What a frustrating thing for everyone.

I like that you mentioned it's ok and welcome most times to offer bf friendly resources at the ped's office. I think a lot of us feel we'd just get sneered at if we offered information to our doctor, who is supposed to be the one WITH the information already, KWIM?

I see this topic come up frequently. Is there any way other than supplying your ped with a bf library that things could change for the better?
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