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Old 07-04-2011, 03:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a general question 

 

how does the promotion of milk formulas in the form of free give aways impact on choosing to breast feed or not ?

 

 

Thanks - Mary 

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Old 07-04-2011, 04:47 AM
 
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I'm not sure how much it impacts on the decision to start BFing but I  think it impacts the *continuation* of BFing in a number of ways. Most of them very subtle.

 

Giving formula samples to BFing women is  basically saying "Sure try BF but, when  it doesn't work you'll have this to fall back on." Then, one night when mum is exhaused, baby won't sleep, nipples are bleeding etc someone gives that first bottle "just to give everyone a  break". Then babe sleeps for longer than s/he's ever slept before and the parents think that must  mean BM is inadequate. Or, they keep BFing but supplement often enough that mum's supply suffers and she joins the ever-growing ranks of women who "couldn't" BF.

 

It basically sends women a message that BF is likely to fail. 


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Old 07-04-2011, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Katelove,

 

Thanks for your insightful explanation.

 

You say '    she joins the ever-growing ranks of women who "couldn't" BF.'     

 

For a working mom , how would we define a woman who couldn't BF ?

 

Mary

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Old 07-05-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mary934 View Post

Katelove,

 

Thanks for your insightful explanation.

 

You say '    she joins the ever-growing ranks of women who "couldn't" BF.'     

 

For a working mom , how would we define a woman who couldn't BF ?

 

Mary


Hi again,

 

Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to this.

 

Not sure what you mean by "for a working mom", I think the definitions are the same whether you work or SAH.  But, these  are my definitions.

 

I think that there are three broad categories of women who can't breastfeed. There is a small group (most stats put it at less  than 1%) who are physiologically unable to produce enough milk.  Even given the perfect circumstances. Their bodies did not develop  enough lactiferous tissue during puberty. Another small group are women who have had surgical alterations to their breasts (usually reduction surgery or mastectomy) which prevent them  from  producing milk or transferring milk  (the old reduction technique almost always resulted in the milk ducts being severed behind the nipple).

 

The group that I was referring to as women who "couldn't" breastfeed are the ones who do not have the problems I  mentioned above  but are still unable to produce enough milk *or* are led to believe that they are not producing enough milk. This seems  to  happen  largely as a  result of poor advice and/or lack of support. For example, a mother is told that her baby is not gaining enough weight (despite having a normal pattern of weight gain for a BFed baby) so she needs to supplement with formula. The baby then starts feeding less at the breast, so the mother's supply drops so she needs  to give more formula and eventually her supply disappears altogether. That mother is, not unreasonably,  going to describe herself as someone who "couldn't breastfeed" but the reality is  she probably could have if she had been given the right advice  in the first place.

 

You could probably also add a fourth  group of women who could produce enough milk  given  the right circumstances but experience a high degree of stress or a physical illness etc which negatively impacts their supply.

 

The reason I think that these distinctions are very important is because women in the "couldn't" breastfeed group could go on to BF subsequent babies if they receive the proper support. But if they've been labeled as couldn't BF they may not even try again.

 

The other reason is that it promotes the belief that many women are physiologically unable to BF. When I was practicing as a midwife, one of the questions we would as women on their first visit was "Have you thought about how you plan to feed your baby?" Almost 100% of women would say "I plan to breastfeed... if I can." When asked if they knew of any reason why they couldn't *not one* of them fell into my first two groups. *Not one!!* Every single one of dozens and dozens of women were pessimistic about their ability to breastfeed when they were only in their first trimester. That is heartbreaking to me. Women should feel safe assuming that they will be able to breastfeed until proven otherwise.

 

Ok, that's the end of my rant. As you may have guessed, this is a bit of a soapbox issue for me.

 


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Old 07-06-2011, 07:55 AM
 
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I'm a postpartum nurse and when I discharge a bfeeding mom I take the formula out of her bag and replace it with a small cooler for breastmilk transport and a few pump bottles.  I always tell her "your breastfeeding is going so well!  I have a gift bag for you.  Since you don't need the formula I added a cooler for you instead".  I do this because I want them to leave feeling empowered that she is doing fine and providing for her baby.  If she needs/wants to supplement, fine, but I do not want her thinking I expect she will need to. 

 

I should add that we build our own gift bags with the hospital logo.  We no longer give out the similac bags with the logo.  This stopped when they had their recall.  FWIW, I also tell formula moms that there is Similac in their bags, but all formula is held the the same FDA standard.  Walmart brand is fine too.

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Old 07-06-2011, 06:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamatobabyA View Post

I'm a postpartum nurse and when I discharge a bfeeding mom I take the formula out of her bag and replace it with a small cooler for breastmilk transport and a few pump bottles.  I always tell her "your breastfeeding is going so well!  I have a gift bag for you.  Since you don't need the formula I added a cooler for you instead".  I do this because I want them to leave feeling empowered that she is doing fine and providing for her baby.  If she needs/wants to supplement, fine, but I do not want her thinking I expect she will need to. 

 

I should add that we build our own gift bags with the hospital logo.  We no longer give out the similac bags with the logo.  This stopped when they had their recall.  FWIW, I also tell formula moms that there is Similac in their bags, but all formula is held the the same FDA standard.  Walmart brand is fine too.

I think that is fantastic!
 

 


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Old 07-07-2011, 01:30 PM
 
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I think you might get more responses and cites for studies on the issue in the lactivism forum.  Some of us breastfeeding challenges moms do use formula, but if you read through the threads here you'll see that most of us have tried every damn trick in the book and then some before using formula.  So even though overall I think formula freebies correlate with higher rates of formula feeding, in my personal experience I don't feel like I was influenced by formula promotions or advertising.


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Old 07-14-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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I don't think it affects breastfeeding rates significantly.  Usually women have decided whether to breastfeed or not before the formula companies send out samples.  Breastfeeding is not as easy for everyone as we are told; I think we should acknowledge that breastfeeding problems might be more common than the usual numbers suggest.  Then, when mothers hit a challenge, they think they are failures and turn to formula without considering merely formula supplementing.  The all or nothing attitude, misinformation on the difficulties of nursing, and lack of social support have more to do with lower breastfeeding rates than formula samples.  If you are doing a study, I would suggest you look into those problems. All or nothing when it comes to nursing is the biggest booby trap I've seen, especially for those of us with IGT and other serious and chronic breastfeeding challenges.


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