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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All. I've never posted here before because my first son was FF due to a lot of complications, lack of education, and lack of support. We seemed to fall thru every crack and then after two failed relactation attempts I just gave up. I'm really scared that I'll somehow fail this next baby too. I'm afraid we'll have more issues and not know what to do. I decided that the best way would be to start with a good OB. I had a midwife but she was way too expensive. DH wont let me do a homebirth. So I did my research and found a great OB who is extremely natural. Very low c-sec rates, excited to work with my doula, ect.

In my "welcoming" pack every paper was stamped with an Enfamil or Similac logo. In the diary they gave to record the pregnancy it said "Ask for Similac to be fed to your baby in the hospital to start off the very best". I was given 3 different formula samples and a "First night home" kit that has 3 six oz of formula and bottle recommendations.

I'm crushed. I havent even had my baby yet and I'm being told its okay to give up. The worst was there was NO information on breastfeeding and why its better. Nothing. The only mention of breastfeeding was "if you choose to breastfeed, its a great idea to have formula on hand to supplement or so others can join in the joys of feeding baby".

I cant find a new OB. I've interviewed 4 already. I really like her. What can I do to let her office know this was not okay? I mean, I've heard of Peds giving out samples, and hospitals, but OB's?
 

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I was just coming on to complain about this very thing. I had my first appointment a few days ago and didn't get to see my doctor, just some nurse.. which was annoying but okay. When she was asking me questions she handed me a card and asked me to fill it out. As I got ready to I saw that it was a sign up card for those stupid formula clubs. I told her I didn't want to be in their club and she got huffy and just took the card back from me.


Just a few minutes ago I was going through the things they had given me and I think we got the same similac calendar book. "When choosing what to feed your baby, you'll only want the best" And there is NOTHING in there that says breast is best, just similac.
A lot of formula propaganda. When I go back, I am going to bring this issue up and tell them of my disappointment.

I hope your ob recognizes the problem... I'm curious as to what they are going to say about it. Good luck with all of it.. I have no advice, just wanted to vent with you. Lisa
 

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Is it possible to discuss w/ your OB your feeling? A lot of MD's don't know about or understand that we have an international code of marketing for breastmilk substitutes, and may not realize that they are in violation of the code by giving out any of the samples or literature.
 

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I'm with you too. I just had my first appointment with the nurse, and she was so thrilled to give me my goodie bag, filled with formula freebies. I should have refused it, but I already felt like I was sticking out as difficult (from refusing genetic testing, initial ultrasound and repeat c-section), and I'm TRYING to fly under the radar. However, I felt so guilty when I got home and I saw all that crap. I am currently formula feeding my son after pumping for about 10 months and needing to stop for various reasons. As a formula feeding mom, this still infuriated me! It is so undermining right from the start. Like the OP, I was very surprised to see it in the OB's office. Its sad.
 

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The day my feet went into stirrups covered by Similac covers, I had to leave my OB's office...that was just one thing too many for me. BAck then I wasn't much of a lactivist, so I didnt write a letter; but now i would recommend it (if you decide to leave and even if you don't)
 

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Quote:
The day my feet went into stirrups covered by Similac covers, I had to leave my OB's office...that was just one thing too many for me.
Okay, that one belongs in a class of its own.
What will they think of next? Emblazoning their logo on condoms?
 

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Originally Posted by G8P4 View Post
Okay, that one belongs in a class of its own.
What will they think of next? Emblazoning their logo on condoms?
omgosh! LMAO! I can see the condom now "in case this breaks, start your baby off right w/ similac"
 

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That's a shame. Maybe keep looking for a different OB? At my OB's office there is a big table set up right in the waiting room ,all kinds of info on pumps,breastfeeding supplies,contact info on LCs,etc etc. Too bad yo're not near me! Good luck and congrats on the baby!
 

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Quote:
LMAO! I can see the condom now "in case this breaks, start your baby off right w/ similac"
Oh my.

WE could have a lot of fun with this thread, but that wouldn't help the OP....

I do think (on my good days when I'm feeling charitable) that sometimes, they just don't know any better, doctors and nurses. They are heavily marketed to, by Big Pharma, and by the formula companies (often one and the same). They think that those "free gifts", are, well, not only harmless, but kind and wonderful things to give away. It is really hard for people to grasp that what is going on here is really not so innocent.

It would be great if you could try to point this out to your ob. Maybe write a letter so your ideas are clear. So many doctors offices are filled with marketing propaganda from companies, as PP's have pointed out, it's pens, stationary, posters on the wall, and (OMG) stirrup covers too! As hard as it is to swallow, I think doctors are reasonably blind to the influence they have on others, and don't realize that they are being duped into endorsing things by association.

Peter Mansfield, an Australian doctor who has done some work in this area, says it's like the germ theory of disease. Doctors used to be insulted when asked to wash their hands, because they didn't believe in the existence of invisible microbes. And now, they don't see the harm in the bias they are exposed to- and in turn, pass on to their patients- by industry marketing practices. The threat of harm is invisible to them. But it's there.

To most of us here, it's fairly obvious that doctors need to wash their hands of any association with formula companies.
 

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During my second pregnancy, I was told "it's time for you to have this" by the receptionist as she handed me a Similac tote filled with samples and "information" (AKA propaganda).

I talked to my OB about it. He said he was open to my concerns and welcomed my input. I prepared a big ol' packet for him, complete with the WHO policy on marketing breastmilk alternatives, Kellymom info, LLL info, local breastfeeding resources they could provide to women, and more. I don't think it changed what they do.


I have to ask - you say that you like this OB. What do you like about her? The pattern of thinking (or not thinking) behind something like providing formula samples concerns me. I also really liked my OB but ultimately discovered that the formula issue was just one way in which he doesn't *get it*. Many doctors seem supportive of birth and mothering, and have great bedside manners, but have habits that are really harmful to mothers and babies, and don't even realize it.
 

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Originally Posted by G8P4 View Post

To most of us here, it's fairly obvious that doctors need to wash their hands of any association with formula companies.
Amen to that.

To the OP: Since it's not feasible to switch OBs, you might want to share with her how this kind of endorsement of formula companies makes you feel uncomfortable. Obviously you don't want to be confrontational; you want to preserve a good relationship with her. But at the same time, let her know that you are interested in lining up a good lactation consultant before the birth so that she can meet you at the hospital when the baby is born. Tell her that's what you plan to do, and if she has any LCs she recommends (you're under no obligation to follow her recommendations, though, especially if you think she's going to send you a Similac/Enfamil "LC."). Involve her in the process, and let her know how important it is to you to succeed at breastfeeding this time around. Let her know the struggle you had with your firstborn, and why you think it happened.

Congratulations on your pregnancy and on doing the best for your children, despite all the pressure against you.
 

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Originally Posted by hubris View Post
During my second pregnancy, I was told "it's time for you to have this" by the receptionist as she handed me a Similac tote filled with samples and "information" (AKA propaganda).
My OB gave me a packet of *goodies* too - much of which was really good, like a month-by-month description of fetal growth, maternal nutrition info, local services, etc...but of course it came in a Similac folder with an insert on formula. Even though they devoted a whole page (yes, one whole page, lol) to breastfeeding, without being negative about it, it still is kinda lame. I think OBs just get a lot of free stuff from formula companies and don't think twice about it. Or in the interest of supporting women's choices, they figure it's not really up to them to decide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks so much. I'm going in tomorrow and I'm going to tell her how it upsets me. The thing is she's in a group. Its 6 other doctors. I just cant get another OB because most of the ones I'm finding that deliver at this hospital have high c sec rates or are far too expensive. I just wish I could have my homebirth
 

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Originally Posted by *Aimee* View Post
Thanks so much. I'm going in tomorrow and I'm going to tell her how it upsets me. The thing is she's in a group. Its 6 other doctors. I just cant get another OB because most of the ones I'm finding that deliver at this hospital have high c sec rates or are far too expensive. I just wish I could have my homebirth

NAKing so excuse typos.

I was in your exact situation some 10 months ago. I tried to ignore the formula freebies at my OB because I had no other local OB choices and I liked some of the docs at the practice. It was a mistake; I lkater realized that this was their promotion formula was a sign that they placed no priority on giving me prenatal and delivery care that would protect my ability to BF instead of starting me down the road to an unnecessary elective Csection and all the problems that might have followed. I ended up scrambling to beg a local family doc to take me on at 37 weeks ... and am sooo glad I did.

(BTW, the baby my formula-promoting OBs swore had macrosomia and was "too big" to be delivered vaginally was 7.4 pounds and born after an EASY three hour labor in which I never even lay down, let alone got an epidural. Score one for family docs <G>)

I guess what I'm saying is that even though you think you have no other options, it might be worth checking again. Can you drive a little further? Can you find a local family doc (they're often much more supportive of BF and natural birth than the average OB)? Can you beg and plead with a more sympathetic doc to take you on?

If not, talk frankly with your currenit OB NOW. If your goals conflict with her practice's way of doing things, it's better to know the worst up front so you'll be prepared to decide what compromises you will and won't ber willing to make in the heat of the moment.

Best wishes, and all my sympathy! I've been where you are, and it truly sucks. But at least you KNOW what's going on ... which means you'll handle it much better than moms who don't SEE this stuff and assume their OBs are giving them evidence-based medical advice.
 

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I agree with the others, you should bring it up to her. Let her know how important breastfeeding is to you and that you have no intention of using formula. So you will not be needing any more "samples". Maybe later, after your birth, would be a good time to write a letter regarding their policy of handing out this propoganda.

I had a co-worker who was pregnant at the same time as me. Going to my OB appt I passed her in the elevator. She had a big Similac diaper bag, which I assume she got at her appointment. I was wondering if I would get one too. But I didn't. I don't know if it was because they asked me if I would be BFing, or if they just forgot to give me mine. But I am hoping it was intentional.

I think it would be great to suggest to offices like yours that they only give these things to women who specifically ask for them.
 

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would it be possible for you to find some really good breastfeeding pamphlets or info sheets and ask your ob's office to include those in the freebee bags?
 

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Originally Posted by G8P4 View Post
I do think (on my good days when I'm feeling charitable) that sometimes, they just don't know any better, doctors and nurses. They are heavily marketed to, by Big Pharma, and by the formula companies (often one and the same). They think that those "free gifts", are, well, not only harmless, but kind and wonderful things to give away. It is really hard for people to grasp that what is going on here is really not so innocent.
My cousin (due in December) is a physician's assistant in a pain management office. She was told by the nurses in her office, former OB nurses, that if you can't nurse for six months, it's not worth it to nurse at all. So, she's thinking of not nursing at all. Lovely, huh?

I know that there are people in the medical field who are knowledgeable about nutrition, development, etc., but I don't get to meet them often!
 
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