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I do not typically subscribe to most conspiracy theories, but I can't help wonder if doctors aren't more encouraging of breastfeeding since they know those babies would be healthier and wouldn't need as many doctors visits.

I suppose I used to be more positive of the medical community before I started working with them. For many years I was a Physician recruiter for primary care physicians. Because of the effects of HMO's, capitation and low contracted rates with insurance companies, their primary concern became the bottom line. With office overhead at over 50%, they had to see a huge amount of patients a day. Therefore, more sick babies helped to ensure they met their quota.

Is it that far out there to think that maybe they don't blatantly discourage breastfeeding, but they certainly don't encourage it as much as one in their position should.

I suppose the same could be true for vaccinations and circumcising. Both add a substantial amount to a primary care doctor's bottom line.

Am I just being too skeptical?
 

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I sincerely doubt it would be the primary position of a respectable pediatrician that he WANTS babies to be sick.

I wouldn't be surprised if the managing entity had a vested interest in getting children in for WBC though.
 

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Why doctors don't encourage breastfeeding?

The Almighty $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

And not just because ill babies make them more $$$, but I think on a more concisous level, the pharm/formula companies have them totally bought. The ritzy dinners and vacations other sorts of "perks" all add up. Not to mention free formula for a year to the docs' babies.
 

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i absolutely agree. maybe not on a conscious level, but they need to be needed iykwim?
It would mean leaping right out of their comfort zone if a doctor saw a nursing pair and told them he could do nothing for them because he/she was not an expert in breastfeeding/healthy children.
Of course the doctors in question would say, we are screening for health abnormalities/social issues/maternal depression/blahblahblah but really they are looking for work.In this country it's not normal procedure to see a private paediatrician with a healthy child. If there was a health problem a gp would refer to a specialist. We still have some of these problems with the maternal/child health clinics but at least they are govt funded so don't have quite the same vested interest.
 

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OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
: free formula for doctors babies? that is soooo ironic.......almost serves them right (the dr's not the babies)
 

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I don't agree.

Personally, I think it has more to do with education and experience. As many of have heard, witnessed, seen... many drs do not know anything about nursing. Much of that is b/c it wasn't taught/discussed in med school, and/or b/c they have no personal experience with it.

Hard to actively encourage breast-feeding, when you haven't been taught the importance of it, and/or don't have the personal experience with it.

It's similar why many women don't nurse... they don't have the personal experience with it from seeing mom/aunts/friends do it, and they are unfamiliar with it and haven't been 'taught' about it.

30 second blurbs and one line blurbs on breast is best, may help to get the message out, but many people aren't going to hear that and really have it absorb and say.... OH!!! Nursing is THE perfect thing, I need to insure all my clients nurse.... or OH!!! I'm a FTM, no nothering about breastfeeding, and I'm going to investigate it enough to be a strong proponent of it.

*shrug*

In a way I wish it was a conspiracy... I think it would be easier to resolve than the complex isse of our culture. Headway is definitely being made, but it is in baby steps.

Tammy
 

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I think it's all of the above, plus a huge factor is the whole guilt thing and not wanting to alienate a huge population of mothers. I think most doctors do not stand up for breastfeeding more and insist on it because it would mean losing patients, and changing how just about everything is done. That doctor would also have to refuse the formula samples, and have no formula freebies around the office (how can a doctor truly insist to a mother that she really must do everything she can to bf and then the mom sees all kinds of formula stuff at the counter when she's checking out?) In your standard ped's office just about everywhere you look are references to formula - heck the growth charts are made by Ross and the little plastic thing they use to measure babies' head circumference says Enfamil on it! So, IMO, to truly, unequivocably promote and support breastfeeding, a doctor would really have to go completely against the entire medical culture and essentially market themselves differently (and consquently to a different population) than your average ped. I think most will find they wouldn't have enough business to cater to only a group who specifically wants and seeks out a pro-breastfeeding doctor.

So...since your average ped isn't going to take this hard stance, most will support a mom who is already bf'ing (and I hope refer a mom having trouble to someone who can help them better), but they won't necessarily encourage a mom to bf or give them much flack when they wean because well..no one wants to make the mom feel guilty and no doctor wants to anger moms and send their business away. It really stinks that a doctor would pretty much have to set themselves apart and be "special" to really be pro-bf'ing (to the point where they put the importance of bf'ing over the fear of a guilty feeling mother), when we're trying to normalize bf'ing. It's the rare ped who doesn't have formula stuff all over and I imagine you'd have to seek that type of doctor out, and who's going to seek that kind of doctor? A mother who already feels very strongly about bf'ing, not the moms who truly need the influence of a doctor supportive of bf'ing.
 

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one thing I can say about the peds practice at georgetown university is that they were PRO breastfeeding. They had a questionaire about "lifestyle" questions they asked at every well baby visit - questions on guns at home, smoking, and breastfeeding. I think if a mom said she wasn't breastfeeding at all, they might let it go, but I know that I was asked repeatedly how breastfeeding was going, whether I needed help, etc. I took my first child there for his first 6 months of well baby visits.

Now, GU is a teaching hospital which also serves a higher percentage of minority and economically disadvantaged families. I felt that a lot of their questions reflected their attempts to address the needs in those populations (how successful they were is another question).

When we switched ped's practice to one closer to my house, I was astonished at how the doctor didn't ask ONCE about breastfeeding - not with my first child and not when my second child was born.

With my second, I did mention it during the first visit, but none of the other well baby visits (and we have had 8 so far!!) did the ped ask about how breastfeeding was going, etc. Instead, he told me at 4 months to "mix cereal with the baby's formula" and was SHOCKED when I told him we were still nursing.

But then I have also found that doctors are surprisingly uninformed about nutrition or lifestyle changes in general. They are trained to prescribe medication or assign tests - not to look at non "medical" interventions. when my back went out, my doctor could only prescribe painkillers. I went to a chiropractor and my back was fine in two visits. When my husband was diagnosed with high chlorestoral, they immediately wanted to put him on lipator, and gave some throw away advice about reducing fat in his diet.

I think you need to know what you get from doctors and use them for what they are good at.

Siobhan
 

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Quote:
I think you need to know what you get from doctors and use them for what they are good at.
I agree this is a component of the problem. Too often the doctor's answers are taken as the only options even if there are other alternatives, and even worse, the doctor's personal opinions on things like bf, infant sleep, discipline, etc. are taken as medical advice.

I've had an experience with the limitations of physicians which illustrated to me that because of their training they have a kind of "tunnel vision" that allows only certain answers to questions while they disregard alternatives. My dr sent me to a neurologist for migraines, who tested me with every device available and when she couldn't find a thing wrong with me, put me on some heavy duty anti-seizure drugs that could cause birth defects if I were to get pg. Gave these to me even though extensive testing showed me to be perfectly healthy... because she did not know what else to do. She had no other suggestions for me.

I went to my chiro, had relief from my migraines quickly & gained an understanding of what caused them too.

Remember the old saying about "give a man a hammer and everything starts to look like a nail"...

But there is little question of the connection between pediatricians and formula manufacturers. There are some great peds out there, we have one who gave me kudos for ebf and never questioned our feeding practices, but many more are the exact opposite. Have you read this article ? I don't think we can really say that there is no connection between physicians, their governing bodies, and formula manufacturers. Medical associations are political/financial institutions and they get lobbied by interest groups just like any other political organization with clout. You find that in every branch of medicine, not just pediatricians. The most basic reason being, there's big money at stake when drs decide which products to sell to their patients. You cannot ignore that as an influence on what information you will get at your ped's office.
 

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Also, formula companies can pay doctors, I think, to recommend their brand.

I also think they don't see it as normal, because so many people do FF, and they're afraid being 'abnormal' will cause problems for mother and child.

They may even be afraid that mothers may be exposing their child to things like alcohol and whatever other harmful substances they ingest, which would surprise me considering most doctors I've met seem to have a negative opinion of their patients, either thinking them ignorant or whatever else for NOT having gone to medical school or for having a different way of doing things.

I also think many doctors are undereducated about breastfeeding and the short-term as well as long-term benefits, especially when it comes to extended nursing.

I do think you're right, at least on one of the reasons, but I'm sure there are many others.

My doctors are pro-BF but if you FF they don't question you... yet if you BF after a year they act like you're an idiot.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Susuhound
OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
: free formula for doctors babies? that is soooo ironic.......almost serves them right (the dr's not the babies)
Yup. Free formula for one year for any doctor in the USA who works with new moms or their spouse.
 

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momtwice I am so flabbergasted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can't stop thinking about it. Must tell my DH -neurologist & lactavist
- who says any doctor who thinks he/she knows anything abut bf'ing is talking through a hole in their **** seeing as they don't actually learn anything about it at med school.
He will laugh, in that kinda it's so not funny, but funny, way......
he's so cool. He just turned down a free trip to south africa form a drug company cos he wants to be able to live with himself. At least in Aust the formula companies are kept on a reasonably short leash, although toddler formula ads are popping up at an alarming rate.
:
 

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Wow, this thread makes me love my doctor even more. She's a GP, a certified lactation consultant, AND she's still nursing her 2 1/2 year old daughter.

As far as I know, all the doctors in our city are pro-breastfeeding. But I would not be at all surprised if doctors who were not, were influenced heavily by formula companies. And HMOs in the States (we don't have that problem here in Canada. And doctors here have more than enough work, they don't need to ensure future billings by promoting formula.)
 

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I really think it's lack of education. I've heard of too much crappy advice from peds regarding bf'ing.

That being said, our ped is so very pro-bf. It was almost embarrassing how much he bragged on me for bf'ing as long as we did. He attributed every single good thing about my DD's health to breastmilk. So there are peds out there who "get it."
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by quaz
I don't agree.

Personally, I think it has more to do with education and experience. As many of have heard, witnessed, seen... many drs do not know anything about nursing. Much of that is b/c it wasn't taught/discussed in med school, and/or b/c they have no personal experience with it.

Hard to actively encourage breast-feeding, when you haven't been taught the importance of it, and/or don't have the personal experience with it.

It's similar why many women don't nurse... they don't have the personal experience with it from seeing mom/aunts/friends do it, and they are unfamiliar with it and haven't been 'taught' about it.

30 second blurbs and one line blurbs on breast is best, may help to get the message out, but many people aren't going to hear that and really have it absorb and say.... OH!!! Nursing is THE perfect thing, I need to insure all my clients nurse.... or OH!!! I'm a FTM, no nothering about breastfeeding, and I'm going to investigate it enough to be a strong proponent of it.

*shrug*

In a way I wish it was a conspiracy... I think it would be easier to resolve than the complex isse of our culture. Headway is definitely being made, but it is in baby steps.

Tammy
ITA
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by moonfirefaery
Also, formula companies can pay doctors, I think, to recommend their brand.
I don't know if it's the same with formula companies, but my uncle, a primary care physician in Reading, PA gets paid about $1000 for a 3 hour lunch, hosted by a drug company, for him to talk about and recommend the drug to other physicians. He does it a few times a year. I asked him "isn't that unethical?" and he said "no, because I believe in that drug"
 

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I agree that it's not unethical to get paid to advocate something you truly believe in and feel is best.

I do think that it is the same with formula companies, and I don't see how ANYONE could really believe formula is best so...that's unethical, just like advocating a bad drug is unethical.
 

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something I see so much on this site is a huge grouping together of the entire medical community. it's simply inaccurate.

my mother is one of those pediatricians who technically promotes breastfeeding, encourages people to do it, complains about the ones who don't. (to me, not them) But she gives awful- awful- advice. She's been a pediatrician for 20+ years and recently, when my cousin had her baby, my mom thought she might have a low milk supply because her *newborn* baby was nursing every two hours. This is from someone who breastfed two babies of her own!!!

It's ignorance, it's lack of proper education in med school, it's also the fact that the majority of their patients are formula fed which leads to lack of experience in what is truly normal. If you see hundreds of babies age X who weigh X, and suddenly see one that's pretty far off, you think "there's something wrong with the one who's off" instead of realizing- no, there's something wrong with all the other babies because hello, they're being fed artrificially!

Plus, so many of the new moms who WANT to bf have absolutely no clue what they're doing and immediately supplement with formula and it's just so uncommon at this point for peds to see 100% bf babies past the first few months.

Other doctors, who aren't in the pediatrics field, either one, know nothing about BF'ing - lucky if they even absorbed a cursory "it's better" in med school- and have no idea of it's importance in health. I have like 10 doctors for my dd- I deal with them all the time. They're not educated, but it's not a major conspiracy against bf'ing by anyone except the formula industry.
 

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Our family doc is very supportive (doesn't hurt that she nursed both her kids till almost preschool age).
The OB I had with dd's pregnancy was different though. I could tell that she totally didn't care. I got the feeling that maybe she didn't nurse and admitting that formula wasn't as good would be offensive. Maybe it was just my take on it though.
The first time I got mastitis she said, "Some mothers will wean if they keep getting mastitis." I took it to mean that I should wean because I was shortly postpartum and emotional. dh is the one who explained that I didn't *have* to wean.
 
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