Not only was I given a black vinyl diaper bag filled with formula samples and coupons shortly after both of my babies were born, I was also heavily pressured by nurses at one hospital to feed my heavy baby (9 lb, 2 oz) formula from the get go — something about concerns over blood sugar that never developed. Even as committed as I was to breastfeeding, it was hard not to waver under all that pressure.
Breastfeeding advocates have long argued that those formula-friendly bags are nothing more than slick marketing that make it even harder for new moms to stick to nursing through those rough early days.
Three Essex hospitals are finally putting their collective foot down, though, and telling expectant moms that if they don’t plan to breastfeed, they’ll have to bring their own formula.
From the Chelmsford Weekly News:
Denise Gray, lead midwife for infant feeding, said: “Breastfeeding helps women to bond with their babies.
“It is also well known that being breastfed as a baby reduces a person’s lifetime incidence of hospital admissions, infections and heart disease.”
The trust has organised new drop-in sessions and breastfeeding support groups. A spokesman for the trust said cash saved from not buying milk would be invested in these services.
Mrs Gray said mothers would be fully supported, whatever their choice, and milk formula would be kept at the units for clinical need.
It’s not that mothers should feel bad about their choice to formula feed; many women can’t breastfeed, after all, it’s that hospitals shouldn’t be in the business of marketing formula onto new mothers. If breast really is best, then hospitals — healthcare centers — should be doing everything they can to support new mothers who make that choice. I’d love to see this attitude come to American hospitals.
What do you think? Should bottle-feeding moms be prepared to bring in a can of their own formula?
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