Like most people, when I left the hospital with both my babies, I was handed a gift bag. The first time, it was filled with formula and had nothing whatsoever about breastfeeding. The second time, I got a “breastfeeding bag” courtesy of a formula company, which had only one can of formula in it (versus the two in the other one), a nifty insulated pocket, and some other helpful things like a big water bottle, DHA capsules and an excerpt from “The Nursing Mother’s Companion.”
I am not as offended by the formula samples as some people, but still, those cans of formula a very subtle message that breastfeeding lies outside the “norm” of formula feeding, and had I not been through the awful first weeks of nursing once before and a very stubborn person besides, it might have dissuaded me.
So I like this idea for a new gift bag that 200 hospitals around the country are giving out: The Healthy Baby Bounty Bag. It’s a cute, lead-free insulated bag made from recycled materials with lots of great stuff in it, including samples of nursing pads, Mother’s Milk tea, and milk storage bags. It’s aimed at countering the traditional formula-based free gift with one that promotes breastfeeding.
There are also coupons for helpful things like lanolin nipple cream, nursing pillows and the like.
I think this is a great way to support new mothers who are getting started breastfeeding. Those first few weeks can be pretty tough, and giving a few tools to help get through that and reinforce breastfeeding as the norm, instead of formula, can make it easier.