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Monday, August 06, 2007

Blog Round-Up on the Morning Show and Breastfeeding Ban

Because the segment on Fox TV was so short, none of the panelists got to fully express our points of view. I wanted to do one final post to reinforce a couple of the arguments that I consider to be most critical, and to link to all of the posts that I have seen that have further discussed and debated what happened on that show. Several of them include vigorous comment exchanges representing both sides of the issue. I would recommend that anyone who is interested in either side of the argument take a scan.

  • An actual clip showing a small part of the segment may be found on the show's website.

  • I wrote 4 posts related to the show: The Latest Formula Ban which was the original explanation of my opposition to banning formula samples for new moms, Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting will be on Fox TV Tomorrow!!!! which announced the show, Thank You and "Got Clip" which includes my effort to thank so many of you for your outpouring of supportive comments, email, and link love, and So What was It Like in which I shared what it was like for me to be on the show.

  • Suzanne also wrote several posts about the show on CUSS and Other Rants including This Just In which was a shout-out announcing it in which expressed her support. "I am excited to sit in the audience and give her a big thumbs up as she talks. I think it is no one's business to question why a woman uses formula." Suzanne also wrote Formula Feeding and Beaver Suckling which described her experience backstage before the show, and More Beaver Suckling which included some further reflections on the show.

  • Mrs. Chicky wrote Let's Hear it for Alex on New England Mamas providing a succint summary of what actually transpired on the air and sharing her personal support.

  • Amy spawned an extremely vigorous debate on formula feeding and the ban with her post on Club Mom entitled Blogger Takes on the Ban. Her words spoke directly to the issue of social pressure and guilt in saying "My first lactation consultant -- the one who admitted I needed to supplement, and supplement NOW -- described the formula in hospital bags like "sending someone home from rehab with crack in their suitcase."" She also clearly argued that just because breast milk may be best, does not make formula a bad choice when it is appropriate. "Breast milk is amazing. It's wonderful, almost miraculous stuff. But like Alex said, formula is not rat poison either...We moms have enough pressure and choices to obsess and worry about already. Give us our choices, give us support and information, give us encouragement. Not a stupid "I Eat At Mom's" onesie.""

  • Jodi also shared her personal experiences in Yeah for Alex stating "I tried, I failed, I moved on. But not without a substantial amount of guilt. Look, we all know breast milk is better. There is no debate on that. But not all of us can, or, want to nurse. For me it was an impossibility." Jodi also challenged why a formula ban should even be a priority of our government. "I also think our Government has more important things to worry about. Aren't we in a war? Doesn't NYC have crime, poverty, school funding issues?"

  • Kristen earns two distinctions. First, she is responsible for announcing my appearance on Fox from the most places, including from Motherhood Uncensored, the Blog Exchange with Blog Exchange Participant Alex Elliot on Mike and Juliet Today, and, with Julie, posting Parent Bloggers in the News on the Parent Bloggers Network. Second, her link from Motherhood Uncensored is one of the few things that I have ever seen leave my husband, The Big Giraffe, at a loss for words. Since he is Jewish, we both got a few chuckles from this blog getting a link from a post entitled A Woody with a Hoody Can be Sort of Goody.

With all that said, I want to share five key points that I consider most critical in this debate.

  • As I said in my original post, "As women, I think we are able to make our own decisions. I think as parents we do the best that we can, and we make the decisions that we feel are in the best interests of our own children."

  • Banning formula samples has the biggest impact on people who want to breastfeed and plan to breastfeed but can't. When my older son (OS), the Big Giraffe, and I got back from the emergency room at 3am when he was a week old, we knew that he had not been getting enough to eat. We were told to give him as much formula as he would drink. The hospital formula samples saved the Big Giraffe from having to choose between taking a dehydrated newborn out to a pharmacy in the middle of the night or leaving a dehydrated newborn in my care one week after I underwent 40 hours of labor followed by a c-section. Both of those choices were unpalletable. Not every community has a nearby 24 hour pharmacy. I know several other people who had almost identical experiences. It is great in the abstract to say that mothers can still request formula samples, but the people who most want to breastfeed are least likely to request those samples. The ban is potentially harmful to those families.

  • Using formula samples in time of need does not preclude women from going back to breastfeeding if they can do so and want to do so. I continued trying to breastfeed OS for several weeks (with heavy supplementing) until my lactation consultant told me that we could not make it work, and I tried again with my younger son (YS). Several commenters shared similar experiences, and I know many women personally who used formula for support, not as a crutch.

  • Even if some women abandon breastfeeding when the going gets touch if formula samples are available, Christina provided a comment sharing eyewitness accounts of mothers who fed their newborns regular cow milk if they were unable to breastfeed, which is far worse than any formula.

  • While breastfeeding is better than formula feeding, when it works, formula feeding is better than starving a child when breastfeeding does not work.

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: There are a lot of strong feelings around how best to nurture children.

Labels: , ,

posted by Alex Elliot @ 4:04 PM   11 comments
  • At 8/06/2007 6:20 PM, Blogger Worker Mommy said…

    I agree with you 100%

    And I'm so glad you're speaking out! Without action there can't be change so kudos to you!!!

  • At 8/06/2007 6:44 PM, Blogger Jodi said…

    is nothing to say but HOORAY!!!!!!!!!

    And thanks for the link!

  • At 8/07/2007 3:10 AM, Blogger Chantelle said…

    I just wanted to say that your take on this discussion really hit home for me. I was one of the women who ended up never really having milk come in and ended up rushing to the emergency pharmacy for bottles, formula, and a sterilizer. More than 4 months later we are still successfully combo-feeding a very happy, healthy baby and I get tired of justifying this decision to every other mother that I meet.

    Thanks for inciting the debate!

  • At 8/07/2007 10:30 AM, Blogger Lisa said…

    I am so bummed that I missed meeting you at Blogher. SO bummed.

    And good for you in speaking out. YEAY!

  • At 8/07/2007 6:16 PM, Blogger Redsy (formerly CrankMama) said…

    We're also having an interesting conversation over at Babble on the topic

    Good for you!!

    Sorry I didn't get to meet you at BlogHer


  • At 8/07/2007 7:13 PM, Blogger soccer mom in denial said…

    I read the posts at CUSS (read it while at work - shhhhh) and I cannot believe in inane things you dealt with.

    You have gone past rock star to diva in my opinion.

  • At 8/07/2007 8:38 PM, Anonymous Reeba said…

    Bravo Alex! I love your summary points! I think you are right on, and they are right on!

  • At 8/07/2007 9:02 PM, Blogger megymelly said…

    Well said, well argued, and thank you. We were sent home from the hospital failing at breastfeeding - daughter was a very poor latch, and a quickly frustrated screamer. We tried though the night to breastfeed her, and Thanksgiving morning at 6 AM we were desperate. I sincerely doubt we'd have found formula at that hour on that holiday. Thankfully, we got the small can of Similac and a sample bottle, and for the first time since I delivered her, my daughter stopped screaming and actually looked me in the eye.

    What I want to know is why hospitals boot you out when you are clearly failing at breastfeeding but wanting to so badly. It's like they expect you to quit (or never get started, in my case) anyway!

    PS - can't watch the clip from the show, there's a picture of a coffee carafe instead...???

  • At 8/08/2007 9:29 PM, Blogger Veronica Mitchell said…

    You write so sensibly on this topic. I wish I saw more of that around the blogosphere.

  • At 8/10/2007 12:28 AM, Blogger Lady M said…

    I used that sample container of formula when I was told I couldn't breastfeed for a week due to medications I needed for complications. I breastfed afterwards, and having the sample made no difference in my choice, but it was sure nice to have - like you described, one less thing for a late night run to a pharmacy.

  • At 8/10/2007 1:15 AM, Blogger Banal Drivel said…

    I think that pulling formula samples is a ridiculous move and purely economic in nature-not for the formula companies but for public assistance. As county hospitals are located in poorer sections of the city and their patients usually rely on Medicaid and WIC for themselves and their children, the government doesn't want to pay for formula if it doesn't have to--thus the push for breastfeeding and pulling samples.

    For the record, my 2 daughters were given pumped breastmilk until 6 weeks and 3 weeks, respectively. I had to stop for various reasons. I had to find the right kind of formula for each of them, samples came in handy (also having an aunt working at an OBG office and a very giving pediatrician) but now I take any samples and formula coupons for the ones we don't use and donate them to a women's home.

    What is next, pulling the disposable diaper samples? That is another debate...

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Name:Alex Elliot
Home:MA, United States
About Me:Professional Mom of two cats, a dog, an ant farm, and oh yeah...two boys: a 6 year old and a 3 year old. Also found in my house is my husband who is known on this blog as The Big Giraffe.
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