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.
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?" "
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.
For those of us who didn't get an instruction manual with our babies and for whom parenting hasn't always gone as planned. On a more serious note this blog is about supporting a woman's ability to make her own choices about parenting including the choice, for whatever reason, to bottle feed her babies formula.