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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Latest Formula Ban

Last year Massachusetts almost banned the inclusion of free formula samples in hospital gift bags for new moms. New York City has now instituted such a ban. So what did I think of the action in MA? My opinion hasn't changed much since then. I still don't understand why it's an either/or situation. Yes, I've heard the arguments. A good friend of mine is a lactation consultant. She believes that if there is formula in the house, then a frustrated, tired new mom will reach for it instead of trying to continue breastfeeding. That may very well be true or it may very well not.

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. (Note that I decided not to say your children.) We know ourselves best, and we know our babies best. New moms already feel shaky enough about parenting a newborn baby (if you didn't then you have my sincere admiration and congratulations); we don't need the guilt trip on top of it. We already do that to ourselves. As such I find it offensive that lawmakers don't feel that we're capable of saying that we don't want the formula. Certainly when I was at the BlogHer conference this weekend, I purposely did not take swag that I didn't want including the free Curves bars (don't even get me started on Curves) because I knew if I had them I would eat them, and that's not what I want to spend calories on.

Of course, I should clarify that moms in NYC will still get formula if they ask for it. Likewise, many places have 24 hour pharmacies or grocery stores where formula can be bought. However, to me the point is not quibbling over $5 worth of formula, but the principle of it: we should be able to decide for ourselves. I know many mothers who chose not to take the formula. Then there are other moms like me who needed it (and realized that we needed it at 3 am when we were home, unable to breastfeed with a crying newborn). We got to choose. What is that saying about us as adults and particularly as women when we need to have a decision like that regulated by law? I am not arguing that formula is better than breastmilk. However, it's not as if we're feeding our babies rat poison. The government does not need to protect adult women from the choice to give their babies formula.

I have heard people argue that formula should be banned from gift bags because it allows a commercial venture to place their product samples with new moms in a form of shameless self-promotion. I have yet to hear that argument applied to the sample magazines, sample medicines, or other product samples that are often given for free by hospitals, sometimes in the same gift bags. This is about delegitimizing a women's choice to feed her child formula. It is not about striking down the excesses of capitalism.

We should not be attempting to hide formula. We should be promoting breastfeeding. There is still a terrible lack of support for breastfeeding moms. It is still illegal for moms to breastfeed in public in MA. Here's what I think would be a great gift inside the free diaper bag in NYC: a certificate for a free lactation consultant session. That may be asking for too much. On the other hand, it ought to be possible to give new moms a refrigerator magnet with phone numbers of lactation consultants and resources for breastfeeding. For example, my insurance company has a nurse hotline 24 hours a day. Presumably that hotline offers some breastfeeding advice, but it would be nice for new moms to have absolute confidence that they know where they can find help. If I were committed to breastfeeding and frustrated in the middle of the night, my first instinct would be to call a hotline for help. If that weren't possible, then my next instinct would be to call first thing in the morning. Yes, my hospital provided lactation consultants, but I know from my own experiences and from friends, the consultants were overworked and that they did not always have the time to give a really great breastfeeding session.

My final complaint is about the t-shirt. It says "I Eat At Mom's". I'll give you that it's clever. However, I view breastfeeding as a beautiful and natural occurrence; a special bond that can be formed (don't be so surprised, this is one of the reasons I was so devastated that I couldn't breastfeed although I did treasure my bottle feeding experience.) To me, it's the equivalent of eating at a 5 star restaurant. I wouldn't cheapen it by putting a t-shirt on your kid that basically says "I Eat at Ed's" (Ed Debevics anyone?) when your child has just eaten at the Rainbow Room. Ultimately though, it's your decision because just like everything else in parenting, we get to make our own decisions.

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: It is possible and desirable to promote breastfeeding without limiting any woman's choice for whatever reason to feed her child formula.

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 9:50 PM   32 comments
  • At 8/02/2007 4:02 AM, Blogger Jenn in Holland said…

    I absolutely agree Alex. Having the choice to do what is best for you and your own baby is what matters.
    For my part, I had initial trouble breastfeeding my oldest child, and had formula nearby in case things didn't take off. Knowing that I had an option didn't make me cave on TRYING breastfeeding, it was simply reassuringly sitting there assuring that my baby would be fed, even if we couldn't get the hang of the breastfeeding thing.
    With each of the others I was grateful to have that supply on hand as well. I think to take it away is akin to telling a new momma what she has to do. And that is not what we want to do!

  • At 8/02/2007 6:47 AM, Blogger Jodi said…

    I whole heartedly agree! I also think that our country has much more important things to be worrying about and legislation.

  • At 8/02/2007 8:01 AM, Blogger CableGirl said…

    I really see your point. Admittedly when MJ was first born it was my intention to not formula feed and although I could have had free samples of formulas did I desire them (I gave birth at a midwife center which did not give out samples unless you specifically asked) I chose not to take them. I was idealistic and thought we would never have BF problems.

    I agree that BFing needs support and it is absolutely absurd that women can not legally BF in public in any place. My argument to people who claim that it is inappropriate or disgusting somehow is that I find overweight people snarfing down McD's cheeseburgers disgusting, but I don't insist that THEY eat in a public restroom.

    I also don't think that women who have tried to BF and have failed (for whatever reason) get enough support. My experience with places like LLL is that they are mean and judgmental women who have no sympathy for honest to god problems. (I'm not making this as a blanket statement because that would be ignorant. I'm only commenting on my own experiences.)

    I never really gave two thoughts about the inclusion or exclusion of sample packets from hospital take home bags but you have given me something to think about. I never wanted them, but then again I always hate those stupid sample perfumes etc that fall out of magazines when I'm trying to read them. However, not that I think about it, I do think you're right. Why refuse samples? Why not include certificates towards LC sessions?

    BFing does need to be promoted and supported, there is no doubt about that in my mind, but I don't think it should be at the morale expense of formula feeding mothers.

    Thanks for this post, Alex. It is quite thought provoking.

  • At 8/02/2007 8:01 AM, Blogger CableGirl said…

    wow. I didn't realize how long winded and rambling I was being. Sorry. lol

  • At 8/02/2007 9:23 AM, Anonymous Amy said…

    This kind of stuff pisses me off. Of course we need to legislate whether hospitals can give out formula, because women are too freaking stupid to make their own decision about it.

    "Oh, I was planning to breastfeed, but I got this free sample, so I guess I need to bottle feed instead."

    Absolutely ludicrous. One of the most insulting things I've ever seen.

    And, if the argument is that "product placement" shouldn't be in the hospital, then they need to stop giving you diapers too. Let's make all pregnant women bring their own diapers, or else hand out cloth diapers. That'll learn 'em!

    I get kind of fired up about this because of how I was treated when my son was born. I cannot breastfeed. I will never be able to breastfeed. I've know this since I was 18 and had the massive breast reduction that rendered my nipples useless and ugly. My surgeon told me this. When I was pregnant, my OB/GYN confirmed it. So of course, every nurse in the hospital had to make me feel like crap.

    I was barely out of recovery when a nurse came in and said, "You're breastfeeding right!" I responded with a polite, "No, I can't..." Before I could finish, she started up, "Oh yes, you can!"

    Thanks lady. I already feel great about my inability to have a vaginal birth after 3 days of labor, maybe we could just top it with a nice dose of guilt over my non-functional boobs.

    Here is my opinion. Women aren't stupid. It's your body. It's your baby. It's your decision. It doesn't matter why. You have the choice to feed your child however you want, and the message shouldn't be, "Congratulations on the birth of your new baby! You're a terrible mother!"

    I'll get off my soapbox now.

  • At 8/02/2007 2:32 PM, Blogger Hilary said…

    I think breastfeeding needs all the help it can get. We can fan the flames of the mommy wars, or talk about the real issue at hand. Most moms don't even initiate breastfeeding. I am terribly sorry for all the moms who couldn't due to surgery or other problems, but, the underdog is still the breastfeeders, as far as I am concerned. I think lactation consultants should be paid for by insurance or available free, and I don't see what this has to do with formula samples.

    Having formula coming from the hospital makes it seem endorsed by the hospital, IMO. No one pretends that most moms shouldn't use disposable diapers or children's Tylenol, so those samples are irrelevant. There is no Healthy People 2010 national goal for cloth diapering or abstaining from Tylenol that our country is failing miserably at.

    If a mother CHOOSES to feed formula, she can ask for the samples. In fact, she can ask for enough formula to feed her baby the entire time she is there. How is choice being impeded here by NOT sending it home with everybody, regardless of their feeding choice?

  • At 8/02/2007 2:53 PM, Blogger Worker Mommy said…

    Choice is key. I did both. I simply couldn't keep up with the demand of two babies. So I breastfed and formula fed.
    There is nothing wrong with either. I really wish the government/state would step out of this particular issue.

  • At 8/02/2007 3:52 PM, Blogger CableGirl said…

    Hilary - so are you honestly saying that you think this is an issue that *should* be legislated? That's just absurd. No matter if BFing is underdog or not. How is it appropriate to legislate this issue at all?

  • At 8/02/2007 4:02 PM, Blogger Suzanne said…

    Way to go Alex. I think it is insane to say that hospitals endorse formula over bottle feeding because they give out a few samples. Do they then endorse one parenting magazine over another? Or one disposable diapers over another?

    It sounds to me like there is PLENTY of encouragement at the hospital for women to breastfeed and just throwing some free swag in a bag is not going to damage that. People need to get off their high horses about breastfeeding and mind their own business.

  • At 8/02/2007 4:31 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    Well said. I found your take on this topic extremely interesting. As a mother who breastfed but who also received the free formula I never saw the big deal fuss for either argument: for or against. But I did have a problem with the perceived monopoly of one certain maker of formula. You comparison to the magazines in particular made me think.

  • At 8/02/2007 4:48 PM, Anonymous mothergoosemouse said…

    Speaking as a mother who breastfed - and whose children both self-weaned at five months - I was glad to have a few samples of formula sitting around. That shit is expensive.

    Having it in my cupboard didn't make me want to give up breastfeeding. Cracked and bloody nipples did that.

    I find it highly entertaining that many people who are pro-choice can also be so militant about breastfeeding. Inconsistent much?

  • At 8/02/2007 7:02 PM, Blogger Working Girl said…

    I don't know what I think about legislation on this issue. I am a labor and delivery nurse who believes strongly in the benefits of breastfeeding.


    My nursing philosophy is that we, as nurses, give patients information. Our patients are always free to make their own choices. If the patient makes a choice that I don't agree with, I still have a professional responsibility to support that patient and to continue to do my best to maintain a therapeutic relationship.

    This is a really difficult balance to maintain in obstetrics -- because, so often, the decisions being made are benefiting or harming a fetus or newborn -- not just the mom. I still firmly believe that those choices are the mom's to make. But, Alex, I wish that you could see some of my patients. The ones who come in to L&D with a cigarette hanging out of the side of their mouths, or the ones who try to feed their 45 minute old baby a french fry. Or the ones who have to have a police escort because they "went into labor" as they were being arrested. Or the ones (so many of these) who don't get any prenatal care and just show up at our door when their water breaks. I guess I hope that somebody holds my hospital accountable -- so that these women, with whatever hardships they have endured that have led them to be under informed about the childbirth process -- so that my hospital will only be allowed by law to give them the most beneficial gifts to take home.

    But, I totally see your argument and respect it. And I really don't know what the answer is. But I am awfully fond of typing.

  • At 8/02/2007 7:54 PM, Anonymous Amy said…

    Can I also take a minute here and ask if I'm the only person that feels like breastfeeding IS promoted? Every mom I know breastfeed. I felt like a complete outsider when I'd whip out a bottle of formula.

    Sometimes bottle feeding moms need support too.

  • At 8/02/2007 9:10 PM, Blogger Ladybug's Picnic said…

    Amy - you're not the only one. I formula fed (long story), I did try to breastfeed and could not - despite my best efforts, three weeks of trips to a lactation consultant, herbs, teas, fenugreek, you name it, I tried it - and I felt like virtually everyone else was breastfeeding. I caught many the hairy eyeball when out in public with my infant as I whipped out a can of enfamil.

  • At 8/03/2007 9:12 AM, Blogger Miguelina. said…

    I breastfeed and supplement with formula once a day.

    I get judgmental looks when I whip out a bottle of formula AND when I breastfeed.

    Point is, people will criticize any choice a mother makes. Why?

  • At 8/03/2007 9:38 AM, Anonymous dana said…

    Thank you for writing this post. I managed to breastfeed for four months and pumped for one addditional month after my son just stopped wanting to nurse. What did I do? I reached for that free sample of formula. I was glad to have that on stand-by for the moment nursing didn't carry on.

  • At 8/03/2007 9:55 AM, Anonymous Angela said…

    I came to this post via Motherhood Uncensored and can I say thank you so much. I was a mom who had always thought I would breastfeed (my mom was very pro-BF, and it was what I knew). It never occurred to me that it might not work for me. But after dangerous blood pressure, a very hungry baby and very stressed husband and me in tears, we decided it was going to be the bottle. We never regretted it. My mom was there when we made the decision and she was so supportive. I have been made to feel like less of a mom because I used formula. But my take is that there have always been bottle babies, we just have much better formula these days than straight milk from the cow, goat or water buffalo. I also have fairly big boobs that look like I should have breast feed for sure.

  • At 8/03/2007 11:07 AM, Blogger CableGirl said…

    The part that kills me about this is that it seems that many people are incapable to discussing it rationally. Why read this post as anti-BFing (I'm speaking of a conversation I had with someone else). I think it is CLEARLY not.

    Why is it that it is so difficult for people to have discussions about BFing and FFing without it turning into personal attacks?

    I don't see why this is a discussion about feeding anyway. In my mind this is a discussion about legislation getting involved where it shouldn't. Why focus on samples? Because it is an easy thing to do and it makes people *feel* like something is being done.

    The suggestions Alex made in her post would be MUCH more effective that banning samples.

  • At 8/03/2007 12:20 PM, Blogger Tere said…

    Very interesting discussion going on here. I have to say, at least in South Florida, breastfeeding is MOST DEFINITELY the underdog! Between my relatives who work in labor and delivery and my friends' and relatives' first-person accounts, newborns are routinely given formula in hospitals, and mothers aren't even asked if they plan to breastfeed. If you don't state it and are firm about it, staff moves forward with formula. (Just another reason why I chose not to give birth in a hospital).

    At least in these parts, BF is rare and it's hard for nursing moms to find support outside LLL. I mean, I personally have heard it referred to as "that thing" that is "gross".

    The assumption here is that moms will not BF, and hospitals generally do NOT offer information/support in the same way they hand out formula cans. There's a big discrepancy, and that's my main problem with the practice.

  • At 8/03/2007 12:21 PM, Blogger nyjlm said…

    I don't believe that removing an promotional item (formula gift bags) from the hospitals deprives anyone of the choice of formula feeding. The aim of removing the advertising samples of formula is to stop letting formula companies have free access to mothers in the hospital under the guise of a gift. Nurses should not be shilling for the companies.

    In addition, most formula bags include powdered formula, which can put some infants at risk to severe illness and possibly death from bacteria (like e.sakazaki).

    That being said, I do not deny that support after mothers get home is one of the biggest changes our society needs in order to help mothers breastfeed.

  • At 8/03/2007 12:39 PM, Blogger Karianna said…

    I was glad to have some formula samples lying around. It helped introduce the bottle when I didn't have much breastmilk pumped.

    The pressure to breastfeed was stifling, and yet the nurse fed my son formula while he was in the "continuing care nursery" without consulting me first.

    I had lactation consultants screaming at me for "letting" him have formula, and I had nurses screaming at me that clearly he wasn't "getting enough" from me, so they would have to supplement.

    In the end, the way I was able to successfully breastfeed was to also offer a bottle of formula once a day. Less stress for me meant a greater milk production, so eventually I was able to feed exclusively breast for several days in a stretch, BUT, I could also have my husband feed formula if I needed a nap.

    (Yes, I pumped, so sometimes those Daddy-fed bottles were of breastmilk.)

    Our hospital dispatched lactation consultants to all new mothers: it was a demeaning and frustrating experience. I wish they could have helped instead of lecture - encourage instead of guilt-trip. If they want more moms to (at least try to) breastfeed, they should be supportive rather than condescending.

    I get really fired up about this because new moms face so many pressures to do things a "certain way" and it is not worth the stress. Newborns need moms who can feel secure in their choices. Newborns need moms who won't be resentful. Newborns need moms who can heal from the delivery rather than staying up pumping and being criticized by nurses and lactation consultants.

    (PS: My son has been diagnosed with autism. Some of the sensory situations that affect him no doubt impacted his ability to breastfeed. Over and over again, the "right" way to do things isn't correct for his particular situation. Like you say in your blog title, we need to be FLEXIBLE!)

    Thank you Alex for your activism on this issue.

  • At 8/03/2007 1:50 PM, Blogger Christina said…

    Absolutely. That little can of free formula saved my ass with my first daughter. She hated breastfeeding from the start, and fought it every chance she could. When you have a baby screaming in the middle of the night because she's hungry and won't latch on, I'd rather give her formula than let her starve because I have a point to prove that breastfeeding is better.

    My first was partially formula fed until she was four months, and then completely formula fed after that. My second is so far completely breastfed and hates bottles. I'm glad I finally get the chance to breastfeed with her, but I still have my free can of formula sitting in the kitchen in case I need it.

    And sadly, I think the free formula is needed for another reason. There are some less-caring or less-educated mothers out there who would wake in the middle of the night, be unable to breastfeed, and either let the child scream himself to sleep in hunger or give him a bottle of cow's milk or something else unhealthy. My mother sees it all the time at the hospital where she works. Better to have the formula there than risk hurting a newborn's delicate digestive system and malnourishing them just because we want to push breastfeeding.

  • At 8/03/2007 3:04 PM, Blogger karrie said…

    Right on, Alex!

    I feel there is a class issue at play here as well. Afterall, formula feeding moms with discretionary income can just pack their own Enfamil in their hospital bag.

    Banning free formula samples, as others have mentioned, has the potential to hurt infants, and disproportionately to harm lower income infants. Might formula samples sabotage a breastfeeding relationship? Sure, but of the number of mothers I know of who successfully breastfed--many extended bf-ers--almost all of them used some formula, whether it was in those first rough days, or shortly after when they needed to leave a bottle and did not feel like pumping, or were unable to do so.

    If we want to promote higher breastfeeding rates, we need to first make real maternity leave available for *all* mothers, AND throw in your idea of free consultations with LCs.

    Until we have the structural support in play within our society to really make breastfeeding a workable majority goal, I simply cannot get behind banning formula samples.

    Can you imagine the flak those moms who ask for formula will get? I have a few friends who were unable to breastfeed the first time around, and decided not to even go there with future kids, who were harassed when they made the choice to use formula from the start with kid #2 or 3.

  • At 8/03/2007 3:05 PM, Blogger karrie said…

    Right on, Alex!

    I feel there is a class issue at play here as well. Afterall, formula feeding moms with discretionary income can just pack their own Enfamil in their hospital bag.

    Banning free formula samples, as others have mentioned, has the potential to hurt infants, and disproportionately to harm lower income infants. Might formula samples sabotage a breastfeeding relationship? Sure, but of the number of mothers I know of who successfully breastfed--many extended bf-ers--almost all of them used some formula, whether it was in those first rough days, or shortly after when they needed to leave a bottle and did not feel like pumping, or were unable to do so.

    If we want to promote higher breastfeeding rates, we need to first make real maternity leave available for *all* mothers, AND throw in your idea of free consultations with LCs.

    Until we have the structural support in play within our society to really make breastfeeding a workable majority goal, I simply cannot get behind banning formula samples.

    Can you imagine the flak those moms who ask for formula will get? I have a few friends who were unable to breastfeed the first time around, and decided not to even go there with future kids, who were harassed when they made the choice to use formula from the start with kid #2 or 3.

  • At 8/04/2007 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm wicked late, so I doubt anyone is checking this, but to Hilary:

    Three-quarters of all women attempt breastfeeding. It's hardly the underdog. Maybe back in the 60s, it was (in fact, it most definitely was), but it's back in vogue with a vengeance, and for good reason.

    However, whether it's formula or breastfeeding that's the underdog, that is no reason to judge anyone for their choices. As Alex said, it's YOUR baby, and mothers do what's best for them.

  • At 8/04/2007 6:50 PM, Anonymous Jenn said…

    Coming from a culture that has the alarming and outdated belief that nursing is something only poor uncivilised people do (I am a Malaysian Chinese and my MIL was the one who told me that - the rich, apparently, hire wet nurses when formula had not been invented), Malaysian nursing moms are, sad to say, a dying breed.

    Formula/bottle-feeding is the preferred mode of nutrition today because of a custom we call 'confinement' where a mother is supposed to turn into a vegetable and remain horizontal for four weeks or risk having her uterus fall out in old age.

    As a mom who formula-fed her first daughter and breastfed her second, I don't feel as much guilt as I do regret for not having persevered with my first child because once I'd gotten the hang of it, it was the most natural thing to do in the world. And therein lies the difference - I never felt guilty for not having nursed my first child BECAUSE other moms did it. What other moms did/didn't do have no bearing on my ability to be a good mother.

    Still, I cannot tell you how many times I've wanted to slap a new Malaysian mom on her head when asked why she decided not to bf and her answer is, "My husband says my breast milk smells!" or "Oh, my mom says breastfeeding will make my boobs sag/shrink/implode". I must confess to having wished that my government would erect laws against formula-feeding, just for the first few months you know, to see how these women will react.

    Just an experiment. For a while.

    As for laws against free formula, don't the govt know better than to ban swags?!

  • At 8/06/2007 11:59 AM, Blogger MomSmoo said…

    Just one comment that I believe needs to be said to your otherwise very intelligent and articulate post...

    NYC has banned smoking in public places, trans fats from all restuarants and now formula freebies. The first two didn't raise an eyebrow. I do NOT understand why people get all upset about the government saying that breastfeeding IS best. It is no different from saying trans fats are no good and therefore, even though you are a competant adult and able to make your own decisions, we are making this one in the interest of public health.

    As you stated, if you want to formula feed, then all you have to do it ask for it, just like if you are having trouble with breastfeeding and feel the desire to continue then you just need to ask for the help. Our society has become so self-entitled that they get their panties in a wad because it isn't just handed to them? Absurd in my mind.

    Although the fact that MY tax dollars are actually going to this crap, does bother me, but I feel as though we have let the horse out of the gate already on whether we are going to allow the government to make these health choices for us.

  • At 8/06/2007 10:33 PM, Blogger mama k said…

    I don't get how this is a woman's rights thing.

    We are talking about asking for formula samples vs. being given them under the guise of a "breast feeding support kit"
    No one is taking away the samples. They are just *trying* to promote the healthiest option.

    This so not about breast vs. bottle. It's about giving women the correct information... and the formula companies are not going to give you anything to help you breastfeed in their "support kit" They kind have a vested interest in you buying formula.

    I do not understand why this has to be a "law" per say but as the previous comment said the government in NY has been banning things and putting policies into place long before now. Why is this one such an issue? I suspect it's due to the tired ol' breast vs. bottle mommy wars.

    Just my 2 cents.

    (found you via motherhood uncensored)

  • At 8/07/2007 9:58 AM, Anonymous Kendra said…

    I think they should allow women to make their own choices. Perhaps there is a better solution than just saying either everyone gets them (unless they specifically ask for them not to be put in) or no one gets them. Perhaps they could make a bag for exclusively breastfeeding women, one for bottle-feeding women and one for women who do both or are unsure. Or perhaps instead of putting the sample itself in the bag, they could put a coupon for a free can, then it's a 2 step process. You're frustrated with breastfeeding but you have to go to the store to get your free formula.

    I do have to admit that they accommodate people who breastfeed in the hospital by having lactation consultants available why wouldn't they accommodate people who going to bottle-feed.

    I do think it's a waste of our tax dollars for them to be passing legislation on it. It seems like sometimes they just don't think they have anything important to pass legislation on so they think up stupid stuff. How about trying to get us out of Iraq?

  • At 8/09/2007 12:25 PM, Blogger Whirlwind said…

    Alex - the magnet with lactation consultant info on it would be fantastic! With my first (who also came one month early) I felt like I had no one to turn to. My doctor supported our decision but didn't offer us help when really needed. Since it was my first, I didn't have any friends to turn to. All that has changed and my breastfeeding attempts went much easier with the other two (although number two still had failures, I wasn't as upset/second guessing my decision as much). By the time #3 came, I tried again. And she's the one I nursed the longest (10 months). However, I still supplemented when I needed to because I knew it wouldn't harm her.

    Also it's surprising that it is illegal to nurse i npublic in MA. In CT it's illegal to stop someone from nursing. I believe I probably nursed daughter in public in MA without knowing. I know I did in VT and RI....

  • At 8/10/2007 1:07 AM, Blogger Nora H. said…

    Imagine going to jail for breastfeeding in public! ha! I love that this blog exists, having had mucho breastfeeding problems and experienced much guilt about having to bottlefeed. Thank you!

  • At 12/21/2008 8:29 AM, Blogger mother in israel said…

    I know that this is a very old post, but since I found it presumably others will as well.
    First of all, let's keep in mind the the issue is not only whether mothers breastfeed their babies or not. The mother's (or the parents') decision relates to the most vulnerable members of our society, newborn babies. So we must make doubly sure that their interests are not compromised.
    Banning formula samples does not limit a mother's choices. All mothers know that formula is an option. But countless studies have shown that formula samples DO impact mother's choices. In fact it limits them, because once a mother has switched to formula returning to breastfeeding is harder. AS long as she is still nursing she can always wean. And what if she can't afford the formula?
    It's naive to assume that mothers--or anyone--are immune to marketing. Especially mothers of newborns, who are in hormonal flux and naturally concerned about health of their babies. They are especially vulnerable to sophisticated marketing techniques. And even one bottle can increase a baby's risk of allergy and illness.
    I know many experienced breastfeeding mothers who were persuaded to offer formula to their babies by hospital staff.
    If we can limit cigarette and alcohol advertising to teens, surely we can ban free samples of an unnecessary and risky product for our youngest citizens. Formula marketing has no place in hospitals.

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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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