Lock up the Formula!

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111
Lock up the Formula!

Should a mother who decides to use formula have to get a lecture on breast feeding every time she feeds her baby in the hospital?

The nanny state is going after moms.

Mayor Bloomberg is pushing hospitals to hide their baby formula behind locked doors so more new mothers will breast-feed.

Starting Sept. 3, the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use ? the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation.

Under the city Health Department?s voluntary Latch On NYC initiative, 27 of the city?s 40 hospitals have also agreed to give up swag bags sporting formula-company logos, toss out formula-branded tchotchkes like lanyards and mugs, and document a medical reason for every bottle that a newborn receives.

While breast-feeding activists applaud the move, bottle-feeding moms are bristling at the latest lactation lecture.

?If they put pressure on me, I would get annoyed,? said Lynn Sidnam, a Staten Island mother of two formula-fed girls, ages 4 months and 9 years. ?It?s for me to choose.?

Under Latch On NYC, new mothers who want formula won?t be denied it, but hospitals will keep infant formula in out-of-the-way secure storerooms or in locked boxes like those used to dispense and track medications.

With each bottle a mother requests and receives, she?ll also get a talking-to. Staffers will explain why she should offer the breast instead.

?It?s the patient?s choice,? said Allison Walsh, of Beth Israel Medical Center. ?But it?s our job to educate them on the best option.?

Lisa Paladino, of Staten Island University Hospital, said: ?The key to getting more moms to breast-feed is making the formula less accessible. This way, the RN has to sign out the formula like any other medication. The nurse?s aide can?t just go grab another bottle.?

Some of the hospitals already operate under the formula lockdown.

?New York City is definitely ahead of the curve,? said Eileen DiFrisco, of NYU Langone Medical Center, where the breast-feeding rate has surged from 39 to 68 percent under the program.

Breast-feeding in the first weeks gives a baby a critical healthy start, many medical experts say. It helps the digestive system develop and protects the baby with the mother?s immunities. Nursing also helps the mother recover from childbirth.

But not everyone is convinced.

?They make formula for a reason, and the FDA makes sure it?s safe,? said Roxanne Schmidt, whose 14-month-old twins were fed with formula from birth. ?Locking it up is just wrong.?

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/mayor_knows_breast_WqU1iYRQvwbEkDuvn0vb1H#ixzz227pXz1sS

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

Can i get clarification first...because I never formula fed. What is the alternative, or how does it normally work? Do you typically have unlimited access that you can go get it yourself? Or was it that they just gave you an unlimited supply in your room? Just trying to gain some perspective here.

I will say that a lecture with each bottle of formula seems excessive.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3183

You know, there was a time when formula was pushed on new mothers. The nurses actively encouraged it, and they certainly sent me home with a ridiculous amount of free samples. But now heading in the other direction is ridiculous. Educate and then leave people alone. Make a pamphlet or whatever that covers BOTH and then shut up and let women choose what works for them. The pressure to nurse or not to nurse is just outrageous in my book.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

You know, there was a time when formula was pushed on new mothers. The nurses actively encouraged it, and they certainly sent me home with a ridiculous amount of free samples. But now heading in the other direction is ridiculous. Educate and then leave people alone. Make a pamphlet or whatever that covers BOTH and then shut up and let women choose what works for them. The pressure to nurse or not to nurse is just outrageous in my book.

This. I wanted to breastfeed but another woman in our military hospital who was due at the same time didn't. She got constant lectures and it just pissed her off. Even though I did get the similac samples, they had a breastfeeding option which included storage bottles, a changing container, and the milk holder with the freezer thing on top of the container of formula. Fantastic. I didn't ask what she received as a formula feeding mother.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111

I breast fed all mine for the first few months and after that did a combination of breast/formula so I'm not sure how it works in the hospital, but even though I breast fed I got a free diaper bag with formula samples and coupons. I think its silly to not allow anyone to have those. No one is forcing you to use formula, and when I did eventually switch to formula those coupons where nice to have. If someone is choosing to use formula why should they not be allowed to get the free samples and have to hear a lecture every time?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

Not everyone can breast feed. I know someone from college that was on medicine for seizures. Her baby was much better off on formula than if she had breast fed. My youngest was born 2 months early. Our primary concern was her learning to eat anything so she could get off a feeding tube. If someone chooses to formula feed, they probably have a good reason. Talking to the mother one time instead of badgering them is sufficient.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

Oh i am definitely fine with them not giving out the formula promotions at the hospital. I think the formula companies should find a different venue to team up with to try to advertise their products (AKA get consumers to buy them).

But the locking formula down and lecturing thing...thats just too much.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1533

None of my children had formula, I am a major breastfeeding advocate, but I think this is over the top.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I think this is a bad move only on the lectures. I'm fine with a 1 time statement and I'm absolutely cool with the swag bags going away (which hospitals never provided on their own..formula companies would send to be distributed). This just reeks of anti choice/need for women and I hate it.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Yeah, this seems pretty over the top. I agree with Kim, I would like to hear more about how they dole it out in the hospital normally, but the whole lecturing with every bottle thing seems beyond obnoxious.

I will say that I don't actually think it's a great thing to send formula home with new moms in the swag bags. I had a terrible time nursing T when he was a newborn, and knowing that I could just walk over to the table and dig out a bottle of formula didn't help me stay motivated. It's like having chips in the pantry when you're trying to diet. Sure, people can say "Just don't eat them" but sometimes the temptation is hard to refuse. I'm not saying they need to be outlawed or anything, but I still don't think their a good thing, and I won't be taking one home this time around.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

An introductory FYI and literature on bfing is good. A lecture with every bottle is excessive. You're sore, tired and hormonal....and then you've got a stranger telling you what you should be doing. I'd be pretty grumpy.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

Ok, I know that this is not going to be popular, but I just do not understand the idea of never having access to formula. When Alyssa was a baby she was 6 weeks early and did not have the ability to suck. The lactation consultant at the hospital told us she just did not have the ability. I pumped milk for her and gave it to her in a medicine cup. I absolutely refused to give her a bottle because we were told that would prevent her from ever nursing. She was starving. her doctor told us at her follow up visit if she did not gain some weight he was going to hospitalize her. It was an agonizing time for us as first time parents. We stayed up all night trying to get her to eat. Finally DH insisted that we give her a bottle (of pumped milk). I felt like such a complete failure for not being able to do what everyone said I should be able to do. How was it better for her to starve than to have a bottle? I pumped milk for her for 3 months until I got pg and had to stop (I ended up m/c that baby) and give her formula. How is it not in the best interest of the child to make sure it is fed, no matter how the baby is fed? When my niece was a baby her mother breast fed her. She thought everything was A OK because she was feeding her often. That baby was skin and bones. Someone called CPS and she almost lost her children because she had been indoctrinated that no matter what never give a child formula and she was young and just did not know better. I think it is a good thing to send a baby home with some formula just in case for what ever reason breast feeding does not work out. There is no reason for the baby to starve or the mother to feel like a complete failure just because she can not breast feed.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Well, I agree that you shouldn't let your baby starve because you refuse to give them a bottle. But I also think that (barring medical problems, like in your case) breastfeeding is a learning curve for a lot of people...it's not perfect or easy right away. And every time you give a bottle of formula, it *is* easy, and you (and the baby) get a little bit less motivated to keep trying breastfeeding, and I do think that breast milk is better for the baby than formula.

So, it's not black and white. It's not that no one should ever give a baby a bottle ever, but giving the baby a bottle just because you're tired and frustrated may not be the best choice in the long run either (assuming you mean to breastfeed.)

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

I dont think anyone, even this initiative, is saying, never give a child formula. If there is a medical reason then I would hope there would be no lecture to get the formula.

Personally I think a lecture with every bottle is way over the top.....some gently given information should suffice, and really should be given before the birth of the child, as the decision to breast feed or not is often already made by that point.

As to the swag bags, I have never been given formula by the hospital. We get a large manila envelope that contains a ton of information on breast and formula feeding, probably had some coupons for diapers and formula in it, also info on reading to your child, and a board book from....someone, a bottle, a set of breast pads, a magazine type book on caring for an infant that touched on breastfeeding, formula feeding, bathing, skincare....etc. Probably a ton of other stuff too.....can you tell I havent looked in it since we got home?

Also at our hospital, you would need to request formula....I guess. It was never offered to me. If you choose to breastfeed, they do their best to do immediate skin to skin etc, and help with any latch issues. They also have a number of videos on the advantages of breastfeeding and proper latch that they will subject you to if you are having problems (or not depending on the nurse). I find this is a good way to do it. There is an assumption that you will breastfeed, and formula can be requested. The nurses also stick up well for nursing mothers, my Dr wanted Trent to be 'given something' as his blood sugar was slightly low right after birth, and they both insisted that I was nursing him and that should be enough, and then encouraged me to nurse both sides and for as long as possible (they checked latches, kept us both naked, etc), so that they wouldnt have to give him formula.

So short answer, I think that it doesnt matter how easy it is to get formula if the culture in the hospital promotes breastfeeding. But of course babies should not be put into danger by a lack of formula. The only advantage that I can see to putting formula out of the way or locking it up is to make it harder for the nurses to get a hold of, so it might be easier for them to help a mother out with her latch, pop in a teaching video, etc, then it is to constantly be trekking halfway across the hospital to get formula. But I personally think that educating nurses would do more to encourage breastfeeding then hiding the formula.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I confess, this topic makes me too emotional...

"ftmom" wrote:

(they checked latches, kept us both naked, etc), so that they wouldnt have to give him formula.

See this would not be conducive to breast feeding for me. I would be mortified to have a complete stranger help me in this situation. It is just how I am. No one might come straight out and say "Let your child starve to death before you give formula", but it comes pretty close to how they make you feel. Try going into a place where there is many new mothers and bring out your formula bottle. They look down at you like you are the scum of the earth. I do agree in a perfect situation breast milk is better, but you should not be treated poorly if for whatever reason you can't or don't want to.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

My oldest was 1 month early and couldn't latch. I expressed breastmilk and we were encouraged to try the little cup to get her to lap like a kitten to strengthen her jaw. We would do that for about 5-10 minutes when she was hungry and then she she would get a bottle. We then moved to a nipple cover to help with her grasp and then she nursed around her due date. the LC was awesome. It's so not a sexual thing to have them help you with your breastfeeding. I did FF at about 8 or 9 months though.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

My son was 4 weeks early and had latch issues, he was so tiny that it took all his energy to latch on. He came home from the NICU at 5 days old. When he was 9 days old I was readmitted to the hospital due to my gall bladder. I had an appointment with the lactation clinic on day 10 (I asked for but really did not get help in the NICU) but I was in surgery instead. The nurses on the surgery floor offered to get some formula for me and I accepted - I was in no condition to nurse after the surgery (I was having lots of issues with my liver). One day one of the charge nurses (who was not even taking care of me) came in and demanded to know why I was not breast feeding. It upset me so much. I wanted to be breast feeding but it was just not working, I was still pumping.

The whole thing was very traumatic for me. I wanted nothing more then to breast feed my son and couldn't. I cried for months and if I had been subjected to lectures constantly I think that combined with my PPD I would have killed myself.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"mom2robbie" wrote:

The whole thing was very traumatic for me. I wanted nothing more then to breast feed my son and couldn't. I cried for months and if I had been subjected to lectures constantly I think that combined with my PPD I would have killed myself.

:bigarmhug::bigarmhug::bigarmhug:

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

Breast feeding is only best if it does not hurt the mother. A formula fed baby with a well rested happy mother is much better for a baby than a breast fed baby with a sleep deprived emotional wreck mother.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Breast feeding is only best if it does not hurt the mother. A formula fed baby with a well rested happy mother is much better for a baby than a breast fed baby with a sleep deprived emotional wreck mother.

thanks for the hugs. I was still sleep deprived -Robbie was up every 2-3 hours until he was 2. I was also an emotional wreck - for a long time I felt like a failure. I am still sad about things happened.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

Having a baby in the NICU is a very emotional experience. It took us a year after Caitlyn was born to feel like I had my feet firmly on the ground. The very last thing someone needs in that situation is to be judged about their feeding choices.

Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680

A lecture every time? really? I would take an early discharge if medically possible. The last thing I want is to listen to someone lecturing me about what's not really their business. I breast feed but am against this for other women being lectured. A one time informational session is fine, but every time? No thank you.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

IMO, being a good mom means giving your child what she needs, no matter what it is that you want. Sometimes that means formula, and that should be acknowledged. I have seen a number of friends and family members in tears because they have been forced (by circumstance) to supplement, and I think that is wrong. I have even been there myself. I do believe that breast is best, but it is only best, not the only good option.

So like I said before, I think a good hospital environment, where breastfeeding is assumed, but formula provided on request, with gentle education and help either way is the ideal situation. Not this all or nothing, either end of the spectrum crap!

FTR, I have never had a nurse 'get right in there' with my breasts without asking my permission first, but I did once have a male lactation consultant, which was kind of awkward, even for me, and I am pretty open about nakedness and breastfeeding.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3183

I agree....there's no RIGHT and no WRONG and the pressure on some moms is just insane. I have a friend whose family had to do an intervention because she was making herself crazy trying to nurse. She had had breast reduction surgery years earlier so it was just something that didn't work for her but she felt like a failure because she couldn't do it.

I think it's great if the hospital offers information and help for BOTH, and they should ASK if you want the free formula & supplies instead of just automatically giving them to you.

I have to say, I found nursing easier than formula feeding just because of supplies, schlepping things around etc. But formula was easier than pumping. I tried it all.

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