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[How Far We Haven’t Come] Proposed Ban on Formula Samples in Hospitals Spurs ‘Nipple Nazi’ Moniker For Lactivists, Again

formula samples in hospitals controversy

“How Far We Haven’t Come” is a twice-weekly series by Kim LaCapria, examining the sorry state of women’s issues in America in the current political climate.

Is there a more divisive issue, aside from abortion, among women themselves that sparks more backbiting, more outrage and more colorful language than the breast versus bottle debate?

No matter how far women have moved forward, it also seems that those advances sometimes only mockingly highlight our very many struggles ahead, and breastfeeding rights/support is one area in which it almost feels hopeless sometimes. Now a rekindled debate about formula samples in hospitals shows us exactly how good we are at oppressing ourselves and accepting less female-friendly options in lieu of the ones that would affect meaningful change for women and mothers.

One of the female-oriented blogs I follow (and refer to often in this column) is Jezebel- not because it is a bastion of perfect feminist theory, but because the mix of content is both entertaining and fairer to females in general than the same offerings presented elsewhere. But this morning’s post “Breastfeeding Gestapo Moves to Ban Free Formula Samples from Hospitals” proved that even the more feministy feminists engage in this sort of bullshit without realizing it, and managed to cement the idea in the heads of many yet-to-be mothers that “choice” in regards to feeding babies hinges on access to formula freebies.

In public fora and during debates, breastfeeding advocates and La Leche League are often tarred with the pejorative term “nipple nazis,” so the “gestapo” imagery is not without (damaging) precedent- even if the comparison between secret police that dragged Holocaust victims off into the night and a group of breastfeeding mothers offering grassroots support to women who cannot afford to receive it elsewhere is offensive to more people than I can list within WordPress’ per-post character limit.

No matter how enlightened about women’s issues, sex, abortion, birth control or the gender gap any individual is, their misconceptions about breastfeeding can spill out sometimes without warning, and this was such a case. America lags far behind our developed nations brethren in breastfeeding support, and numbers bear out how bad the impact of incentives like formula samples is on a successful breastfeeding relationship.

To wit, studies have proven that marketing of formula within hospitals leads to lower rates of breastfeeding at the crucial three and six-month marks- which is precisely why formula companies have fought to keep their money pipeline from such a practice flowing. But what saddens me the most about the argument is that so many women accept the falsehoods lobbed at us and take up for this sucky alternative (a few measly cans of infant formula) instead of demanding what women truly deserve. Instead, we’re willing to accept the obviously false idea put forth by formula companies that offering this option is “choice” and “information” rather than marketing to a financially vulnerable population while borrowing a veneer of medical authority.

The original post that set this rant off as well as the comments left on it reads like a textbook illustration of “all the things people are ignorant about when it comes to marketing formula.” Let’s have a look, shall we?

Lots of women struggle to afford formula, and taking away samples will only hurt poor women who can’t get formula in the first place. To keep this in perspective, even if you chased down every formula sample available to you, you’d still probably get at the very most hopeful, a week’s supply of formula. And hospitals tend to supply- and get a baby hooked upon- the most expensive, pre-blended versions of formula.

Either way, the mother in question is facing a year’s worth of feeding her baby and potentially being unable to. The answer here is not more pittances of free formula, but more robust social programs and on-staff lactation consultants within hospitals to help new mothers establish a breastfeeding relationship- or a long-term subsidy of formula if she so chooses.

formula samples in hospitals LLLSometimes women reach a point where they need a break, and having formula in the house means that they can rest while someone else feeds the baby. Indeed, breastfeeding’s first few days can certainly be the opposite of a cakewalk. And if a woman feels the need to rely on feeding supplements, there is no shame in such a decision. But the fact remains that studies prove that a breastfeeding mother plied with formula samples is more likely to have milk supply issues or give up on breastfeeding altogether, netting formula companies thousands of dollars in profits from each diaper swag bag resulting in a successful breastfeeding relationship interruption. Again, the numbers in the study cited above bear this out- the practice of pushing formula within a hospital is not there as an altruistic benefit for the patients.

Not everyone has a job that lets them breastfeed, and free formula samples are nice for working moms to have. This particular argument angers me the most- because as a society that values our children and purports to promote gender equality, we should all be pissed off about this. If you are reading this and have a vagina, it is more likely than not that you will at some point become a mother.

Despite the fact that the baby you bear will also have a father, women have been solely absorbing the “costs,” both tangible and intangible, of new members of society since the first caveworker clocked in at her first cavejob. And until this simple fact- that women are too, sometimes mothers- is accounted for in the workplace, we will continue to bear these costs disproportionately. This includes through lack of career advancement and dropping three grand on formula because it was slightly cheaper than not going back to work at all.

Last but not least, it bears repeating that the World Health Organization recommended that hospitals not participate in formula marketing (for the same reason you don’t go to the Viagra Health Center and eat in the Lipitor Hospital Cafeteria) decades ago, and the US is the only country in the first world not to follow said guideline. You can read the full letter to US hospitals from Public Citizen here.

Do you think offering formula freebies should be banned in hospitals?

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Comments

73 Responses to “[How Far We Haven’t Come] Proposed Ban on Formula Samples in Hospitals Spurs ‘Nipple Nazi’ Moniker For Lactivists, Again”

  1. Chris Beall

    It is up to INDIVIDUALS whether or not they wish to breastfeed. These fanatics are so silly; especially when they think there is something magical and sacred about displaying your breast in public for everyone to see. They deserve the titles they have received.

  2. Laura Krivanek

    Are u ****ing kidding me there are so many more important things in this world to worry about if hospitals wanna give away formula let them its utimatly the mothers choice either way who cares which one as long as the baby is fed just because they are offered the most expensive stuff don't mean they have to accept it it should be the mothers choice as to whether or not she accepts the formula at all. Why don't we write something on the mothers who neglect and abuse their children and are still able to get them back that my friend should not be allowed!

  3. Carol Votaw Colchin

    I see nothing wrong with it. I bottle fed my 2 children and they were just as healthy as my sister-in-laws that breast fed theirs. So it's up to the mother what she wants to do and the media needs to stop trying to make more out of it then needs be.

  4. Jamie Stratton

    I think that it's should be up to the mother whether or not she chooses to breastfeed. With that said I think hospital ought to have the same choice on whether to offer formula samples or not.

  5. Lola Aileen Vanslette

    They had formula samples and cases of formula they gave me before leaving the hospital with each delivery. I still breast-fed my kids one for close to 12 months, one for 13 months and my twins for 6 months (because my inlaws and aunt decided to overfeed the bottles on our vacation, breaking them from the breast). Whether or not it is offered should have no bearing on what the mother does. I used those samples as backup when I needed to take a break, but it didn't create the conflict it seems to here. I still believe breast is best, but having a choice should be an option.

  6. Leanne Salls

    Many hospitals are already not doing things that are shown by current research to be in the best interest of the child. They just need to educate women, and let them make their own choice. Too many hospitals are stuck in the rut of doing things the way they've always been done. What they need is to do their research, and then pass that on to new mothers so that they can make the choice based on facts.

  7. Heather Perry

    Breast is best, that is all there is to it. My daughter was breast fed the first year and she has missed 2 days of school due to illness in her 14 years. She tests 99th percentile and she doesn't have any food allergies. And we have a closer bond than any other mother and daughter I know. There certainly are not enough formula samples in the world to make up for all that. And I saved money, lost my pregnancy weight, and reduced my risk of breast cancer. Ciggarette companies tell people that smoking is a personal choice and look how well that turned out

  8. Carina Amrine

    I breastfed and tried my hardest even when it hurt and when my son drew blood. It was worth it and the pain subsides. I feel for little babies who don't get boobie time at least for a little while. I breastfed until Davon was 5 months and at that point I dried up and had to do formula. And I had to use WIC. But I ended up donating hospital samples that I never used.

  9. Dana Hodle

    Of Course breast is best, but for people like myself who are unable to breast feed due to medications that must be taken on a daily basis. I would rather feed my baby formula over medicated breast milk any day. For someone to tell me I HAVE to breast feed it totally ridiculous.

  10. Paula Qualls Gurley

    Heather Perry, My daughter is 33 and we are closer than any mother & daughter I know. Sheand her 2 brothers were bottle fed and she has breastfed her 3 children with my complete support. Guess what…her kids are as healthy as mine were and vice versa. The whole "exceptional bond" thing is crap. If you hold your child and give them your undivided attention, the bond os there. It's really nice that you are happy you breast fed, but that doesn't make you a better mom than one who bottle feeds. Apparently it does make you holier than thou.

  11. Minx Ann

    This way on women sucks! Of course breast is best but I have so many friends who have had trouble with it. The samples were great for them to try it out. Definitely think that this ban is going five million miles past the drawn line.

  12. Judy Buss

    Whether you like it or not, it is still a womans choice, I did not breast feed my 4 children & they did not have any adverse effects or illinesses. You people overreach, IT IS A WOMANS CHOICE!

  13. Dana Hodle

    Jane Strickland Kissane There shouldn't be any exceptions, I shouldn't have to explain why I bottle feed when you get the comments/looks from other people. I've gotten many comments pretty much saying i don't care enough to take time out of my day to breast feed my child. This makes me feel I am not doing the absolute best I can to give my child the best nutrition I am able to give.

  14. Alison Torrone

    Good lord. This is not about saying a woman can't choose how to feed her child. So f-ing what if you get a sample in the hospital or not? That doesn't mean you still can't choose to FF your kid. This is about marketing practices and public health. If you think that having samples given out DOESN'T influence rates, then apparently you aren't looking at actual STATISTICS and studies. It doesn't affect all women and their choices but it DOES affect many. Nursing is hard in the beginning. The easiest thing for you to do should be to nurse them. Formula companies KNOW THIS. They know how to get you. They are not being NICE by giving you samples; these are not non-profit companies. Yes, it's been life-saving for some children… that's not what this is about….. ahhhhhggggg. I need to stop…..

  15. Kelsey Collier-Wise

    Is it just me or does it seem like not a single commenter here actually read the article. The author is not advocating against formula feeding — she actually suggests that formula should be subsidized long term for women who want to use it! The World Health Organization isn't trying to take away anyone's rights. They are a public health organization that, for a number of reasons, has found that free formula samples in hospitals have an adverse effect on public health and that there are better ways to support healthy women and babies regardless of what they eat.

  16. Sara Larane Savel

    As a strong feminist I believe that infant feeding choice is a personal decision between a woman and her healthcare providers. No one has the right to restrict access to formula or lactation counseling. So called baby friendly initiatives demonize formula feeding mothers by couching breastfeeding as "best" and "frriendly" while falsely implying that formula feeding mothers are inferior and that formula is somehow the enemy. Contrary to what lactivists would have new mothers think formula fed babies develop just fine and go on to have happy healthy and productive lives. Instead of looking at the actual data they make ludicrous comments comparing formula feeding to smoking. See Heather Perry 's comment below. The agenda of the lactivist is frighteningly similar to that of the anti abortion activist: misinformation; a lack of respect and concern for the day to day realities of the individual women they encounter, a willingness to insert themselves in private healthcare decisions, attempts to restrict access to the thing they dislike (formula), and tend to believe that biology is destiny.

  17. Ann Marie Salewski Chapman

    Respectfully disagree with the majority of my fellow natural mamas out there on this one. As a middle class family of six living on one income, we pinch pennies wherever we can, and free formula samples are no exception. (Nor are the free Huggies diapers we walk away with, but I don't see any of my fellow cloth diapering mamas going ballistic over those.) I'm currently nursing my fourth child, and those formula samples have saved our arse more than once- when I've forgotten my milk in the work fridge, a storage bag leaked, etc. etc. etc. We haven't spent a dime on formula this go-around, laregly due to the fact that I walked away with a bag full of samples from the ped's office. If a mama has formula samples she's not going to use, donate them to your local food shelf. But don't blame a woman's decision not to nurse on free samples. A woman should have made the decision to nurse or not to nurse long before she ends up in L&D. If she chose to bottle feed after receiving free samples, then she really didn't have that strong of a commitment to begin with. The tendency of women to blame everyone else for their personal decisions is really getting annoying. Time to put on the big girl panties, ladies!

  18. Jessica Hamel Williams

    The on call pedi at the hospital where our daughter was born would not let us take our baby home unless we supplemented with formula because he did not know how much she was getting. When my husband and I objected and argued that our daughter was to be strictly breastfed he decided to keep our daughter in NICU until she took a bottle of formula and passed the amount of diapers he was ‘okay’ with. He said she was not getting enough from me because she had not passed the right amount of diapers. (later I found out the amount of diapers she did pass were perfectly fine and that particular Pedi has issues with women who speak up for themselves – apparently in his country that is frowned upon) Our first night home was without our daughter who I had been carrying and feeling for the past 9 ½ months. I made the CHOICE to breastfeed and formula was FORCED on my baby. It is NOT fair and you have to FIGHT if you want to breastfeed your baby. Formula IS encouraged at hospitals NOT breastfeeding. Until all the breastfeeding mothers get together and pay hospitals to recommend breastfeeding it will be like that for a while unless we start calling them on their bullshit – which is what this article is doing, thank you.

  19. Mary Jo Brown

    If you read the article, you'd see it does NOT advocate taking that choice away. At all. It's about protecting women from marketing in a captive environment, and giving those who want to breastfeed the best possible chance to succeed! What's wrong with that? There is suggestion of banning formula, in fact, she suggests helping subsidize those who chooser formula. Where is a woman's choice being threatened??

  20. Sara Rose White

    I think as women we have a lot bigger issues to fight than a small can of formula given out in hospitals. I breastfed all 6 of my babies for varying lengths of time. I don't see any formula feeding mothers railing against the Lasinoh cream and hand pump I was given.

  21. Amnesty Hadley

    The issue is not whether women should be allowed to formula feed, it's simply whether hospitals should encourage formula feeding by handing out free samples. The hospital in the town where I live gives out formula bags to EVERY mother, breastfeeding or not. They call one the breastfeeding bag, but it's still full of formula; the only difference is a tiny pamphlet about breastfeeding. I work for WIC, and I can't tell you how many moms I have had tell me that the nurses at this hospital told them they HAD TO CHoOSE BEFORE THEY LEFT THE HOSPITAL. So, they need to make up their minds, breast or formula, in 48 hours after giving birth. Of course, they usually choose the formula, because it's right there, the nurses offer to take the babies and let them rest, and they get NO support for breastfeeding. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. If people want to choose formula, that is their choice, but the way this hospital, and many, many others, are offering this choice is VERY one sided. Moms who have been planning on breastfeeding through their whole pregnancy are leaving with 100% bottle fed babies because they had no support, no education, and lots of free formula samples. THAT is why formula bags need to be stopped, and lactation consultants need to be available 24/7. If moms want free formula samples because they KNOW they are going to formula feed, it's super easy; you just go to the company's website and request them. I did, even though I didn't formula feed, because the free bags were cute, they came with coupons for all kinds of things, and a sample can of formula wasn't going to discourage me, since I had a lot of BF support. So I know how easy it is to get the free samples if you want them, even if your hospital isn't handing them out.

  22. Sara Delarosa

    I will say that education and support will go a lot further in improving breastfeeding success than a ban on free samples!

  23. Shaylene Crabtree

    With my son I nursed him from birth – well 6 hours or so later we slept after he was born. No issues. He nursed for 23 months. His sister was born 3 years later and within seconds of her being born I'm being told I have to hold her nurse 15 minutes a side never mind I was dizzy from blood loss. The whole stay they hassled me and I had more trouble than when they let me be. Then after being all crazy about nursing right away, both sides, a certain time limit etc…then they gave me a formula diaper bag when I left…really that makes sense. Formula should be an option and mom should be free to choose without harassment for either choice. Really I think the sample bags can go as long as they still carry formula for mothers to use while in hospital if that is there choice and not only the 1 brand they are trying to promote.

  24. Valerie McClain

    Freebies in a medical setting imply endorsement. Is endorsement of products what we need in a hospital setting? Or do we need health care that is evidence based. The research on the risks of infant formula has been around since the 1970's. Parents need to know these risks. And hospitals need to consider the legal liability of products given out for free that imply endorsement.

  25. Liz Fiorentino

    Breast is IDEAL, but not the best for every situation. This "breast is best" campaign is honestly hurting breastfeeding more than it is helping! I have friends who felt so bullied that they suffered severe PPD as a result. I'm a huge proponent of breastfeeding, but not at the expense of the sanity of moms! If formula helps them, then power to them. Would I love it if breastmilk were a hugely available commodity? You bet! But not every mom is able and willing to pump for her baby(ies), and not every parent is comfortable with the idea of wetnursing or milk sharing in today's society. I was breastfed for 8 months (until my mom found out she was pregnant with twins and had to stop), and I have a half a dozen food allergies as well as a slew of environmental allergies. I'm very smart, but am awful at mathematics. Breastfeeding is not a 100% savior for everything from childhood diseases to intelligence to preventing cancer!!!
    As far as hospital samples go–if you don't want them, say "No, thank you." Or, collect them and give them to friends that you know chose to use formula. Or, donate them to a food bank or women's shelter. In the meantime–let's pressure our hospitals, doctor's offices, etc, into not providing infant formula samples UNLESS there is a medical necessity; and increase breastfeeding awareness through facts, not through bully tactics!

  26. Liz Fiorentino

    I bottlefed my kid breastmilk and it just infuriates me that there are women out there who think they are superior because their kids got the milk straight from the source. Not all women are able (or willing!) to breastfeed; but all women should be applauded that they chose to feed their kids in the first place.

  27. Amanda Barugh

    Breast isn't best. It's just normal and standard. Whether we want to admit it or not, the samples to hold weight to new mothers. Statistics prove this. Hospitals that are banning the bag aren't even saying that you can't feed your baby formula. They're just saying that they will not provide it for free. I don't see the big deal here, honestly. This outcry over banning the bags just seems like a good reason for some people to bitch about something and point fingers at those "breastfeeding meanies."

  28. Tara Dukaczewicz

    Feeding your child formula is comparable to smoking cigarettes? That's a pretty sanctimonious statement. And for the record, my formula fed child is all those things AND plays the violin. My breastfed child is all those things too. My point is that no one would ever be able to tell which of my kids had formula and which was breastfed.

  29. Amanda Barugh

    It is a woman's choice, but shouldn't we be given the benefit of an informed, science-based choice that is free of bias from companies that stand to make money off that choice? Because providing the bags doesn't allow for that.

  30. Paula Qualls Gurley

    WHO has their own agenda, and public health is not the only one. No one is forcing these parents to use the formula. Why does WHO need to step in here. They are not always right you know, just PC.

  31. Anne Healshaw

    with the crystal ball please share. While at the hospital I was offered a hand pump & a bag eith formula samples. The lactation consultant spoke to everyone before discharge. This was all great & would have been so if my milk wasn't late to come in. Suddenly no one but the LC wanted me to fight for breastfeeding. When my milk did come in turns out Im an overproducer. I was determined to breastfeed b/c that was what I wanted. If I wanted to formula feed I wouldn't have wanted to feel like I had to fight for that either. As long as parents, men too, are being educated on the pros & cons of both & making informed choices that is what is important.

  32. Athena Robinson

    I'd say that giving unnecessary formula is about as bad as giving a small child soda (a lot of the ingredients are the same), or giving a teenager a cigarette. Please note before flaming me that I said UNNECESSARY. For the 2% of women who cannot breastfeed it is the only real option since our country is so dang backwards that it is virtually impossible to obtain donor milk unless you have a lot of money or are willing to risk whatever problems another mother may have from free sources. To be clear; I was formula fed because my mother would rather have smoked than done what was best for my sister and me; and I turned out alright. My kids are both breastfed because I refuse to give my children second-rate and chemicalized crap.

  33. Athena Robinson

    I think it should be there if a mother really needs it or decides she doesn't want to breastfeed. However; unless a mother has chosen to formula feed, it should not be in a gift box with a pretty bow for an exhausted breastfeeding mother. It also should not be the go-to method of feeding of doctors if things aren't going perfectly.

  34. Amy Bogseth

    Some of you keep mentioning that it is the mothers' choice to breast feed or formula feed their infants. This is so very true but what you are not realizing is that giving away formula is like saying "we expect that you are going to feed formula.. Our hospital thinks you should feed formula. Here's your free formula gift!" This gift persuades mothers into thinking that formula even compares to breast milk. This post was not about bashing women's right to choose formula. It's about allowing mothers to make theirs own decisions without a nasty marketing ploy getting in the way.

  35. Jennifer Ruedinger

    I was under the impression that the reason WIC existed was so that mothers who could not afford formula on their incomes would be able to get it for free through the government program.

  36. Kaarla V Olivencia

    More than eliminating free formula samples, what they should do is force hospitals to provide REAL support to new mothers who know that they want to breastfeed. When I had my son I was absolutely sure that I wanted to breastfeed. I had informed myself. I had read books. I had asked questions. I had prepared as best as I was able. I informed the nurse who "surveyed" me right before my "process" was started (I went in for a medically necessary induction due to preeclampsia; ended up with a c-sec, long story short) that I was GOING to breastfeed. And what did they do right after my son was born? I faced many of the typical obstacles to breastfeeding that there are in a hospital, including mental pressure from a few nurses to feed formula to my baby. I was in tears. I doubted myself. I even gave in ONCE and, believing that my son was going hungry, fed him 5ml of formula myself, while tears streamed down my face. Was this because of the "nipple nazis" or whatever? No! It was because I had zero, ZERO support from the nurse staff. But I was determined. I plowed on. Two days later a very kind nurse from Labor & Delivery taught me the proper latch technique. By then my nipples were on fire, so bad they hurt. But when I was preparing to go home I knew I would not need the stupid formula samples. I took the free bag and left the can of formula. I thought of putting it in the trash can. But what would that accomplish? Nothing. So I left for home, happy that I had survived the four days at the hospital with my baby firmly latched to my breast. I didn't have to supplement him after leaving the hospital, not even once. And until very recently, he still took to the breast before going to sleep at night. He's 2 years and 8 months old now.

  37. Naima Van Swol

    wow, Heather Perry, based on all that, it sounds like you are the perfect mother. no wonder breastfeeding was so easy for you. LOL!

  38. Naima Van Swol

    "The agenda of the lactivist is frighteningly similar to that of the anti abortion activist: misinformation; a lack of respect and concern for the day to day realities of the individual women they encounter, a willingness to insert themselves in private healthcare decisions, attempts to restrict access to the thing they dislike (formula), and tend to believe that biology is destiny."

    wow. i have never heard it put so well. i may have to steal this. fucking brilliant.

  39. Liz Fiorentino

    Athena Robinson , shame on you! One of my friends had to give her son that second-rate chemicalized crap because her breastmilk was literally killing him. He has a rare mitochondrial disease that makes it impossible for him to digest "real" food. There are more reasons than the 2% why a mom would choose formula over breastmilk. Some of them are selfish; but some of them include single moms who work multiple jobs so they can afford to give their kids some semblance of a normal life. Not all women respond to a breastpump, and not all women are willing to dedicate the time they have to pump milk. I pumped for my son for six months and it was the most physically and mentally exhausting six months of my life!

  40. Amber Leigh Larkin

    haha i am glad you wrote this so I didn't, because i don't know if i could have stopped LOL

  41. Danielle Nicol Thornton

    I do think the "free formula samples" should be banned from hospitals. I have been breastfeeding my son for 2 and 1/2 years now and still going strong. They asked me multiple times if I wanted formula. I all but screamed NO. I was determined to breastfeed before my son was even born. With my experience and research many mothers/soon to be mothers have looked to me for advice in the breastfeeding area. I have heard time and time again that "formula is just so convenient"… my only response is, "no it is not. breastfeeding is." The US has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates. I wonder why? Because we are lead to believe that breatfeeding is this entire dedicated ordeal and it is in no way convenient. I beg to differ. You don't have to buy it. That's a huge plus. It is always the right temperature (if done directly from the breast).. there is less waste. Another big one that really irks me.. There are so many formula's out there claiming to be so close or mimic "Mother's Milk".. Why not just breastfeed? It's cheaper, safer, etc. And for those who work.. I worked also.. and I pumped. If we ban free formula samples from the hospitals, more will be apt to give breastfeeding a try. I am not AGAINST formula feeding. I understand there are reasons one must FF over BF. But for example, someone from my own family.. who knows what I have done, how, etc, with breastfeeding.. she had all the facts. She didn't even once try.. Why? Breast IS Best. If it wasnt why would formula company's try to copy it? There are so many health benefits to breastfeeding for mother and child. I don't understand why more do not.. Actually I do.. Lies, Deception and Freebies.

  42. Amber Leigh Larkin

    What I don't like is that if someone is saying, "Well if I don't get the samples I won't be able to feed my baby" UMM if you are unwilling to breastfeed and cant' pay for food for your child (formula) then you shouldn't be having kids in the first place (and if it was an oops baby and don't want to abort, then give the baby up to a family who can't have kids and can afford to feed it).

    These samples are a set up to fail! Because when you are home on day 2 and its 3am and you now have these handy little samples (that wouldn't' be in your house had they not been given to you by the hospital) and your husband/partner is just saying "Here give me the baby and I'll feed them you sleep" GUESS what that does? It causes huge issues for your supply, huge issues for baby to learn how to latch on, and so on.

  43. James Johnson

    Amy you definitely got the post. Most people in the US are unaware that even advertising baby formula in other countries is illegal, in some countries it can be advertised but the health effects can't be mentioned because even those company's have accepted that formula is not as beneficial and those findings go back to the 1940s and 1950s overseas.

    No i'm not trying to start a fight with people who choose formula, just stating facts about the articles main contention.

  44. Heather Perry

    No one here is suggesting that someone starve their child rather than give formula. Wheather you like it or not, breast feeding is the ideal feeding and there are plenty of statistics to prove the health benefits. While I understand that there are women who for one reason or another are unable to breast feed many choose not to breast feed because of societal reasons. Unfortunatly many women are given dirty looks for breast feeding in public and a lot of people would have us believe that breasts are a sex object and not to feed children.

  45. Heather Perry

    No one here is suggesting that someone starve their child rather than give formula. Wheather you like it or not, breast feeding is the ideal feeding and there are plenty of statistics to prove the health benefits. While I understand that there are women who for one reason or another are unable to breast feed many choose not to breast feed because of societal reasons. Unfortunatly many women are given dirty looks for breast feeding in public and a lot of people would have us believe that breasts are a sex object and not to feed children.

  46. Heather Perry

    No one here is suggesting that someone starve their child rather than give formula. Wheather you like it or not, breast feeding is the ideal feeding and there are plenty of statistics to prove the health benefits. While I understand that there are women who for one reason or another are unable to breast feed many choose not to breast feed because of societal reasons. Unfortunatly many women are given dirty looks for breast feeding in public and a lot of people would have us believe that breasts are a sex object and not to feed children.

  47. Heather Perry

    No one here is suggesting that someone starve their child rather than give formula. Wheather you like it or not, breast feeding is the ideal feeding and there are plenty of statistics to prove the health benefits. While I understand that there are women who for one reason or another are unable to breast feed many choose not to breast feed because of societal reasons. Unfortunatly many women are given dirty looks for breast feeding in public and a lot of people would have us believe that breasts are a sex object and not to feed children.

  48. Heather Perry

    No one here is suggesting that someone starve their child rather than give formula. Wheather you like it or not, breast feeding is the ideal feeding and there are plenty of statistics to prove the health benefits. While I understand that there are women who for one reason or another are unable to breast feed many choose not to breast feed because of societal reasons. Unfortunatly many women are given dirty looks for breast feeding in public and a lot of people would have us believe that breasts are a sex object and not to feed children.

  49. Heather Perry

    No one here is suggesting that someone starve their child rather than give formula. Wheather you like it or not, breast feeding is the ideal feeding and there are plenty of statistics to prove the health benefits. While I understand that there are women who for one reason or another are unable to breast feed many choose not to breast feed because of societal reasons. Unfortunatly many women are given dirty looks for breast feeding in public and a lot of people would have us believe that breasts are a sex object and not to feed children.

  50. Heather Perry

    No one here is suggesting that someone starve their child rather than give formula. Wheather you like it or not, breast feeding is the ideal feeding and there are plenty of statistics to prove the health benefits. While I understand that there are women who for one reason or another are unable to breast feed many choose not to breast feed because of societal reasons. Unfortunatly many women are given dirty looks for breast feeding in public and a lot of people would have us believe that breasts are a sex object and not to feed children.

  51. Heather Perry

    No one here is suggesting that someone starve their child rather than give formula. Wheather you like it or not, breast feeding is the ideal feeding and there are plenty of statistics to prove the health benefits. While I understand that there are women who for one reason or another are unable to breast feed many choose not to breast feed because of societal reasons. Unfortunatly many women are given dirty looks for breast feeding in public and a lot of people would have us believe that breasts are a sex object and not to feed children.

  52. Heather Perry

    The comment about ciggeretts was not to compare the effects but to compare marketing. Have you ever watched Saturday morning television? All the sugary cereal commercial advertise to little children. If you catch people when they are vulnerable they will be more likely to use your product. And I certainly don't claim to be a perfect mother, just one that wants the best for her child.

  53. Athena Robinson

    Liz Fiorentino- Have you by chance read the ingredients in formula? Most contain both cow's milk (which babies aren't supposed to have), AND soy (which babies also are not supposed to have). It is also full of chemicals, and because it is not regulated by the FDA as a food item, there is all sorts of other stuff in there that I don't even want to think about.
    You nailed it on the head. Her son has a RARE disease. I'd say that falls into the 2% of women who cannot breastfeed. As I also said, it is the only real option (which is unfortunate) because donor milk is so hard to come by.
    I apologize if I offended you with the second-rate crap comment; but to me that's what it is. Although, I am also someone who will pay the extra for organic products for my family because I don't want my kids or myself to eat pesticides. And I am a single mother of 2 kids on worker's comp for a knee injury, so I'm not exactly rolling in cash right now.

  54. Athena Robinson

    Ok, it looks like I was wrong about the FDA "regulating" it. I'd almost be willing to bet that there is at least 1 former CEO of a formula comany who helps run the FDA.

  55. Cheryl Dawn Marian Ibclc

    Paula Qualls Gurley It's not the WHO's agenda. This is about the health of our children and corporate control and normalizing formula use. Give freebies by the hospital makes it appear that they are condoning it's use and actually recommending it. I breastfed my first born in a German military hospital and was given no formula. BF her for 18 monhts without knowing anything about the average length. Ten years later I give birth in an American hospital here in the States. I was sent a case of free formula, and given cans and bottles in the hospital to take home. I thought, 'wow, this must be ok, and it's free!' So I read some Parents magazine ads on what is in the formula and decided that it had some good stuff in it so when I went anywhere, that first 3 months without him, he got that formula. How fooled I was. He is my most troublesome child, and get ill the most. The marketing definitely fooled me. Then when I wanted to keep breastfeeding and pump I had trouble. So it does have an effect. Luckily I wised up and my 3rd (as my 1st NEVER got a drop of formula! I left the samples at the hospital.

  56. Cheryl Dawn Marian Ibclc

    Duh, no one is taking away your choice! This is about blatant corporate marketing. Having a hospital or your doctor send home free samples gives the impression that they are recommending it and saying that it is 'ok' to use. To many moms it says that,"'we know you 'think' that you want to breastfeed but when you can't here is the best formula to use." Is the general public so stupid as to not understand advertising? You're so brainwashed by the ads seen everyday and everywhere that you don't understand what they are telling you to do? Subliminal and actual overt messages abound when given a corporate sponsers product and you just think your lucky because you got something for free. If you need the 'free' formula you will probably get plenty from your WIC agency. Your responsibility is to feed your child and if that means spending the money on food for you because you breastfeed or formula because you artificially feed then so be it. Don't fall for the money hungry corporations trickery.

  57. Cheryl Dawn Marian Ibclc

    Paula Qualls Gurley It's not the WHO's agenda. It's about the money. It's about the health of our children and corporate control and normalizing formula use. Being given freebies by the hospital makes it appear that they are condoning it's use and actually recommending it. I breastfed my first, born in a German military hospita,l and was given no formula. Never had formula in our apartment nor home. I BF her for 18 months without knowing anything about the average length. Ten years later I gave birth in an American hospital here in the States. I was sent a case of free formula, and given cans and bottles of formula in the hospital to take home, and the coupons came every week or two. I thought, 'wow, this must be ok, and it's free!' So I read some Parents magazine ads on what is in the formula and decided that it had some good stuff in it so when I went anywhere that first 3 months without him, he got that formula. How fooled I was. He is my most troublesome child, and gets ill the most. ADHD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. The marketing definitely fooled me. Then when I wanted to keep breastfeeding and pump I had trouble and he ended up on only formula even after a year I kept giving him that and the follow on formula's thinking they had so many vitamins in them, not realizing that there was too much of so many and not enough of others. So it does have an effect. Luckily, I wised up and my 3rd (as my 1st) NEVER got a drop of formula! I left the samples at the hospital and never even gave him a bottle after returning to work. He was given MY milk from a Softcup feeding bottle. The hospital samples did change my view until I learned, again, what the best way to feed a baby should be.

  58. Judy Buss

    Mary Jo Brown Oh coime on these advocates are over the top. Their adjenda or else, good Lord we have worse issues to worry about, besides, shouldn't you be discussing things w/your doc's to keep yourselfs informed, no need for this, what the heck is going on in the world today that these zealots think they should push theiragenda to this point! Informationis one thing, this is totally another, mind your own business & let the women make their own choice, we don't need you to do it for us!!

  59. Judy Buss

    Amanda Barugh Oh come on, you listen to too many talk shows, you should be able to check for yourself on these issues, we don't need overprotection from a bunch of zealots trying to do away with anything that doesn't agree w/them. Alot of women don't agree with you either, are you going to try to force them not to buy baby formula??

  60. Lola Aileen Vanslette

    Well it did make it convenient, after they were established at breastfeeding, because those stupid pumps they sell don't work too well and the hospital version hurts too much. I didn't go out and buy their formula, so it didn't help the company either way. Once the formula was gone, it was gone, no harm done.

  61. Anonymous

    Joseph Fitzpatrick – how on earth is anyone taking away their freedom to choose by taking away the *free* formula? Are you saying it's not possible to choose to formula feed if you're not given formula for free? That's ridiculous! Formula companies should NOT be allowed to MARKET their formula through hospitals and health care providers- people who the public trusts to have their, and their childrens', health at the foremost of their minds!

  62. Anonymous

    Liz Fiorentino – now we're supposed to be applauded for doing the bare minimum for our children? What a laugh! If you didn't feed your child, s/he would be taken away from you and you'd be brought up on charges! Not exactly the first level of morality there, nor does it indicate being a good mother. Breastfeeding doesn't make one a good mother, but being *willing* to make that effort, even if you don't "feel" like breastfeeding, does say something about your commitment as a mother. Just as not giving your child what has been proven (over and over again, anectdotes be damned) to be the best thing for them, just because you're not *willing* to, says something about your commitment.

  63. Anonymous

    How is Lansinoh the same as formula? Where are all the nipple cream companies vying for their share of the market? Did I miss the studies showing that nipple cream can cause health problems for children? I didn't think so. In case you didn't know, it's not breastfeeding mothers who are against this practice- check out the organizations who are supporting this initiative.

  64. Joseph Fitzpatrick

    wendywgdc
    Formula companies are not sitting there holding a gun to the mother's head and shoving the formula down the throats of new infants. They provide the free samples to hospitals not only to MARKET to the mothers, but to the doctor's and nurses so that they can be evaluated.
    The new mom can say no breast is best and refuse it or they can be used by the family to read nutrition information, solicit medical staff's opinion on the different products, see which ones the baby might like, or if the infant has reactions to a formula they are already in the best place to receive care. Reread this paragraph "Sometimes women reach a point where they need a break, and having formula in the house means that they can rest while someone else feeds the baby" they can use the freebies to get over this hump. The new mom's can get the freebies and toss it in the trash to stick it to the man or give it to someone else. BEING ABLE TO SAY YES OR NO is what makes it a choice by not allowing it YOU take away the mother's choice.