OB handing out formula samples -WWYD?

Subbrock, I've often been thinking along the same lines as you.

The only negative experiences I have heard with regards to BFing, in a medical or social setting, have been from ladies on the web. Its never happened to me in real life or to anyone that I know of. I've nursed anywhere and everywhere with no issues and I've felt very satisfied (if not a little harrassed) by the breastfeeding support that I got from my medical caregivers. Maybe I've not noticed the negative stuff because it didn't impact me.

But I wonder if this is a demographic/regional issue. Canada does seem to be more pro-BF than the US and when I lived in the US, I was in California which was pro-BF even 35 years ago when my Mom had me there. And I come from an immigrant family so BFing is the norm amongst the older the generation.

It makes me sad to know that things are different elsewhere.
Originally Posted by mad scientist
Interesting. The hospital staff were pro-BF, but I have had negative public breast feeding experiences in Canada, from immigrants as well as non-immigrants (the worst was at an East Indian engagement party....) My family are a BFing family and I remember seeing my mama and aunts doing it, so no issues there (though they mostly did not do it past a year and scheduled feeds, so HOW I do it was an issue at first, but now they are totally behind me) but my husband's family are not and none of them BFed their kids. My MIL is the type of immigrant that the formula companies brainwashed. A lot of the immigrant families I know did not BF - it seems to be considered a "white hippie" type of thing by a lot of people.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











rainshower's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 6,000
Poor maternity leaves/people needing to work/poor accomodation of pumping is definitely a huge part of the problem.... but I still don't see those as justification for handing formula to expectant mothers, especially if they DO plan to BF for a few months. They should be encouraged in THAT, and given information about their right to pump, how to keep supply up, etc. NOT formula.
Originally Posted by Amneris
do you think that is the experience of MOST women in OB offices? and i guess this question could be open to everyone, not just amneris.
i hated my OB (him personally, the office staff, nurses, etc were wonderful) but when it actually came time to deliver a different, absoultely wonderful doctor delivered majerle.
my OB asked me ahead of time if i was going to breast or formula feed. and i did make a birth plan, but i never needed it because the hospital staff was wonderful. and even though while in the hospital i used formula, the nurses provided me with a pump and encouraged me to pump to get things going. they had a lactician consultant who visited all the new mothers, gave me plenty of info about breastfeeding, etc.
even before my child was born i was given numerous amounts of literature and information about breastfeeding and LLL. i simply cant relate to all the horror stories of a hospital birth or OBs vs midwifes etc etc.
is that uncommon???
Originally Posted by subbrock
subbrock, it wasn't uncommon for me either. my ob gave me a small paperback book on breastfeeding (not a leaflet) that was part of the free stuff in the new-mom bag that they gave out. and some of the free stuff was coupons for formula or formula samples or formula charts to help you decide which ones maybe best for you. the book had almost all of the most commonly sought-after answers to questions and concerns about breastfeeding. between that book and a video that my friend gave me (she participated in a breastfeeding video production that her hospital created for its new moms who were interested) and the lactation class i was in that was held in my ob's office, i didn't need anymore information about breastfeeding. all of my other questions were answered by me actually breastfeeding and just going through it.

amneris, your position seems to be that that formula should only be used in the event that a mother is physically incapable of producing an adequate amount or the baby has limitations that prohibit it from latching on successfly. that leaves out so many scenarios that aren't so black or white.

i was blessed with no obstacles with breastfeeding, milk production, pumping at work, etc. but i don't have to experience what other women feel to know that it's not as easy for others as it was for me. i'm open-minded enough to know that some women just don't want to do it for their own reasons, which are none of my business.

when you take such a strong stance that even women who bf for short periods should be encouraged to make it work, so to speak, your passion may lose a lot of people who are on the fence and could be positively affected by your views or at the very least, put people off and make them defensive.

just something you may want to consider.
"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
rainshower's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 6,000
Subbrock, I've often been thinking along the same lines as you.

The only negative experiences I have heard with regards to BFing, in a medical or social setting, have been from ladies on the web. Its never happened to me in real life or to anyone that I know of. I've nursed anywhere and everywhere with no issues and I've felt very satisfied (if not a little harrassed) by the breastfeeding support that I got from my medical caregivers. Maybe I've not noticed the negative stuff because it didn't impact me.

But I wonder if this is a demographic/regional issue. Canada does seem to be more pro-BF than the US and when I lived in the US, I was in California which was pro-BF even 35 years ago when my Mom had me there. And I come from an immigrant family so BFing is the norm amongst the older the generation.

It makes me sad to know that things are different elsewhere.
Originally Posted by mad scientist
Interesting. The hospital staff were pro-BF, but I have had negative public breast feeding experiences in Canada, from immigrants as well as non-immigrants (the worst was at an East Indian engagement party....) My family are a BFing family and I remember seeing my mama and aunts doing it, so no issues there (though they mostly did not do it past a year and scheduled feeds, so HOW I do it was an issue at first, but now they are totally behind me) but my husband's family are not and none of them BFed their kids. My MIL is the type of immigrant that the formula companies brainwashed. A lot of the immigrant families I know did not BF - it seems to be considered a "white hippie" type of thing by a lot of people.
Originally Posted by Amneris
i've breastfed publicly plenty of times. it was never an issue for me because when you know how to do it inconspicuously, a person sitting a few feet away from you will not suspect what you are doing at all. i enjoyed breastfeeding. i appreciate the practicality of women's breasts. but i don't care to see any woman in public showing her breast or her chest so that she can breastfeed. i think that some women want to be spectacles, and i think some possibly welcome confrontation so that they can go into a "breasts are fuctional" spiel. i really believe that. i've been shocked to see women at sporting events with a breast hanging out, areola showing. that, to me, is absolutely not necessary to comfortably feed a baby.

my breasts and cleavage are private parts of my body. the fact that i'm engaged in a normal, healthy act like breastfeeding doesn't take away from the fact that i don't want to expose myself. there are plenty of slings, maternity tops, and cradling options that will allow a woman to discreetly nurse her baby in public.
"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
rainshower's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 6,000
i also want to add that you need to be careful about how you distinguish between what is best for baby and what is isn't good enough.

as your child gets older, there are people who will look at your parenting style, including how you discipline them, what you feed them, personal care and household products that you expose them to, language that you use around them, the amount of television you let them view, etc., that may not be considered as good as other parenting methods and choices.

there's always someone who'll have "one up" on you, who'll be passionate about their convictions, and who'll be armed to break down why your style of doing things isn't the best for your kids.

will you be able to take it? will you acquiesce? or will you jump to the defensive at their suggestions?
"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
Subbrock, I've often been thinking along the same lines as you.

The only negative experiences I have heard with regards to BFing, in a medical or social setting, have been from ladies on the web. Its never happened to me in real life or to anyone that I know of. I've nursed anywhere and everywhere with no issues and I've felt very satisfied (if not a little harrassed) by the breastfeeding support that I got from my medical caregivers. Maybe I've not noticed the negative stuff because it didn't impact me.

But I wonder if this is a demographic/regional issue. Canada does seem to be more pro-BF than the US and when I lived in the US, I was in California which was pro-BF even 35 years ago when my Mom had me there. And I come from an immigrant family so BFing is the norm amongst the older the generation.

It makes me sad to know that things are different elsewhere.
Originally Posted by mad scientist
Interesting. The hospital staff were pro-BF, but I have had negative public breast feeding experiences in Canada, from immigrants as well as non-immigrants (the worst was at an East Indian engagement party....) My family are a BFing family and I remember seeing my mama and aunts doing it, so no issues there (though they mostly did not do it past a year and scheduled feeds, so HOW I do it was an issue at first, but now they are totally behind me) but my husband's family are not and none of them BFed their kids. My MIL is the type of immigrant that the formula companies brainwashed. A lot of the immigrant families I know did not BF - it seems to be considered a "white hippie" type of thing by a lot of people.
Originally Posted by Amneris
i've breastfed publicly plenty of times. it was never an issue for me because when you know how to do it inconspicuously, a person sitting a few feet away from you will not suspect what you are doing at all. i enjoyed breastfeeding. i appreciate the practicality of women's breasts. but i don't care to see any woman in public showing her breast or her chest so that she can breastfeed. i think that some women want to be spectacles, and i think some possibly welcome confrontation so that they can go into a "breasts are fuctional" spiel. i really believe that. i've been shocked to see women at sporting events with a breast hanging out, areola showing. that, to me, is absolutely not necessary to comfortably feed a baby.

my breasts and cleavage are private parts of my body. the fact that i'm engaged in a normal, healthy act like breastfeeding doesn't take away from the fact that i don't want to expose myself. there are plenty of slings, maternity tops, and cradling options that will allow a woman to discreetly nurse her baby in public.
Originally Posted by rainshower
Nope, I am not trying to be confrontational or expose myself. I don't wear nursing clothes as I do not like them, and I don't cover my son's head with a blanket as he doesn't like that, but I don't leave myself hanging out either. I just do what I have to do to get him latched on, and he eats - that's it. I don't go out of my way either to cover up or to get exposed. You can't really see anything while he is eating so I don't see the big deal either. We often use the cradle position where the baby covers most of my body - I don't particularly want others to see my less-than-perfect stomach right now!
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











Poor maternity leaves/people needing to work/poor accomodation of pumping is definitely a huge part of the problem.... but I still don't see those as justification for handing formula to expectant mothers, especially if they DO plan to BF for a few months. They should be encouraged in THAT, and given information about their right to pump, how to keep supply up, etc. NOT formula.
Originally Posted by Amneris
do you think that is the experience of MOST women in OB offices? and i guess this question could be open to everyone, not just amneris.
i hated my OB (him personally, the office staff, nurses, etc were wonderful) but when it actually came time to deliver a different, absoultely wonderful doctor delivered majerle.
my OB asked me ahead of time if i was going to breast or formula feed. and i did make a birth plan, but i never needed it because the hospital staff was wonderful. and even though while in the hospital i used formula, the nurses provided me with a pump and encouraged me to pump to get things going. they had a lactician consultant who visited all the new mothers, gave me plenty of info about breastfeeding, etc.
even before my child was born i was given numerous amounts of literature and information about breastfeeding and LLL. i simply cant relate to all the horror stories of a hospital birth or OBs vs midwifes etc etc.
is that uncommon???
Originally Posted by subbrock
subbrock, it wasn't uncommon for me either. my ob gave me a small paperback book on breastfeeding (not a leaflet) that was part of the free stuff in the new-mom bag that they gave out. and some of the free stuff was coupons for formula or formula samples or formula charts to help you decide which ones maybe best for you. the book had almost all of the most commonly sought-after answers to questions and concerns about breastfeeding. between that book and a video that my friend gave me (she participated in a breastfeeding video production that her hospital created for its new moms who were interested) and the lactation class i was in that was held in my ob's office, i didn't need anymore information about breastfeeding. all of my other questions were answered by me actually breastfeeding and just going through it.

amneris, your position seems to be that that formula should only be used in the event that a mother is physically incapable of producing an adequate amount or the baby has limitations that prohibit it from latching on successfly. that leaves out so many scenarios that aren't so black or white.

i was blessed with no obstacles with breastfeeding, milk production, pumping at work, etc. but i don't have to experience what other women feel to know that it's not as easy for others as it was for me. i'm open-minded enough to know that some women just don't want to do it for their own reasons, which are none of my business.

when you take such a strong stance that even women who bf for short periods should be encouraged to make it work, so to speak, your passion may lose a lot of people who are on the fence and could be positively affected by your views or at the very least, put people off and make them defensive.

just something you may want to consider.
Originally Posted by rainshower
Ideally, yes, it is. That's what is best for the health of mother and baby. Yes, I realize that there are other obstacles and biases that prevent this from being the case, so those are what I think we need to break down, instead of accepting them. If maternity leaves are not adequate, then we need to protest that. If employers are not accomodating pumping, then we need to organize and demand rights. If families and partners are not supportive, then they need to be educated. If doctors are pushing formula, then they need to be educated. If people "just don't want to formula feed" then we need to look at some of the messages of our society and culture that would lead people to that conclusion independent of health issues - like the false belief that breastfeeding "ruins your breasts" and the like. And a lot of medical experts say that any BF is better than none and the colostrum in the first couple of days is very important, so yes, I think women should be encouraged to at least try it even if it is only going to be for a few weeks.

No, I am not such a boob (pun intended) as to go around telling individual mothers what to do or that I am better than them or any of the other opinions you're attributing to me. This is a theoretical discussion on a website, not real life and not personal about any particular person and their choices.

Nor was breast feeding necessarily "easy" for me, other than the fact that I am blessed not to have to be working for at least a year. I had my share of frustrations and discomfort with it just like a lot of other people. The one thing I tell people who are struggling with it is that yes, it is hard, it is VERY hard.... but it gets better.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











So here is a first draft of my letter. I've never met the senior OB, as he has been out on long term medical leave (and may not be coming back), so I am addressing this to the OB and MWs that I have seen. I'm not sure who is in charge of the practice now and whether the senior OB is still involved.
Dear X, Y and Z:

One of the reasons I joined your practice when I moved to XXXXXX and was considering having my second child was the fact that the office was so family-friendly, and that XXXXXX Hospital had such a great reputation for being family-friendly and supportive of breastfeeding. I've been very happy with all my visits and prenatal care thus far. But it was definitely a surprise and a disappointment when I was given a Similac bag, complete with formula sample, at a recent visit (I think it was my 30 week). I'm concerned because this was handed out without any prior discussion of feeding choices, and without any literature about breastfeeding benefits, information and resources. This gift is not a personal issue for me, I breastfed my son for 25 months, I am committed to breastfeeding my baby, and I know where to get help; I know I don't need formula in our house, so I just took out the sample bottle and gave it back to the nurse. But I think, to someone who has not made up her mind and is not quite as informed, this gift sends the message that your office recommends formula feeding over breastfeeding, and that it recommends Similac over other formula brands.

I don't have much of an issue with formula samples given to women who really want it and make an informed choice to use it. I hate seeing it given out by default without discussion or a presentation of the scientific facts. Despite all the talk of "breast is best", I think our culture in the US makes difficult for women to breastfeed successfully, as is evidenced by the low exclusive breastfeeding rates at 3 and 6 months postpartum. As health professionals, I know that you are looking after the total health and well being of the women you treat and the babies you bring into the world. What those babies eat matters. Please be aware of the unspoken message that you are sending to their mothers.


Sincerely,



Geeky

To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
I think that that is an excellent letter, geeky, and it covers all the important points. I like the point about the doctors promoting a specific BRAND of formula.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











I think writing a letter explaining the impression it gives would be very appropriate.


I grew up knowing my mom had breastfed us, and that it was a struggle for her with my brother but she was determined because it was healthier for him. I didn't really know until postings on this board that a lot of people don't know that breastfeeding's healthier for the baby (assuming there isn't some reason it can't be done, of course) and that people would simply not bother to try without reason. I thought all women at least tried, and there were options out there which are constantly improving if for some reason it didn't work.

I'd imagine women who grew up in a different environment would have nowhere near the perspective I do, though, and so you're right - it may send women who aren't gung-ho on breastfeeding the message that they shouldn't even try.
The pews never miss a sermon but that doesn't get them one step closer to Heaven.
-Speckla

But at least the pews never attend yoga!
very well stated Geeky. I can't wait to hear their response.

I'm always astonished that health practitioners who have no issue telling us what is acceptable and not acceptable during pregnancy (to the point of obnoxiousness sometimes) have an issue with not educating their patients regarding the benefits of breastfeeding. I think it's part the formula companies and part them being afraid of those patients who may be offended by such a suggestion.

Also pediatricians, who suggest all sorts of decisions regarding health issues in your child from solid feeding, sleeping and even vaccines and yet sometimes seem soooooo afraid to tell a mom that breastfeeding would benefit her child.

I think if the medical community embraced breastfeeding and actually endorsed it in a practical manner and not just from the lips out more women would have a chance at a nursing relationship.
also, another issue in them handing out whatever brand given to them and parents keeping that brand in their house is that several brands of formula have corn syrup in them.

Ideally if a parent chooses to formula feed or they want to keep it in mind as a backup plan then they would research which formula to use. My friend adopted a baby who was not formally adopted until she was 7 months old. She wanted to put her on an organic formula only to find that the baby was quite used to her corn syrup filled formula and was not budging.
I think your letter sounds great, Geeky. Let us know if you get a response.



amneris, your position seems to be that that formula should only be used in the event that a mother is physically incapable of producing an adequate amount or the baby has limitations that prohibit it from latching on successfly. that leaves out so many scenarios that aren't so black or white.

Originally Posted by rainshower
Ideally, yes, it is. That's what is best for the health of mother and baby. Yes, I realize that there are other obstacles and biases that prevent this from being the case, so those are what I think we need to break down, instead of accepting them. If maternity leaves are not adequate, then we need to protest that. If employers are not accomodating pumping, then we need to organize and demand rights. If families and partners are not supportive, then they need to be educated. If doctors are pushing formula, then they need to be educated. If people "just don't want to formula feed" then we need to look at some of the messages of our society and culture that would lead people to that conclusion independent of health issues - like the false belief that breastfeeding "ruins your breasts" and the like. And a lot of medical experts say that any BF is better than none and the colostrum in the first couple of days is very important, so yes, I think women should be encouraged to at least try it even if it is only going to be for a few weeks.
Originally Posted by Amneris
If we are talking about public health and the role of doctors and health care professionals, then I agree with Amneris here. There is overwhelming evidence that breastfeeding is the best, health wise, so why should we accept doctors pushing formula routinely? They should only offer samples to women who need to use it, or request it.

I understand that people choose formula for other reasons, besides health concerns. But doctors should be primarily concerned with health. Doctors give out samples of prescription drugs to people who might benefit from them. They don't give them out to every patient who comes into their office. Yet that is what some OBs do with formula--they hand out samples when it is not medically appropriate.

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