Family Matters

What Mitt Romney Has to Do with Breast-Feeding and Infant Formula

Massachusetts has become the second state in the country whose hospitals ban free formula gifts to new moms — more than six years after then-Gov. Mitt Romney overturned the state's first attempt to institute a ban. What happened?

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If ever there were proof that breast-feeding is a political issue, consider what appears to be a most unusual association between presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the right of new moms in Massachusetts not to be influenced by free hospital giveaways of infant formula, which serve to discourage women from breast-feeding.

On Wednesday, a coalition of breast-feeding advocates will gather at the Massachusetts State House to celebrate the state becoming the second in the nation whose hospitals have banned the distribution of formula goodie bags to mothers who’ve just given birth. There will be cake and coffee, speeches from the medical director of the state Department of Public Health (DPH) and other supporters, all taking place beneath a banner that reads: “Why are hospitals marketing baby formula? Give the bag the boot.”

“Among breast-feeding advocates, this has always been a thorn in our side,” says Melissa Bartick, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and chair of the state’s breast-feeding coalition. “It seems so hopeless to fight against these formula companies, but at the same time, hospitals are marketing baby formula, which undermines breast-feeding and sends a poor message. What’s amazing is that we have been able to stand up to corporate interests in the name of public health.”

Rhode Island, with seven maternity hospitals, set the stage in 2011; Massachusetts has followed in its footsteps, successfully persuading its 49 maternity hospitals that gifting free formula to new moms at a time when the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Academy of Pediatrics have made breast-feeding a public-health priority doesn’t seem very intuitive.

(MORE: Fewer Hospitals Hand Out Free Formula to New Moms)

Of course, whether you believe that receiving free formula as a hospital goodbye gift represents a conflict of interest varies widely. Peggy O’Mara, editor-in-chief of Mothering magazine, has criticized the practice:

It is naïve to believe that the formula industry’s distribution of formula to you is an innocent gift. A “gift” of formula is like a “gift” of a pack of cigarettes when you’re trying to quit smoking; it will undermine your resolve. The formula company has bought your name and address from the hospital, without your knowledge, and will now solicit you for sales. Do you really want this commercial intrusion into your life?

But Mitt Romney, who was governor of Massachusetts when DPH first tried to ban the freebies in Dec. 2005, disagreed. His spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, told the Boston Globe a few months later, in Feb. 2006, that the decision to accept formula swag bags should be up to each individual mother:

“We’re not disputing the health benefits of breast-feeding, but we think that new mothers should make that choice. If they choose to bottle-feed, they should be supported in that decision.”

With Romney seeking the presidency, breast-feeding supporters in Massachusetts now find themselves rehashing what transpired in early 2006, when the then-Governor reversed DPH’s decision to discontinue the free-formula practice; he replaced three Public Health Council members who expressed displeasure over the ban’s reversal. Then, within days, came an announcement from Bristol-Myers Squibb — whose Mead Johnson Nutrition unit makes Enfamil formula — that it would build a pharmaceutical plant in the state.

Did Gov. Romney put the kibosh on the formula ban in order to woo Bristol-Myers Squibb? Romney’s press team did not respond to requests for comment. But Michelle Nicholasen, a former Frontline producer turned freelance journalist, has spent six months investigating the chronology. “What caused the abrupt change in the administration?” says Nicholasen. “All signs point to Bristol-Myers coming to town.”

Bartick is even more blunt about her assessment of Romney, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. “We thought that Mitt Romney sold out the health of mothers and babies in Massachusetts to burnish his presidential resume,” she says.

(MORE: Bring Back the Binky? Study Finds Pacifiers Actually Boost Breast-Feeding)

Frustrated but not about to give up, Bartick and other breast-feeding advocates launched Ban the Bags in July 2006, creating a website and soliciting donations to help hospital employees lobby against the formula-laden diaper bags nationwide. Once Romney left office in 2007, the advocates partnered with Massachusetts’ DPH and actively worked to get hospitals on board.

So far, more than 600 hospitals across the country have signed on, according to Ban the Bags — just a fraction of the nation’s maternity hospitals. A study published last year in Pediatrics found that just a quarter of U.S. maternity hospitals have banned formula bags, though that’s an increase from 2007 when just 14% did. Indeed, “banning the bags” has increasingly become a point of pride, with hospitals issuing press releases when they opt not to gift free formula.

Some of the newfound interest may reflect the health care industry’s “general ethical shift away from giving stuff out,” Anne Merewood, the study’s senior author, told Healthland last year. But researchers have also played a role, finding that new moms who get free formula may be less successful at breast-feeding.

As Merewood noted:

“Someone might go home from the hospital determined to breast-feed, but if there’s formula sitting right there, they are more likely to use it. If it’s being endorsed by hospitals, people think there can’t be anything wrong with it.”

MORE: Why Most Moms Don’t Reach Their Own Breast-Feeding Goals

50 comments
Honeybunny2010
Honeybunny2010

I love how these anti formula activists

totally ignore the issue of ADOPTION.

coffeemom
coffeemom

@Honeybunny2010 

With a lot of time and work, many adoptive moms are able to induce lactation to breastfeed their adopted baby.  If this does not work out or if the time and effort required is too much for the mom, then donated breastmilk is the second best option.

rebma108
rebma108 like.author.displayName 1 Like

And which "forced" vaccines are we talking about?  Please don't assume that just because I vaccinate means I haven't done my research.  I know there are nasty things in vaccines.  But I also know that vaccines save lives, so I've made my decision.  I don't think you're bad for formula feeding, so don't judge me for vaccinating.

coffeemom
coffeemom

@rebma108  I vaccinated all three of my kids :-)  Now I guess they are going to turn purple with green polka dots and become ill-behaved according to many expert playground moms in my neighborhood.  oh well.

rebma108
rebma108

Good grief people!  If we want more people to breastfeed, then maybe instead of banning goody bags, we educate people!  I read up a lot on breastfeeding and took a breastfeeding class before having my baby, but I was still fairly clueless about it.  I had no idea my boobs would hurt so bad in the beginning!  Or that it would take her an hour to eat...and she would eat every two hours that first week.  Guess what, I had a TON of formula given to me from the hospital amp; sent to me in the mail and I NEVER used it.  I breastfed my baby till she self-weaned at 14.5 months.  I know that a lot of people just don't have the support to continue breastfeeding.  Honestly, if my husband hadn't been super supportive I probably would've quit several times.

coffeemom
coffeemom

  Good for you, you were marketed to and resisted the pressure to use formula. Most moms don't. That's a fact.  And why didn't anyone tell you how to PREVENT all of the issues that you had with breastfeeding?  Engorgement is something easily prevented with ACCURATE information BEFORE having the baby.  An hour to eat?  Sounds more like she snacked for a minute then passed out and used you like a pacifier for the other fifty nine minutes.  Someone should have taught you how to prevent that.  Eating every two hours in the first week, yep, that's normal.  Breastmilk simply digests faster than formula.  They didn't cover this in the breastfeeding class?  These are the basics, not the complicated stuff.  And you are right, support really makes a huge difference :-)

mommyof3grls
mommyof3grls

OMGOSH!!!!!! I can't believe I'm reading this crap!!!!!!!!!!!!! My gosh I don't think that formula is going to kill a child!!!!!!!! Some people have a hard time breast feeding......so to each their own!!!!!!! I know Obama is president but the last time I looked this is a free country (FOR NOW).......

Brandi Nicole Jordan
Brandi Nicole Jordan

How do all the holier than thou breastfeeding advocates feel about forced vaccinations?? Chemical laden formula is the worst thing but what about chemicals and toxins that are in state mandated vaccines?

That's real food for thought.  

Brandi Nicole Jordan
Brandi Nicole Jordan

This is absurd... It's my right to feed my child however I deem fit. I was unable to breastfeed and knew that shortly after learning I was pregnant. Even before I knew this fact, I did not think that breastfeeding was anything I would want to do. It's not for me and that's my choice as a women and mother. Period.

 My VERY VERY healthy, smart, happy, little boy has been formula fed since day one. I am not a bad mother, nor are any mothers who elect to formula feed their infants.  I am aphaulled at the people that push their ideals on others and deem mothers like myself as bad or less nurturing parents because we formula fed.

 

Khrystal Marie Johnson
Khrystal Marie Johnson

I was a strictly breastfeeding mommy for a proud 19 months with my son, and when he was in the NICU for the first 6 days of his life, if I wasn't there to breastfeed him, or if there wasn't any breast milk already stored for him, then they would give him Enfamil ready made bottles. I didn't personally find a problem with it, I feel it is a personal choice because I know mothers who just don't want to breastfeed, despite all of the health benefits. I am very much for breastfeeding, but I don;t think that the fact that Mitt Romney stated it's the personal choice of the mother should be held against him in a presidential election. There are more severe issues out there then whether a hospital is distributing free formula to new mothers as a financial gain or the formula company is using these "gifts" as a way to gain consumer information. If the hospital sells the new mommy's information, that needs to be taken up with the hospital. I received these "swag bags" and not once did I get a call or email about the formula I received in the hospital, nor did I use the formula they gave me. I did utilize the bottle bag I was given to carry my frozen breast milk to the NICU, and then home when my baby was finally released from the hospital. All in all, I do feel it is the personal choice of the mother whether she uses formula or breastfeeds, I won't criticize a fellow mother for it though.

marbear1
marbear1

Why do people feel like they need a free gift when they go to the hospital to have a baby?  Shouldn't the healthy baby be it?

Stephanie York Benson
Stephanie York Benson

Not saying I disagree with getting rid of the samples in hospitals, but if just having formula in your house sways you away from breastfeeding, then you probably wouldn't have stuck with it much anyway. I received all kinds of formula samples. Never even thought about even trying them - still breastfeeding my (almost) 10 mo. old.

lboze
lboze

I made the decision to breast feed my children as long as they would let me while my children were not even a sparkle in my eye. Even so, I received NUMEROUS samples of formula during both pregnancies, and never used one. I ended up giving them to a friend who was not successful in her breastfeeding attempts. If you are committed to your decision to breastfeed, and understand that it can be painful and difficult and will never be on YOUR schedule, IMHO, no amount of formula samples will shake that commitment.

coffeemom
coffeemom

@lboze Breastfeeding is not supposed to be painful. 

Michelle
Michelle

Seriously? As a mom, I decided to breastfeed. Magazines, shops, blogs - you name it - gave me free samples of formula. Guess what - I have a brain and I had made the decision to breastfeed, and giving me samples didn't cross me over to the 'dark side'. It's formula, people, not cocaine!

In fact, when my supply was low, or I needed to sleep those free formula sachets came in awfully handy. They didn't interrupt by breastfeeding, but they did make some hard early-motherhood moments easier. 

You'd think, from the way people were reacting, that new mothers are all brainless and uneducated. 

Why not just give new moms the choice? If the formula in the goodie bag is offensive to them - then they are free to leave it at the hospital.

There MUST be more pressing issues in this for which to get our knickers in a knot, surely. Talk about first-world problems...

Elizabeth Feather
Elizabeth Feather like.author.displayName 1 Like

It's not about being offended, it's the booby-trap these formula companies are setting the women up for. When a new mother is tired or believes that free formula is just as good as her milk (which ofcourse it isn't) then she is more likely to use it and risk problems for the baby and milk supply.

X ZEE
X ZEE

Like Michelle already stated, a woman who has made the conscious effort to breastfeed is likely to have done her research and already know that breast  is best and will not be easily deterred because of the 'booby trap' the formula companies are setting as you say.  

Like any new mother I was tired and guess what I never reached for the formula. I am very fortunate that I never had issues with BF. But you better believe if I had, I would have used the formula.  

And another thing, using formula once or twice does not risk problems for your milk supply.  

Most new moms have so much stress, please stop giving them so much grief about choosing formula over BF. Its a CHOICE. 

coffeemom
coffeemom

  nope. not if the information that she received is outdated. and breastfeeding is the current women's issue of our time, just like voting used to be. problem is, there is a ton of breastfeeding benefits info out there, but most information on how to PREVENT common issues is sorely lacking or very inaccurate. If the information on how to successfully reach breastfeeding goals was as accurate as the benefits, then waaaaaay more moms would reach their breastfeeding goals. ACCURATE breastfeeding information is actually hard to find, even online. Most stuff available online is someone's opinion or guesswork on breastfeeding. Then there is the limited (read; not entirely helpful) information from the formula companies. Really, if they weren't competing with breastfeeding, then where is the information on the can for using their product WITHOUT causing nipple confusion? And only a few moms research breastfeeding (far more breastfeeding success by taking a class from an accredited IBCLC). Most moms figure that it's natural and doesn't require instruction. Going pee is natural too, yet our parents/caregivers helped us how to do it properly.  Even housecats need help finding the litterbox the first couple of times.

Luka16
Luka16

So I guess the moral of the story here is that Romney is anti-breast milk, anti-woman, pro making babies sick, and of course corrupt for "trading" a new manufacturing plant in exchange for preventing a ban on infant formula in MA hospitals. Are you serious?  

What a complete and utter stretch. How is this even a story? 

Let's for a moment set aside the validity of breast feeding vs. formula. I don't think there is much of an argument there as to which one is better. However, one does have to realize that there are circumstance when breast feeding is not an option, or it serves as a temporary stopgap for moms. 

But claiming that then-Governor Romney changed his position because of a new manufacturing plant (which, I would note, was likely in the works for months if not years before the Romney administration) is absurd. 

The real story here is that Governor Romney, to no ones surprise, felt like a ban on infant formula in hospitals was probably a bit heavy handed; not a stretch position for a Republican, even one in MA. 

And the quote from the Harvard Medical School official and head of the breastfeeding coalition that "...Romney sold out the health of mothers and babies in Massachusetts to burnish his presidential resume" is pure and utter hyperbole. What an absurd article. 

Maria Parlapiano
Maria Parlapiano

The role of the politician is to keep the industry peeps happy.  So if something is perceived as "taken away" something else is "given' in return.   Deals are made everyday.  

Also this is not a breastfeeding vs formula feeding issue.    ALL babies and mothers are at risk when profits are put before people.  

Most parents assume  the formula industry is accountable to the FDA for their products and their manner of marketing so their products must be safe and healthful  but unfortunately formula companies spend millions of dollars per year lobbying against regulation and taxation - meaning they are free to make what they want and market as they like. 

You see, all those "free" samples are not really free.  That "marketing" cost is built into the price of the formula at the store.  The formula itself is very cheap.  The cheapest possbile ingredients are used (not the healthiest-that's too expensive), it is manufactured in the cheapest possible way, packaged as cheaply as possible.  Yet marketed to parents as a premium, top quality product,  sold at a premium  price.  Why?  Because they can.  They are accountable to no one!  So they will say and do anything to get you to buy their products- using language that is calculated to mislead!  Like making unvalid health claims - comparing their formula to breatmilk etc.  They also know that parents will spend as much money as they can to buy the "best" formula for their baby.  "Best" meaning most expensive.  So they "pad" the price.

This is what the argument is about.  A Billion Dollar Industry who takes advantage of people at the most vulnerable time of their lives ( with the blessing and help of the medical establishment and politicians),  all in the name of money.  Whether it's a mom/baby who wanted to breastfeed but were sabotaged or a mom/ baby who formula feed at great physical and financial expense- doesn't matter they all pay the price. 

So instead of fighting amongst ourselves- let's direct our anger and efforts toward the true culprits- the formula industry and those in power who protect and enable them.

Steven Janiszewski
Steven Janiszewski

Mitt

Romney is worse than his record at Bain, his running the S.LC. Winter

Olympics, or his tax returns can reveal. As a Mormon, Romney

worships Mammon. He doesn't care about anything else. If elected,

he would dismantle the federal government and restructure (destroy)

the economy. His kleptocratic administration would make his exploits

at Bain look like acts of compassion. To gain an existential

understanding of the cult that produced Mitt Romney, and to get your

socks scared, off read The Assassination of Spiro Agnew, available

at:

www.amazon.com/Assassination-S...

It dramatizes the Mormon superiority

complex manifesting as racism, sexism, jingoism, and an anti-federal

government temperament.

It shows the similarities

between Islam and Mormonism and reveals the secrets of Mormon

mind control.

Here's a review:

“With a clarity of language and

vision unsurpassed in contemporary American prose, Steven

Janiszewski's Assassination of Spiro Agnew takes us into a

U.S. mazed with madness and Mormonism and all things Utah, a U.S.

that was then and still is. Do we need a novel, even as brilliant as

this one, about a young man on a divine mission to assassinate the

Vice President because he is too liberal? Yes, now more than ever.

Readers, welcome to a masterpiece.”

Tom Whalen

www.tomwhalen.com

Everyone should read The

Assassination of Spiro Agnew.

Type your comment here.

tedgreiner
tedgreiner

Back before they started getting criticism for their marketing practice, in an annual report Abbott Labs (makers of Similac) bragged to shareholders that 95% of women who got a free sample in their maternity hospital, went on to buy it. In what universe is that a good thing?!

Shan Kelly
Shan Kelly

Hi Ted, It's not just the High Fructose Corn Syrup or other dodgy ingredients that make formula bad for babies'  and mothers' health. It's also what the formula is mixed with. 

Harvard researchers have just released a report (July 22 2012) showing that Fluoride being added to tap water is  probably very damaging to babies brain development.   By not breastfeeding, new Mums will also keep baby weight longer, which can lead to lots of other health issues.  Here in Ireland, we are the only country in Europe with a government  so backward  that it has a mandatory  water fluoridation policy. We are fighting this by suing the government, which also refuses to warn new mothers about the dangers of  giving newborns formula made with toxic  fluoridated water. 

St.Jon Clark
St.Jon Clark

My oh my,

By some of these comments you'd think it was difficult for new or expectant mothers to get free samples of infant formula. Sadly it is all too easy. There are entire magazines targeted at parents-to-be sponsored by formula manufacturers that will send you samples and coupons prior to and after your child's birth. While people who have spent a lot of time to actively educate themselves on the benefits of breastfeeding and can, in fact, breastfeed without any health issues, may do so, many of the youngest, poorest, least educated don't. The people who can least afford to buy formula or have their children be put at the physical and mental disadvantage formula provides end up using formula because they believe the marketing and the tacit endorsement of the hospital goody bag. I have no doubt that hospitals will still provide new mothers who are unable to breastfeed with some samples of formula. This simply removes the practice of pushing/aggressive marketing of the less nutritious alternative in a "gift bag" that isn't some sort of requirement that a hospital provide. The regulation is to protect consumers because it's saying you can't use the vehicle of "good will" or "gifting" to push your product on a vulnerable new family. Basically corporations aren't people, are only motivated by profit, have no shame, class or morals and so things like RULES and LAWS have to be created to keep them from doing unethical things. 

Teresa Fairchild
Teresa Fairchild

This is stupid.  I am still breast feeding my 9 month old, but for the first week when I wasn't producing enough, I fed him the formula the hospital gave me.  Then, when I was stressed out and sleep deprived and had depleted my frozen milk supplies my husband would occasionally let me sleep an extra hour or so by giving my baby a bottle of formula.  When my mom is watching him and he's drunk up all the milk I pumped for him that day, she will give him a bottle of formula.  

It's not poison.  It's a valuable resource of food that I found very helpful.  And having it given to me free--just sitting in my kitchen--made it a lot easier to just use once in a while when I needed a break.  If someone is committed to breast feeding they will breast feed whether they have formula given to them or not.

Carrie J. Ingram
Carrie J. Ingram

I am sure you were making enough milk...that is the thing moms think they are not making enough. Nurses tell them this, give babies bottles and pacifiers in the hospital. Tey tell mom to pump and it gives her a sense of dispair when not much comes out. Pumps do not give what baby gets! It is sad that a mom would resort to fake nutriician when the healthy real stuff is right there and it is what baby wants!!

Alycia Cove
Alycia Cove

Who told you you weren't making enough milk that first week? I would put money on the fact that you were making enough and your milk just hadn't come in yet. Babies don't need an abundance of breastmilk tha first week. The rich colostrum is plenty. You are very lucky that you were able to continue breastfeeding after supplementing so early on and I think its great that you're still breastfeedingyour baby. But its mis information like that that breastfeeding is so less common now. Formula is not poison but it's still not best. Unless you truly can't breastfeeding due to a phyiscal issue or medications  etc the breast should be the sole source of nutrition. Then donated breastmilk. And then formula.

Its not like hospitals with this ban are saying mothers can't formula feed. If a baby truly needs it I'm sure it will be provided. But if a mom just wants to FF just because, well then she can bring her own formula to the hospital. Hospitals should NOT be marketing like that.

Elizabeth Feather
Elizabeth Feather

You more than likely had more than enough supply and your baby nursing works to increase that supply. Supplementing would only hurt that.

krysclary
krysclary

read the list of ingredients on the back or the formula can.  How much High Fructose corn syrup is in it?  How many chemicals? how many ingredient names that you can not pronounce and do not know what are?  Formula, is in fact, very much like a poison.  One that we have no adequate data to suggest will NOT cause serious health issues for them int he future.  just because it gets the job done now and is easy doesn't make it a valuable resource.

Brandi Nicole Jordan
Brandi Nicole Jordan

and chemical and toxic laden vaccines??? Have you read the ingredients on those labels??? I'll take a formula fed vaccine free childhood for my offspring. Thank you.

Walter Kolczynski
Walter Kolczynski

"Containing chemicals" is not inherently bad. Do you have any evidence that the chemicals, in the doses given, cause any ill effects at all?

Carrie J. Ingram
Carrie J. Ingram

yes actually there are many stdies done on HFCS and other chemicals in the formula that say they are carcenogens and dangerous. There are NO studies that say they are OK, no studies on the amounts, so by your idea that that since there are no studies to show the doses are high enough is stupid. THere are so many studies that show formula leads to higher rates of illness, water weight, etc etc etc.... formula is very bad for your child in every aspect! Just because it is on the market does nto mean it is safe, benificial or healthy!

Kate Rayola
Kate Rayola

By supplementing even 1 feeding you sabotaged your supply, you do know that right?   I struggled for 2-3 months when I first started breastfeeding my son, and I made the same mistake.  Thankfully (and much to our dismay) my son became colic every time we supplemented with formula because "I wasn't producing enough" (strange to me how that is such a common statement).  Some women don't produce a lot of milk when pumping vs when the child is suckling also. I know I produced more when he was on me than I did with a pump.  They say to use some old baby clothes or think of your baby while you pump to trigger your letdown reflex and this never worked for me.

So it was either deal with the pain and frustration of letting him suckle for 1-2 hours straight (which basically meant he was attached to my boob 24/7 because they need to eat every 2-3 hours) or deal with him crying non-stop throughout the night because I gave him 1 bottle of formula.  Obviously I just let him suckle and I bought stock in lanolin and cold compresses and I became an expert at sleeping in an upright position whilst holding a nursing baby.  I regret to this day letting anyone lead me to believe I wasn't producing enough milk for my son because my body knew better than my brain.

Formula is poison by the way, it's just marketed very well to lead you to believe otherwise.

Paul Cuff
Paul Cuff

I'm glad to see Mitt Romney did the right thing and forced the free market to solve the problem.  We know they can, and it looks like they started moving in the right direction, thanks to Romney keeping the government out of it.  That's the way we solve problems in a free country.

half_glass_full
half_glass_full

How nice would it be to live in your alternate reality, Paul. 

Luka16
Luka16

Personally, I like Paul's alternative reality.

charlie468
charlie468

So its ok for the government to be involved in enticing a pharma company to build a plant but it is not ok for government to adopt regulations affecting the health of babies. Is that your argument? Worse yet, did they trade off the latter for the former?

Paul Cuff
Paul Cuff

It's not at all clear what arrangement Romney made with the pharma company (BMS), except that this author wants to throw vague skepticism at Romney's motives.  Would I be opposed if Romney forced hospitals to give out baby formula as part of a deal with BMS?  Absolutely!  Would I be upset if I found out Romney made the right choice on this only because he wanted to get BMS to Massachusetts?  I would be disappointed that he wasn't ready to make that choice regardless of BMS.

Luka16
Luka16

One is a carrot, and one is a stick. 

Jeepjeep1
Jeepjeep1

I agree, the real problem is the government banning this.  It is one thing to have hospitals choose to remove them from the bag (I have no problem with that) but I see a danger in the government forbiding something that does not have a direct healt threat.  I am sure breastfeeding activists would disagree  but formula, while not the best choice, for some people is the only choice.  When my wife got sick and could no longer breastfeed my mother in law threw out the formula and told me that if I did not find someone to breast feed my daughter (a surrogate), she was going to have her taken away.  I kicked her out.  When she did file in her papers she said I was killing my daugther with the toxic poison.  She breastfeed my wife til she was 6 years old. 

Carrie J. Ingram
Carrie J. Ingram

I agree, there are milk banks and wet nurses, that was the best and should of been first option for you in that situation! I have friends that would nurse my little one if that ever happened and there are milk banks. Mine is now 2 and I would still have him wet nursed if I could not. You throwing her out was horrible when all she was thinking of was your daughter. She truly showed she cared about her well being! Obvioussly you did not, I am taking it you were formula fed or have the thought process that formula is just as good. I can tell you it is not!

Elizabeth Feather
Elizabeth Feather

Your MIL was on to something. I've always told my husband that if something were to ever happen to me that he better find donor milk because I refuse to give my children nasty formula.

Bonnie Rochman
Bonnie Rochman

The state did not ban the distribution of free formula at hospitals. Hospitals voluntarily agreed to stop the practice of proactively gifting formula to new moms. If moms need formula, they can still get it. 

charlie468
charlie468

I cannot tell from the article if the government "banned" the practice?

Crunchy Con Mommy
Crunchy Con Mommy

That is terrible! I'm sorry you had that awful experience. I actually would consider myself a breastfeeding activist, and I didn't feed my son a drop of formula, but I know that I was lucky to be in a position to do that. Anyway, just wanted to assure you that not all breastfeeding activists are like that-all the ones I know are very supportive of all moms, and just want to make sure they are making educated decisions and not just choosing formula because they lack support. There are lots of good reasons to choose formula and it saves many many lives-and it sounds like your daughter was one of them!!

Carrie J. Ingram
Carrie J. Ingram

TO say formula "Saved" the babies life is rediculous. THere are many other options that should become formula in that situation, wet nurse, milk banks, homemade formula that has NO chemicals in it, fresh goats milk. Those are all better and safer options before formula should be given! It did nto save her it was given to her, there is a difference! Health should be the main goal and priority always! It is sad that people think formula is the mix step if breastmilk is unavailable. If you want to talk about education and support then educate mamas on the other options and theri importance always over formula. IMHO

Crunchy Con Mommy
Crunchy Con Mommy

Formula freebies shouldn't be automatically given to all moms, but I don't think the government should ban them either. As long as our hospitals and doctors are pushing formula, breastfeeding doesn't have much chance of becoming the norm, even if all formula freebies were banned!