Breast Feeding 'Affirmative Action'

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2012
Breast Feeding 'Affirmative Action'
23
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 1:25am
Ok, once again I can't remember where I read the news story, buf maybe one of you can post the link about the NY policy of locking up formula in hospitals and treating it as medicine? That includes lectures on breastfeeding when requesting(!) formula and no more 'gift' bags or giveaways with formula company logos. So what do think - a great move for public health or a move against personal choice?

- JM

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Community Leader
Registered: 02-06-2006
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 6:48am
Here's a link to an article discussing this part of "Latch On NYC."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/bloombergs-breast-feeding-latch-on-nyc-hospitals-hide-baby-formula_n_1718664.html?utm_hp_ref=new-york

My thoughts are that I think it's fine if they no longer "give" away formula in hospitals. It's a marketing ploy by formula companies which truly does quite a bit to undermine breastfeeding....think about it, big companies don't just give away products in the millions just to be "nice." If they weren't getting a huge return on that investment, they wouldn't do it.

And hospitals shouldn't be in the business of promoting commercial products in that way. It just seems really shady to me that hospitals would be so firmly in the back pocket of Nestle and the like. Bad enough that they're in bed with big pharma.

But the "talking to" bit? Not cool with that. If you indicate you will be formula feeding and request it, that should be the end of that. No questioning, lecturing, second guessing your choice, etc. It's maddening to me how women are STILL treated like children with regard to knowing our own mind when it comes to our bodies during & shortly after pregnancy.

Are there women who don't research and come to a decision fully informed? Who just decide, "oh I'll do what everyone I know is doing." Sure. Are there women who might be swayed into trying breastfeeding by getting a "talk" in the hospital when the request that first bottle? Probably. But the premise that ALL formula feeding women are idiots who need a "talking to" is condescending and infuriating to me. More nanny-state garbage from Mayor "no more big sodas in my city" Bloomberg."

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2008
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 10:17am
Frankly--the WHO and Unicef have been working on a breastfeeding iniative to ban formula from hospitals unless medically necessary for YEARS. From the website:

The Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding

The BFHI promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO. The steps for the United States are:

1 - Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2 - Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3 - Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4 - Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5 - Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6 - Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
7 - Practice “rooming in”-- allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8 - Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9 - Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
10 - Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic
(http://babyfriendlyusa.org/eng/10steps.html)

By that statement, a hospital who is complying with the World Health Organization won't provide formula even if a mother requests it. Personally, I feel that if a family has made the choice to feed formula, they should bring it themselves.

As for the "talking to," if it's done in a way that isn't judgmental, that's one thing. And there are a lot of moms who haven't done the research, but just choose formula because it's what everyone else they know did.
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Avatar for cupcakebabe
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-09-2011
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 12:41pm

I want to know where all these concerned people are with the health of infants and making sure they are breastfed when their parents are beating the living daylights out of them or abusing them in some other way. Oh, but it's ok, right, because they breastfed them. It's only the formula feeding parents who are bad guys

"9 - Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants."

A pacifier has shown in studies to lower the rate of SIDS.

I personally believe that if you are going to breastfeed then you should bring your own lactation consultant. Fair is fair. If I'm paying for my own formula to use in the hospital then you should pay for your own consultant. 

And that this is all a brain child of Bloomberg speaks volumes, lol.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2008
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 12:51pm
The reason hospitals shouldn't offer pacifiers is because mom really needs to build her supply, which suckling at the breast stimulates. The use of artificial nipples can cause milk issues. There's nothing wrong with a soother of some sort after several weeks when breastfeeding is well-established.

I did pay for the lactation consultant. She's employed by the hospital, but it is itemized in the bill.

And considering doctors and nurses have to report if they suspect abuse, I'm not sure at what your first claim is getting. Obviously, breastfeeding and abuse are no more linked than formula and no abuse.

Oh, and this isn't just a Bloomberg thing. Formula handouts have already been banned in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The following link has a list of hospitals across the country that have also chosen to adhere to the Baby-Friendly standards:

http://babyfriendlyusa.org/eng/03.html
by sara photo sigbysara.jpg
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2008
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 12:59pm

I found the actual link to the initiative by New York City, which reads pretty differently than the Huffington Post article.
http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/pr2012/pr013-12.shtml

     

May 9, 2012 – New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley today launched “Latch On NYC,” a new citywide initiative to support mothers who breastfeed their infants by asking city maternity hospitals to voluntarily sign on to support a mother’s choice to breastfeed and limit the promotion of infant formula in their facilities which can interfere with that decision. Twelve private New York City hospitals have already made the commitment and all 11 public hospitals run by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation also joined “Latch On NYC,” going beyond the significant steps they previously took to support breastfeeding when they banned formula from gift bags and promotional materials in 2007. Additionally, a new Health Department subway and hospital poster campaign showing the benefits of breast milk, such as reducing the risk of ear infections, diarrhea, and pneumonia, will launch next week. Commissioner Farley made the announcement at Harlem Hospital, the city’s first Baby Friendly Hospital, where he was joined by New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation president Alan D. Aviles and other executives representing more than half of all maternity hospitals in New York City.

“Human breast milk is best for babies and mothers,” said Commissioner Farley. “When babies receive supplementary formula in the hospital or mothers receive promotional baby formula on hospital discharge it can impede the establishment of an adequate milk supply and can undermine women’s confidence in breastfeeding. With this initiative the New York City health community is joining together to support mothers who choose to breastfeed.”

"HHC has been banning formula from gift bags and promotional materials from our labor and delivery units since 2007,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles. “We are proud to have been a leader in supporting and educating mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding. We are committed to doing all we can to improve the health of the littlest New Yorkers and encourage the use of mother’s milk for the 22,000 babies born in our hospitals each year."

“Mothers who choose to breastfeed their baby are making a healthy choice for their child and themselves,” said State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah. “We commend Dr. Farley and the City Health Department for launching this new initiative and partnering with health care facilities to encourage breastfeeding, beginning when a new mother is still in the hospital. Medical evidence shows that breastfeeding leads to better health outcomes and is a great way to protect the health of your child from day one.”

“Greater New York Hospital Association strongly supports the efforts of its member hospitals to assist and encourage breastfeeding to improve the health and long term well-being of newborns,” said Greater New York Hospital Association president Kenneth E. Raske.

Ninety percent (90%) of NYC mothers start breastfeeding. However, by the time the baby reaches two months, only 31% of NYC mothers are still exclusively breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. Breastfed babies are much less likely than formula-fed babies to get ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, and are also less likely to develop asthma. Breastfeeding is also beneficial to mothers -- women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancers.
The promotion and marketing of infant formula often interferes with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding mothers report that receiving free formula at hospital discharge can make them feel like their breast milk is not enough to satisfy their babies. In NYC, the most common reasons women stop breastfeeding are due to concerns about milk supply; 47% of women report they stopped breastfeeding because they thought they weren’t producing enough milk and 44% because they thought the infant wasn’t satisfied with breast milk alone. These concerns, although common, are largely unfounded because most mothers do produce enough milk to meet their babies needs if they exclusively breastfeed. These concerns can be addressed while the mother is still in the hospital. However, without the support and education these mothers need, many of them turn to formula.

Beginning to breastfeed from the start is also important for planning a baby’s diet for the first year of life. If the baby is not given anything but breast milk, especially in the first month after the baby is born, almost every mother will make enough milk for her baby. Using baby formula during this time can decrease the production of milk, and consequently make the mother reliant on formula.

By joining this voluntary initiative for NYC maternity hospitals to support mother’s decision to breastfeed participating hospitals have agreed to:

  • Enforce the NYS hospital regulation to not supplement breastfeeding infants with formula feeding unless medically indicated and documented on the infant’s medical chart;
  • Restrict access to infant formula by hospital staff, tracking infant formula distribution and sharing data on formula distribution with the Health Department;
  • Discontinue the distribution of promotional or free infant formula; and
  • Prohibit the display and distribution of infant formula promotional materials in any hospital location.

“Latch On NYC” has been formally endorsed by the New York State Department of Health, Greater New York Hospital Association, Academy of Family Physicians, New York County Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, District II, New York State and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, New York State Chapter.

For more information on breastfeeding please call 311 or search for “Breastfeeding” at www.nyc.gov/.

 

 

by sara photo sigbysara.jpg
Avatar for cupcakebabe
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-09-2011
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 2:16pm

I'm curious as to how much formula you think the hospital supplies? Because it is no where near the cost of a lactation consultant. And aside from all that - my body, my choice. I don't need to be lectured by you or anyone else on whether I know what I am doing. It should always be a choice. Why are we all so hell-bent on taking away a woman's right to choose? Especially when it doesn't involve you (general)? I mean, why does it bother you so much if I use formula to feed my child? How does that affect you, your child, or your family? Why are you trying to force your views on others? I'm truly curious. 

As for my abuse mention: what I mean is, everyone is all up in everyone's business about breastfeeding children but once these kids get past the age, who cares what happens to them. If they gave half the amount of thought into helping abused kids as they do about worrying whether the mom knows what she's doing, there would be a heck of a lot healthier, safer kids all around. 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2008
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 2:59pm
So should the hospital provide the lactation consultant? Breastfeeding is a public health issue, so it does impact me. Especially with the new healthcare laws that will soon be in effect, my tax dollars help pay for care for children who get sick, and many studies have shown that formula fed babies are in general less healthy than breastfed babies. Notice that I said in general; I know that some breastfed babies are very sickly and some formula fed babies never even get a cold.

I'm not for taking away a parent's right to choose how to feed their infants. I'm for making sure they have all the knowledge needed to make that choice. Choosing formula just because it's available isn't a valid reason, IMO. And when hospitals offer formula samples, it can be detrimental to the breastfeeding relationship. So technically, placing it in the hands of breastfeeding mothers, or giving it to their children in the hospital WITHOUT medical necessity is taking away that mom's right to choose breastfeeding, since it can cause nipple confusion, supply issues, etc.

And before you think I'm totally anti-formula, my son had issues gaining weight. As in, he wasn't at all. We supplemented with formula, but did it with the goal of getting him back to exclusive breastfeeding. I'm not against formula. I'm against it being the first option. To me, it was invented to help mother's who literally couldn't nurse their children and didn't have a wet nurse available. It was never meant to be a mass-market product. Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of that fact.
by sara photo sigbysara.jpg
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-21-2012
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 3:13pm
I think it's a move against personal choice! I'm pro bfing, and I think anyone who wants to breastfeed, will, and getting a sample of formula isn't going to change their minds. The bag I got from Similac while I was in the hospital, came in quite handy, and seeing the Similac logo on it didn't make me want to switch to formula. What's with this country and taking away everyones rights because they "know what's best for it's citizens" Like the banning of milk in public schools. What?!!
Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2008
Tue, 07-31-2012 - 5:40pm
I live upstate, ny and I am so furious about this. I think mayor bloomberg should mind his own business. I was fortunate to have been able to breastfeeding my daughter I am NOT against formula at all. I formula fed my daughter and breastfed her. She was born three weeks early and had jaundice. My milk was coming in but it just wasn't enough and I needed sleep so I did both while in the hospital.
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Community Leader
Registered: 02-06-2006
Liz - I disagree that formula should not be available upon request. Every patient in a hospital is provided with nutrition/sustenance and is billed accordingly. Babies who aren't breastfeeding (by mother's choice or necessity) should be no different IMO.

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