I wrote a post a while back about how I had decided to breastfeed my baby if I didn’t have any supply issues (which is possible, especially since I have PCOS). I used to think that breastfeeding was not much different than formula, that it was just a lifestyle choice. But after my sister had my nephew Jack, she taught me a lot about the benefits of breast milk. She’s been breastfeeding for over a year now, which I find so awesome, especially since she works full time. It takes a lot of love and commitment to keep it up for that long, even for stay at home moms. I used to think it was just weird to breastfeed longer than 6 months until I saw my nephew Jack breastfeeding. It’s the most natural thing in the world. I was having a conversation with oneo of my male coworker’s the other day about his baby, and he mentioned that his wife had breastfed for 6 months. I mentioned that my sister breastfeeds my 1 year old nephew, and he gave me this look of shock and said “isn’t it time to call it quits?” This is the mentality that most people have towards breastfeeding.
This is why I whole-heartedly support NYC’s new law passed that bans formula promotion materials from labor and delivery units in hospitals. You can read about it here. Before this law was passed, unsolicited formula gift bags were given to mothers who had just given birth, with free samples of formula for the new mother. This was regardless of whether the mother had chosen to breastfeed or not. With this new law passed, bags are still given to mothers, except they contain a breast milk bottle cooler, disposable nursing pads, breastfeeding tips and an “I eat at mom’s” baby t-shirt. For mothers who either decide or have to formula feed, the formula gift bags are still available if they ask for it.
The problem is, you have assholes who just like to get a rise out of people who write articles like this one. The author, Andrea Peyser, made it sound like the formula bags were completely banned, and that the hospitals were unreasonably trying to push breastfeeding on new mothers. She referred to it as a bad thing that a new mother was steered towards breastfeeding by a nurse who told her it had more nutritional benefits. Oh, it’s so terrible that the mother will save money and provide the best food supply for her baby! She claimed that some people silently think that we have “we’ve moved back in time”. I feel sorry for whoever thinks that something man made is much better than something our body naturally produces, and that we are moving back in time by choosing natural methods for feeding children. The fact of the matter is, while formula will provide enough nutrition for babies to thrive, it doesn’t have nearly as much nutrients and benefits as breast milk. Not only that, formula costs money, while breast milk does not (if you can produce your own). So of course breast milk should be promoted over formula. Should it be forced on mothers? No. But it should be highly encouraged. I also think that every mother should be encouraged to attend an educational course that teaches them the differences between breast milk and formula.
My favorite comment from Ms. Peyser is this:
“We’ll see if the next generation is smarter, healthier and stronger than the last one.
Or, if stressed-out mommies killed themselves for nothing.”
Wow, I didn’t realized that hospitals followed the moms around after they left the hospitals to force them to continue breastfeeding (can you sense my sarcasm?). Moms who feel like it’s too much to breastfeed have the opportunity to buy formula. I thought her closing sentence was a bit dramatic, which is exactly what she meant to do. I guess she’ll twist the facts any way she can in order to get readers.