Remember when I posted on the Milehimama Facebook page about how my 18 month old had strep throat and the only thing she would eat was her nursie-nursie? And no one even commented on that or batted an eye that I was nursing a child who could walk?
Y’all rock like that. Love my peeps. You get me.
But now I have to step to the other side of the mommy wars (who declared this war, anyway? Mostly mommies just want to relax and read three sentences in a row without someone asking a question. We don’t have the time or patience for a war. But I digress.)
Yep. We’re talking formula. (Because I’ve already tackled how having an epidural or c-section doesn’t mean you failed childbirth.) It is possible for a breastfeeding advocate and extended nurser to think it’s not the end of the world if a baby has a bottle, and that formula is not child abuse.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you might recall that soon after Baby J was born, I couldn’t nurse her. I had to pump and dump, because my breastmilk was toxic to her (yes, it happens.) For 6 weeks I fed her formula and fortunately, when I was well, she latched right on and never looked back. My babies have all been easy and copious nursers. We are blessed.
Specifically, I want to share my thoughts and hear what you guys are thinking about New York Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on formula in hospitals. Yes, in NYC the cans of formula will be kept under lock and key. Really. Also I heard the nursing staff are supposed to lecture postpartum mamas if they catch them- gasp- bottle feeding, and will have to sign out formula to the mothers.
Well. Here’s the thing. Most women are discharged 24 hours after giving birth, before their milk comes in. It seems to me that true breastfeeding encouragement and support would mean not sending moms home without a definite way to feed their hungry babies. For most, once Mom leaves the hospital there is no ongoing lactation support (possibly some through insurance, subject to copays and deductibles, of course.)
Two days after childbirth when Mama is engorged, baby is in the sleepy phase, things are tricky and painful, the nipples are cracked and neither one seems to get the hang of it… that’s when even women who planned to breastfeed are tempted to turn to formula.
So, Mayor Bloomberg, perhaps instead of requiring nurses to lecture bottle feeding moms, you should consider requiring home lactation visits and support lactation mentoring programs, doulas, and midwives instead. Just a thought.
Don’t send a mom home before her milk is in, leave her on her own, AND make her feel like a criminal for considering formula.
I haven’t even touched on the broader issue of private enterprise and parental rights. However, consider this: formula is a legal product, and the sale is not restricted in any way. Formula is not as good as breast milk *in general*, but it’s not illegal. It’s not addictive, it’s not a medication, and in fact our government pays for millions of cans of formula to be given to moms through the WIC program. So where does some local dictator get off telling private companies what they can give – for free- to private citizens?
Especially when the government gives out formula at no cost to mothers?
What say you? Is the formula ban a step in the right direction, or is it unwelcome government intrusion that violates parental rights? Is the right of a mother to feed her child the way she sees fit- formula or breast- fundamental and inviolable, even in the hospital?
(My peeps rock and I know you’ll keep it thoughtful, civil, and decent in the comments. So I won’t have to moderate y’all, right?)