Monday, April 20, 2009

Breastfeeding "Resources"

This is going to be a bit of a long post-- starting with a story and ending with an all out RANT!

The Story
A friend of mine sent me a message yesterday asking me to call her. She had just had a baby last week, so I figured it was related to nursing and promptly called her after church. We spoke for a little while and no surprise, she was having some problems. I offered her support and some advice based on what she told me and suggested she call a local LLL leader. Times like that make me wish I were physically closer to some of my friends so I could have driven straight to her house.

Immediately after I got off the phone with her, I walked in to the after hours pediatric clinic. It is our "normal" clinic, but we get whatever doctor is working that day, which means not my son's pediatrician. I like to go there, however, because all of the information stays on one chart. (The Boy has an ear infection.)
After the obligatory wait, followed by weight and temperature, we went to "the room." Each doctor has their own set of rooms or maybe the after hours clinic always uses those rooms, because we are never in the rooms near this one or this room during a regular visit.
Do you know the very first thing I saw in that room?


Oh yes! A flipping Enfamil Breastfeeding "Resource" kit. Yes, from a company that makes its money on the FAILURE of new moms to breastfeed successfully. They are there "helping" us to succeed with their "magic" kit. "For the nursing mom on her first visit." The FIRST visit!!! Are you kidding me??????????????? Not for the "I am formula feeding or I refuse to try breastfeeding mom" but for the ones who made a decision and ARE BREASTFEEDING!

I was LIVID! I AM livid. I took a picture and wrote a note about it not helping women succeed! No where was there a number to a lactation consultant or to the local La Leche League leaders. No where were there any pamphlets on successful breastfeeding.

The doctor made me wait too long, and I moved beyond my initial anger and frustration, kindly throwing the kit in the trash. Yes, by the time the doctor showed up, it was no longer prominently displayed on the counter. It was in the garbage-- where it belongs!

Let's explore what is in this kit...and then some REAL tips on how to succeed at breastfeeding.

In the kit:
  • A sample of Expecta® LIPIL® DHA Supplement for pregnant and nursing moms.
From There is no evidence whatsoever that breastmilk is deficient in DHA, and there is no evidence that DHA supplements taken by a nursing mother will improve the long term outcome or IQ of her baby. Nursing mothers who get more DHA do have have higher levels of DHA in their milk, but it is not known whether these higher levels are beneficial or what the optimal levels might be. Vegetarians, particularly vegans, tend to have lower levels of DHA in breastmilk.
  • An excerpt from The Nursing Mother's Companion, a useful guide with tips and suggestions.
I searched around and found out what is REALLY included in the "excerpt." Do you know what it is? How to wean your baby off the breast and on to the bottle, scheduled feedings (rather than on-cue), etc. Not exactly "helpful" tips for success.
  • A sample of Enfamil LIPIL®, our closest formula to breast milk, should you choose to supplement
Oh yes. A sample, so when you are wavering rather than calling someone for help, you can reach in the cabinet and pull out some formula. Growth spurt? Grab that formula! Sending new mom's home with samples has been shown to decrease the duration and success rates of breastfeeding, yet do not worry, the formula companies will make sure you have the samples. So will the pediatrician's office.

So I say-- again-- BAN THE BAGS!!!

Now for some real help!
Before I end this, I leave you with a statement I found on the Mssachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition website:
"The only way to sell more formula is to sell less breastfeeding."

(Yes, I will be writing a rather pointed letter to the facility as well.)


Elita said...

Good for you for throwing that trash in the garbage can where it belongs.

sasspot said...

i love this post AND HAVE MUCH TO SAY, but will have to come back when i have 2 hands. a the moment, i am breastfeeding!!!!

Rebecca said...

Oh my! I'm glad you threw that in the garbage. If a woman chooses to breastfeed, she should be supported with real resources and not provided with that crap. I'm frustrated that a DOCTOR would consider providing that kit to a breastfeeding mom. Provide formula stuff to women who choose formula, and provide real breastfeeding support items to women who choose breastfeeding!

sasspot said...

I really don't understand how a formula care package supports breastfeeding mothers.

When I went in for my first OB appointment, to confirm my pregnancy, I was given a can of formula.

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