Let’s Give Someone a Gift to Fail

formula gift

I went to a blessingway last night. The pregnant mother being honored mentioned that although she has every intention to breastfeed, she thought it odd that she received two large containers of powered infant formula in the mail. I asked if she had registered at BabiesRUs and of course she had. What she did not realize is they sell her name to the formula companies to get free samples!

Today on facebook a fellow doula and friend of mine posted this picture. A gift the mom received at the hospital. These hospitals get free formula for their hospital by giving away free gifts to each mom who has had a baby. The bottle feeding moms get a huge supply while the breastfeeding moms get a smaller sampler.

It is no wonder that in the metro area of Atlanta we still don’t have a Mother- Baby Friendly hospital.  Our local hospitals may have IBCLCs on staff- others only have limited access to these trained women, but they also hand out nipple shields, pacifiers and formula with great regularity.  There are ten steps to becoming classified as Mother Baby Friendly.

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the 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 infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, 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 birth center.

How do you think offering pacifiers, throwing nipple shields at moms who have latch issues and handing out free formula fits into this initiative?