So what do you think of this? Personally, I think promoting breast-feeding is a very important thing. But this goes too far and deprives women of other supplies, too (those bags have things like pamphlets, diapers, rubber nipples, etc.). While i do what i can to encourage breast-feeding, women need to have choices available to them. Not every women is competent at breast-feeding. Not every baby takes to it very well. Some women have infections or substance abuse problems that make it unsafe for them to breast-feed. in the latter cases, you'd hope Child Protective Services might step in, but it doesn't always happen.
At the hospital where my sister works, their maternity ward offers mommies a variety of gifts. There's the choice of a baby car seat (CA state law will not allow a child to leave the hospital without one!), limo ride (for the moms who have the seats already), or a fully-loaded diaper bag (including Enfamil).
My galpal just had a baby there, and she chose the diaper bag. She still breastfeeds, though! Of course when I told her aobut the limo option, she felt kinda gypped.
While i do think that new parents need to know all of their options, i don't think not giving formula as a gift has anything to do with them making the right choice for them. The choice is still there; if they want to formula feed, they can go out and buy it like everyone else.
Unfortuneatly, i think it will take a bit more work to get the breastfeeding rates up (and steady; many women start, but very few succeed to 6 months [the minimum recommendation by Health Canada] ... Breastfeeding to 2 years as the World Health Organization recommends is almost uneheard of) ... Lactation Consultants need be more readily available, and doctors and nurses more supportive and educated. Parents should be encouraged to take breastfeeding courses, and be made available to those who can't afford it. There are numerous changes that can be made to the birthing process itself that can help as well.
I think the gift bags are still a good idea ... I just don't think they should contain formula.
Bottles, btw, pacifiers, all that, actually can do a good deal of damage to developing teeth (yep, even though the baby ones fall out), and tough as it is to make sense of in our fast-paced world, the healthiest thing for most babies AND mothers is breastfeeding without bottles.
Disposable diapers, also with the yuck.
I wouldn't be too worried here about the rarer cases where breastfeeding is NOT ideal: in most cases it is, and in most environments and institutions, it's just not promoted at all. So, promoting what is almost always the best thing for Mom and kid? Well, that should be the hospital's job, no?
But hey, why not just change that bag if one really wants the bag? Put washable dipes in it, pamphlets on breastfeeding (so the women you say aren't competent with it can GET competent), a gentle cream for nipple soreness, support group listings for postpartum depression, and a pamphlet on options and plans and such for mothers who, for whatever reason, cannot breastfeed.
I don't get the last line in that article, btw, or the pissiness behind it. Yeah, it's your business, and giving out bags with formula can far more easily be interpreted as a directive than giving away nothing.
[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 12-23-2005).]
(And don't even get me started on the formula that was in there being Nestle, who has a long, sordid and really nasty political and global history of making African communities terribly ill by promoting their formula. Ugh.)
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