|Formula feeding vs breastfeeding|
I had every intention of breastfeeding both of my babies. After my son was born I knew that I was going to have some trouble. After my daughter was born I knew I was in trouble. My son was able to breastfeed just fine with just a few little problems in the beginning, only because I was new at it. My daughter on the other hand came three weeks early and due to complications we were not able to breastfeed.
I was eternally grateful to the nurses and staff at my hospital offered me free formula of my choice. Let me back track: they didn't offer it to me. I had to ask for it, and even then they were hesitant and sent me a lactation consultant.
My son was breastfed for at least three months, with some supplementation of formula because I never made enough despite everything I tried and the tips from the lactation consultant. I had to use a nipple shield and I tried to pump as much as I could in between feedings. By the time I was back at work, he was fully on formula. Now as a four year old, he is healthy, on track with his weight and super intelligent (and I'm not just saying that!).
When my daughter was born, like I said, there were complications. I tried everything in my power to make it work once more: nipple shield, massage, drinking more water, different positions...but nothing worked. That was in the first two days while in the hospital. The lactation consultant wasn't sent to me this time until almost the third day (I don't know what went wrong there), spent 30 minutes with me, got up to leave saying she'd be right back, and never came back. How about a big fat FAIL there?
I kept trying, and trying, and trying. My daughter never latched on, and I was exhausted and miserable. Alone, with a crying baby in my room, I decided to pump what I was making and give it to her via bottle. Using the hand pump given to me by the hospital, I pumped as much as I could for my daughter every 2-3 hours, and gave it to her in a bottle, which she readily accepted.
But my body never made enough. On my last day, I asked for the free formula and goodie bag, which was a huge help to me. I was going to use it to supplement when I ran out of breast milk and use the valuable coupons to purchase more when needed.
I pumped for my daughter for six weeks and supplemented with formula. After six weeks, my husband and I decided that was enough. She was on formula at six weeks old. Today, at 1 1/2 years old, she's healthy, happy, and just as smart as her big brother.
Why am I saying all of this? Recently it has been in the news that hospitals in Rhode Island and now Massachusetts are not giving away these free goodie bags to new mothers. They're trying to urge more mothers to breastfeed and to keep trying without relying on the readily available formula. The Mayor of NYC jumped on board as well, asking hospitals to treat formula like medication that should be signed out.
That's all well and good, and I support this effort, but to completely ban the right to get free samples of formula for your baby or to ask you to sign it out like medication? Not so cool. Yes, breastfeeding is best for babies; it's healthy, pure, nutritional, and free. Every mother who wants to should at least try to breast feed.
But what about those of us who can't, despite all efforts? I wish I could have. My mother never had a problem, and neither did her mother. I just wasn't meant to. I have to wear a nipple shield for an inverted nipple (TMI, sorry!), and I have never been able to make enough.
What about those who choose not to? Yes, I think this should be a choice for women, and some women choose right out not to breastfeed for personal reasons.
What do you think? I've read a variety of other opinions on this matter, but I'd love to hear yours.
Until then, I'm just going to hope my hospital doesn't join the formula ban.