Free Formula Samples from Hospitals under review — The Bump
May 2011 Moms

Free Formula Samples from Hospitals under review

http://yourlife.usatoday.com/parenting-family/babies/story/2011-09-26/Hospitals-formula-filled-goody-bags-undermine-breast-feedng/50552916/1

The article is about how hospitals shouldn't be giving free samples of formula out because it undermines breastfeeding.  I love the comment that says, "Thats like saying McDonalds ads undermine a persons determination to eat healthy. If you're determined, you're determined, regardless of the availability of alternatives. Way to continue to push the "zero personal accountability" cause USAToday." 

I guess I would have liked to have a free sample from the hospital even though I left breastfeeding.  As a new mom, there are so many what ifs, and I like to be prepared.  As it stands, I had a sample can at home so that "temptation" as some people call it, was there anyway.  I've never felt the need to even open it. 

I think hospitals need to do more education of new moms so they know how bfing works, not take away samples.  Like part of the article states, those samples are often given as part of an agreement that helps get supplies for babies that need to reduce healthcare costs.  Education would go a lot further than just not giving someone something.  Walmart is around every corner anyway if they really want that formula. 

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Re: Free Formula Samples from Hospitals under review

  • I agree with all of this.  Although my hospital didn't give free samples, I had a few that came in the mail.  And I was very glad to have them when I got mastitis in both breasts and my supply tanked for two weeks.  I had to supplement about 20 oz of formula at that point. 

    But I was determined and got my supply back up and threw away (joyfully) the half can I had left and haven't used any since.  I think it all depends on how determined the woman is to make it work (in most cases since I know sometimes it just doesn't work no matter what.)

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  • I think samples should be available if requested by the parent, but that better breastfeeding education should be more readily available.
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  • I think samples should be available on request, instead of given out routinely.  There are studies finding that women who don't receive samples have higher breastfeeding rates.  That's not to say women are mindless robots who will automatically stop breastfeeding the minute someone drops a package of similac in her lap.  But it does have an impact.
    image

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  • I didn't read the article yet but I pretty much agree with you. My hospital was very good about encouraging Bfing and they didn't even offer me formula or a pacifier. But I kinda wish they had offer me both because like you said, I like to be prepared. I ended up having some formula from a friend when she was trying different brands to see which one her DD would tolerate, and I did use some a couple times, I don't think it was a temptation for us, rather it was a piece of mind knowing we had some just in case, and that just in case did happen for us.

    I've heard (in our area) certain university hospital is a big offender when it comes to pushing formula on moms because the formula company gives them lots of money.

  • I asked for the formula, it wasn't offered.  I wanted some on hand just in case since my milk hadn't came in by the time we left.  My hospital really pushes breastfeeding, though.  I think it should be available upon request.  It's expensive and a lot of parents can't afford it and sometimes BFing just doesn't work out, no matter how much you try and want it to.

  • My hospital didn't offer us any formula. I wish they did. And I think it's fine for hospitals to offer formula since some moms don't breastfeed. (gasp) It's up to the person to accept the formula or not. Free will is amazing.
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  • image iris427:
    I think samples should be available on request, instead of given out routinely.  There are studies finding that women who don't receive samples have higher breastfeeding rates.  That's not to say women are mindless robots who will automatically stop breastfeeding the minute someone drops a package of similac in her lap.  But it does have an impact.

    It wasn't offered to me at my hospital--either time.  I still haven't received anything from the companies, and it irritates me because I'm on Gerber's list. Darnet. LOL I need checks!

    I do agree that having formula on hand before you've even tried bf'ing can sometimes lead to mom giving up in those frustrating early weeks. It's not a sole contributor, but like you said, it has a big impact.  

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  • image Lisa Frank:

    image iris427:
    I think samples should be available on request, instead of given out routinely.  There are studies finding that women who don't receive samples have higher breastfeeding rates.  That's not to say women are mindless robots who will automatically stop breastfeeding the minute someone drops a package of similac in her lap.  But it does have an impact.

    It wasn't offered to me at my hospital--either time.  I still haven't received anything from the companies, and it irritates me because I'm on Gerber's list. Darnet. LOL I need checks!

    I do agree that having formula on hand before you've even tried bf'ing can sometimes lead to mom giving up in those frustrating early weeks. It's not a sole contributor, but like you said, it has a big impact.  

    LF, you use Gerber? I think I *might* have some gerber checks at home. If I can find them, I would be glad to send them to you.

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    Avery (01/05/06), Camille (04/29/11) and Elizabeth (04/29/11)


    Much love to my soulmate, MrsH! Don't know what I would do without you, lady!

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  • image atlb:
    image Lisa Frank:

    image iris427:
    I think samples should be available on request, instead of given out routinely.  There are studies finding that women who don't receive samples have higher breastfeeding rates.  That's not to say women are mindless robots who will automatically stop breastfeeding the minute someone drops a package of similac in her lap.  But it does have an impact.

    It wasn't offered to me at my hospital--either time.  I still haven't received anything from the companies, and it irritates me because I'm on Gerber's list. Darnet. LOL I need checks!

    I do agree that having formula on hand before you've even tried bf'ing can sometimes lead to mom giving up in those frustrating early weeks. It's not a sole contributor, but like you said, it has a big impact.  

    LF, you use Gerber? I think I *might* have some gerber checks at home. If I can find them, I would be glad to send them to you.

    YES! I would LOVE any Good Start checks you have. Thank you!

    And I love your sig pics :)

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  • image Lisa Frank:
    image atlb:
    image Lisa Frank:

    image iris427:
    I think samples should be available on request, instead of given out routinely.  There are studies finding that women who don't receive samples have higher breastfeeding rates.  That's not to say women are mindless robots who will automatically stop breastfeeding the minute someone drops a package of similac in her lap.  But it does have an impact.

    It wasn't offered to me at my hospital--either time.  I still haven't received anything from the companies, and it irritates me because I'm on Gerber's list. Darnet. LOL I need checks!

    I do agree that having formula on hand before you've even tried bf'ing can sometimes lead to mom giving up in those frustrating early weeks. It's not a sole contributor, but like you said, it has a big impact.  

    LF, you use Gerber? I think I *might* have some gerber checks at home. If I can find them, I would be glad to send them to you.

    YES! I would LOVE any Good Start checks you have. Thank you!

    And I love your sig pics :)

    I will take a look when I get home from work today. I know there was one for like $6.25 and another for $3something. I can't for the life of me remember where I put them, but they have to be somewhere.

    And thanks! I'm so glad I was able to finally change my siggy, haha. But I already need to update the pics!

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    Avery (01/05/06), Camille (04/29/11) and Elizabeth (04/29/11)


    Much love to my soulmate, MrsH! Don't know what I would do without you, lady!

    <a href="http://lilypie.com/"><img src="http://lbdf.lilypie.com/65h4m4.png" width="400" height="80" border="0" alt="Lilypie Pregnancy tickers" /></a>
  • image Lisa Frank:

    image iris427:
    I think samples should be available on request, instead of given out routinely.  There are studies finding that women who don't receive samples have higher breastfeeding rates.  That's not to say women are mindless robots who will automatically stop breastfeeding the minute someone drops a package of similac in her lap.  But it does have an impact.

    It wasn't offered to me at my hospital--either time.  I still haven't received anything from the companies, and it irritates me because I'm on Gerber's list. Darnet. LOL I need checks!

    I do agree that having formula on hand before you've even tried bf'ing can sometimes lead to mom giving up in those frustrating early weeks. It's not a sole contributor, but like you said, it has a big impact.  

    Exactly.  And a hospital handing out samples to everyone--not just to people who say they are formula feeding or who request samples--can make it look like the hospital is endorsing formula feeding as the healthier option.  I also think here in bumpland where most of us are fairly educated and from a middle class background and hear "breast is best" so much, we forget about how many obstacles to breastfeeding there truly are in our society and how in some demographics there is still a lot of pressure not to breastfeed.  The hospital is the last place that should be adding to that.  It has nothing to do with nonsense about "personal accountability" or "free will."

    And dude, Gerber needs to send you some sh!t! 

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  • LF- I just mailed out like 10 bucks of gerber to someone else but i will let you know if i get more.. ;)

     I didn't ask for formula and it was only given to us when we left because the lady freaked out that i was using a nipple shield because that must mean we werent going to be succesful and a big fat fail. we stil have all of the formula they gave us plus 4 cans the companies sent us.  I've only tried 1 of the formula bottles to see if she would take formula in a bottle since she wasnt taking breastmilk.  The verdict was she doesnt like anything in a bottle haha.

     

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  • I got a "breastfeeding bag" from similac when I left.  It had 4 of those nursette bottles and a freezer pack and BM storage bottles and a cooler container.  I use the freezer pack and cooler thing all the time for BM.  And we did use the nursette bottles, but we had to supplement in the beginning b/c it took over a week for my supply to come in. The hospital was very pro BFing though.

    But, for a hospital that was so pro-BFing I wish they had offered a paci b/c LO like to suck so much he destroyed my nipples to the point where I needed a prescription cream and that almost made me give up on BFing.  

     

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  • image alliejoe:

    I got a "breastfeeding bag" from similac when I left.  It had 4 of those nursette bottles and a freezer pack and BM storage bottles and a cooler container.  I use the freezer pack and cooler thing all the time for BM.  And we did use the nursette bottles, but we had to supplement in the beginning b/c it took over a week for my supply to come in. The hospital was very pro BFing though.

    But, for a hospital that was so pro-BFing I wish they had offered a paci b/c LO like to suck so much he destroyed my nipples to the point where I needed a prescription cream and that almost made me give up on BFing.  

     

    i received the same bag. Im glad i did because it took awhile for my milk to come in and then he had jaundice too. i also had some here at home just in case i couldnt bf... it was like a security blanket for me.

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  • image Steph&Harry08:

    I didn't read the article yet but I pretty much agree with you. My hospital was very good about encouraging Bfing and they didn't even offer me formula or a pacifier. But I kinda wish they had offer me both because like you said, I like to be prepared. I ended up having some formula from a friend when she was trying different brands to see which one her DD would tolerate, and I did use some a couple times, I don't think it was a temptation for us, rather it was a piece of mind knowing we had some just in case, and that just in case did happen for us.

    I've heard (in our area) certain university hospital is a big offender when it comes to pushing formula on moms because the formula company gives them lots of money.

    Doesn't surprise me.  They're not on my good list anyway. 

    I do just want to add that I wouldn't have wanted the formula PUSHED on me.  I should have made that distinction.     

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  • image alliejoe:

    I got a "breastfeeding bag" from similac when I left.  It had 4 of those nursette bottles and a freezer pack and BM storage bottles and a cooler container.  I use the freezer pack and cooler thing all the time for BM.  And we did use the nursette bottles, but we had to supplement in the beginning b/c it took over a week for my supply to come in. The hospital was very pro BFing though.

    But, for a hospital that was so pro-BFing I wish they had offered a paci b/c LO like to suck so much he destroyed my nipples to the point where I needed a prescription cream and that almost made me give up on BFing.  

     

    Our hospital was amazing, especially for a small town. We received that Similac kit plus similar ones from Gerber and Enfamil. More freezer inserts than we know what to do with. And then we also received a big bag of Lanisoh nipple cream samples and those soothing gel stick-ons and two Soothie pacifiers. Plus the LCs popped in every two hours around the clock for another lesson, even if neither LO nor I were enthusiastic about him eating at the moment.

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  • image Lisa Frank:

    image iris427:
    I think samples should be available on request, instead of given out routinely.  There are studies finding that women who don't receive samples have higher breastfeeding rates.  That's not to say women are mindless robots who will automatically stop breastfeeding the minute someone drops a package of similac in her lap.  But it does have an impact.

    It wasn't offered to me at my hospital--either time.  I still haven't received anything from the companies, and it irritates me because I'm on Gerber's list. Darnet. LOL I need checks!

    I do agree that having formula on hand before you've even tried bf'ing can sometimes lead to mom giving up in those frustrating early weeks. It's not a sole contributor, but like you said, it has a big impact.  

    I'm almost certain I have some at home.  I have an old PM with your address, if you haven't moved, let me know and I'll send them.

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  • I never received any free formula samples from my hospital, but I am sure they would have given some to me if I had asked. I did receive some samples in the mail which I will probably be donating to a women's shelter because I have not needed them.
    DD1: May 2011
    DD2: February 2014
  • Unsurprisingly, I think it's gross that companies can buy their way into having their stuff handed out to every baby that crosses the hospital's doorstep. Samples on request, fine. Samples to every baby, ridiculous.

    I'm pretty sure the World Health Organization and UNICEF agree with me. I don't think they would get involved unless those samples did indeed influence breastfeeding success.

  • image tokenhoser:

    Unsurprisingly, I think it's gross that companies can buy their way into having their stuff handed out to every baby that crosses the hospital's doorstep. Samples on request, fine. Samples to every baby, ridiculous.

    I'm pretty sure the World Health Organization and UNICEF agree with me. I don't think they would get involved unless those samples did indeed influence breastfeeding success.

    But how is it fair to cut the formula companies off when you don't cut the other companies out too?  The WHO and UNICEF need to focus on getting more education into hospitals.  They need to work on getting Medela and the other bfing companies to offer THEIR supplies for free or cheaper too.  I was able to take a $20 bfing class and walked out of the hospital with a Medela PISA for free.  More programs like this need to be available.  They need to work on WIC being fair in what they offer to woman.  I'm pretty sure you can now get a decent pump through WIC, but they sure don't put that out there. 

    I guess the point I am trying to make is that its the lack of education about the choices that is the problem.  More of a point needs to be made to TEACH people about bfing, not just telling them that its better. Maybe I have too much faith in human kind, but I feel that if people knew more about bfing they would accept those samples and just put them away for "what if" like several people on here said they did, me included. 

    ETA: I feel like I'm implying everyone would then choosee to BF.  I don't think this, and I don't think FF is wrong.  In some areas, including where I live, FF is the norm and people don't understand they have more options. 

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  • I definitely had formula pushed on me at the hospital but I think that's because I had a "big baby" at 9lbs 8oz. I'm wondering if others had the same experience. I was really underprepared that she would want to be on the breast so extensively, so I was overwhelmed. My OB (who I love, but *eye roll*) kept bringing me the Similac ready made bottles because "she's a big baby, she is always hungry and you aren't/can't produce enough to feed her [because she is so big]". I literally heard this from every medical person who walked in the room and it later became "why haven't you given her the formula yet? she is still hungry..." Yeah, seriously. My hospital wants to claim to be BF friendly, but I didn't see it. They only taught me football hold and all their nurses are "trained in BFing", I never saw or heard of an actual LC on the ward.

    I never used any formula until our first trip to the pedi, which was at 5 days old and my milk still wasn't in. I conceeded to offer a supplement only after she had nursed from 20 mins each side and I pumped while DH offered the supplement (which she only took a few mLs from, thankyouverymuch...). After my milk was in (and she gained like 11oz in 3 days), it was a nonissue.

    Strangely, I was more offended that the little name/baby ID card in every isolate was from Similac. Just, really? It can't have the hospital's name? It has her name, and then you were supposed to check the box for breastfed or bottlefed. Then I think it has some tag line on it like "if choosing formula, think of Similac. [we love your baby so much type sentiment]." That really annoyed/annoys me because that is like a memory keepsake that is in her baby book, I don't want a damn formula advertisement on it...

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  • image croberts22:

    But how is it fair to cut the formula companies off when you don't cut the other companies out too?  The WHO and UNICEF need to focus on getting more education into hospitals.  They need to work on getting Medela and the other bfing companies to offer THEIR supplies for free or cheaper too.  I was able to take a $20 bfing class and walked out of the hospital with a Medela PISA for free.  More programs like this need to be available.  They need to work on WIC being fair in what they offer to woman.  I'm pretty sure you can now get a decent pump through WIC, but they sure don't put that out there. 

    I guess the point I am trying to make is that its the lack of education about the choices that is the problem.  More of a point needs to be made to TEACH people about bfing, not just telling them that its better. Maybe I have too much faith in human kind, but I feel that if people knew more about bfing they would accept those samples and just put them away for "what if" like several people on here said they did, me included. 

    ETA: I feel like I'm implying everyone would then choosee to BF.  I don't think this, and I don't think FF is wrong.  In some areas, including where I live, FF is the norm and people don't understand they have more options. 

    Honestly, I don't feel companies of any sort belong at my birth. I don't think this is as prevalent in Canada as it is in the States. Women that need help affording breastfeeding supplies should absolutely have programs that make it as easy as accessing free/reduced cost formula.

    The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative does go a lot father than removing formula samples, and I think it's pretty cool.

    Ten steps to successful breastfeeding
    • Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
    • Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
    • Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
    • Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one half-hour of birth.
    • Show mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation,even if they should be separated from their infants.
    • Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
    • Practice rooming in - that is, allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
    • Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
    • Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
    • Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic

     

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