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Should hospitals provide formula to women who are choosing to bottle feed?

by meggf (follow)
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If a woman doesn't want to breastfeed her new baby, should a hospital provide formula and bottles or should that be the family's responsibility?

Some people claim that it will discourage breastfeeding, and encourage women to formula feed if hospitals provide the formula, do you think this is true?

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No. I really struggled with breast feeding and had to provide my own formula, due to low supply which I thought was fair. I'm not sure if it would discourage breast feeding. I think that depends on the mother's thought process.
I agree.
by jonaj
That's a tricky one. I suppose you could argue that it's discrimination not to provide it, since the baby is a patient, and other patients get food provided while they're in hospital. On the other hand, it would be a shame if hospitals actively encouraged artificial feeding. Breastfeeding rates are very low and hospitals are in a position to provide the support and encouragement women need to breastfeed if they want to.
Did you see the recent study on US feeding that showed that WOC were far less likely to feed simply because hospital staff assumed they would FF?
by meggf
No, but that makes sense. I suppose the way to do it would be to supply formula, but only on request and never to offer it unless asked.
I do think hospitals are obligated to provide formula for their patients. I'm extremely pro breastfeeding, but I'm also pro woman, and given that they are obligated to feed women, it seems silly that they wouldn't also provide food for babies.
There are a few reasons why some women do not breast feed.

I think in that case a bottle, and a few sample pkt's to take home...are a great idea for the new Mother and Baby.
If a woman wants to breast feed and is able, that will happen....so there is no discouraging really.At the end of the day, no one will make it happen, that is up to the Mother!
It doesn't just happen because a woman wants it to though. Lots of women have trouble with it and they need support and accurate information. So many women I know were told lies and misinformation (told that their milk wasn't good enough, that their newborn needed water as well, that their milk "turns to water" after the baby is a certain age, that they must only ever feed at specific intervals of time no matter how hungry the baby is, that eating anything remotely interesting would make their milk bad for the baby, that exercising would make their milk sour, that they couldn't tandem feed...). It's not fair to put all the responsibility on the mothers. Sometimes they need help. I don't think I would have succeeded in breastfeeding my kids without support from my husband, midwife, the Australian Breastfeeding Association, my friends and my GP. It wasn't enough that I wanted to do it, I needed people to tell/show me how. If I'd just been sent home with little or no advice and a handful of formula samples then I probably would have given up and turned to formula.
Sample packets are actually against the UN recommendations for supporting breastfeeding, and are one of the main reasons that women opt for bottle feeding. In a wealthy country that's not great, but it's not life or death, but in a poor country the stakes are far too high.
by meggf
Dear Lord Jennifer!
by jonaj
What Jonaj?
Sounds like you had a hard time.......
by jonaj
A bit. Not so much me as other mums I know. It was a whole lot less stressful the second time because then I knew I could do it.
Very true Jennifer, I believe my struggle with breastfeeding and subsequently being told to comp feed due to low supply was incorrect. I was told this by maternal nurses and a lactation consultant.
That's a tricky one. I suppose you could argue that it's discrimination not to provide it, since the baby is a patient, and other patients get food provided while they're in hospital. On the other hand, it would be a shame if hospitals actively encouraged artificial feeding. Breastfeeding rates are very low and hospitals are in a position to provide the support and encouragement women need to breastfeed if they want to.
I was under the impression that formula was provided to women who didn't want to breastfeed. Hmmm.. I think women need to be education about breastfeeding before they have their babies so they can make the best decision possible. I have to say that for me breastfeeding was non-negotiable, well, not until my son was 13 months and biting me like a piranha.
by Vee
I think formulas should be provided where breast feeding isn't possible or its a risk to the child's life for some reason. Otherwise, I think that the formulas and bottles should be provided by the family.
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