It’s a Booby Trap!!!
Alright, let me start off this post by stating (for the record) that I have absolutely zero problems with parents who choose to use formula rather than breastfeed. I realize that the formula vs. breast debate can enrage mothers from both sides of the argument like no other… I’m not here to do that! Obviously, I breastfeed. I feel we made the right choice for our family. There are a lot of reasons parents choose one over the other, and quite frankly, it’s absolutely none of my business whether your choice is the same as mine… Not that anyone reading this blog is looking to me for validation of their parenting choices. After all, I’ve only been at this for (almost) 4 months. My sphere of knowledge and experience is obviously quite limited!
What I do have a problem with are the “booby traps” (clever, right? I thought so, till I googled the title of my post and found that I’m not as original as I thought… oh well.) laid out by formula companies that are obviously intended to disrupt the intentions many mothers have of successfully breastfeeding. I know, I know… they are for-profit companies that have a product to market and sell. I just hate that they specifically target breastfeeding moms with a lot of their marketing by pretending to provide “breastfeeding support.”
Similac has an entire section of their website dedicated to this breastfeeding support, for Pete’s sake! Is it just me, or does this seem like a SERIOUS conflict of interest? I took a little time to explore their website. While their “Breastfeeding Basics” page is a simple, straight-forward, basic guide to breastfeeding that doesn’t include any false information, it does leave out some important facts. It doesn’t mention ANY of the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding (obviously, that would undermine their product!). It mentions some of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for starting solids, but it doesn’t mention that the AAP recommends breastfeeding past 6 months, for up to a year or longer!
In fact, Similac actually has a “Feeding Expert” hotline. They state that they have nurses and lactation consultants available to answer feeding questions 24/7. Because I’m curious about what kind of breastfeeding information I would get from lactation consultants hired by a formula company, I decided to place a call to Similac’s hotline to ask for breastfeeding advice. As soon as I called, the woman who asked if I was breast or formula feeding. Then she transferred me to the appropriate person.
The nurse I spoke to was extremely friendly and sympathetic when I told them my two-week old baby woke up screaming every 30-45 minutes. She asked if I was formula or breast feeding. When I told her that I was breastfeeding, she chuckled a little and said that it is very common for breastfed babies to eat that often. She asked how many wet/dirty diapers T had each day, and if he had gained weight since leaving the hospital. I reported that all was normal in those two categories. She said for the first month or so, I would probably be feeding my baby 24/7. She said that as T’s stomach starts to expand, he will likely begin to stretch out his feedings. So far, so good.
Then, she asked me how long he nursed during each session. When I said, “about 10 minutes before he falls asleep,” she explained that it’s important to keep newborns awake long enough to get a good nursing session in. She suggested lots of ways to keep him up during a feed (change diaper halfway through, tickle his shoulders, skin to skin, all the usual stuff), then said that if that didn’t work, to try feeding him from a bottle a few feedings a day since he would get more food faster and likely sleep longer. Hmmm… Not sure that’s good advice for a new mom who’s trying to successfully breastfeed.
While she didn’t outright mention formula, I doubt that most lactation consultants would recommend introducing a bottle several times a day at two weeks old! For one, it would jeopardize your milk supply. Also, it could cause your baby to have difficulty latching and nursing after receiving milk so easily from a bottle. I thanked her for her help and said we would try it. She asked for my email and home address so that she can “send me some follow up information.”
I guess when the “follow up information” arrives, I’ll have something else to blog about. If my suspicions are correct, I’ll have formula samples arriving in the mail very soon.