Streams

Breastfeeding Fiat

Monday, August 06, 2012

Lenore Skenazy, author of the book and blog Free-Range Kids, takes issue with the new city program to promote breast-feeding, "Latch On NYC."

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Lenore Skenazy
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Comments [69]

Latch on NYC Initiative – Myths & Facts (NY Breastfeeding Coalition)

Myth: The city is requiring hospitals to put formula under lock and key.
Fact: Hospitals are not being required to keep formula under lock and key under the City’s voluntary initiative. Formula will be fully available to any mother who chooses to feed her baby with formula. What the program does is encourage hospitals to end what had long been common practice: putting promotional formula in a mother’s room, or in a baby’s bassinet or in a go-bag – even for breastfeeding mothers who had not requested it.

Myth: Mothers who want formula will have to convince a nurse to sign it out by giving a medical reason.
Fact: Mothers can and always will be able to simply ask for formula and receive it free of charge in the hospital – no medical necessity required, no written consent required.

Myth: Mothers requesting formula will be subject to a lecture from the nurse.
Fact: The City’s new initiative does not set a requirement that mothers asking for formula receive a lecture or mandated talk. For the last three years, New York State Law under the Breastfeeding Bill of Rights, has required that mothers simply be provided accurate information on the benefits of breastfeeding. This requirement has not changed under the City’s new initiative.

Myth: Latch on NYC is taking away and/or jeopardizing a woman’s right to choose how to feed her baby.
Fact: The initiative is designed to support mothers who decide to breastfeed. For those women, the program asks hospital staff to respect the mother’s wishes and refrain from supplementing her baby with formula (unless it becomes medically necessary or the mother changes her mind). It does not restrict the mother’s nursing options in any way – nor does it restrict access to formula for those who want it.

Myth: Formula will be forbidden in some fashion.
Fact: If a mother decides she wants to use formula (or a combination of formula and breastmilk), she will be supported in her decision and her baby will be given formula during the hospital stay. If a breastfeeding mother changes her mind or requests formula at any time, her baby will be given formula.

Myth: Positive benefits from breastfeeding are being overblown or aren’t true
Fact: There is overwhelming evidence, supported by national and international health organizations, showing that breastfeeding produces better health outcomes for babies and mothers than formula. For mothers, breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Babies that are breastfed have a lower risk of ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, as well as childhood asthma, than babies who are formula fed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics just published new guidance to pediatricians in February 2012, reaffirming the evidence that the health benefits of breastfeeding over formula are clear: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full.pdf+html

Aug. 09 2012 01:03 PM
Laura from NYC

Bloomberg has obviously never tried to get an aspirin (or anything else) in a New York City maternity ward. It takes hours. So new moms have to try to handle hungry infants until the formula can be cleared and released?

If Bloomberg wants to legislate breastfeeding, do it by requiring lactation consultants at hospitals or require that all nurses be required to know how to teach breastfeeding using the same technique. I don't know why my baby never could latch. God knows I tried for 9 months. I supplemented, pumped, bottlefed and attempted to breastfeed. My baby developed jaundice and had to spend three extra days in the hospital. Nobody I came in contact with at the "baby friendly" hospital I delivered at could show me how to get that kid to latch, and each nurse had her own technique. I can't count how many times nurses shrugged, walked away and said, "it's cultural."

Instead of locking up and limiting free formula (which was a godsend to this stunned and out of sorts mom who didn't buy any ahead of time because I intended to breastfeed), do things that make breastfeeding possible, not things that shame vulnerable new mothers and make the nurses roll their eyes at the PITA lady who won't lay off the call button. After all, it's mom's fault, right?

Aug. 07 2012 09:00 PM
Jenna from brooklyn

I was stunned while listening to this story on the radio this morning how this entire discussion is being framed, trumpeting about a woman's "choice" to feed her baby formula and expressing outrage that any barriers should be erected to her doing so. Firstly, why wouldn't a medical establishment (ie: a hospital) strongly recommend and encourage the most medically sound option? If we all and science know and agree "breast is best" (regardless of the countless anecdotal examples of people's bottle fed children who turned out wonderfully), why would we be bothered by medicine recommending breast feeding? Shouldn't we be more outraged by the ubiquitous availability/de facto encouragement of formula in hospitals, which is supported not by science but by private interests? Furthermore, it is striking that the conversation revolves around a new (very minor) barrier to formula feeding, but largely ignores the entrenched and many barriers to breastfeeding -- lack of skilled lactation consultants in hospitals, a society in which many women are not "taught" to breastfeed by family members as they might be in a more traditional social structure, and a miserable, shameful national family leave policy that has the majority of women returning to work by the time the baby is 3 months old, whether or not they would have "chosen" to do so. It is no surprise that breastfeeding rates drop off dramatically at 3 and then 6 months -- the time when most women are separated from their babies far too soon. Add to this the fact that breastfeeding is difficult for many (myself included - it took four months and numerous tearful visits with expensive lactation consultants and la leche meetings before the searing pain finally subsided), and it's a wonder that anyone breastfeeds at all. What could the medical establishment and we as a culture do to encourage breastfeeding rather than "discourage" formula? And why is this not the primary question we are asking? The anger at Bloomberg's initiative seems like a total red herring to me, and just one more example of how a woman's "choice" is highlighted without regard to the societal confines that frame and greatly narrow that choice.

Aug. 06 2012 11:13 PM
dr dave ores from NYC

What is the advertising / publicity / marketing budget of ALL the formula companies? 500 million?

Now...what is the same budget for communicating the value and good sense of breast feeding most of the time?

That is the problem. There are nor profits in breast feeding. That's why the corporations get so freaked out about it. They haven't figured out how to "monetize" breast feeding.....yet.

Aug. 06 2012 02:17 PM
jm

John, Leo, thank you for having empathy for new mothers. I was appalled by the onslaught of men who were quick to wag fingers, but offer no suggestions as to how to make our environment more friendly toward breastfeeding women (parental leave, workplace adjustments).

All of you with negative feedback for the guest host conveniently ignore the fact that much of what you see as "defensive" and "unprofessional" behavior was directed toward men who have no firsthand knowledge and were eager to insist that new mothers should take on the full responsibility and sacrifice at any cost It seems the guest host did have personal experience, and parts of this segment were nothing more than a "mansplaining" sh*tshow. Also remember that (and I love BL - this is not an insult) the regular host is technically on top of the food chain, and doesn't have to deal with a gender-privileged individuals explaining to women what they ought to do or feel on a daily basis.

Perhaps Bloomberg should spend a month or two on maternity wards throughout the city. On top of dealing with family members during one of their most stressful times, OB nurses must do so within a great socioeconomic, cultural, and religious range of patients with proper sensitivity. If education is the objective, how about ensuring funds for enough dedicated lactation professionals?

My own sister has a (hereditary) condition that rendered her supply next to nothing. She spent two months of excessive stress, guilt, and crying, when she should have been focusing on bonding. When she finally allowed herself to make the organic formula decision after 2 months, every aspect of the experience improved greatly.

Also consider that some "medical" reasons are psychiatric, and must be given the same respect as overt physical issues. Even in other cases, you have no idea what's going on in that mother's life, and have no right to judge.

Aug. 06 2012 02:07 PM
Nancy from ex-Gothamite in the Finger Lakes

It's simply untrue that your baby will be more likely to die or to have cancer if you formula feed. There is ZERO evidence for this - and yet people persist in repeating these bizarre "junk claims".

Formula is one of the most amazing substances human beings have ever engineered. Before formula the babies of women who couldn't breastfeed had no alternative and might really be in mortal danger as a result - and now, here in the developed world, we have this amazing option which we can invoke. We can use if we can't breastfeed, if we don't want to breastfeed,if we want to supplement breast milk, if we adopt, etc. And our babies will do fine.

We have more good options than any women in history - and of course there are all sorts of ways they could be better but on the whole we should be celebrating that we and our babies are no longer slaves to biology.

But we're not. We've elevated breastfeeding into the ultimate expression of good motherhood even to the point where mothers who don't breastfeed are treated and sometimes even feel unnecessarily terrible for using formula - something which is an entirely reasonable choice.

Isn't it time to get off the "high horse" and just accept that either option comes with trade offs and that what's RIGHT is really best left to the people involved to decide? And most importantly that what ever choice a woman and her family make, it has no bearing on their ability to raise a happy, healthy kid.

Aug. 06 2012 01:01 PM
Ella from Brooklyn, NY

Samantha Levine, as the mayor's spokesperson, I wonder if you will comment as to why the mayor is fixated on limiting accessibility to formula and soda rather than getting to the root of the issues. He could choose to spend his time, energy, and the city's resources to make healthier food and drink options available to low-income families, and making NYC work places friendlier to mothers who want to breastfeed and pump successfully. How about support, prevention, and accessibility instead restrictions?

Aug. 06 2012 11:44 AM
Samantha Levine from New York, New York

To ensure that listeners have accurate information about Latch On NYC below please find Myths and Facts (http://www.nyc.gov/html/om/pdf/2012/latch_myth_fact.pdf)

Myth: The city is requiring hospitals to put formula under lock and key.

Fact: Hospitals are not being required to keep formula under lock and key under the City’s voluntary initiative. Formula will be fully available to any mother who chooses to feed her baby with formula. What the program does is encourage hospitals to end what had long been common practice: putting promotional formula in a mother’s room, or in a baby’s bassinet or in a go-bag –even for breastfeeding mothers who had not requested it.

Myth: Mothers who want formula will have to convince a nurse to sign it out by giving a medical reason.

Fact: Mothers can and always will be able to simply ask for formula and receive it free of charge in the hospital – no medical necessity required, no written consent required.

Myth: Mothers requesting formula will be subject to a lecture from the nurse.

Fact: The City’s new initiative does not set a requirement that mothers asking for formula receive a lecture or mandated talk. For the last three years, New York State Law under the Breastfeeding Bill of Rights, has required that mothers simply be provided accurate information on the benefits of breastfeeding. This requirement has not changed under the City’s new initiative.

Myth: Latch on NYC is taking away and/or jeopardizing a woman’s right to choose how to feed her baby.

Fact: The initiative is designed to support mothers who decide to breastfeed. For those women, the program asks hospital staff to respect the mother’s wishes and refrain from supplementing her baby with formula (unless it becomes medically necessary or the mother changes her mind). It does not restrict the mother’s nursing options in any way – nor does it restrict access to formula for those who want it.

Myth: Formula will be forbidden in some fashion.

Fact: If a mother decides she wants to use formula (or a combination of formula and breastmilk), she will be supported in her decision and her baby will be given formula during the hospital stay. If a breastfeeding mother changes her mind or requests formula at any time, her baby will be
given formula.

Myth: Positive benefits from breastfeeding are being overblown or aren’t true.

Fact: There is overwhelming evidence, supported by national and international health organizations, showing that breastfeeding produces better health outcomes for babies and mothers than formula. For mothers, breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Babies that are breastfed have a lower risk of ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, as well as childhood asthma, than babies who are formula fed.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full.pdf+html

- Samantha Levine, Spokesperson for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Aug. 06 2012 11:28 AM
Susan from Upper West Side

Actually Elizabeth, the mothers who used the formula are not well rested. There are now many really solid studies proving that they get less rest in the hospital because they are deprived of the oxytocin they need to relax and sleep. In addition, they put wrist monitors on parents of three month olds. Guess which parents got more sleep? The parents who did NOT give a bottle of formula at night got, on average, 45 minutes more sleep a night. On the other hand, when baby unfriendly hospitals separate mothers and babies, provide them with misinformation that the nursery will help them sleep, they derail breastfeeding.

I'm going to repeat again -- the Latch On Campaign is NOT taking away formula from mothers who want or need it. It is helping mothers who want to breastfeed to not have their choice taken away.

Aug. 06 2012 11:20 AM
Muriel from CT

Time to remind people re: the Nestle program and resulting boycott. One of the first "women-powered-successful- events of history". In the early '70s, the Nestle company "invaded" poor and marginal countries." They went to those local hospitals, or birth centers, gave the new mothers the "most modern way of doing things and you want to be modern, don't you?" The gift was samples of formula. By using this formula, the mother's milk dried up and the "free" of the samples had ended. Of course, few of these new mothers had the funds to purchase the formula and the result was as could be predicted - starving and dying infants. Women all over the world united and refused to purchase any Nestle product. This boycott lasted a very long time and finally Nestle buckled and gave up the infant formula program in undeveloped countries. The boycott may be over but for almost 40 years I have not bought a Nestle product. Those of us who remember are dying out. Others need to carry on this reaction to criminal abuse and the deaths of so many to satisfy a marketing endeavor.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestlé_boycott

Aug. 06 2012 11:10 AM
Ryan from Jersey City

Never before have I heard a guest host be so dismissive and condescending to the callers. If this doesn't improve quickly, I'll be waiting until Brian's return before tuning in again.

Aug. 06 2012 11:07 AM
Elizabeth

I do not judge mothers who choose to use formula. Mothering is hard. We all make the choices that we need to make. I had a home birth, so I was not subject to formula gifts in the hospital. I also read "Mothering Magazine" so I was exposed to advertising for formula which I imagine is in the more mainstream parenting magazines. I found a La Leche group so I had support to keep breastfeeding when there were issues. The LLL leader was also able to give mothers real information when they were told untrue things about breastfeeding or their milk supply by doctors (sad but surprisingly common).

I think the moment after birth is too late for education. It is an extremely vulnerable time, and not the time to be in a left brain analytical, defensive state. Bonding with the baby, and the mother resting is what is important at that moment. Giving the information to every OB-GYN and pre-natal medical center in NYS might be a better way to educate. I would also love to for some of the lesser known information to be discussed:

Breastfeeding at night might make the babier sleepier (and the mother sleep more deeply) perhaps increasing chances for SIDS (decreasing responsiveness in both)

Not breastfeeding at night may effect your milk supply and possibly shorten the nursing relationship

Formula has been shown to damage the digestive tract. Breastmilk has been shown to repair it.

There have been infant deaths from contaminated formula.

And my own experience of a stomach flu that went around: I was warned it came in 2 parts with vomiting and diarrhea, a short well time, and then more vomiting... I heard of many infants who were hospitalized for dehydration - none of them nursing. All the nursing children I knew who had it were fine and better much more quickly.

Of course, the mothers using formula were probably more well-rested! But these are the kinds of things that help you keep going with nursing when there are difficulties, exhaustion, pressures from the outside...and make the commitment to really give it your best try to nurse before you shift to formula.

It would be great to encourage pregnant women to go to LLL meetings before they give birth so they can get some of this lesser known "women's knowledge".

Aug. 06 2012 11:06 AM
Nancy from Brooklyn, NY

I would be much more impressed with Mayor Bloomberg if he would turn his attention to the children being killed in the crossfire on NYC playgrounds rather than being so concerned with a woman's personal choice of whether to breastfeed or not. Or homelessness, hunger, and unemployment in NYC; the list goes on. While he is seemingly obsessed with the importance of liquids, people in NYC are experiencing real suffering. Give the hefty tax dollars taken from our paychecks each week to help those in need instead of paying for ads on the subway promoting breastfeeding and denouncing soda.

Aug. 06 2012 10:56 AM
christine sander from Fairfield, CT

There is so many good reasons to breastfeed your children. I wasn't breastfed and I did not come from a family that did either however my cousins and myself all did and we are all glad we did. I didn't come easy for me and I can say it was the hardest thing I ever done. I had every side effect you could have and if I would have given myself the out that formula was an acceptable option I might have given up many times. I did nurse both my children a total of 5 years between them both and I can say that at every stage of their young lives breat feeding helped us all for many reasons. I was better mom and they never had terrible two's or three's or any other tough stages with the bonding that came from nursing and the oxytocin I got from nursing which helped me be more patient, calm and more loving towards them. This was the most wonderful thing I have ever done and I am glad that I worked hard to make it happen. I guess its true in my case that hard work can have great rewards. I think education should prepare women for the hardwork of breastfeeding, dont guilt them into the choice by framing it as the best choice in the short run but selling it as a cultural shift about how we raise our infants and young children. I guess I was also a bit lucky to live in a community that aloud me to feed my children in restaurants, stores or where every we were when they got hungry or needed to feel close to me. I was raised a yuppie in the 80's but glad I grew into an earth mother of the 2000"s.

Aug. 06 2012 10:56 AM
Susan from Upper West SIde

The Latch On campaign is about protecting the rights of women who want to breastfeed by keeping hospital employees from overriding their rights. There is a long history of overriding women's rights to breastfeed. Back in the day hospitals used to give women drugs to dry up their milk supplies assuming no one would want to engaged in the ichy primative practice of breastfeeding.

This campaign is also to help women feed their infants better period. WHO does encourage health care practitioners to assist women who can't or decide not to breastfeed to explore ALL the options of which there are many. Really, the formula industry must be laughing all the way to the bank because they have managed to get hospitals to ask as marketing against for THE MOST EXPENSIVE BRANDS of formula, which then is foisted on women who want to breastfeed, and they make formula feeding mothers pay higher costs for their formula -- and THEN when women's rights to breastfeed have been overridden for generations -- they convince the news media that maintaining the rights of breastfeeding mothers is violating the rights of formula feeding mothers. SHAME on WNYC for not doing their homework. Shame on WNYC for engaging in the Mommy Wars. Shame on WNYC for putting on a commentator who is completely ignorant of the real purpose of the Latch on Campaign

Sincerely,
Susan E. Burger, MHS, PhD, IBCLC

Aug. 06 2012 10:55 AM
Jeff from Austin

This segment highlights the genius of Brian's professionalism: his cool, objective ear and insightful direction of complex discussions, the reason I think most people probably listen to this show. It is entirely absent here.

Aug. 06 2012 10:53 AM
C. Lee from NYC, NY

As a Pediatrician working in the South Bronx, I was disappointed that the on-air discussion seemed limited to a narrow socio-economic group. Not everyone having children today subscribes to the Park Slope/Weschester county mentality of competitive motherhood, and the ensuing guilt of not doing enough to get your child ahead. In the area where I treat children, there is definitely a need for more education & support regarding breastfeeding.

The playing field is NOT level: bottles of formulas are stockpiled in hospitals, sales representatives make their rounds to give out free bags, bottles, etc. to new moms, as well as nurses & doctors. Overworked nurses & tired moms are likely to supplement or exclusively give formula, which can make it more difficult to continue breastfeeding. No one is telling moms to feel ashamed, or that formula is poison - it is an imitation breast milk supplement & needs to be addresses as what it is.

Americans also need to recognize that for most of the world, this "controversial" is not even an issue - for most of the world, for thousands of years, breastmilk is and was the ONLY option.,

Aug. 06 2012 10:53 AM
Mom_from_Brooklyn from Brooklyn

Hey Brook, If the issue is, as you say 'just the first three days' of the infants life and the ideal health of the baby who is looking at why we filling birthing mom's up with pain killing drugs and carving them open. Those drugs are far worse for a newborn (and mom). The breastfeeding/ formula debate just plain silly. Has anyone looked at the NYC birth statistics - who is having babies and how those children are born? Is this debate really relevant. For my tax dollars, I really would prefer a focus on the real issues that our birthing/healthcare system faces. And this one while important, is not a priority. This is such a typical 1%-er issue that makes "us 1%'ers" look so clueless.

Aug. 06 2012 10:52 AM
Bill from New Rochelle

Lenore keeps talking about 'mother's choice.'

There are many less choices once you have chosen to have a baby. If you are unable to feed the baby, artificial milk is a lifesave.
However, of you choose to not breast feed; you fall somewhere between a false expediancy, and benigh neglect.

I make this judgementy deliberately. Formula is very important, but it is not breast milk. It is not poison; but nor is it nearly as healthful as breast milk.

Feeding your child the best as you can is not a chouice, it is an obligation.

Discussing the 'mothers' choices' is not intruding on the mothers' preogatives, rather it is being concerned for the long term health of the baby.

Every mother must make choices, but she ought put her baby's needs above hers.

Aug. 06 2012 10:49 AM
Peter in Park Slope

I didn't hear the first story, but think Brooke Gladstone is injecting herself way too much into this interview on breast-feeding; perhaps she's importing her On the Media self to this show. I'll be curious to see if she steps back a bit on the next story.

Aug. 06 2012 10:49 AM
MW from the Bronx from Bronx

This conversation is sickeningly elitist. No one is taking away a woman's choice to breastfeed. Nor is the goal of this policy to shame women who can't or don't want to breastfeed. My experience at NY Downtown Hospital was that I had to tell the nurses repeatedly that I wanted to breastfeed and not to give formula to my daughter. I kept her with me around the clock b/c it was clear the staff just wanted the babies to be fed and sleep. I was the only white native English speaking mom in the (crowded) hospital room. It was alarmingly clear that many of the Latina and Asian moms did not understand that nurses and staff were taking the babies to the nursery at night AND that they would receive formula. Also, Similac diaper bags and massive samples were presented to us like trophies. This policy, if implemented properly, would ensure that all women and all staff were on the same page about whether a baby would receive formula or not.

Aug. 06 2012 10:47 AM

Caliente! Give Brooke a news show!

Aug. 06 2012 10:46 AM
Sam from NJ

I would like to echo Anonymous' comments. When I had my first child 18 years ago I was working on Wall Street at the time. I remember approaching HR about how I might find a place to discreetly pump during my lunch hour. I was told that there were no provisions and that the only option I had was to go to the ladies' room. This was obviously not a workable option. The end result is I was very quickly unable to continue breastfeeding once I returned to work.

Aug. 06 2012 10:45 AM
Kathleen Wetzel Apltauer from brooklyn

I understand that New York City has clean water, but globally, estimates are that suboptimal breast feeding, especially non-exclusive breast feeding for the first six months of life, accounts for 1.4 million child deaths each year and 10% of the global disease burden among children under five. (Black, R.E., Allen, L.H., Bhutta, Z.A., Caulfield, L.E., de Onis, M., Ezzati, M., Mathers, C. & Rivera, J. (2008, 19 January). Maternal and child undernutrition: global and regional exposures and health consequences. The Lancet 371(9608), 243-260.) Free formula provided as a gift in a hospital by the makers of the product to encourage its use outside the hospital goes in opposition to this finding.

Aug. 06 2012 10:43 AM
Glork from Glen Ridge, NJ

Breastfeeding swings in and out of vogue, depending on the current social climate. In 1980's Upper Montclair, if you breast-fed it was because you were poor and/or ignorant of the current norm. A few years later, it became all the "natural" rage and you were a "sellout" if you didn't breastfeed. The La Leche League offers wonderful education and support to moms during pregnancy and even at home in the first few days post-hospital when guidance and moral cupport can be critical. Agree with the formula marketing issue big time!- though there are rare cases when even breast milk cannot be tolerated by certain infants. Breastfeeding however does bring personal responsibility with it: maintaing good nutrition and learning to pump for bottle feedings. Certain people do not/cannot commit, and there are choices for that reason. There must be a hospital/ medical liability here for this to be an issue now, no? Mom of 6.

Aug. 06 2012 10:43 AM
corin from New York

I have to say that this is one of the most irritating hosts i've ever heard on BL. She aggressively puts forward her own opinion and rides over others when it's obvious she should just listen.

Aug. 06 2012 10:43 AM
shane from greenpoint

Please come back soon, Brian. Both the guest and the host are personalizing this issue waaaaay too much.

Aug. 06 2012 10:43 AM
Ellen from Brooklyn

I agree with Susan Burger. The hospital I was in gave my daughter formula before I had even tried to breast feed.

It turns out that my milk didn't come in for two or three days and I had no choice but to give her formula before I could feed her myself. After that, my daughter breast fed part-time, and she refused the breast after 3 months, but I was glad for those 3 months!

Aug. 06 2012 10:42 AM
Susan Burger from Upper West Side

WNYC is engaging in the same sort of media circus stirring up the mommy wars by perpetrating this misinformation. Please read why this campaign is not what is being suggested on this show. They are NOT presenting the facts about this campaign.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-gordon/world-breastfeeding-week_b_1739878.html

Aug. 06 2012 10:42 AM
Kate from Washington Heights

I would prefer if the guest host did not keep chiming in with her personal opinions and get defensive when callers have other opinions. Thanks.

Aug. 06 2012 10:41 AM
denise Maher from brooklyn

I agree with the caller--the mom of the 4 month old-- that we need Support-- resources-- not just info. We need subsidized childcare, nutrition, maternity leave etc. Information doesn't cut it

Aug. 06 2012 10:41 AM
Amy from Manhattan

What I'm not hearing on this segment is how baby formula companies have a history of pushing new mothers to use formula, which can lead to their breast milk drying up so they can't breastfeed & have no other option than formula. It's not as bad as it was in the "Third World" in the days of the Nestle boycott (they were giving powdered formula to mothers who didn't have access to clean water & then had to pay high prices for formula), but from what I heard, the formula co's. had access to hospitals to promote their product.

Aug. 06 2012 10:41 AM
Rebeka from NYC

Zen from South Salem, you are clearly not understanding the heart of the issue. Mothers wouldn't have to rely on day care if employers were compassionate and understanding about tending to the needs of one's child. They live in fear of losing their jobs for having to stay home and care for a baby, or sick child. Same goes for breastfeeding; in order for it to be successful, it requires a great deal of time, work, and support. Please educate yourself.

Aug. 06 2012 10:41 AM

OR women sharing their breast milk?

Aug. 06 2012 10:41 AM
Melissa Chepuru from Westchester

I agree with the guest, though I am pro-breast feeding, whatever choice a woman makes should be supported. All avenues lead to feeding the baby. I think, whatever the new rule is, in a hospital, if you can't breastfeed for some reason, the hospital is going to give formula so that the child can thrive.

Aug. 06 2012 10:40 AM
SUSAN NOBLE from work

I did not breast feed my children many years ago. Both are fine. My daughter had breast surgery (not implants) and could not breast feed. This is just another pressure point for women and also another split between women who can afford to stay home and those who cannot.

I realize that breast feeding provides certain immunities, but so does genetics. I have never had chicken pox despite multiple contacts with the disease, neither of my non-breast fed children have had chicken pox.

Aug. 06 2012 10:40 AM
kalm from Brooklyn

The New York hospital I gave birth in ( St. Lukes Roosevelt) introduced formula once the baby started crying non-stop. I originally requested to breast feed but it got to where the baby would not stop crying so the nurses brought formula in as an option, almost too quickly. Hospitals are sponsored by a certain formula companies (Similac at this hospital). I left the hospital with free Similac products in the bag they provided.

Also to remind listeners of the woman interviewed on NPR approx. a month ago that had her breast milk tested and was astounded what toxins were in her breast milk, ie.. jet fuel.

Perhaps more lactose specialists at the hospital in the maternity wards would be helpful.

Aug. 06 2012 10:40 AM
Jane from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Can't women pump breast milk to be bottled for the baby if they want to sleep and don't want to have to wake up to feed them?

It's the breast milk that is the issue, not the delivery mechanism.

It just seems like common sense. Breast milk is better for babies. Give them breast milk.

Aug. 06 2012 10:40 AM
Ariana

Breastfeeding in the hospital is important because breastfeeding won't be successful unless it is started immediately after birth. Hopefully this will encourage hospitals to provide additional support such as lactation support & access to breast pumps. Breastfeeding is the healthy and affordable option, while formula is considered an equally beneficial option only because large companies have poured money into promoting this inaccurate perspective.

Aug. 06 2012 10:39 AM


CHINESE COMPANIES absolutely produce parts of powered milk sold in the US, including certain vitamins and minerals that are only produced in China.

The milk is not necessarily from the US either -- the can may say "made in US" -- that just means where it was mixed. I've looked into this quite carefully.

Aug. 06 2012 10:39 AM

How about wet nurses?

Aug. 06 2012 10:39 AM
Jon-Marc from Pound Ridge

Wow. This is the snarkiest segment I've heard on the BL show in a long time. Keep it up and you'll be calling the callers fascists next. I hope Brian's not listening.

Aug. 06 2012 10:38 AM
Sarah from Michigan

I wonder if having more societal supports for women and their families (longer maternity leave, or maternity leave of any kind, more support for breastfeeding in general) would help more women to breastfeed if that is the intended goal. I don't think making women feel guilty is at all productive, and there are many reasons to choose formula over breast milk. Locking it away is silly.

Aug. 06 2012 10:38 AM
Marisa

If the intent is to encourage prolonged breastfeeding, why focus the burden on the mothers? Most working mothers I know have no choice but the bottle, with maternity leaves as short as they are. What if we could encourage corporations to adopt longer leaves or breastfeeding breaks for new mothers? It's certainly a more positive move in the same direction than "medicalizing" formula.

Aug. 06 2012 10:38 AM
MV from Manhattan

I see this as parallel to the 16 oz soda limitation - making things which are less healthful (and it's been proven that formula does have negative health side effects for both mother and baby) less available is a good thing for public health. Having to justify your choice is not the same thing as not having that choice.

Aug. 06 2012 10:38 AM
rl

It is the woman's choice, but if these big companies are flooding the hospitals with free formula, how much choice is that???

Sad to listen to both the guest and host being so rude to the callers.

Aug. 06 2012 10:37 AM
Dani from Baltimore

I think part of the conversation that is missing is that formula companies are pushing their products in hospitals and have helped to create a culture where hospitals are faster to encourage/push formula on new mothers, even if they wish to breastfeed. Formula should not be the default unless mothers request it. Mothers who want to breastfeed should be supported to make that choice, even if they are having difficulty, unless there is a real necessity to try formula.

Aug. 06 2012 10:37 AM
BK from Hoboken

Both sides of this situation need to just back off. No one gets "hooked" on formula. Breast feeding is food for the babies, but not every mom can breast feed exclusively, or sometimes at all. My wife breast fed both our girls almost exclusively while on leave, but due to travel for her job, sometimes we had to use formula. She traveled all over with a breast pump but you need formula every now and then. I am tired of the breast feeding Nazis basically insulting mothers who use formula. My wife also asked the nursing staff to use some formula the first night in te hospital after struggling through a log delivery and she needed some sleep. She should not have to justify this decision to anyone.

Aug. 06 2012 10:37 AM
Denise Maher from Brooklyn, NY

I like the restricted access. For years, the distribution of formula by hospitals sent a message that it was a good nutritional option. This restricted access will make up for that, especially for young and teen moms. It should not be so easy-- lets face it, easier than nursing-- to decide to feed your child an inferior food.

Aug. 06 2012 10:37 AM
Brian from Brooklyn

I think you're assuming an education level about breastfeeding (Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights) that is not consistent across New York. Bloomberg is probably aiming elsewhere.

Aug. 06 2012 10:35 AM
InNYC from NYC

My sister-in-law recently gave birth just last week at Mt. Sinai hospital. She asked for a bottle when the baby was born, and was told the baby didn't need to eat right away. She could see the baby was hungry, so she breastfed, and sure enough, the baby was hungry. The next night, she opted to sleep through the night, and made it clear to the nurses she wanted to not be woken up to breast feed the baby. The assumption was that they would feed the baby formula every couple hours. They fed the baby once in a 7 hour period, and the baby left the hospital having lost 6 oz. Not ok. Now I DO agree that breast feeding is highly beneficial, and she should probably be breast feeding if not exclusively, then most of the time. However, should she CHOOSE formula, the nurses SHOULD be dependable enough to make sure the baby stays healthy when it's in their care!

Aug. 06 2012 10:34 AM
Susan Burger from Upper West Side

Oh my God. I never thought that WNYC would perpetrate so much MISINFORMATION. No ONE is preventing women from getting formula in the hospital. The real reason why formula needs to be locked up is because hospital employees give formula to women who want to breastfeed and often give bottles without mother's permission. 90% of my clients were given formula and they wanted to breastfeed, half the time just because of pressure from hospital employees who just simply couldn't believe that breastfeeding works. These are the women who are not being given choice. I have NEVER EVER MET A SINGLE MOTHER WHO WAS NOT GIVEN FORMULA.

Here's my commentary. Why oh why didn't you do your homework first and put someone on who really knows what this information is all about?

Aug. 06 2012 10:34 AM
steveh

Mothers Explain Yourselves!
This seems to make as much sense as requiring women to
explain in writing why they are having a baby.

Aug. 06 2012 10:34 AM
Leo from queens

I think women AND Men need to be given the information and education on their choices. but mothers should not be 'directed' or 'told' what they should be doing.
I think this is part of men (in this case Bloomberg) seeing women as intellectually inferior and therefore they must be told what is best for them.

Aug. 06 2012 10:33 AM
john from office

Why would any man call into this segment. Guys, it is not your issue. Alot like abortion, sorry, let the ladies do what they choose.

Aug. 06 2012 10:32 AM
Owen from Manhattan

It's only because of decades of well-funded misinformation and shaming, directed by big companies, that Andrea and her guest are treating breastfeeding and formula as equal options to be chosen between. Formula is not as healthy as breast milk and never, ever will be. This isn't chocolate versus vanilla; it's a matter of restoring breastfeeding to its rightful position as the default option.

Also, if a mother is going to breastfeed, it's best for her to start right away or it can be harder later on.

Aug. 06 2012 10:32 AM
Edward from NJ

It's been three years since I've been in a maternity ward. Maybe it's changed, but at that time, you would see Similac logos all over the place. It was like Coca-Cola on the American Idol set.

Aug. 06 2012 10:31 AM
Zen from South Salem

With many mothers out there who smoke cigarettes, with many mothers out there willing to chose their career over their child and put them in day care at three months old, I dont see how you can have such faith that all mothers will do the right thing and breast feed.

If a woman had decided to leave her infant for 10 hours a day with a day care agency, what makes you think she will take the time to nurse her child when she can simply stir up some formula ?

Aug. 06 2012 10:31 AM
Lisa

there are no benefits to breastfeeding, only RISKS to formula feeding! if your baby is more likely to get sick and possibly die, or you will at a greater risk of heart disease and cancer, because of being fed formula, then you need to be explained these risks BEFORE they hand you the free bag. period. stop using guilt to explain away your lack of ability to listen to the truth. use your anger to change policy to help breastfeeding families instead!

Aug. 06 2012 10:31 AM
nina from Montclair, NJ

I was lucky enough to have my first child in a birthing center and not in a hospital. Nursing was extremely difficult for me for reasons I won't go into here. If I had had easy access to formula, I might not have continued to try and try until I was able to nurse my child successfully. Unfortunately, formula is often PUSHED on new mothers who are extremely vulnerable and really want to do the right thing for their child. There is just not enough support for breast feeding in the hospital setting. Perhaps the new regulations seem to restrict choice but we must admit that there is a serious problem in how formula was handled in hospitals up until now.

Aug. 06 2012 10:30 AM
Jackie from New York

I was on-board to breastfeed my son, but my milk didn't come in till five days later. Long story short, he was born in June--very hot--was only receiving colostrum and became dehydrated. I spoke with nurses at the hospital, who told me not to give him formula...the colostrum was enough. He had a bilirubin level of 27 by the time i got him to the pediatrician.

Aug. 06 2012 10:29 AM
Billie from Brooklyn

As the mother of two little girls, both breastfed, it is absolutely up to the mother whether they should should bottle or breastfeed their child.

Aug. 06 2012 10:29 AM
lucy from Brooklyn

Remember how women were guilted into buying car seats? It is the same thing. Women should know the risks of formula feeding just like they were told the risks of not using a car seat. Hospitals have not been breastfeeding friendly which is what the City, with it's baby-friendly initiative is trying to change.
The most important thing is to support women before they leave the hospital and after they leave the hospital.
Formula was first invented for emergency situations not to be accepted as the norm of feeding which is what has happened. If you don't think there is a constant message to use formula then you don't watch TV or look at magazines where formula and bottle feeding is shown as the norm.
Remember before the women's movement and back to nature movement started in the 60s, very few women were breastfeeding.
Formula is available but hospitals will not be handing out the free formula goodie bag that goes home with the moms full of formula.

Aug. 06 2012 10:29 AM
Anonymous from New York, NY

Wouldn't it be more productive for our society (and mayor) to be nursing-friendly, i.e., ample maternity/family leave to ensure successful breastfeeding (which takes a lot of time and hard work by an already exhausted new mother), and compassionate work places where a woman can pump milk for her baby with dignity and privacy?

Aug. 06 2012 10:29 AM
RL

great guest - insult the caller just because he's a guy. shame on her.

Aug. 06 2012 10:29 AM
Billie from Brooklyn

As a mother of two little girls, both breastfed, I absolutely believe it is the mothers choice to bottle or breast feed.

Aug. 06 2012 10:27 AM
Tea from Brooklyn

At Methodist Hosptial in Brooklyn, nurses insisted that I use formula to feed my newborn, despite my insistence that I didn't want it. I think this is to temper the nurses, not berate the mothers. It's just expressed poorly.

Aug. 06 2012 10:27 AM
RL

I hope that this segment covers how big corporations are flooding hostipals with formula and how they get moms hooked on formula. It's gross marketing and it's making women do what they would otherwise not do. Something has to balance out the influence of big corp's marketing.

Aug. 06 2012 10:25 AM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

I can picture newborns going hungry in the hospital becuase new mothers don't want to have to deal with being badgered by a nurse about how they should be breastfeeding if they dare ask for formula. A new mother might just tell herself she'll be home soon and avoid going up to these nurses- on- a mission.

Aug. 06 2012 10:08 AM

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