Anonymous asked in Pregnancy & ParentingNewborn & Baby · 1 decade ago

Formula and breast feeding mommies?

I wanted to ask this again, because the words got twisted around a bit and i only got one legitimate answer.

If you have a personal experience, feel free to share.

Yes, this is the age old "debate"

If you chose to breast feed from birth, why is it okay for the hospital to offer formula to the baby and that's okay, but on the other hand if you are formula feeding from birth, it's NOT okay to recommend that you breast feed. Formula is thrown at babies with jaundice, even though the mother has colostrum which will still make the baby have bowel movements, so it's not always a valid reason to use formula in place of breast milk. That's just one example I have heard from breast feeding moms on here, being offered formula at the hospital.

Then on a different not, I have heard women complain about WIC encouraging breast feeding. Isn't WIC supposed to help teach you proper nutrition, not just give out checks for free formula? Good nutrition would be encouraging the best option, right?

So offering formula is not pushing, but bringing up breast feeding as an option is pushing?

What makes the difference?


Well, it just seems that it's always thought that formula moms are being attacked, but i see it coming from both directions, like offering a baby formula in the hospital, *could* jeopardize nursing, but that's okay.

Update 2:

THANK YOU! You guys are giving good answers, the last one they just attacked me. This is not an attack, it's just a "generalization", I wanted to know other's experience or opinion.

Update 3:

mystic-I don't get it either! I don't see where she was attacked. I have asked questions on here, because i don't understand the whole formula thing to be honest and *most* of the time, i get accused of attacking or if i answer a question I am *attacking* someone. If you read the answers/questions with adding your own words, they are not insulting in any way. That's why I had to post this again, because only one answer, answered it and the rest were saying I was horrible for the most part.

17 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Since breastfeeding is natural, cheap and good for the baby, I don't think any mother should not at least try it. The hospital I was in did encourage breastfeeding (if there were not problems that necessitated formula) and it did not bother me at all. Why would it? That is the natural form of feeding a baby, duh.

    I don't think anyone should be rude or judgmental over individual decisions, though. Sometimes people are ridiculous over their personal opinions. I was formula fed and never get sick and did not have 'constant' ear infections like a lot of people state. My mother, on the hand, was breastfed for almost two years and had those 'constant' earaches and lost some hearing in her right ear. So if we really took a poll on how 'sickly' formula fed babies are, I bet some people would be surprised.

    I do think WIC should encourage breastfeeding. Simply because it's cheap! And isn't that the whole point of WIC, you don't have the money? They will still give you formula if that is your personal decision but if you have no problems after trying it, why not? They will even help with a pump if you want that.

    I wish I could have kept my milk up, my chunky monkey was eating so much we had to supplement and by the time I went back to work, I was producing hardly anything with not being able to pump every 2 hrs for twenty minutes at work. But formula is fine, too. Like I said, I am a product of formula and never have had health issues.

    It doesn't bother me if there is encouragment, but downright bullying like some people (and we have all seen it) is not productive.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The hospital I gave birth at didn't push formula I could have said no but I knew that to be sent home she needed to have a bowel movement. A couple hours after she ate the formula she had a bowel movement and she was discharged from the hospital. Other than that she has been breastfed since birth.

    I am on WIC and they do not push one nor the another, they are only concerned about the babies nutritional needs and if they are being met. One reason why WIC asks is because they need to know if you need vouchers for formula or if you are breast feeding you get extra tuna and carrots.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think some people believe breast feeding can be inappropriate. And formula is more "socially acceptable." WIC is right to encourage breastfeeding because there are so many benefits for mother and child and that's what WIC is there to do, keep mother and baby healthy. I heard a convo on the radio on how people don't like it when mothers breastfeed in public like at a Six Flags, or whatever, and they think we should go into the bathrooms. (Crazy, right?) I love it when mothers are open about it because I believe it encourages other people to at least consider it. I never thought I'd do it until my husband encouraged me too. Unfortunately it turned out more painful for me and I only did it for 3 weeks. But I would definitely recommend it for mothers to be. It's natural and beautiful, and there's nothing wrong with formula either. But you're right, they push formula on breastfeeding mothers. And most times they do not push breastfeeding on formula fed babies. (The hospital was actually very helpful with me trying to learn to breastfed and brought in their councelors etc to try and make it work. So not all hospitals favor formula)

    Hope this helped, :)

  • I didn't see that last question, but I'll answer as best as I can.

    1) I breastfed all 5 days at the hospital, they never offered formula but they did give my baby a pacifier without my knowledge. They were no help when it came to breastfeeding, not a single person came to help me with the latch or talk about it in general.

    2) When my milk started to dry up, WIC told me over and over to keep trying to breastfeed. I did keep trying, but eventually I dried up, and had to start going to using only formula. They were very encouraging about breastfeeding, they even gave me the phone numbers of Lactation Consultants in my area. I was thankful for that. And I did not complain that they want to teach good nutriton.

    I don't believe that offereing formula is pushing, but neither is bringing up breastfeeding. I don't think there is enough information out there to help women be successful with breastfeeding. I thought it would be so easy, and I'd have milk flying out of me. Man was I wrong. I know what to do now, and I can learn from the past. If I have another baby, I'll know to start talking to a Lactation Consultant before my baby is born, and hopefully have someone come to the hospital to help. I have a $300 Medela Pump that I barely got to use before I dried up.

    We should start a breastfeeding movement, and help by encouraging, not degrading! It would be wonderful for the discouraged women such as myself, the ones who have a hard time and a low supply.

    Thanks for reading!!


  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    The mother to be should make up her mind before having her child that way she knows where she stands when she has the baby. So she can tell the hospital what her choice was b/c it is her choice.

    Personally I wanted to breast feed with my 1st child b/c I wanted to give her extra immunities. BUT I barely produced colostrum. I have large breasts (naturally pre-pregancy 38 DDD at the birth of my daughter I had 38 Gs) and b/c of the extra fat tissue my milk glands didn't have room to build up milk so that's what the DR said after the 1st week when my daughter lost 2 1/2 lbs and I was feeding every 2 hours for 30 minutes. So for the next week I pumped every 2 hours and gave her a bottle of formula trying to build up my supplies. I would get 1/2 ounce from both breasts after pumping each breast for 30 minutes. After 2 days nothing came out. So I had to give my child formula or she would have starved. With my 2nd pregnancy. I didn't even produce any milk.( I didn't leak or anything like my 1st pregnancy) So I put my son on formula at birth. So formula can be a God send to those of us who couldn't produce milk.

    (I'm not exaggerating about my breast size. I actually hate how big they are, when my children a little older and don't need me to pick them up as much I will be getting a reduction b/c the weight of them have made my back curve.)

  • 1 decade ago

    There are already a lot of answers, but I have to add mine.

    I agree that this is a double standard. Here's the reason, in my own case: Health care professionals, family members and friends see encouraging formula as being sure the baby has enough to eat. Because these people have little to no experience with breastfeeding, they think babies should ALL be big and fat and sleep for hours on end between feedings. This was not the case with my daughter. My mom was constantly saying "Jenny, I'D go on and give her a bottle. Just ONE bottle!" It drove me nuts and killed any confidence I may have had. We did end up supplementing, and I hated it. I always thought my breastmilk wasn't enough because my daughter was so tiny. We stupidly introduced solids too early to try and get some weight on her (I know, I know--stupid, and it didn't work). But guess what? Now she'll be two years old this month and eats basically whatever we eat, and she's STILL tiny! It's just how God made her. Some babies are chunky, some are not. It usually has nothing to do with your breastmilk.

    Then, for some reason, most people think that encouraging a mom to breastfeed will make her feel "guilty" if she doesn't want to do it. Guilt comes from one's own conscience. I breastfed for 21 months and, although I was irritated that people judged me for it out of ignorance, I never felt guilty because I knew I was doing the right thing! And anyway, do people not realize how hurtful it is to a mom when she's trying to make a go of breastfeeding and is constantly told, especially by the doctor, that she SHOULD be supplementing (which she knows will ruin her supply)? She's between a rock and a hard place. She has no choices. Mothers have had social services called on them for refusing to supplement in some of these situations, which is downright terrifying! So, in comparison, forgive me if I don't feel much sympathy for moms who choose formula without even trying to breastfeed and want to be patted on the back for it.

    One other thing. I get tired of women saying "I hate when people ask me if I'm going to breastfeed! That's personal!" That is NOT personal; unless you intend to hide your formula and feed baby in the closet, everyone is going to know anyway. It just makes them uncomfortable to have their parenting decisions called into question. I am pregnant with my second daughter now, and I don't mind telling people I'm going to breastfeed. Maybe it's because I am proud of my decision. I like to talk to other moms about breastfeeding to see if we have anything in common--not to start a fight.

    And also, as I'm sure you know, hospitals and doctors' offices get compensated for pushing certain brands of formula. For encouraging a woman to breastfeed, they get nothing but the satisfaction of trying to do the right thing AND a pregnant woman who feels "guilty" and has hurt feelings. Most of them take the easy road.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I am going to answer this the best that I can for you with out jumping down someones throat:D

    Here is my experience. I took Lamaze class. In class my teacher spent a whole day talking about breast feeding which I thought was great because that was what i wanted to do. Not once did she go over formula feeding. So my son came. They gave him to me and we tried to get him to latch. He screamed. Nurse came and tried and then another nurse came and tried. The whole time he is screaming. Then the lactation consultant came and she couldn't get him to latch. So I gave him formula because he was obviously hungry. They kept trying to get me to get him to latch and I couldn't so it made me feel like a complete failure. I got home and tried to pump. Nothing at all. I pumped and pumped and tried for about a month and always nothing. Nothing more then a few drops. So we just gave my son formula. I gave up after that. I truthfully still feel like a failure. I did call LL and they gave me tips but it was all things that I had tried. That's my story. Threes more but this is long enough.

    The WIC that I go to they do encourage being healthy. They also kept encouraging me to breast feed. They weight me every time that I go in. To see how my weight is doing ( which is good because i am on the chubby side ) They only give me healthy food. All the milk that I get is 1% or Fat free.I get fresh fruit, beans, eggs, only good cereal ( nothing with extra sugar ) ETC. I guess it depends on where you live also.

    As for you question. Formula feeding was never pressed upon me breast feeding was. When it came time to give my son formula we had no clue. Because all that was talking about was breast feeding. I wish I had a good support system when it came to breast feeding. I wish they helped me instead of forcing it upon me.

  • 1 decade ago

    I agree with you, it's bizarre. I was determined to breastfeed Sophie exclusively, and the hospital staff immediately tried to undermine that by keeping us apart for TWELVE hours (I had a C-section, so I couldn't run off and find her) and giving her a bottle before I even got to see her or attempt to nurse. GRRRRRRRRRRR!!! So after that I spent the next few days clinging to her, nursing around the clock, and barking at them if they tried to offer me the formula samples...LOL! They soon learned to leave me alone. ;)

    But yes, in my experience, formula is heavily pushed and you're told a bottle here and there can't hurt. Well, a new milk supply is fragile, and it's easily submarined by one bottle! Plus, studies of the infant gut prove that just one bottle of formula changes the flora and pH. Sorry, but that is a big deal to me. Formula is a last resort in my opinion, and a big decision to come to, not to be taken so lightly.

    **Regarding WIC, my best friend has nursed two babies for a year apiece while on it. She loved that they let her use a good quality breast pump so she could still BF and work, and that they give support and extra food to the nursing moms. :) I was so proud of her achievement, especially since she was only 18 when she had her first daughter.

    Edit: WOW AJ, I'm so sorry that happened to your son! It's appalling! :(

    **Lynnie, I agree with you 100%!! :)

    Source(s): Nursed my daughter until she self-weaned at 2.5; 16 weeks along with #2
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Moon Pixie=All the biaseds I have against WIC/formula feeding mothers.

    BOTH my kids were jaundiced at birth. Funny, no one in the hospital ever suggested formula to help. In fact, they told me to nurse as often as possible.

  • 1 decade ago

    I personally feel that in some cases formula IS pushed on breastfeeding mothers just as much as breastfeeding is pushed on formula feeding mothers!

    I am exclusively breastfeeding my son and have had people try to convince me to give formula because it is "easier". Just as a mother who is formula feeding has people push breastfeeding on her because it is better for baby.

    It really depends on the person, because trying to convince someone to go with the opposite option than they chose is going to be pushing either way! Does that make sense?

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.