While still pregnant I had registered on the website of 2 different formula companies to recieve free samples, coupons and mailings. In one of the offers, I received in the mail, was a card to take to the hospital. You were supposed to ask for a gift bag that would have a formula sample as well as some other coupons, etc. It did say, on the card, that they were available at "participating" hospitals so I knew there was a chance that my hospital might not have it.
On my day of my release I asked my nurse if they had either gift bags from these companies. She proceeded to tell me that they are a "baby friendly hospital" (yes, those were her exact words) which meant breastfeeding, so they did not give out formula. She told me that she would be happy to make me up a plastic bag with some diapers and wipes instead.
Now, my disclaimer is this...I have absolutely no negative opinions regarding breastfeeding. I admire women who nurse their children and I do think it's the best way to go if you are able.
I have had difficulties nursing my children so I need to use formula. There is a protein in my milk that does not agree with my children. It was a problem that my mother had with nursing me, and a problem that my grandmother had as well. I struggled for 3 months nursing my oldest daughter, only to have an extremely fussy baby. Many, many nights of sleep (and sanity during the day) were lost because she was crying and in pain. After 3 months I caved in a tried formula with her. It was like a switch was flipped and she was noticeably better within 24 hours.
After 2 weeks, with my son, we started noticing the same fussiness and discomfort. I did not hesitate to make the switch. My baby girl is now 3 weeks old and I've been formula feeding her for over a week now.
I have no regrets.
Do I agree that breastfeeding is a better choice for most babies? Absolutely! But is it the best choice for my babies? No.
I could struggle and struggle trying to change every little thing in my diet and it probably would not make a bit of difference. Even if it did, would that make me super mom? Probably not. It would probably make me a really unhappy, grumpy mom and is that a good mom? No.
So that means I'm not baby friendly?
Because I formula feed, I am some sort of heathen?
My children are happy and healthy. They aren't obese, they don't have major medical problems and I felt like I bonded with them really well during those times when I bottle fed them. In fact, I felt like I bonded with them more than I did when I nursed.
When I nursed, it was usually painful and I was usually exhausted. They were facing towards my chest and sometimes, when out in public (or when we had people over), they were concealed by a nursing cover so I couldn't see them at all.
When I bottle feed they can look up at me and I can stare into their eyes (or just stare at them when their eyes are closed). My daughter even has this sweet way of grabbing onto my bottle holding hand. She holds my thumb with one hand and my pinky with their other. Oh how I love that.
I love being with my children, but I also love that I'm not attached to them all the time. I love that other people have the opportunity to feed them when the time comes. My mother-in-law just left today, after staying with us for a while to help, and she was able to spend a fair amount of time with her newest granddaughter by doing some of the feedings. I know it was a really special time for her and I'm glad she was able to experience it.
Even though switching to formula was a neccessary move for me, it turned out to be a blessing. I'm a happy formula feeding mother.
I contacted both formula companies to let them know about my experience at the hospital. I'm sure that I'm not the only person who has written them and said they weren't able to receive their offer. I received responses with 24 hours from both companies and I've already received some things in the mail (and my understanding is that there is more to come).
Here is what I recieved from Enfamil today...a nice tote bag, an insulated bottle holder and cold pack, a sample of Bourdeaux Butt Paste (with a coupon attached), a can of Gentle formula (which all my kids have needed) and a cute Fisher Price turtle toy.
There was a card inside saying "Thank You" for contacting them. Well, thank YOU Enfamil for making me feel loved and for making me feel baby friendly...because I am.
Love and no regrets,