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Mass. Bans Free Baby Formula Gifts

Massachusetts has now banned free gifts of baby formula to new mothers (AP)

On Beacon Hill, advocates of breastfeeding have declared victory, applauding a decision by all 49 maternity facilities across Massachusetts to ban formula companies from giving away free samples to new mothers.

Massachusetts is the second state to go “bag-free,” a reference to the free diaper bags and formula that formula companies traditionally give away to mothers who have just given birth. Rhode Island’s seven hospitals eliminated the bags and free formula last year.

Advocates of the movement say the free bags are a marketing technique that lowers breastfeeding rates. They argue that it’s a conflict of interest for hospitals to allow the practice — because the free bags represent a not-so-tacit endorsement of formula over breast-feeding.

But opponents call the ban misguided. They say it won’t get more women to breastfeed, but it will deprive poor women of formula. And they say it sends the wrong message to women who can’t or choose not to breastfeed.

Ban The Bags is a national advocacy group that aims to get baby formula gift bags banned in hospitals across the country, and Fearless Formula Feeder is a website that supports allowing free formula to be given to mothers.

Guests:

  • Dr. Amy Tuteur, obstetrician gynecologist and author of the skeptical OB
  • Dr. Bobbi Phillip, professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, and director of the Birthplace at Boston Medical Center

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  • Kdoyleesq

    Yay, it’s about time!  Giving those little bottles were definitely an encouragement to use formula and low income women need breastfeeding support NOT free formula.  It’s less money by far to breast feed of course.  Breastfeeding is HARD and it’s just too hard to have those little bottles in your house and definitely encourages women to use formula.  I was shocked (and this was seven years ago) to get free formula.

    • guest

      Honestly, its not really that much more money.  If you need a cannister a week at about 20 bucks ( its always on sale at Target) 20*52= 1040.  So lets give a ball park number of formula feeding costing between 1000 for the year to 1300 for the year.  I had to buy 2 pumps, since my first one burned out following use, but lets say you only need one thats 300 dollars.  I spent about another 150 on supplements, Fenugreek, mothers milk tea ( and that stuff is DISGUSTING) and a bunch of other things.  Then there was the beer ( and I do feel guilty because MY GOD I MISSED THE BEER while pregnant).  Plus the nipple cream, and the storage containers for the expressed milk, and it adds up to about 800 bucks, so its not cheaper BY FAR, its cheaper by a little bit.  And yes you could theoretically get away without needing a pump, but eventually many moms go back to work and don’t have the luxury of just ambling on over to daycare to nurse.  And to be honest, theres something to be said for being able to go to bed and have your husband do that last feeding. 

      I’m sure there are plenty of moms out there who enjoy the sleep deprivation, and the inability to shower on a regular basis, but I think its because it plays into their martyr complex.  Ive found most moms just say “Hey you gotta do whats right for you and your family”  Its really the oddballs on the ends of the spectrum that make everyone feel bad about their choices…..

      • Walstonds

        wic gives free pumps and insurance covers the cost of pumps with reimburstment and some babies drink waaaaay more then a can a week… I work at WIC which is a supplemental program and the mothers ALWAYS complain because their babies go through 9-10 cans a month which dispells your 1 can week seeing how theres 4 weeks in a month….. thats why we encourage and support breastfeeding

        • Guest

          Well that’s just wonderful Walstonds.  I’m not eligible fo WIC .  And my son, used one cannister of formula a week.  The powder makes an awful lot of of formula.  I don’t think we EVER went through  more than 1.5 cannisters in a week and that was during a growth spurt. 
          Look its a choice that’s up to the individual.  I did breast feed.  I hated every waking moment of it.  I didn’t feel “bonded ” with my child.  It was not a profound time for me wrought with meaning over the life I had created.  It was more like “Ugh hurry up and finish I’m freaking exhausted”   Switching to formula was a relief.  The Sanctimommies out there just like to get their judgement on and let the rest of us know how much better they are.     

  • Gina

    The “what about poor women” argument is ridiculous.   From what I understand, the hospitals still have formula for women who want to bottle feed, and WIC covers baby formula.

  • Jaime

    This is a ridiculous invasion of privacy from breast-feeding advocates. Whether or not a woman breast-feeds is none of anyone else’s business and should not be shamed or blocked from choosing formula if she wishes. Get out of our bodies, please!

    • Guest

      Just because a major corporation can’t force free samples on new mothers on one of the most important days of their lives doesn’t mean that anyone is going to shame them out of bottle feeding! Dr. Bobbi Phillip said that formula would be given to anyone who asked for it. I personally don’t want companies targeting babies to their brand. I resented feeling obligated to take home 2 full bags of samples and advertisements from the hospital with my baby, and that was 14 years ago. I can only imagine it’s gotten worse.

      • Guest

        …and who do you think is REALLY trying to get into your body? The breast-feeding advocates (who are promoting something humans do naturally) or a corporation trying to turn a profit??

      • Awesome Mom Mother

         Oh you mean like the Lansinoah samples I got with my formula samples?  They are trying to promote their product just as much as the formula companies.  What about Medela?  You can’t even get another kind of breast pump at a hospital (or at least you couldn’t when I was pumping).

    • Walstonds

      you let the hospitals and doctors control your body by taking the pills and vaccinations, surgeries and births that they “recomend” why not let someone else do it as well :)

  • J__o__h__n

    Marketers v. a cult. 

    • Guest

      Breastfeeding women are not a cult. It’s the natural thing to do, and some people need help being reminded of this because of the culture that we live in.

      • J__o__h__n

        I didn’t say breastfeeding was a cult, but there are many extremists who are obsessed with it.  I described the other side as marketers which wasn’t meant positively either. 

      • Lauren

        Oh I got reminded. By the LCs that were stalking me after I brought my daughter home and every random stranger that has given me judgmental looks when I feed her formula in public.

  • Splitends

    I developed a serious breast infection a few days after bringing my baby breast-fed baby home from the hospital. I was so sick and so happy to have the hospital gift of formula to get me through the worst until I could resume breast feeding my son. I continued for nine months until he was able to use a cup. 

  • Gina

    Dr. Amy pretty much just ignored Dr.Phillip’s points: no one BMC is being shamed into breast feeding.   Yes the fanatics are out there, but really.

    And does Dr. Amy have data that more rich white women breast feed more successfully?   She seems to be the one creating the it’s a class thing controversy. 

  • Arghh

    I wanted to breastfeed, but couldn’t. All the lit made me feel like I would have a sick and unhealthy child if I formula fed … which weighed heavily on me, and I tried breastfeeding than I should have. Finally I  decided to bottlefeed I have an exceptionally bright, healthy kid. BTW, lactation counselors are marketers, too. They should  be explaining to the uneducated that it’s breastfeeding is cheaper than formula free (dollar-wise; their are other “costs” too) and let them make an informed choice.

    • Guest

      *there, not their

  • tara

    I am a young breast cancer survivor – I had a double mastectomy and would not be able to breast feed. I feel discriminated against by this action to ban formula packages to new mothers! Do you send new mothers home with some diapers? Then how do you justify not sending home with formula?Your job is to educate a new mother of her options – not make  the decision for her. I am not against the benefits of breast feeding – just against your decision to push hospitals to limit supplies to mothers. If you are defending this action to negate product advertisement then just like any other kind of medications prescribed to patients – let the mother choose generic vs brand name. What a waste of law makers time to pass this. It offers no benefit. If a woman chooses to breast feed or use formula she will. You have just limited the supplies and resources offered to a new mother.

    • Guest

      Dr. Bobbi Phillip said that no new mother would be denied formula if they needed it (just like diapers, or anything else a baby would need), so they are not trying to justify sending anyone home without formula.

      • http://www.facebook.com/brianpcurry Brian Curry

         I’m glad someone listened to the interview.

    • tara

       Women get a free lactation nurse specialist visit – why can’t I get a free package of formula seeing as I can’t breast feed. 1 out of 8 women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime – this is discriminating to any woman who has had this disease at a young age like I did and does not have the option to breast feed. I understand a hospital is not going to withhold formula – but why are you withholding the free formula package once offered? Why not focus your energy at educating women about the benefits of breast feeding instead of limiting their options for free  formula? No one would turn down a free sample of formula at target – why are you making them turn it down in the hospital?  Once again – the argument for product advertisement needs to extend to any supply given by the hospital then. Dressing supplies? would you like Baxter, Johnson and Johnson, etc… Stop attacking your competition and work on selling your own thing = education about breast feeding and any limitations of formula.  This is not an argument about the benefits of breast feeding but about limiting women’s choices. Don’t make any decisions for me – educate me and let me make them myself.

      • Walstonds

        not all hospitals have lactation consultants……… and the hospital is not going to deny the mother the samples if she ASK for them! They are simply not going to VOLUNTARILY hand them out to every mother that walks into the hospital and pops a baby out! This is not descrimination against cancer survivors, mothers with low supply, lazy mothers, uneducated mothers, or poor mothers its just a way to support the breastfeeding mother since they arent that many to not undermind their decesions to exbf their babies.

  • NPRJunkie

    Everyone keeps referring to this as a hardship on poor or very poor women.  I am highly educated and gainfully employed.  With my first daughter I started out breastfeeding but my milk didn’t come in fully and had to switch to formula because my baby wasn’t getting enough to eat.  I used the formula sent from the hospital.  That ran out quickly and low and behold I found myself in the baby aisle reading the labels and comparing brands before choosing the one I thought was best for my baby.  I eventually switched to the BJ’s brand as it was exponentially cheaper than the name brands, but it contained the same stuff.  Today, I have a beautiful, healthy 5 1/2 year old.  I’m also pregnant with my second daughter.  I hope to be able to breastfeed her but I know that may not be an option.  In addition, my company doesn’t offer paid maternity leave and my work day is very busy.

    If the good doctor is worried about formula monopolies in the hospital, they could offer a short conversation with new mothers explaining that although they are giving this formula free, there are other comparable and less expensive options available for purchase.  Now they have created a breastfeeding monopoly. 

    I was also somewhat amused at the lady who called in and was so offended about the marketing material/coupons she received in the mail. She was almost apoplectic, overreaction you think.  I bet many women were very appreciative of them, as was I.  I continued to receive them long after my daughter was off formula.  I gave them to another mother or threw them in the recycling.  No big deal. 

    • Awesome Mom Mother

       I wish someone would have sent me free formula in the mail.  How is it that people that don’t want it end up with it but I can’t get any free samples?

  • Michael

    One of the problems is that many parents are convinced the formula is a gift from the hospital (or paid for by insurance), since the nurse at the hospital hands you the free formula. The same thing happens with the free formula given at every pediatrician appointment. A little transparency would go a long way. Parents should be told that it’s a marketing sample from the manufacturer in the hopes of increasing later sales.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003367855349 Vol de Nuit

       Even if you know its provenance, it is an endorsement of the product by the hospital/doctors/nurses.  No transparency will take that away.

      • Mamba_0182

        So…what…who flippin’ cares?! How does it affect you? Hell, you should whole heartedly endorse formula so you can ensure that your kids are SO much smarter than the rest and thus getbeat out other kids for scholarships for college. Yeah…

    • Awesome Mom Mother

       When I got my free samples I assumed it was a marketing sample from the company.  Not everyone is so dumb that they would not realize that.  I guess I have more faith in humanity than you do.

  • Dupontlft

    A point was made that it is often very difficult to continue to breast feed once one goes back to work.  When I had my children 20+ years ago I continued to breastfeed without pumping at work and I worked a 50+ hr per week job.  One is able to have one’s breast produce more milk  or less milk during certain times of day by avoiding breastfeeding during the day the two weeks or so before returning to work and continue this on weekends.  If one pumps (hand pump about $30 – much less expensive than formula) after breastfeeding, one’s breasts will produce more milk during those periods so that breast milk is available for the child during the day.  This may sound weird, but it works.  Also saved money by not using formula.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003367855349 Vol de Nuit

       This is exactly what the formula advocates like Dr. Amy Tuteur don’t want people to know.

      • Gerisw

        Or you could be like me where you pump every day, every 2 hours for 30 minutes, and express a  one whole oz over a 24 hour period from BOTH breasts, and as such you start to go bonkers because nothing is working, you’re exhausted and miserable, but when you go see the lactation consultant she tells you “you’re just not trying hard enough”  1 thing of formula a week is 25 bucks (without coupons and thats high end costs about 1300 dollars a year) in the three months I attempted to breast feed I spent nearly 400 on a pump, another 100 on supplements, more on storage, nipple shields, replacement parts, and then, of course I also spent my sanity.  Best thing I ever did was to stop breastfeed.  I became myself and stopped resenting my husband and my child.

        • Lauren

          Cheers to you for making a decision that was better for your family. I went through something very similar myself. Breastfeeding was an absolutely NIGHTMARE. Switching to formula saved my sanity and allowed me to finally be able to enjoy feeding my baby.

    • Awesome Mom Mother

       Well good for you!  Guess what, not everyone can maintain a supply like that.  My sister-in-law would pump when she could (she was a teacher so it was hard to find the privacy to do so) and she still had her supply tank once she started working again.  Just because something worked out for you does not mean that it will work out for everyone.

  • Guest

    I breastfeed my LO and absolutely love it.  I had decided way before I went in the hospital that I was going to BF.. but I can see where getting these bags might lead someone that is “on the edge” in the other direction.. I did get a free bag and I just put the formula aside.. I love freebies, so I loved getting this “gift” at the hospital.. I did think it was funny though, when I opened it up and there was formula in there..  since the lactation consultants were the ones who gave it to me!  But I was happy to get the little bottle cooler, it is one of my favorites to use if I need it.  I have even used it to hold other items like baby food and yogurt!  I am not sure if I think this is a good or bad thing, but I am kind of glad I got my freebie before the legislation went through ;)  What can I say.. free is free!  Our little man is almost one and we have never given him formula.

  • Sam Walworth

    This is completely nonsensical idea that because Hospitals give away free samples, new mothers would stick to the formula and ditch breast feeding.

    We tried to breast feed all of our three kids (born 2007, 2009, and 2011) BEFORE we even touched the hospital given formula.

    Sure we tried to feed them with breast milk, as long as possible (around 4 -5 months) and then my wife’s schedule became overwhelming and the breast milk production reduced to an extent that we switched to formula.

    If the Breast Feeding advocates really want to push the agenda of breast feeding, then they should Encourage the Govt to give new mothers the Maternity Leave, as in other countries (in our country its Short Term Disability which the insurance benefit and must be opted for at the time of benefits being renewed or signed)

    • Tammy

      I agree that our government should give new mothers maternity leave, BUT-no company would ever deny a mother 10-15 minutes to pump milk, unless they wanted a lawsuit.  

      • Duh

        Tammy, you must live in fantasy land. Companies can and do deny mothers 10-15 minutes to pump milk. You know how I know? Because my company did just that. BOOM.

    • DR

      Sam my wife and I did the same thing, saved the coupons for later when she couldn’t breastfeed or pump anymore. We know the benefit of breast milk though like you and your wife did. Not everyone knows as much about the benefits, and I believe the concern is that if people get handed formula at the hospital they feel like its a recommendation or at least a statement of “this is equally good”, and that this brand must be better for some reason. If they get you started on one formula at the hospital they know you are likely to use it the whole time.

      So I agree that its nice to let people save five dollars, but I also know the company is doing it to try to snare a customer and that some people will believe that getting the formula at the hospital is an endorsement. They should just mail the coupons to the house.

  • Tammy

       I think it’s terrible to say that breastfeeding is too hard for a working woman to do, and it also has nothing to do with income. If anything, it makes MORE sense for a low income mother to breastfeed, because it doesn’t cost anything! When I had my son, I was only 20 years old and worked a full time job. I pumped milk on my breaks in the first aid room. I have known mothers who pumped milk in the bathroom. It only takes a few minutes! Also, breast pumps are not very expensive, as that woman who called in said. I think they cost like $15 at WalMart. I decided to go earth (and pocket) friendly, and buy a used one for a couple of dollars. They are made of plastic and can be sterilized, just like a baby bottle.
       They are not taking formula completely out of hospitals, they are just not going to let formula companies target your newborn baby.
       Also- I googled Dr. Amy Tuteur, and according to http://www.gentlebirth.org:    Dr. Amy Tuteur is no longer licensed as a physician. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine reports that her license expired in 2003. This would explain why she was unaware that they have since then proven as fact that breastfeeding is better for baby than formula. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was sponsored by Similac! Why else would a doctor defend a corporation like she did?   I hate how companies push their products on children as well babies. I think next they should get soda machines out of schools.
       Dr. Amy Tuteur is no longer licensed as a physician. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine reports that her license expired in 2003. This would explain why she was unaware that they have since then proven as fact that breastfeeding is better for baby than formula. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was sponsored by Similac! Why else would a doctor defend a corporation like she did?   I hate how companies push their products on children as well babies. I think next they should get soda machines out of schools.

    • Tammy

      Oops! Didn’t mean to repeat myself there! Don’t know how that last paragraph got repeated like that. Sorry about that…

    • Jochebed

      “proven as fact that breastfeeding is better for baby than formula”

      Wonderful!  Since you’re so well-versed in the literature perhaps you can provide us with the citations for this claim.  We of course want all our policies founded on “evidence-based” medicine. 

      Perhaps you missed where Dr. Amy said she exited the practice of medicine to stay home, breastfeed and raise her children.  Of course she let her license expire.  If she’s not practicing, why would she want to continue to pay for licensing fees?

      Please also provide the quotation for Dr. Amy defending Similac in specific.  Or any evidence for her sponsorship by any corporation whatsoever.  Again, we would HATE to make ad hominim attacks that have no basis in reality.  You speak with such authority it would certainly be easy for you to back up your statements with peer-reviewed research, government or business literature or news articles from mainstream sources.

  • Caley1130

    Im not understanding some of the points trying to be made here. What does this have to do with low income family’s? When I had my first I tried breast feeding and I was unable to produce so my child lost weight. We switched to the formula it was a great thing. I am now pregnant with my second and I will try to breast feed again but in the case I can’t knowing the formula bags are there so my child will get the nutrients she needs is a piece of mind for me.

    • Tammy

      They will still be there for anyone who needs it; they just don’t want the formula companies to try to hook you on a specific brand, is all. As for all the freebies that come with the formula: I am sure they will be happy to mail it to you, probably even if you don’t request it.

      • Jochebed

        So are you also protesting Medela for getting mothers “hooked” on their pumps, nipple cream and other breastfeeding products?  If it’s all about “marketing” and mothers can purchase what they need on their own, why aren’t you protesting these companies’ tactics too?

        • Walstonds

          the point is in the hospital they have banners of formula slogans and mothers bottle feeding and not breastfeeding then you get these bags that say “i know you want to breastfeed, but look what we have!” all shoved in your face. I had to ASK for nipple cream, i had to ASK for what pump i should get for work I had to ASK for my midwife to show me how to breastfeed so why cant mothers whom choose to FF or cant BF ASK for the sample bags? Just like they dont want breastfeeding thrown in their faces I dont want formula companies shoving their products in my face!

        • http://www.facebook.com/brianpcurry Brian Curry

           When Medela puts a free pump in a bag for new mothers to take home, then we’ll talk.

    • Emily

       The point being made is that for women who are uninformed about breastfeeding, or who have some aversion to it because of the sexualization and societal shaming of breasts, handing them formula packets is like telling them they don’t even have to consider breastfeeding in addition to reinforcing our weird cultural issues around the mammary gland. It is clear from myriad studies that breastmilk is best: children who are breastfed consistently outperform children who are not, at all income levels, they have better immune systems and are overall much healthier. Recently several formula companies have had to issue recalls due to garbage in their product, or the high levels of naturally occurring arsenic in brown rice products. Do you want your child drinking sheetrock or arsenic? No, of course not.

      Now, if you need formula because you’re not producing you will of course be given formula. Some women simply cannot produce. Some women’s supply dries up too quickly. Sometimes complications result in hospitalization that interferes with a normal feeding schedule. That is what formula is for. Decades ago you would have employed a wet nurse. You still can.

      (Something to consider: How did you give birth? Were you hooked up to 17 machines and induced?
      Those chemicals they pump through you can have a huge effect on your
      milk production. Also, if your child was taken away from you too
      quickly, or you scheduled a caesarian due to your work or vacation or
      whatever and your body and your baby were not ready for birth, that can
      affect your milk production. Sometimes you’re not given all the
      information you should have, which is terrible. The lawsuit culture has had several very negative impact on our healthcare and childbirth is one of the worst victims. Many OBs are not fully trained in actual, real, natural childbirth and most of the new ones have never seen natural childbirth. They do not know what to do with an actual birth. They only know how to read computer screens, which are sometimes quite wrong.)

      • BigBlue

        The stupid. It burns. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

      • Jochebed

        “Those chemicals they pump through you can have a huge effect on your milk production.”

        Of course, you have peer-reviewed journal articles to back up your statements.  Otherwise it’s just junk opinion with no “evidence-based medicine” to support it at all.

        Many OBs are not fully trained in actual, real, natural childbirth and most of the new ones have never seen natural childbirth.

        And what medical school did you graduate from to make this assessment?  Or are you just ASSuming from what you’ve read on MDC.  Seeing that modern obstetrics prevent tons of mothers and babies from dying every year, I’d say that a lack of experience with “natural childbirth” is working out ok.

        • Walstonds

          read “The Birth Book” by Dr William Sears and Dr Martha Sears and also the “Womanly Art of Breastfeeding”they site their sources in the research. I am sure there are more books but those are the ones i can think of off the top of my head…theres your evidence now go educate yourself

  • Emily

    Please remove the Dr from Amy Tuteur’s name. She is no longer licensed to practice medicine and her shrewish cleavage to the technocratic/corporate birth and child rearing model is frightening. She is the Ann Coulter of the birth world, folks. Not that her tirades weren’t obviously ignorant in the face of Dr Bobbi Phillip’s calm, informed reasoning, but still, please don’t encourage the likes of Tuteur. She does enough damage on her own without being able to claim some shred of legitimacy by being interviewed by WBUR.

    • Ez

      Seriously. Tuteur is a total crank.

    • Jcbsladr

      Why does she need to remove the Dr from her name just because she is no longer licensed to practice medicine?  How can I take what you say seriously when you can’t even grasp the basic fact that when someone graduates from medical school they are addressed as Doctor?  Licensing has nothing at all to do with the title.  You would be more believable if you said “Please remove the Dr from Amy Tuteur’s name because I don’y like what she says.”

    • Jochebed

      Way to present a level, open-minded, facts based opinion.  No one could ever accuse you of ad hominim attacks when you present the evidence so clearly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003367855349 Vol de Nuit

    I was shocked that this Dr. Amy Tuteur kept insinuating that hospitals are trying to either force or at last shame women into breast feeding.  My daughter was born 11 years ago and my twin boys were born 8 years ago and in both cases I remember, at best, neutral apathy toward breast feeding and even a nurse that accused my wife of starving my boys to death because she was breast-feeding instead of using formula (most nurses were wonderful both times except for this wacko). This was in Boston during a time when breast-feeding is IN, so I don’t imagine that a few years later things have changed much.

    Breast-feeding was our choice (really mi wife’s, but I supported it enthusiastically) and we do not judge anyone that chooses formula, but this Dr. Amy Tuteur painting a picture of BIG BROTHER forcing/shaming women to breast feed just because the “free” gifts won’t be there anymore is outrageous.

    Women/families should be free to choose and be supported either way; taking away the freebies that say “endorsed by hospital/doctors/nurses” is a great start to level the playing field.

    • kathy

      How is taking away samples of formula a way to level the playing field? Not all women have milk immediately. It took me almost 4 days for my milk to come in. Had I not had the free formula at the hospital, what was I to do? Luckily, I had also packed some formula in my diaper bag but I also took what the hospital gave as well. When my milk did come in, my son drank that too. Taking away someone’s choice is not a way to level any playing field. What about the women who had breast cancer and may not have milk? What will you tell them? 

      • BigBlue

        Vol de Nuit, as a man you have NO IDEA about the mommy-shaming that occurs. NO IDEA.  So please, don’t speak of that of which you do not know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003367855349 Vol de Nuit

    What formula company (or lobby) is paying this Dr. Amy Tuteur to blab their nonsense?

    Did I miss something?  I mean, no one is this militant supporting a marketing gimmick (that has been proven to work so effectively!) and defend it by trying to say taht it is the other side trying to impose their will, do they?

    • Mommydearest

      As far as I know if a company is paying someone to say something that has to be disclosed. Dr. Tuteur has never taken corporate sponsorship to say what she believes. She has to stay independent.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003367855349 Vol de Nuit

         Do you have any proof of that?

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          Do you have any proof of your malicious insinuation? Of course not, since it is completely fabricated.

          Feel free to apologize.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003367855349 Vol de Nuit

    Congratulations Dr. Phillip!  You have done a great thing for the women and the children of Massachusetts.

    I especially admired the way you handled all the drivel from the other “doctor” without loosing your cool.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mona.swearingen Mona L. Swearingen

    There must certainly be more serious concerns than free formula samples in hospitals. No one has to take or use the free samples, so it really seems to me to be a waste of time to campaign against them.

    • BigBlue

      My suspicion is that the women doing this campaigning have nothing else of worth going on in their lives. All they have is their status as “supermommy” (as defined by them, of course) and so they push their decisions on others to make them seem like the only right decisions. If they really and truly cared about this issue, they wouldn’t waste time on free formula samples. They would spend this time and effort trying to get longer, paid maternity leaves for women in the US.  

  • tara

       Women get a free lactation nurse specialist visit – why can’t I get a
    free package of formula seeing as I can’t breast feed. 1 out of 8 women
    will develop breast cancer during their lifetime – this is
    discriminating to any woman who has had this disease at a young age like
    I did and does not have the option to breast feed. I understand a
    hospital is not going to withhold formula – but why are you withholding
    the free formula package once offered? Why not focus your energy at
    educating women about the benefits of breast feeding instead of limiting
    their options for free  formula? No one would turn down a free sample
    of formula at target – why are you making them turn it down in the
    hospital?  Once again – the argument for product advertisement needs to
    extend to any supply given by the hospital then. Dressing supplies?
    would you like Baxter, Johnson and Johnson, etc… Stop attacking your
    competition and work on selling your own thing = education about breast
    feeding and any limitations of formula.  This is not an argument about
    the benefits of breast feeding but about limiting women’s choices. Don’t
    make any decisions for me – educate me and let me make them myself.

    • Tammy

      Similac (or whatever brand your hospital was pushing) wants their brand offered to all new mothers, because once feed it to your baby, there is a much better chance you will stay with that brand. You’re not supposed to switch all around from formula to formula because it could upset a newborn’s stomach. They only want to sell you formula, not educate you. Why don’t people get this?

      • Awesome Mom Mother

         I got free formula with my first two kids before this was even such a hot button issue.  Guess what?  I was not brainwashed into feeding them the name brand formula.  People can think for themselves and decide that they want to go with generic brand despite what the hospital gives you.  And BTW you can switch brands with out upsetting your child’s stomach, you just slowly add in more of the new brand with each feeding.  It is not rocket science.

        • Walstonds

          not all mothers know this and not all mothers are smart enough to make their own decesions. I have had woman drop out of the WIC program i work for because the hospital gave them Infamil and we are a Similac program in my state. They feel the hospital gave it to them for a reason and their babies are doing good on it so they stick to it no matter what despite what we tell them. And not all mothers know to add it slowly so they make the quick transition see it doesnt work and they go back to the brand the were on. You are assuming that the general population is equally as educated and has the same access to education and technology like you and this is not so……

    • exbf13mos

      no all hospitals have lactation consultants and infact because of the low BF numbers some hopsitals have even fired theres….so no not all woman get a free lactation visit…..

  • Bella8226

    I really think too much is made about this. I honestly believe that this is a private decision. Why does everyone think it’s their business? Nobody is going to bottle feed because they get 5.00 worth of formula. No one is going to nurse because you will not give 5.oo worth of  formula 

    • exbf13mos

      I work for the GOVT funded program called WIC as the breastfeeding counselor and most of the clients that we have admited to be exbf in the hospital but once they got the samples at the hospital started to formula feed. It starts with one night time feeding and ends up to exff. The mothers on the program that are exbf either didnt recieve the bag or misplaced it… not scientific but anecdotal. I’ve even made a point to mention in my BF classes that if they are serious about BF and its going good then DO NOT take the bag b/c its an temptation like chocolate to the dieter…..

  • kathy

    It took me almost 4 days for my milk to come in after my son was born. What was I to do at the hospital, let him starve? I actually had some formula in my diaper bag when we went but when the hospital gave me some, I took it as well. When my milk came in, he drank that too. To deprive a mother of food for her child is heartless & cruel. Yes, we all know the formula companies want new customers. But to mother’s who deliver before their due date or moms who have to breast milk, free formula is a way to feed their baby. 

    • Emilyzola

       They’re not saying that hospitals will stop stocking formula.

    • Kmac

      Kathy, I’m sure you won’t like this but in the four days it took for you milk to come in your baby would not have starved, he would have survived on something even more nutritious and precious than breast milk- colostrum. And having your baby before your due date will not have an effect on your milk production, unless of course your baby is very premi and in this case breast milk is even more important (another reason for milk banks to be made much more accessible). Unfortunately it is exactly this type of misinformation that formula companies prey on.
      Breast milk is not a product, breast feeding advocates are not trying to encourage it for profit unlike formula companies. Breast milk is so important for babies and so far above anything that comes in a packet that anything that can be done to encourage a new mum to avoid artificial substitutes should be done.

      • Jochebed

        Please provide your evidence for your assertion that breast milk is “so far above anything that comes in a packet”.  We want to promote evidence-based medicine here.  Assertions with no substitive data to back it up are worthless.

        • exbf13mos

          im just concerned why you dont have access to all the medical data on the interenet that states the benefits of breastfeeding?? I’m not for any side i’m def pro feed your baby but this “supply medical documentation” statement every other post is rediculous……even my two year can google the benefits of breastfeeding…….

  • Alison

    Dr. Amy gave up her medical practice to have her kids which she *gasp* breastfed. Stop with all the ad hominem attacks against her.

    I didn’t get a free nifty bag and I still ended up formula feeding. Were formula feeding women even consulted for this? It seems that people who wouldn’t choose formula in the first place seem to be the only ones listened to in this matter and that is a shame and very condescending.

    I never got those bags as they don’t have them where i live and I still ended up supplementing with formula. Ideals are one thing (I was Ms. No bottles or formula samples for me…I was “educated”), reality is another.

  • LawrynM

    For the record the Fearless Formula Feeder is a website that supports all mothers, whether EBF, BF & FF, or EFF.  There are number of lactation consultants who contribute regularly to the conversations on that website as well as EBF mothers in addition to women who use formula.  Many websites claim to have a more balanced view of infant feeding but Fearless Formula Feeder is one of a handful that actually stands by that philosophy.  To simply state that it’s a website that supports giving free formula to mothers doesn’t scratch the surface of what it does as a support group.  Just my two cents.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003367855349 Vol de Nuit

       It is so independent that they don’t even list who is in charge or where their funding comes from!

      • Awesome Mom Mother

         There is no funding.  It is written a mom who is passionate about making sure that all the facts are out there about formula feeding.  I am sure she would love to be able to make money off her site but then as she has said it would not be entirely ethical to do so.

      • fearlessformulafeeder

        Um. “They” is me. Suzanne Barston. You don’t need funding to run a blog which you post on at most twice a week. Blogger hosts it for free. Although I suppose I do incur cost by way of lost sleep, since I mostly work on it at night after my kids go to sleep and I finish my paid work (nothing to do with breastfeeding or bottle feeding, for the record. I’m a freelance writer). But if it makes you feel better to think that I am “funded’, I’m perfectly happy to accept donations. It’s nice to have someone to hate on, I think; gives people a fire in the belly to fight these battles. I accept Paypal. :)

  • AGreatMother

    This is just sad. After giving birth to my daughter, I developed walking pneumonia, and was unable to breastfeed. I was not only heartbroken (I breastfed my 1st born son for 6 months), I was financially strapped because my illness added 10 days to my hospital stay, and I was unable to work for several weeks after. My husband had to take time off to stay home with our son during my extended hospital stay, and take care of me once I was released. My milk never really came in (after trying to breastfeed, pumping and fenegreek supplements).The free formula sample cans were a God-send during that tough time. My daughter is healthy, happy, and beautiful. I can’t imagine what we would have done without the free formula (since formula runs about $25 per can for the regular stuff, $40 a can if your baby happens to be allergic to regular formula). Assuming that ever mother can/wants to breastfeed is so closed minded. Adoptive mothers also receive theses samples. Some are donated to food banks and shelters (my friend donated 20 cans she received between the hospital, pediatrician, ob/gyn, and online offers to a local food bank). 
    I agree that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for newborns, but not everyone has that option. 
    This is just another example of people in power trying to inflict their own agenda on the populous without seeing the big picture. Ugh.

    • BigBlue

      And not just people of power, but people of means as well. Not everyone can afford to stay at home and exclusively BF. Not everyone can afford the $200 pumps, and not everyone has an understanding employer that will allow breaks to pump. It’s not only narrow-minded, it’s just plain idiotic.

      • Emily

         In a very quick search on Amazon, I found several breast pumps that were about $30. Or slightly more than one can of formula.

        If your employer does not provide a secure place for you to pump, you have grounds for a lawsuit. They have to.

        • BigBlue

          I’m sorry Emily, but that is not true. Under the new ObamaCare, employers do have to provide a locked room and “reasonable” breaks for pumping to those employees who are not exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. However, I am exempt and therefore am not protected. It’s up to the individual states to determine, and in my state my employer is not required to provide either a place or time for pumping. I work in Human Resources and am well-versed in employment law and my options, but if you have information that says otherwise, please provide it so that I can take it to my employer. 

          As far as $30 breast pumps, HAHA. It took me 45 minutes to pump 4 ounces total from both breasts using the Medela Pump in Style that I borrowed from my sister to try out. This is a pump that she paid almost $300 for, and is one of the best pumps available. It is completely unrealistic to think I could use a cheap pump and get enough milk for my son, and keep my supply up.

  • wise woman

    Of course it should be the
    mother’s choice how to feed her baby! That is not in question. This is
    about deliberately giving “free” formula to mothers who have decided to
    breastfeed. Why do you think formula companies do that? Out of the goodness of their hearts? Besides, the costs of that *free* formula is passed right back to the mothers who end up relying on it.Mothers who choose not to
    breastfeed can still get formula in the hospitals. The difference is that the hospital
    now has to pay for it, just like they pay for other foods they give
    their patients.

    • BigBlue

      If you don’t want the sample, don’t take. How hard is that?

  • Jochebed

    Rock on Dr. Amy.

  • Mamba_0182

    This is beyond ridiculous. A woman had a right to choose how to feed her baby and being so stuck up to think everyone should breastfeed is downright ludacris and disgusting. This coming from someone who breastfeeds but wouldn’t think twice about using formula if I had to or decided I was done with breastfeeding. Really, people need to butt the eff out of other peoples business. Raise your own damn kids and leave mine alone.

  • Trubee2

    As an Ob/Gyn that practiced here in Boston for over 30 years, I believe it is the responsibilty of the delivering hospitals to promote breastfeeding, but understand that for many new mothers there may be impediments to doing so.  As such, it is easy enough to provide those individuals with the “gift pack” while not having it be a uniform entitlement.
    For that matter, the manufacturers could provide a coupon  for their product to new moms who will not be breastfeeding.
    I was a bit disappointed to see Dr. Tuteur, a prior resident of mine, not being more pro-active about breastfeeding.

  • LawrynM

    Why can’t we just be grateful that we have healthy, beautiful children?  There are so many women who would love to be able to naturally conceive, there are so many women on their 3rd and 4th miscarriages…are they too genetically inferior to even participate in this conversation?  There are children out there being starved to death and abused.  Why bully post partum women when they are at their most vulnerable?  If you don’t BF or don’t BF “long enough” you’re considered lazy and ignorant.  If you breastfeed for “too long” you’re considered perverted and needy.  We’re all different.  Do your best.  Move on.  And don’t let anyone bully you into doing what they think is best for your body or your family.  And they say there’s no “war on women.”  Snort.

  • PA2Cents

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    As Dr. Phillip stated the issue is not about persuading new
    mothers to breastfeed if they cannot, or don’t want to.  I wasn’t breastfed and I’m pretty
    successful.  It’s ok if mothers
    don’t.  The issue is about letting
    formula companies use doctors as a marketing tool.  That is the only issue these hospitals want to resolve.  The hospitals still get the free
    formula and equipment from the companies and distribute it when mothers decide
    they do not want to BF.  But, when
    a hospital gives free formula bags to every new mother, the hospital is
    influencing that mother because she trusts the hospital.  If she did not have the full trust of
    the hospital she probably wouldn’t choose to give birth there.  There are proven statistics the show
    mothers who are given free formula have a greater likelihood to NOT BF (use
    formula). Furthermore, they will use the specific brand of formula issued by
    the hospital because they trust that the hospital is giving them the best
    formula for their child.  Formula
    companies know that and write it in their training manuals (One was stolen from
    a formula sales rep…it was enlightening/troubling.)  No one is attacking mothers who choose not to BF.  I understand that formula companies
    provide a good service and they have helped a lot of mothers over the last 70
    years…but they also want to make money. 
    Perhaps this is one money-making strategy that needs to go?

    • Jochebed

      If it’s about “marketing”, then why does Dr. Phillips feel a need to “inform” the formula feeders in her practice?

      Because she views it as formula vs. breastfeeding.  “Marketing” is a cover-up.

      • PA2Cents

        I don’t understand what you mean???  Why would you not want to present both sides to new mothers and have the mother choose?   In fact I don’t think she would be doing her job if she didn’t inform new and expecting mothers.

  • PA2Cents

    Sorry y’all I’m a first time blogger.

  • Kmac

    “Never underestimate the importance of nurses. If they are sold and
    serviced properly, they can be strong allies. A nurse who supports Ross
    is like an extra salesperson.” (Abbott Labs v. Segura, 1995)

    Directly quoted from a Ross training manual. The company that makes Similac.

    (cited in a Texas court case)

    • guest

      Then hospitals should train their nurses to be decent lactation consultants.  When I had my child 2 years ago I had 4 nurses come in.  Each gave me conflicting advice on how to “correctly breastfeed”  It got to the point where I was expecting the next nurse to come in and tell me that the other four were all wrong and I should be standing on my head while singing the score to the Pirates of Penzance in order to get the right latch.  Its a miracle I was able to figure out how to do it with the help of my friends.

  • rh

    It sounds like Ms. Tuteur is just another marketing arm of the formula companies.  Is there a requirement that Ms. Tuteur reveal the revenue she receives through consulting contracts or “expense reimbursement” from the industry?  It is common practice that doctors are given perks to attend industry conferences and speak in support of pharmaceutical products.  Such conflicts of interest are rife in the medical industry and are rarely brought to light.  The connection between these doctors and “experts” and the for-profit pharmaceutical industry is unethical and should be illegal.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

       I receive no compensation of any kind from any industry or organization.

      Sorry, but you’ll just have to address my arguments on the merits instead of spreading malicious insinuations.

  • letsfacefacts

    It is clear that Dr. Phillip takes care of moms and babies every day, helping them overcome institionalized obstacles to breastfeeding in a particularly challanging urban setting.  She is a true expert and contributor to the CURRENT medical and scientific literature in the field – as opposed to the ancient, recycled, and discredited ideas espoused by Dr. Amy.  The data are unequivocal about significant (not marginal) benefits of breastfeeding to both baby and mom.  Individuals with MD after their name, even those long out of practice, should really better informed. 

    Honesty dictates a rational and evidence-based approach to this debate.   Nobody is shaming anybody nor denying formula to moms who want or need it.  As Dr. Phillip says, this is about inappropriate MARKETING. 

    It’s not a coincidence that breastfeeding rates, initiation and longer term, demonstrably go up (that would be DATA/SCIENCE, Dr. Amy) when hospitals take a multi-pronged approach to supporting moms that includes kicking the formula companies out.  And it’s not a coincidence that until hospitals take that ethical course, formula companies make more $$$$ by ‘freebie’ bags. 

    • Jochebed

      letsfacefacts – Yes, let’s.  Please.  Let’s face the facts.  Just as soon as you provide them.  Since you’re obviously well-versed in the wealth of literature showing significant benefits of breastfeeding over formula feeding please provide it for us to read.  Along with dad showing demonstrable evidence that removing formula packs increases long term breast feeding.  Since you are the one wanting an “evidence-based approach” please show us the evidence.

      And please, it’s not about marketing.  If it was, then what’s the importance of your significant benefits of breastfeeding.  THAT’s a formula vs. breastfeeding argument.  It has NOTHING to do with marketing.

      I’m waiting for your rational evidence-based studies.  You want to dictate policy based on it.  So please show it to all of us.

      • letsfacefacts

        Hi Jochebed, 
        I will be seeing cancer patients and I’ll be in and out of research meetings all afternoon, so i won’t likely have the time to take you on a guided tour of the literature this afternoon.  Pity.  

        This reminds me of the “debate” between evolution and creationism and the people who either can’t or won’t understand a massive consensus of scientific evidence opinion because they are so blinded by an irrational belief system.

        And BTW, I brought up the issue of breastfeeding benefits because Dr. Amy is so sadly underinformed and misinformed on the issue that it rather wrecks her all-around credibility.

        • Jochebed

          I have a “Dr.” before my name as well, so stomping around in your boots isn’t all that impressive.

          PubMed is not that difficult to time-consuming to navigate.  I’d just like to see one single peer-reviewed article in a major medical journal that substantiates your claim of ” significant (not marginal) benefits of breastfeeding to both baby and mom”.

          Also, as you stated, if the argument is over “marketing” why are you bringing up the benefits of breastfeeding at all?  I thought this wasn’t a formula vs. breastfeeding discussion.

          • letsfacefacts

            Not much for understanding the written word, are we?

            1)  At no point did i say that i am a doctor; I may or may not be.

            2)  I clearly explained why i brought up benefits of breastfeeding, but feel free to reread as necessary.

            3)  In my field of cancer epidemiology and prevention, the peer-reviewed literature in major journals about breast cancer risk reduction attributable to breastfeeding abounds before one even starts on benefits to baby.

            That you are ignorant of the literature doesn’t make it somebody else’s responsibility to spoonfeed it to you, doc (of what???).   Even if I had the time or inclination to do the spoonfeeding, you have already shown yourself to be a rather careless reader.  Over and out, already wasted way to much time with this………….

          • Jochebed

            It’s your name.  letsfacefacts.  Let’s.  If you are making claims, the onus of proof is on you.  I’m not asking to be spoonfed, just for one single peer-reviewed article in a major medical or research publication that shows significant demonstrable evidence of benefits of breastfeeding over formula.

            I haven’t made claims one way or the other.  And I haven’t resorted to personal attacks as an exit strategy either.  I actually over-estimated your education. 

            As a scientist, if you are going to make a claim or assertion, it’s your responsibility to back it up with facts.  Simply saying it’s so, doesn’t make it so.

  • Kryptik690420

    thats messed up, some people don’t have money and cant breast feed for many different reasons, and i am one of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i am low income and i dont produsce enofge milk, in fact when i didnt know that i didnt my child lost a lot of weight at the begining in the hospital because of it. i am glad i dont live in mass, yall would have a major law suit, i would def. see to it!!!

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