Thursday, August 02, 2007

ban the bag

when i had augustine (in a hospital) i had a very different and much more "commercial" experience than olive's homebirth. the pregnancy was filled with the typical first timer stuff like registering for gifts. those two things combined led to A LOT of promotional stuff being sent to our home, almost all of which we weren't in the market for (samples and coupons for disposable diapers and wipes, bottles, formula etc.) im still a little shocked by how these people obviously sold our names. really i shouldn't be but i still felt violated. i forget which company it was - i think pamper's? but i had to practically fist fight them to get taken off of their list. whatever kept coming had no return address or phone number you could call and their website didn't include much information either. i think i ended up having to write them an actual letter because i couldn't find an email address or phone number to get my voice heard.

i am pleased to report that the ban the bags campaign is showing some real results and in new york city, mamas are no longer sent home with the standard tubs of formula, breastfeeding "information" (put out by said companies ill add), etc. but instead are receiving "...a tote bag stuffed with disposable nursing pads, a mini-cooler for breast-milk bottles, and pint-sized T-shirts for the babies that proudly declare "I eat at mom's." whoot whoot!

we received one of those lovely Enfimil sponsored bags at the hospital but we took the cooler and breastpads and left the rest. i didn't need anything undermining my determination to breastfeed afterall, which i feel is what those primarily do. for us it is the only feeding method we are comfortable with and honestly it isn't always easy in the beginning. it's a learning experience on both sides of the fence nipple and popping a bottle of formula seems easy, especially when you are sleep deprived, utterly hormonal, and just a general wreck. again i go back to the word undermine. auggie had major latch issues right from the beginning of our disastrous nursing relationship, which as some of you know led to an exclusive pumping routine which never resulted in getting him to the breast. (sigh) in the hospital i was told he was jaundiced and "needed" supplementation and i wrongly and ignorantly consented, im just being honest. this is just my journey through this issue, but again for us it was breastmilk for my babies - period. but others might not have such resolution about it all and i think we can all agree that formula shouldn't be the standard and im happy that campaign is slowly turning the wheel in that direction, that's all i'm saying.

here's my thing, and im sure ive said this before. anything worthwhile cannot and will not come from the top of the pyramid (government) downward (to the people). that is why grassroots movements are so so important. one voice is still one voice and darn it shout it from the rooftops little soldiers! the government will give us what we demand that we deserve. if we don't demand a change we won't get one. my world is the one i am concerned with and i can take or leave the influence of the government on this topic. i'd be much happier if there was a standard LLL (or reputable equivalent) sponsored bag given to everyone unless they request a formula sponsored one. rethink and redefine the standard but don't make the choice unavailable.


Susanne said...

Hi :)
You don't know me - I came across your blog when I was searching for something on homebirth ... I just wanted to chime and and add my disgust for the bags they send home with new mothers(it happens here in Australia too). I had my first son 10 years ago and was furious at the time - I didn't want their chemical-laden bum cream or milk substitutes, I wanted information on how to overcome breastfeeding obstacles.

Hope you don't mind a total stranger adding a comment!


rayray said...

i was so pissed off about all the formula being sent to me when i was pregnant with avi. fortunately, this time i'm seeing a midwife, and i don't leave appointments with her carrying bags of enfamil like i did at my last doc/midwife office. :p it's nice.

jenny mae. said...

hi susanne. *waves* of course i dont mind a stranger's comment!

rayray - i birthed with a certified nurse midwife in the hospital with my son, and the above mentioned reflects that experience even though it was through a midwife. still bums me out! but this time i had a professional midwife with no affiliation with a hospital (only did homebirths) so there was no way i was going to get spammed with "stuff".

Anonymous said...

Zoey was born a mere 5lbs 10oz and given formula while in the nursery at the hospital...I was urged to do so because of her size and was sent home with all sorts of things...I like you did not use the majority of thing that did come in handy and we still use to this day is the travel cooler and diaper bag..yes they are made by Similac but were freebies! Like MANY other subjects that surround birthing and feeding babies I just don't think people realize that they have a choice, I know this sounds odd but the directives given in hospitals and doctors offices were always given to me in such a manner that I didn't seem apparent that I had a choice in the matter...of course this is my own stupidity for not being educated enough to "make the choice" (I will not make the mistake again) but I feel most people just don't take the time to "learn" that they DO have a voice and can use it and have a choice in the matter

jenny mae. said...

auggie was a peanut (6 lbs 2 oz and we left the hospital he was 5 lbs 13 oz) i got the same speech about supplementing because of his size. coupled with his problems latching (meaning he didn't at all!) we supplemented for 3 days, along with whatever i could pump until my milk came in. i mean i dont regret it because at the time i felt peace about it but looking back it was because of the pressure i was under from the nurses, not necessarily fulfilling the needs of my child, know what i mean? i agree with your sentiment that in the hospital they make you feel as if you are powerless. hence my homebirth and use of a professional midwife. no one is taking my power from me again in that regard.

ps i still use that cooler too.

Alia said...

Yep-that cooler is pretty handy. Esp. Since I'm a work-pumper. What I hate is when family can heap onto this formula pressure. When my Minlaw asked what formula I planned to use w/Noah (so she could stock up in bulk) and i said "uh...NONE, actually" she looked at me like I'd lost my mind. "But what about when you go back to work?" "I will pump."
"Oh, that doesn't work" (mind you, her youngest child was 18 and the last breast pump she had ever used was one of those bicycle horns.)

Then, when she caught me using the pump in the first couple of weeks (privacy is almost nonexistant in my home) and saw I wasn't getting much out (mainly because there wasn't much left to pump after Noah the pig was done, but I didn't know this yet and though i was doing something wrong) she innocently chimed "no milk?"

After she left I cried.

Like I said--wonderful family support.

Mainly, I believe she was just jealous becasue she wanted to spend more time with Noah and breasfeeding necessitated having me around a lot... but it's MY kid, damnit...she's already had her FIVE CHILDREN, like she needs to monopolize these too when I get so little time with them?

jenny mae. said...

my mother in law has seen my breasts MANY times and has been nothing but the greatest support. she helped me out sooo much when olive was born when david went back to work. my mom also has been a great cheerleader. i think the first time i nursed in front of her she cried a little and said "there is nothing more natural..." i beamed.