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Breastfeeding Question for L&D nurses

Has 11 years experience.

My pediatrician isn't very supportive of my bf efforts. From the beginning she has been trying to make me supplement with formula. DD is growing very well w/o any formula and I think she just doesn't approve of bf. We went in for the baby's two month appt today and the pediatrician had no complaints about her growth but she did ask me what formula was I giving her. She looked very surprised when I said none at all and she actually said "Your STILL bf?" Uh yes I am...she is only 2months old!

I am looking for a new pediatrician of course.

Anyway I am not making this post to toot my own horn or knock anyone who does not breastfeed. Rather I was doing some Internet research and I came across this statment in regards to nurses and doctors practices in regard to breastfeeding and I want to know if any of you experienced ob/gyn nurses have witnessed this. When I was in the hospital I found the nurses to be really helpful and they did not try to interfere with my bf efforts at all. Rather it was the CNA's (no offense I was once a CNA too) who kept telling me to send my baby to the nursery and to give her formula because she was "hungry" when there were no nurses around.

Thanks in advance!

BTW, this is from the ProMom website.

Doctors and nurses charged with the care of post-partum women and their newborns are showered with gifts, including a full year's supply of free formula to any nurse or doctor with a new baby. This is a particularly brilliant marketing gimmick, since this greatly increases the chances that the nurses' and doctors' children will be formula-fed and a health care professional who has formula-fed his or her own children is hardly going to be able educate his or her patients about the dangers of artificial feeding.

Another gimmick is a contest with valuable prizes -- run by a formula company -- to see which of the nurses in the post-partum ward can collect the most formula can tops. Obviously, this puts the nurses' interest (to win the contest, she must have more patients who feed formula and do not breastfeed) directly in conflict with the health interests of his or her patients.

Formula advertising directed to parents is rampant in hospitals and doctors' offices on prescription pads, pens, growth charts, pamphlets and posters. Doctors and hospitals routinely send personal information about pregnant women to the formula companies so that direct mail advertisements can be directed to them. This can have tragic results. as the mothers of stillborn babies continue to receive cases of formula in the mail for months after they have buried their children. Those formula companies that have been unable to penetrate the medical community as effectively, such as Nestle-Carnation and Gerber, advertise their products directly to the public on TV shows directed at new parents and in parenting magazines such as "Parents," "Child," "American Baby," and "Parenting," again, all in violation of the WHO Code.

Yes, find yourself a new doc.

I have found that older folks do still go with the information they received 30 years ago about formula being superior to breast milk. One of the nurses I used to work with who is 55 told a new mom that her baby needed formula because her milk wasn't in yet . . . :rolleyes: umm, the colustrum is there for a good reason and if you don't nurse your baby, then you won't make alot of milk.

There are just alot of old wive's tales regarding this issue. I think you are doing fine - just find a more knowledgable doc.

Congratulations on your baby by the way.

steph

The only hospitals i've worked in are in the process of becoming "baby friendly" hospitals which DO NOT promote formula feeding unless the parents choose to formula feed. Before my hospital started the quest to becoming "baby friendly" we provided formula to any mother that asked, and yes our free diaper bags that we gave to parents did contain free formula. We no longer do that. I have not seen "incentive" programs for nurses who can collect the most formula lids or anything of the sort. As a nurse, I ABSOLUTELY would not push formula feeding just to benefit myself. I would hope other nurses out there caring for new moms and babies could say the same(i'm confident most would).

I have seen pediatricians that don't promote breastfeeding. I think its sad considering the benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby. I think its great you're standing your ground and continuing to breastfeed your baby. More power to you!!!:pumpiron:

Having said that I do know nurses who accepted free formula for their babies from the formula company rep. I really don't see anything wrong with it. The free formula didn't effect how the nurses cared for their patients. I don't believe it changed how they supported their breastfeeding patients. I'm glad your experience with the nurses in the hospital was positive, that's how it should be.:heartbeat

SmilingBluEyes

Has 20 years experience.

You have every right to find a dr who supports your breastfeeding efforts.

Good luck to you.

BSNtobe2009

Specializes in Looking for a career in NICU.

I had a preemie, and one of the first things they asked me, "Are you going to breastfeed?"

I said, "Absolutely!"

They said, "Good, because we spent alot of time with Mom's that don't want to breastfeed preemies, but you would have to work here to understand how much better the breastfed babies do."

STAT!! New pediatrician!

Also, get in touch with La Leche League. Had I not read and read and read their book "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" while pregnant and while nursing, I would have given up. BF is natural but it doesn't always come naturally. And no one really encouraged me to BF, except hub, but I had made up my mind and did it for about 2 years with each child. I know of lots of women who did it longer than that.

You just do what is right for you and your little one and fooey on that pediatrician, who ought to go back to school, since she hasn't learned muc of anything about infant nutrition, it seems.

Gompers, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU.

Just an FYI -

That info from the ProMom website about healthcare workers in the obstetrics field getting a free year of formula is a thing of the past.

am17sg05

Specializes in psych,emergency,telemetry,home health.

i just want to share to you this even if i'm not an l&d rn.i breastfed my 2 boys.firstly, they were not born in us and they came in here at the age of 4 and 1 1/2.i breastfed my first baby for more than 2 yrs.full breastfeeding until almost a yr.i stopped working when i gave birth and when i was about to work again,there came my problem.i would leave him for job interview and he would not even dare taste formula milk.when i get home,he would be very hungry as i breastfeed him.the 2nd baby,i did breastfeeding until 10 months although at the start, it was already mixed feeding because of our previous experience.it is really advisable to breastfeed because of the antibodies that they can get from us and i also witnessed how they love me and the bond is really there.but there is always a cons for every pros so it really depends on you.goodluck!

bagladyrn, RN

Specializes in OB.

Regarding the article quoted - where are all these goodies supposedly passed on to the nurses and why haven't I gotten my share?? All I've ever seen are pens and notepads - I'm not selling myself that cheap! Yes, this is written with tongue firmly in cheek, but I truly don't think many of us are naive enough to be that easily persuaded to push formula.

As for your doctor, while I think changing to a pediatrician more supportive of you is probably a good idea, I'd also suggest asking your current doctor what her reasoning is in suggesting formula when your baby is obviously thriving without it. May give her the seed of something to think about if she has to verbalize it.

I actually can't seen to even get a new Enfamil steth tag. I had covered the logo with matching flower stickers and my peds pts loved the bunny. One used to sign "bunny" whenever it was time for assessment. After my steth was stolen she would sign "where bunny?" I was more angry about that tag being stolen than the expensive scope! I guess if I still did couplet care I might get one but even 4 years ago there was a decline in the rep visits. I honestly think the last time I talked to reps was when they started adding ARA/DHA! When I had my baby even the aide was a great BF supporter/teacher (but my baby was the best) I did get a diaper bag but they've become rather discreet, too. 3 cans mailed from Similac went right to the food pantry box 2 given from Enfamil went to a friend. Oh and one of my peds is a very experienced nurser! Everyone there says Oh, good! You're breastfeeding.

lannisz

Specializes in primary care, pediatrics, OB/GYN, NICU. Has 8 years experience.

Hi, I have worked as a nurse for many years and also worked several years for WIC where breastfeeding was truly encouraged. I breastfed all three of my kids as well, and only wish I had been able to for longer (I rushed back to work and knew nothing about pumping 15 years ago!) Anyway, I started working on an OB/LD unit a few months ago. The nurses are real good about not pushing formula and supporting Mom's who want to breasfeed. We don't give out free formula or items with formula company names. However, I was shocked when I heard one of our female pediatricians tell a patient "don't even try to breastfeed if you aren't going to keep it up at home - I don't want you stressing yourself out!" This doctor pulled me aside later and told me all about what a horrible experience she had had when she tried to breastfeed. Obviously she was imposing her personal experience and opinion on patients. Please find a doctor who is supportive of you.

Sorry your ped is an a$$. I've never heard of one discouraging bfing but I'm sure they're out there.

I have never heard of all that free stuff for nurses either. And me and my non nurse friends have never recieved free cases of formula after we had our babies.I feel cheated!! (joking!)

mitchsmom

Specializes in OB, lactation.

That's wild about your ped and she is really not following the standards of current pediatric care. You can check the current AAP statement on breastfeeding at:

Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk (2005)

Here's an easy to read summary of changes from the previous statement

And she could benefit from all the resources they have to offer:

http://www.aap.org/breastfeeding/

Most of our nurses are very helpful although some are more than others and some are more knowledgeable than others.

I'm not sure about the free formula for workers- I haven't seen it personally but I've only been at my job 3 months. I have an OB friend that did get free formula but that has been about 4-5 years ago so I'm not sure about now. Haven't seen a contest either.

"prescription pads, pens, growth charts, pamphlets and posters"... I do see a lot of this stuff around our unit. We have breastfeeding guides :rolleyes:, measuring tapes, pads, pamphlets, message book for the clerk, the freebie backpacks with formula and formula coupons in them that all the patients get (a couple of people take out the formula for bf moms but most do not), all kinds of junk. The sign-in sheet for patients at my OB's office is provided by a formula company and I believe they do get contacts from it. She is a friend of mine & pretty bf-friendly and I asked her if she could get rid of it and after she checked on it she said no (in a way that insinuated that the answer came from above or from someone else) I have seen a formula rep on our unit asking what we "needed". I have to say though, they did NOT get much attention from anyone on our unit that particular day, even the clerk made it short and sweet.

I've written on here before, that I don't believe we should take anything from reps (http://www.nofreelunch.org/).

Best wishes to you and keep up the good work! :)

Get a new doc now!!!! If your baby is growing, gaining weight, peeing and pooping, then your baby is fine!!! I had a doc tell me I had to quit BFing my last child when he started me on zoloft (I have since found out that I could continue with the zoloft and nurse). It was a traumatic weaning even though she was 13 months old - I was still, BTW, nursing her 3 y/o brother!!!

Anyway, she's 9 now, and I am still pissed!!!

I will say that occasionally, we have a mom that needs to be 'pushed over' to bottle feeding. She refuses to nurse at all at night, has flat/inverted nipples, will tell us that she will feed the screaming/rooting baby when she gets done with her cigarette, pulls the baby off the breast every time it gets latched .... or someone who absolutely can't stand the thought of BFing, thinks it's disgusting, whatever, and has been coerced into 'trying' to nurse.

We will occasionally give these moms PERMISSION to choose to formula feed, but we never tell a motivated mom that truely wants to nurse not to nurse. My aching back will attest to the fact that we do EVERYTHING we can to help moms and babies nurse.

Sorry for the rant, GET A NEW DOC NOW, and nurse your child for as long as you both want to. Good Luck.

SmilingBluEyes

Has 20 years experience.

Nice, oh so nice, to see how many nurses here are PRO-breastfeeding. As you can see, none us responding here are "Pro-formula" and I can assure you, no one I know is getting the goodies which you describe. When the formula reps do come to our hospital to speak, I take care to listen, cause there are a number of our moms who DO choose to bottlefeed for whatever reason. BUT I do NOT take their freebie with me, and eat their food---matter of principle to me. NOR do I wear any tags or the like that advertise formula, anyplace on my body. I got a namebadge holder once, but removed the referral to the formula right off of it. It's just a blank tag on my shirt I wear now.

It's great to see so many health care professionals here who are pro-bf'ing and are ready and willing to guide new moms in the same direction. It really is a gift we give our babies, to breastfeed, for as long as our family lifestyles do permit. I tell new moms this all the time. Each day you breastfeed, is a gift you are giving your baby.

When I was in the hospital I found the nurses to be really helpful and they did not try to interfere with my bf efforts at all. Rather it was the CNA's (no offense I was once a CNA too) who kept telling me to send my baby to the nursery and to give her formula because she was "hungry" when there were no nurses around.

Let me start by saying that I have no idea who your CNAs were, but I've noticed something similar with a lot of older African-American women, including grandmas and great-aunts, who tend to be very concerned that the baby is "hungry" (including the unborn and the newly born). I think it is a cultural expression of love and concern and maybe anxiety coupled with a lack of information about what a newborn infant needs in terms of nutrition. I try to educate where I can.

Altalorraine

Absolutely NOT happening on my unit. And also not happening in the last hospital I worked in. I live in a large metro area though, and maybe rural hospitals are different.

I also think geographical location can play a part in breastfeeding. Parts of the U.S. have much higher rates of breastfeeding than others.

The formula reps do come in sometimes, but it not a big deal. She's not trying to talk to the nurses. She comes in, talks to the nursery nurse, and isn't there too long. There are not tons of formula company frrebies floating around my unit, although a few nurses have stethoscope ID tags I have noticed.

They DON'T bring us food, gifts, etc. There are NO prizes for nurses to collect formula lids. That quote from ProMOM, while good intentioned, is NOT accurate. Maybe there are places this happens, but not around here.

There are nurses who are more BF friendly than others on my unit. I have BF all my own chldren, and am very supportive of it. Heck, I even get out the nipple shields for moms with flat/ inverted nipples. I teach them how to use it if lactation is not there at that moment. I help them supplement at the breast with a syringe and a feeding tube placed in the corner of the baby's mouth if they need it. And my back also attests that I have spenty many hours hunched over moms/ babies helping them learn to BF.

About your Ped: There are a lot of them out there who are NOT supportive of BF. We had to go through 4 before we found one. One even said he thought my baby was "allergic" to my milk, when in fact, it was milk oversupply/ forceful letdown, so baby had loose stools and lots of gas. He never even suggested a lactation consultant.

Hang in there and know that this behavior is not the norm in hospitals. More and more nurses and hospitals are promoting BF in the last decade, and I expect that to continue to rise as we discover more of the health benefits of breast milk in the years to come.

Call offices first and see if you can have a phone consult, and ask them about BF. Find a doc who BF her kids. Or a husband whose wife BF their kids. Ask them how they support BF moms, and how long they recommend BF.

Good Luck!

doctors and hospitals routinely send personal information about pregnant women to the formula companies so that direct mail advertisements can be directed to them. this can have tragic results. as the mothers of stillborn babies continue to receive cases of formula in the mail for months after they have buried their children.

when i was pg with my first baby, my sil and i thought it would be fun to go to babies r us and look around when i was about 10 weeks pg. i decided to register my info and slowly decide what i wanted to put on my registry. apparently, that info goes right to the formula companies. i lost my baby 2 weeks later. starting several months before my first baby was due, i got similac samples in the mail. i tried to get off the list but it didn’t work. the samples and coupons kept coming. i was so upset and pissed. i think that only cemented my decision to bf when i eventually had my dd. my dd only had a little formula here and there if i was away and couldn’t pump enough but she never, ever had similac!!!

i have a good friend that had a baby 2 days before me at the same hospital. she bf and ff. when i went to visit her, i couldn’t believe the dozens of formula samples she had from the hospital. they loaded her up. i didn’t even realize that the hospital gave out free formula! i never asked about it and was never offered.

Gompers, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU.

I actually can't seen to even get a new Enfamil steth tag. I had covered the logo with matching flower stickers and my peds pts loved the bunny. One used to sign "bunny" whenever it was time for assessment. After my steth was stolen she would sign "where bunny?" I was more angry about that tag being stolen than the expensive scope! I guess if I still did couplet care I might get one but even 4 years ago there was a decline in the rep visits. I honestly think the last time I talked to reps was when they started adding ARA/DHA! When I had my baby even the aide was a great BF supporter/teacher (but my baby was the best) I did get a diaper bag but they've become rather discreet, too. 3 cans mailed from Similac went right to the food pantry box 2 given from Enfamil went to a friend. Oh and one of my peds is a very experienced nurser! Everyone there says Oh, good! You're breastfeeding.

We rarely see formula reps in the hospital anymore. The last time we did, it was when we switched from Similac to Enfamil and the rep was doing quick inservice on the different types of formula. We're in the NICU so we give just about every type they make and we needed to know what was comparable to what we used before, you know?

I've found the only place where we get things like pens and badge holders is when you go to nursing conferences. They always seem to have one formula rep or another at each big event with tons of free stuff. And no, just because they give away goodies doesn't mean that I'm going to recommend their product to parents - it just means I like to get free stuff!

We still give out formula bags at work, but there are two types - formula-feeding support and breast-feeding support. The formula bags do have a large can of formula in them with coupons for more, while the breast bags have things like little insulated bags with freezer packs and breast milk storage containers. I think there might be a sample of formula in there - but I believe it's tiny, like a couple of the single-serving powder packets.

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