How the heck did they find out I am pregnant, and why won’t they LEAVE me ALONE??? (okay, I’m pretty sure I know how they know I’m pregnant, and I’m pretty sure Willow Creek (the former hospital) had something to do with it) I am NOT planning on formula feeding my child. Ever. Not even if breastfeeding is difficult. Or painful. Or inconvenient (although I can’t imagine what could be more convenient than the boob…) I am such a strong believer in the benefits of breastfeeding that I was even planning to induce lactation when we were adopting if we would have happened to receive a referral for an infant. Seriously. (Yes, it can be done!) It would absolutely break my heart if I had to resort to formula for any reason. (For the record, I am not one of those breastfeeding nazis who looks down her nose at those who do choose to feed formula. I understand the many women do have an actual, legitimate reason for choosing not to breastfeed. Do what you want to do. But as for me, it would break my heart if I couldn’t breastfeed.)
Anyways, so Similac has been bombarding me with mail the last couple of weeks. Advertisements, samples, coupons, letters telling me to “ask the nurse to feed my baby Similac at the hospital” and strongly encouraging me to keep a couple of cans of formula (their brand, of course) on hand even if I am planning to breastfeed, just in case, etc… Maybe its just the crazy hormones fueling my fire but, given the undeniable benefits of breastfeeding to both the baby and mother, I think the way that this company(and their participating hospitals) is pushing its product unsolicited to new moms who may already be nervous/lacking confidence/on the fence about whether or not breastfeeding is for them borders on unethincal.
Lest you think think this little ad campaign is harmless, let me just say that I personally know of at least two people who originally had every intention of breastfeeding their firstborn children and were swayed. Both happened to give birth in Similac hospitals. Before heading home, they were loaded up with trendy new diaper bags, cans of formula samples, and tons of coupons to get them hooked started. They were told to keep them on hand, just in case. Both had difficulty getting started with breastfeeding (totally understandable. I may not have experienced it yet, but I’m not naive about how difficult it can be at first). After a few sore, exhausted, frustrated days, those cans of formula started to look very tempting and both new moms caved. The branding was so strong that when these moms had more children, neither one of them even attempted to breastfeed them- they just reached for their trusted Similac. Genius on the part of Similac, from an advertising perspective anyways. Oh, and one of these moms can’t afford her Similac addiction, (because it really is quite an expensive habit) so your tax dollars are helping her out. Nice. Kind of like when I worked at the grocery store in high school and I watched people load up their carts with pop and potato chips instead of fruits and veggies then pay with food stamps…
So Similac, if you are reading this, know that I will NOT be keeping your formula samples around just in case(especially not that nasty soy stuff–you know so much about me, but aparantly not enough to know that my baby has a genetic predisposition to an autoimmune hormone disorder for which soy can cause serious problems). No, my baby will be a happy, healthy breastfed baby. And even if, heaven forbid, at some point I am not able to breastfeed, rest assured that I will NOT be using your brand.
Oh and for the record, I haven’t (yet) noticed any evidence of Similac propoganda at the new hospital, thank goodness!