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5 reasons American Women won't breastfeed.

Posted by on Apr. 15, 2014 at 4:33 PM
  • 103 Replies
Did you breastfeed?
If not, were your reasons on this list?

http://m.us.wsj.com/five-things/BL-263B-540

5
REASONS
AMERICAN WOMEN WON’T BREASTFEED

RANI MOLLA
14 APR 2014 11:11AM
Breastfeeding in America hit its lowest rates ever in the 1970s, and since then health organizations world-wide have tried to halt unnecessary formula feeding.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and American Society of Pediatrics among others implore new mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for at least six months to receive benefits ranging from reduced rates of Leukemia and obesity in children to lower risks of ovarian cancer and diabetes in mothers. Even formula companies say that breastfeeding is the optimal nutrition for babies.

Still 16.4% of American mothers exclusively breastfeed for at least six months.

“Certainly it’s just not the norm in the U.S. yet to have long-term exclusive breastfeeding,” said Laurence Grummer-Strawn, chief of the Nutrition Branch at the CDC. “We have a number of barriers in American society that make it difficult for women to continue breastfeeding.”

Here are five of them.
1 100 YEARS OF PRECEDENT
Originally, synthetic formula was meant as a more-nutritious alternative to animal milk for infants whose mothers had died in child birth or otherwise were not available to breastfeed. By the late early 1900s, commercial formula brands were marketing their powders in women’s magazines. “Mothers were told they needed formula to create more milk, or to rest or exercise — a lot of incorrect recommendations,” according to Marsha Walker, executive director of the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy.

In World War II, more women entered the workforce. At the same time, the conception of a “scientific motherhood” took hold, Ms. Walker said. Motherhood, like production, became very regimented. “You can decide when your baby naps or when you pick it up,” Ms. Walker said, “but breastfeeding can’t be regimented.”

Library of Congress
2 THEY'RE WORKING
Today, formula is a convenience — often a necessary one — for mothers who work outside the home. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, the labor force participation rate for mothers with infants is 57%, up from 53% in 2004. The U.S. is also one of few developed countries that has no guaranteed paid maternity leave, making the choice to return to work more necessary.

While federal law gives women a time and place to pump breastmilk, work often makes it difficult. Laurence Grummer-Strawn, chief of the Nutrition Branch at the CDC, said this affects low-income women the most. “An executive who has an office doesn’t need a special room for expressing milk; she can just close the door,” he said.
"We’re the laughingstock of the world. People are appalled that we make mothers go back to work right after they have a baby." —Marsha Walker, executive director of the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy
3 SOCIO-ECONOMIC INEQUALITY
Race and income are major predictors of whether a woman will exclusively breastfeed for six months. The highest rate of breastfeeding is among wealthy whites. Meanwhile, women with low incomes are often financially compelled to quickly return to the workforce. The jobs of low income women are also less likely to offer paid maternity leave.

Whether a woman breastfeeds or not greatly depends on whether her friends, family and community do so.

More than half of infants born in the U.S participate in WIC, a program that helps low-income new mothers afford food, whether they choose to breastfeed or not. Despite pro-breastfeeding campaigns that have lessened the organization’s formula dependence, WIC still is responsible for more than half the U.S. formula consumption.

4 FORMULA IS PUSHED IN HOSPITALS
Research shows that the main factor in continued breastfeeding is whether a woman exclusively breastfeeds at the hospital or not. Mothers often perceive introductions of formula — either from a nurse trying to offer a new mother rest or from gift bags given out by hospitals — as a suggestion, not an exception.

“At the time of birth many women are ‘sitting on the fence’ on their decision to breastfeed or not,” said Rafael Perez-Escamilla, director of the Office of Public Health Practice at Yale’s School of Public Health. “Formula samples received from a medical facility signals to the mom that formula feeding is medically endorsed.”

More than half of U.S. hospitals offer new mothers free formula gift bags, according to the CDC. A CDC epidemiological review of studies on the gift bags found that 7 out of 11 showed lower exclusive breastfeeding rates among those who received them.

“The less a baby suckles, usually because formula is introduced, the less milk a woman produces, setting up a downward cycle so that eventually mother will actually have insufficient milk,” said Chessa Lutter, senior adviser of food and nutrition at the WHO’s Pan American Health Organization.
Celebration after Massachusetts went "bag-free"


Ban the Bags

5 FORMULA IS ADVERTISED HEAVILY
Today, formula is a convenience — often a necessary one — for mothers who are working outside the home. It’s also a product marketed ubiquitiously, from advice on TV and their social media feeds, to coupons in the mail and on mommy blogs, to free samples at obstetricians and hospitals.

Unlike countries that follow the WHO’s International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, the U.S. doesn’t restrict formula marketing to the public. Research firm Euromonitor estimates the U.S. baby milk formula market to be a $5 billion industry. Amid leveling sales, formula companies have increased their overall marketing budget 70% from four years ago, according to Kantar Media.

Mead Johnson Nutrition and Abbott Laboratories — which combined have the majority U.S. share for baby formula — would not comment on specific advertising practices, but said they don’t view their advertising as affecting breastfeeding rates.

According to Abbott, “We market our Similac infant formulas to compete against other brands of infant formula, not to compete against breastfeeding.” One consistent element of formula marketing emphasizes formula’s similarity to breastmilk. According to Mead Johnson, “Our research and development efforts are focused on making our infant formulas as close to breast milk as possible"
by on Apr. 15, 2014 at 4:33 PM
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Replies (1-10):
wonderstruck11
by Allons-y on Apr. 15, 2014 at 4:59 PM
1 mom liked this

I do agree that hospitals really push formula. If you formula feed, you get a special gift box with samples, magazines, a little blanket, a birp cloth and a cute tote. I dodn't get anything because I breastfed.

Randi02
by Silver Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 6:31 PM
2 moms liked this

None of my kids had a drop of formula.

I've noticed that *usually* those who CHOOSE to formula feed are less educated than those who choose to breastfeed, so I do think that socio-economic status does play a huge part.
Lack of education and support regarding breastfeeding is another huge one.

Babybear89
by Geeky Gracey on Apr. 15, 2014 at 8:26 PM
Quite truthful there
C.H.E.L.S.E.A
by Silver Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 10:17 PM
1 mom liked this

 The hospital I had my son was great about being supportive of breastfeeding. The hospital even wins awards from a place called Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative for "providing optimal levels of care for breastfeeding moms and their babies." They have lactation specialists come into the mom's room on a daily basis to assist the breastfeeding moms and to talk to the formula feeding moms. I thought it was pretty neat.

Quoting wonderstruck11:

I do agree that hospitals really push formula. If you formula feed, you get a special gift box with samples, magazines, a little blanket, a birp cloth and a cute tote. I dodn't get anything because I breastfed.

 

wonderstruck11
by Allons-y on Apr. 15, 2014 at 10:19 PM

The only reason my hospital had a lactaon specialist there was because she is my moms good friend and she was actually in the delivery room when DD was born.

Quoting C.H.E.L.S.E.A:

 The hospital I had my son was great about being supportive of breastfeeding. The hospital even wins awards from a place called Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative for "providing optimal levels of care for breastfeeding moms and their babies." They have lactation specialists come into the mom's room on a daily basis to assist the breastfeeding moms and to talk to the formula feeding moms. I thought it was pretty neat.

Quoting wonderstruck11:

I do agree that hospitals really push formula. If you formula feed, you get a special gift box with samples, magazines, a little blanket, a birp cloth and a cute tote. I dodn't get anything because I breastfed.

 


Mommy1438
by on Apr. 15, 2014 at 10:38 PM
I think my hospital secretly gave my dd formula, despite the 'breastfed baby' sign on her bed thing, because they would bring her to me 10pm and take her for "necessary testing" and bring her back at like 3am, but once home she demanded to eat every hour or screamed her lungs out. So either they let her scream for hours or fed her lots of formula (which I believe is the reason for her severe bad latch and nipple confusion, which caused two months of bloody cracked nipples and pain like someone slowly cutting it to shreds). I ended up supplementing whenn she started daycare at 3 mos, she got 8oz ebm and then 4oz Similac Supplement (which they sent me home with like 40 samples). When she was about 5 months I sent jars of food instead of the extra formula. Now she's almost one and gets cereal, bm, veggie, bm, juice and snack. Then feeds on demand when home.. my whole Family talked about me nonstop saying I offered the breast too much its gross weird etc. still get messed w but idc its best
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shadow_lark
by Bronze Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 11:16 PM
2 moms liked this
I bf both of mine. I was too poor for formula. And yes, pumping was a pita since I had nowhere to pump while at school, but it was my only option. With our second, even though we could afford formula, I still chose to bf. Easy, cheap, and no extra crap to lug around everywhere.
shadow_lark
by Bronze Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 11:17 PM
That's too bad :(

My hospital was great, but I'm seeing that they are way outside the norm.


Quoting wonderstruck11:

I do agree that hospitals really push formula. If you formula feed, you get a special gift box with samples, magazines, a little blanket, a birp cloth and a cute tote. I dodn't get anything because I breastfed.

sunshine86912
by Dawn on Apr. 16, 2014 at 5:22 AM

 yes i BF or tried..but I honestly had a hard time with it...i had to take all kinds of mess to be able to produce enough milk (even with trying to pump and feeding on demand..which was all the flipping time).  something is just wrong with my boobs lol

justone_jen
by on Apr. 16, 2014 at 6:31 AM
2 moms liked this
My kid never had formula. It wasn't because I was against it, though. I just seriously never considered it, which is strange, because I come from a formula feeding family. I never really witnessed nursing.

I think the number one reason American women don't nurse is simply ignorance. I don't mean that to be derogatory. We don't see nursing, we see formula. We blindly trust doctors, who, by and large, are clueless about nursing. We're numbers people, and we can't trust the process. We've been conditioned for years to believe we're inadequate, in not only feeding, but many aspects of motherhood (pregnancy, delivery, sleep, etc.). We've been conditioned to believe man knows better than nature.
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