Giving moms what they want?
I am sitting in my office just outside our community hospital’s special care nursery. One of the nurses just walked in and asked “would you (neonatologists) please reconsider giving out the formula company diaper bags? All the moms are asking for them, even the breastfeeding ones, and it’s embarrassing to just hand them a plastic trash bag from the hospital with our own breastfeeding handouts. All of us (nurses) want to be able to give the moms what they want.”
This is life in the trenches. The hospital wants to make the patients happy, and it definitely does not want to spend money on better/alternative diaper bags, or for that matter anything else (even decent newborn-sized stethoscopes for the special care babies — my pet peeve at the moment).
Here is the best solution I can think of (building on the approach a friend of mine uses in her pediatric practice):
Give them the bags they are asking for, but with the disclaimer (printed, spoken, or ideally both) that “evidence shows that moms whose physicians/hospitals give them formula company marketing materials are less likely to breastfeed successfully”.
And, of course, take out the formula company materials & substitute our hospital lactation service’s breastfeeding support information and phone number.
It’s not perfect, but neither is this world.
Kimberly Lee is a neonatologist and member of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.
Posts on this blog reflect the opinions of individual ABM members, not the organization as a whole.