The latest is the state banning hospitals from providing free formula to new mothers. It is only the second state to do so. Media outlets claim it is a push by the breastfeeding coalitions to urge breastfeeding, rather than formula feeding, due to the health benefits of nursing.
Personally, I am not a big fan of this new policy. Having had a baby just three weeks ago, it was a huge help to go home with some formula even though I am a breastfeeding mother. With women being rushed out of the hospital because of insurance costs and requirements, you are often sitting at home in the wee hours of the morning with a starving newborn because your milk hasn’t come in yet. It happened with my first and it happened with my second. Having a couple of pre-made formula bottles on hand in those first couple days was a huge help in getting me over the hurdle. Especially since I couldn’t drive after having an emergency c-section and had no assistance in those first few days at home with a newborn and a toddler.
One could say that I should have paid for those six pre-made formula bottles. However, let’s face it, it wasn’t given to me for free. There is the argument that I did pay for it in my hospital deductible and in our monthly health insurance premiums. Others state that the formula companies are distributing it free of charge in order to get you hooked on their brand.
In reality, this change is going to affect low income mothers. I could go on about why and how, but in essence, since the state pays for formula for those individuals through Medicaid, it is a way to save the state money. Having a low-income mother choose formula over breastfeeding also costs the state money long term if she is on the WIC program.
So, is it really about the benefits of breast feeding? Or is it really about saving the state money? Shouldn’t women be able to decide what they want to do? Who should pay for it? Either way, what do you think?
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