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Hospital Food (for Baby)

By Amalah

During both of my hospital stays, I was offered formula. Not just in my going-home gift-bag (that’s probably a topic in and of itself), but well before discharge. My babies’ bassinets were clearly labeled “I’m a breastfed boy!” to alert nursery staff that they were not to receive bottles, but that never stopped my nurses from offering to give the boys bottles multiple times.

Bounce Back ArchivesCrying? We can give him a bottle.

Not sleeping? We can try a bottle.

You’re frustrated and tired and your boobs hurt for reasons no one has tried to figure out yet? You could just give him a bottle, you know.

I always refused. And I always got a slightly eye-rolly kind of look, like WHATEVER, YOUR FUNERAL.

It’s Ok to Supplement

Here’s the thing: I don’t really think “nipple confusion” is as common as some LCs would lead you to believe, and I don’t believe supplementing is the end of the world (or the end of breastfeeding).

After Noah was discharged, his weight dropped too much and my milk still hadn’t come in by his first doctor’s appointment, so my LC admitted that it was time for a little formula. Chronic low supply (thanks to scar tissue, poor suck) meant we pretty much always needed to have formula on hand. But he was fine and we kept nursing. After Ezra was discharged, he had an unresolved tongue tie and my toes were curling in pain at the thought of another latch and he was nursing for literally hours on end. Jason fed him an ounce or two of Similac on Saturday night and my milk came in on Sunday morning and that was that. He was fine and we kept nursing.

So I’m not writing this as some kind of nutso zealot for either side. But seriously, hospitals, give us a CHANCE, you know?

It’s Also Ok to Refuse a Bottle

There was one night with Noah when he would not stop crying. The nurse offered a bottle and I said I’d prefer not to. Then she offered a bath. Maybe that would calm him down. I agreed to this and passed out cold as soon as she wheeled him out the door.

I woke up FIVE HOURS later, the next morning, and a different nurse wheeled Noah back in. He was still sleeping. He was…not hungry.

At the time I didn’t really think much about this. I just thought maybe it was one of those fluke-y things that newborns do. Now, though, I have a really, really hard time believing that my wishes were followed and that nobody gave him a bottle during those hours in the nursery. I’m glad he slept and I slept and all that, but…still. I was ready and willing to figure it out myself, and sending new first-time moms the clear message that formula = sleep and breastfeeding = crying & hunger doesn’t seem like the best way to encourage us to stick with it (or help build a supply after missing crucial early feedings).

That one bottle was so easy…maybe let’s just try one more tonight.

So on the one hand, if you’re offered formula at the hospital and accept it, that’s okay! It doesn’t mean you’ve blown your chance at a successful breastfeeding and should just give up. But if you’re offered formula and feel pressured to accept it, that’s not okay. Unless you’re dealing with a preemie, or if there’s a reason to believe something is wrong (that your baby isn’t even getting colostrum or is losing weight TOO rapidly or not wetting or pooping), know this: you’re not starving your baby by refusing formula on day one or two or even three. Our milk takes a few days to come in. There’s colostrum in the meantime. Nature knows what it’s doing here.


About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Hi, I'm Natalie.

    April 20, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I delivered at a hospital that STRONGLY discourages formula. And they don’t have a nursery – you and your helper-person are expected to change/feed baby while you’re in hospital. (Unless there are extenuation circumstances, I’m sure.) I can’t imagine having to argue with nurses after being exhausted/sleep-deprived after labour. Eugh.

  • Kate F.

    April 20, 2010 at 11:16 am

    I’m due with my first in August, and the main reason I chose the hospital where I’m delivering is that they have a great integrative care model, with a big midwifery practice that works smoothly with the doctors. They send 95% of mothers home breastfeeding, and I just thought it was really comforting that when I asked questions they were very “wait, why would we push bottles??” about the whole thing. Go, Mt. Auburn!!

  • Elizabeth

    April 20, 2010 at 11:21 am

    YES YES YES YES. Thank you, Amy, for this post, especially the reminder that nature knows what she’s doing. If babies needed to eat ounces and ounces in the first day or so, milk would come in faster, or else our species would have died out long ago.

  • Kevin (the girl)

    April 20, 2010 at 11:33 am

    First time mom-to-be here (almost 21 weeks and counting)…question: what is colostrum? All these new baby related terms are threatening to turn my newly mushy head into full-blown duuuuuh!!! I fully intend to breastfeed, hoping all the stars align and it works out for me.
    Editor: Colostrum is liquid mother’s produce the first days after birth. It’s darker, thicker and higher in nutrients than breastmilk that a new mom starts producing more readily a few days postpartum. They call it liquid gold.
    Here’s a good link to understanding colostrum

  • Katie

    April 20, 2010 at 11:53 am

    This kind of makes me extremely grateful because I don’t think we were offered formula once during our hospital stay. We were offered help breastfeeding if we needed it, and we did once, but otherwise once I said we were nursing they did everything they could to encourage it.
    I don’t know if living in So Cal helps because we probably have more hippie mamas than your average area, but formula was never ever pushed on me. Yay!
    I actually felt more like if I didn’t nurse I would be frowned upon. Not that it matters, because I nursed, but I can see how that would be horribly uncomfortable for someone who couldn’t or was planning on not nursing for whatever reason.
    I wish we could all just make our own decisions without pushing from either side. Stop pushing, stupid pushers! 🙂

  • Stephanie

    April 20, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    We had the complete opposite experience. We were never offered formula, nor were the nurses expected to basically help us at all with caring for our baby after the initial first bath, etc. — she’s yours, now deal with it! In fact, I was in so much pain and so scared about peeing for the first time after the removed the catheter, so I needed help to use the bathroom. The nurse helped the first time, but after that? You’re on your own! My point? Sometimes we do need extra help, especially when you’re a new mom and don’t have a clue as to what you’re doing. But giving formula secretly without your okay? That’s terrible!!

  • Eliza

    April 20, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I’m pregnant with my first and am adamant about breastfeeding. It makes me really frustrated to hear about the medical fields ambivalence about it (in spite of numerous studies and reports saying how much better it is for the baby). I makes me feel like I’m going to have to go in being very defensive about it (hopefully that won’t be the case).
    Thankfully I’ll have my mom and my husband on my side (my mom used to be a La Leche League consultant so I’m so glad to have my own personal LC coming to the hospital and home with me for a couple weeks).
    But really when I think about it I shouldn’t be all that surprised about the attitude of so many doctors and nurses. It seems to me that their is a real lack of understanding or appreciation for nutrition in general in the medical community. One of my nurses recently told me that it doesn’t really matter what I eat as long as I’m keeping food down. “Oh really? So its totally okay for me to go out and eat nothing but hot fudge sundaes for the next 8 months? awesome.” I know what she was trying to say but REALLY!?!
    I know I’ve been watching a lot of shows like Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution and Biggest Loser so that’s part of what’s behind my thinking here but I would think that doctors and nurses should be more educated about nutrition and prevention instead of just treating problems after the fact.
    wow, i got a bit off topic there but I just had to get that off my chest 🙂

  • Elizabeth Hosto

    April 20, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    When my first son was born, he had a bit of trouble and was sent to the NICU, the nurses knew I wanted to breastfeed. They made a schedule on the white board in my room, woke me up every 3-4 hours to pump that first night and then woke me up/called to remind me to go and feed him the rest of the stay. The lactation consultant was wonderful and very patient and we got the hang of it. I think they gave a him one bottle that first night as I was recovering from a c-section and he was in a oxygen tent in the NICU and that was it. It wasn’t easy but I was glad that I had the support to breastfeed when I was a new mom with no idea and a baby in the NICU.

  • Jamie

    April 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    The nurses at the hospital were very supportive of us breastfeeding in those first few days and we were pretty much left alone to get the hang of fending for ourselves with our new baby.
    However on the second day my husband was off feeding the dogs and I sent our son to the nursery for 20 minutes so I could shower. Our nurse was so nice and put a handwritten note into his bassinet that he was solely breastfeeding. A note that she wrote ON A PAPER NAPKIN. Now I love that she was supportive but you’d think they had a plan for when that happened more often. I got the impression that most of the other moms whether breastfeeding or not just send the babes up to the nursery and the nurses give them formula when they cry unless, apparently, you specifically write on a napkin not to.

  • Jaymee

    April 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    I was never offered formula out of a bottle, but I was offered on multiple occasions formula out of a cup. I was also very against(and still am) pacifiers. I let that be known, but they still offered every time I the baby made a peep. I of course refused everything, and 7 months later we are still nursing. Never had so much as a drop of formula, or a pacifier for even a second. I’m very proud of that, because the pressure for both was very hard to overcome.
    For those of you that delivered at a hospital where the baby comes out and you’re on your own. Wow, I would have died! After 27 hours in labor and no sleep during I would have hated having to deal with every dirty diaper or eveytime the baby needed some lovin. My son went to the nursery every night of my 3 nights in the hospital. Due to that I got some much needed sleep and was ready for the upcoming sleepless nights.

  • kim

    April 20, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Both my girls were premature, and they both got formula in the hospital. My first went on to nurse for 18 mos. This time around, I’ve had a much harder time, but since I’d done it before, I was sure it was going to be ok. The 3mo has had far more formula (and donated milk from mama-friends) than the first but I knew it was going to be ok in the long run. And it is.
    Of course nobody should feed your baby against your will, but I think stating your wishes clearly and often is important. It seems to me that a nurse who is looking at a sleeping mother and a hungry baby has a difficult decision to make, and has probably gotten burned either way. There are nurses out there who are pushing their own agenda, but most people do that job because they like new mothers and babies and want to help.

  • Olivia

    April 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    So well put.
    1) Colostrum + tiny baby stomachs = nature doing it’s thing. My milk came in at the end of day 4, and all was well.
    2) I’m glad to hear someone else question the frequency of nipple confusion. I agreed to let the nurses give my baby an ounce of formula because she hadn’t peed after the first day. No nipple confusion. I also gave her an ounce of expressed breast milk in the first week, and she started on pumped milk in a bottle regularly by week 3 because I went back to work. No nipple confusion. She is still breastfeeding at 12 months old.
    3) Hospitals/nurses, give mothers a chance! Don’t make them feel stupid or week or confused by offering formula multiple times. It’s like an epidural. We know it exists, and we will ask for it if we want it!

  • Roberta

    April 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks for the column, Amy. I’m following up on what Eliza said – there is unfortunately a lot of bad breastfeeding info pushed onto new mothers by nurses (and sometimes hospital LCs) who aren’t well trained or up to date. I tried my best to stay OUT of a hospital for childbirth, but had to have a C-section b/c of a last-minute flip to breech position by my baby. Because I’m both hippie-dippie AND Type A, I was well-armed with BF info (thank goodness). Even though my hospital got me nursing within 30 min. of the c-section, and had a rooming-in policy to promote nursing, I was still told some crazy stuff. Like “nurse 10 minutes one each side at each session” – hey, a great recipe for a hungry, gassy, green-pooping baby who isn’t getting the fatty hindmilk! Thanks. (The right answer is to nurse on one side for as long as the baby wants. If she’s still hungry, then switch.) And that I must nurse every! two! hours! on the DOT under PENALTY OF DEATH! I was chastised by nurses when the baby and I accidentally, you know, SLEPT one time for three or four hours. And my baby was grabbed and forced under my arm into a football hold as a nurse told me C-section patients “couldn’t” use a cradle hold. (Haaaaated the football hold. Only used cradle hold, incision and all (pillows help) for the record.) I will say that otherwise, the nurses were great. But you CAN see why people give up nursing so soon sometimes, when you get bad info and offers of formula. I’m now pretty crazed about directing new mamas-to-be to my favorite BF’ing classes and LC’s – because I know the knowledge and support and good info could make or break their breastfeeding chance. Ok – off of soapbox now. 😉

  • Ms. K

    April 20, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    RE: colostrum
    It’s that yellowy stuff you can kinda/sorta squeeze out of your boobs toward the end of pregnancy. (Um, at least I could. Heheh.)
    and RE: milk coming in
    My midwife assured me that healthy full-term babies can subsist just fine for up to a week without anything but colostrum. They come out as juicy little newborns because they have extra fluid supplies! My baby would nurse for what seemed like FOREVER until my milk came in on the fifth day. (yeah, 5 days after she was born.) And then it came in with a vengeance! Hello OverSupply for the next six months. (Maybe b/c baby suckled constantly for the first five days. Very adaptive, that.)

  • annemarie

    April 20, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I feel SO grateful that after my baby was born and I was going through the second-night horror of cluster feeding every couple of hourse, I had a super cheerleader nurse who kept coming in to tell me I was doing great and not to give up. My hospital also didn’t have a nursery at all, and I wasn’t pushed into anything: pacifiers, formula, anything. They did tell me not to fall asleep with Lucy in bed with me, but they didn’t say anything when I did. I don’t know if it’s the Canadian difference, but my hospital experience was much better than I thought it would be.

  • De in D.C.

    April 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I’m surprised at how quickly all medical professionals (Dr’s, LCs, nurses) offer formula to breastfeeding moms who’s babies need supplementation, and not donated breast milk. I delivered a growth-restricted baby in Jan (4lb 8oz, full term), and put baby to breast as soon as I could sit up after my c-section. He seemed to latch OK and the LC was pleased, but as soon as he finished nursing (was too weak to suck for long), the LC gave us a bottle of formula to supplement with. I continued to insist on breastfeeding first, and even requested a pump in my room and would pump after baby fell asleep. The ped. in the hospital also requested we supplement w/ formula because of his size. Because of all the constant pumping, I could save colostrum in little syringes, and if I sent him to the nursery the nurses would give him those first. For 3 nights, I’d feed around midnight, he’d get expressed colostrum around 3am followed by formula, and they’d bring him back in when he’d wake up the next time (around 6am).
    It was only after we got home that I began to wonder why we were using formula and not donated breast milk. If he were a full-sized baby I never would have supplemented with formula, but because of his small size, I was paranoid about weight loss, so followed the ped’s recommendations. My milk came in the day we left the hospital, so he never received a drop of formula once we left the hospital, and I continued to pump around the clock to supplement after putting him to breast. We did have horrible nipple confusion that lasted about 4 weeks, but I don’t know if that was all due to his small size (he wouldn’t latch well, and many times would fuss when put to breast until he was finally given a bottle). Since it was all my milk, and he’d need to take a bottle eventually since I’d be going back to work after 12wks, I didn’t sweat it too much.
    FWIW, the hospital did have a sheet they kept in the bassinet saying whether baby was breast or formula fed, with room for instructions/notes.

  • Amy

    April 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks so much for acknowledging the disconnect between what the greater medical community thinks you should do (breastfeed) and what the actual hospital staff thinks you should do (supplement with formula). I too live in Northern VA, like Amalah, and had a similar hospital experience. In fact, of 6 close friends – all of whom ended up breastfeeding exclusively – who delivered in various area hospitals, we’ve compared notes and found that the “breastfeeding is hard, why don’t you give ’em a bottle already” attitude is pervasive here on the post-partum floors! Two of my friends babies were given formula against their will, and I had not only a nurse (a tired night shift nurse that knew I was a 1st time mom who had delivered a whole 3 hours earlier), but an OB/GYN (an ignorant male OB/GYN that had never breastfed anyone, I feel certain) tell me it would be impossible to exclusively breastfeed an 8 lb 7 oz baby. Well, she never had a single ounce of formula (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and went on to nurse a full year…despite crying some the first few days while we were both trying to figure out how the whole breastfeeding thing worked. Stick to your guns ladies!

  • eva

    April 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    That is brutal coming from healthcare professionals. I had my daughter in a hospital, but thankfully in B.C. most hospitals follow a policy of not advertising formula. Also – no freebie bag of goodies when we leave the hospital! That’s what universal access healthcare means, much less marketing by private profit-hungry companies directly to vulnerable new moms via nurses and docs who have been wooed or who just want the post-partum ward to stay nice and quiet.
    Milk takes days to come in and baby mouths and stomachs take days to grow…that’s why colostrum exists in teensy, rich amounts. Babies will cry, that’s just part of being a newborn!
    Now, all that aside…I did end up supplementing from day 4ish until Megan was around 2 weeks old. The midwife did a home visit on day 4ish and basically threatened that we’d have to take our sleepy little jaundiced baby back to the hospital for treatment if we didn’t start (a) supplementing with formula (b) pumping and feeding through a tube taped to my boob and (c) me taking domperidone to increase milk production. It was terrifying but it worked. After two weeks we cut out bottles and tubes and formula entirely and Megan just had the boob for a good 5 months.
    Just thought I’d share this in case first time moms are freaking out!

  • Nora

    April 20, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    It must be a regional thing, I’m in Seattle and my hospital didn’t have a nursery, and the topic of formula was not brought up in the hospital and was only alluded to at his 3-day checkup when he was teetering on the “losing too much birth weight” line. I was given LCs at every turn, some helpful, some not. I was given a week to get his weight up before “we would explore other possibilities.” He gained a pound in that week and it was never brought up again. I thank the local LLL leader for coming to my house and just sitting with me and encouraging me. I mostly needed tips on how to keep him awake for feedings since he was a dozy-eater in those early days.
    During some growth spurts he has lapped my pumping supply and needed some formula while I was at work. We’ve ended up tossing two cans of expired powdered formula because he takes it so seldom.

  • Jamie

    April 20, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Just wanted to say that sometimes the baby might NEED the formula. My son was quite large and had problems with low blood sugar in the first day after his birth and I was making NO milk/colostrum what so ever yet. The doctors had to give him formula – and while I was initially pissed, I got over it and we eventually figured out the breast feeding thing.

  • ras

    April 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you for this post. I was starting to think I was some crazy breastfeeding nut because I object to the way nursing moms are treated at our local hospital.
    When my elder daughter was born,we had a terrible experience trying to nurse at the hospital, despite the lip service paid to the issue in our prenatal classes. I literally had to beg, in tears, to be allowed to see the LC. In the meantime, I was told when M was 12 hours old that since my milk hadn’t come in yet, she was starving and needed formula. I was also told, by various nurses, that (a) my nipples were too small and so I wouldn’t be able to nurse, (b) my baby had a lazy suck and wouldn’t be able to nurse, and (c) that since she had jaundice, the only cure was formula.
    Luckily, I am stubborn and I have a supportive husband, and we made it out of the hospital with only a small mountain of formula samples. Once she was home, we stopped feeding her formula and we were able to nurse for 22 months.
    The really frustrating thing to me is that I know so many women who were fed misinformation and, as a result, ended up formula feeding when they really wanted to nurse. Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with formula or with choosing to use it, but it infuriates me when I hear mom after mom after mom mention how they wanted to nurse, but for one ridiculous reason or another, were told that they weren’t capable of doing it.
    For my second daughter’s birth, we chose a different hospital, and the experience was totally different. I was allowed to hold and nurse E right after my c-section, and we were never offered formula. The LC not only came to see us without us asking, but we were also given a phone number we could call at any time to summon more help if we needed it. I was amazed that two different hospitals, no more than 20 miles apart, could be so very different.

  • Kate

    April 20, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Everything that’s been said so far is great but I have one little thing to add.
    If you are given IV fluids during labor your baby is getting those fluids too and will come out a few ounces heavier than s/he would have. This can result in the baby appearing to lose too much weight when in reality they just peed out those few extra ounces (just like you will). I mention this because it is something that I wish I had known before I had my son. When the pediatrician (not ours but another one in the practice) saw my son in the hospital a few days after he was born he said that he had lost too much weight and that we should give him an ounce or two of formula after every other feeding. We were lucky that my son went on to nurse well and easily despite those three or four bottles and his tongue-tie but it could have really disrupted our nursing relationship.

  • incognito

    April 20, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Somewhat of tangential, but thought you all might find interesting:
    A couple of years ago I did one of those recreational DNA kits, where you spit in a tube and mail it to a company to analyze. (I did “23 and Me.”) They look for genetic health issues, geneological clues and even personality traits that may have a genetic component. Among other things, I learned that there is a gene which, if you have it, means that breastfeeding is likely to affect (increase) your IQ, and if you don’t, it doesn’t make a difference. It appears that I have the gene (whereupon my mom stated, “Thank God, because you breastfed for like two years”).
    When I have kids, I would have (attempted to) breastfeed anyway on the “can’t hurt, might help” rationale, but the likelihood that my kids will share my genes makes me that much more motivated. (Then again, I would find the converse comforting if BFing were problematic.)

  • Dawn

    April 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    My hospital was awesome. Even with sending my son to the nursery at night, they never fed him formula but would bring him into me to nurse when he woke up. My milk came in on day 3 (had to pump since he was extremely jaundiced and spent time in a space capsule thing for 2 days) and supplemented with a little formula just help get rid of the bilirubin. At 10 lbs, 7 oz, no one ever said that he was too big to breastfeed exclusively. And almost 8 months later, he is still on all breastmilk. Yeah, I’m kinda proud of that!

  • Kate

    April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    This is a great post topic. My experience was wildly different from Amy’s so I thought I’d share to help calm some fears of first time moms-to-be. Your hospital may not be terrible with breastfeeding support– particularly if it is a teaching hospital in a large city (where all of the nurses are likely to be RNs and where there’s likely to be a well-informed lactation consultant on staff). I delivered my daughter at 35 weeks, she wouldn’t latch, she was jaundiced and she dropped half a pound (to 5lb 8oz) by the time we were discharged 2 days after delivery. Despite these challenges, I never had a nurse or doctor recommend formula or bottle feeding (or even a pacifier). Once it became clear my girl wasn’t going to latch (even with a nipple shield, which the LCs had suggested after a few attempts at feeding), they showed me how to pump and feed her colostrum with a syringe. The nurses checked to make sure I was comfortable using the pump and that I was using the right size pump parts to avoid chafing. The hospital LCs and pediatricians sent me out the door confident that I could provide enough milk to feed my daughter, that her jaundice could clear without formula and that she’d get the hang of things quickly.

  • A pediatrician

    April 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Just wanted to add that your suspicions are right… Studies have shown that those free formula samples in the “gift bag” that hospitals give new moms have been proven to reduce breast feeding rates. Formula companies know what they are doing.

  • Bethany

    April 20, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I delivered at the local hospital in my small town. I wanted a vaginal birth, but required a c-section. I also knew I wanted to nurse. One of my best friends is a L&D nurse and was with me during birth. Thank goodness she was there. When I came back from recovery, the nurses put my son in my arms and left the room! She helped me nurse the first time. The day I was discharged, the nurse came in and told me my son had lost too much weight and I would need to start pumping. Then she filled out the paperwork and took me to my car. NOT HELPFUL!

  • Caitlyn

    April 20, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    nobody pushed formula, but I’m really annoyed at those nurses anyway – conflicting advice, constant nagging me about not following their nursing schedule, reaching for the glucose water every time i mentioned that we were having trouble latching. (I refused it every time, called a *real* LC, and everything was fine.) And I was sent home with a sample (which we promptly donated to a crisis pregnancy center.)
    And one of the biggest problems was that the baby was sleeping almost constantly and not waking up to eat. The nurses’ solution was to wake her as abruptly as possible and hand me to her, screaming, and walk out satisfied that they had done their best. I, of course, couldn’t get a screaming baby to latch, so she just fell asleep again. When we got home, a 30-second google search turned up the information that babies don’t like bright lights and will go to sleep to avoid them. We dimmed the lights and the baby started waking up and latching beautifully. I think it’s shameful that none of them thought to tell me this and I had to get the right answer from Google.

  • HereWeGoAJen

    April 20, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    My hospital kept pushing the formula. My baby had a latch problem and I couldn’t get her to latch at all without a lactation consultant. They weren’t on during the night, so… The hospital also had a policy that if the baby wasn’t nursing at four hours after the last feeding, they did a heel stick for blood sugar. So one night in the middle of the night, they woke us all up at three hours, fifty-five minutes and gave me five minutes to get the baby latched before they took her to the nursery, tested her blood sugar, and brought me back a screaming, one day old baby with a bloody heel. (Whose blood sugar levels were just fine, thank you very much.) I ended up being driven to formula during the nights just to avoid that.
    But happy ending, lactation consultant gave me a shield which solved the latch problem, and the baby has refused to take a bottle ever since. She’s still nursing at sixteen months.

  • Jennifer

    April 20, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I guess I’m sheltered because I am so shocked that so many women have had such bad experiences in not being supported in their decision to breastfeed. I’m a member of Kaiser Permanente in California, and they are ALL ABOUT the breastfeeding. They have classes and lactation consultants and every nurse in the maternity ward is trained to help with breastfeeding. Within minutes after my son was delivered he was at my breast and my midwife was helping me get him to latch on. (My colostrum was clear — I wanted to mention that just in case any one else experiences the same thing and thinks there’s something wrong.) I believe that the hospital I delivered has the second-highest breastfeeding rate in the state.
    I did get a little attitude from the surgeon when I got my baby’s tied tongue clipped, though. I felt bad enough about it as it was, but like Amalah, I was cringing at just the thought of him trying to latch.

  • Kelly

    April 21, 2010 at 1:06 am

    As a recent nursing school graduate, I am happy to say that in maternity and pediatrics we were well informed of the benefits of breast feeding and were taught that “breast is best.” That being said, it just wasn’t an option for all moms and that’s okay. And the hospital where I did my maternity rotation was big on breast feeding. All moms were encouraged to try breast feeding and the LC was very helpful. I hate to hear that there are some docs and nurses out there who push formula feeding but I can only think that they are a product of their generation. Rest assured that there are tons of new grads like me out there who espouse the virtues of breast feeding!

  • lindswing

    April 20, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I honestly didn’t know that hospitals like that existed! Good on you for making it happen regardless. I encountered stories like that during my reading about labor and breastfeeding, but didn’t believe it after the experience we had. Our hospital is operating under the WHO’s Baby Friendly Initiative (, and it was incredibly breastfeeding friendly. If you’re one of the rare cases where the baby needs sugar water or formula, they use a cup or a syringe, no pacifiers are handed out (though we introduced one a week later when baby had proven his commitment to nursing and displayed an intense suck-need), no formula samples are distributed ever, babies room-in (unless you ask for a break), and LCs practically litter the hallways. Unless there’s an emergency or other extenuating circumstances, they won’t even allow the baby to be removed from your belly until it’s been at least an hour and you’ve attempted a latch with a nurse or LC assisting. It was incredible to get such luxurious skin-to-skin time with him before anyone else did, and in a hospital! And the nurse who helped me was very kind and gentle with her advice. Even C-section deliveries are rushed to their mamas there.
    If you’re looking for a hospital and have options, I highly recommend looking up the list on the website I posted. We could not have been happier with how supportive our experience was. And ask your hospital to look into it, if they aren’t. I wish it were a more publicized thing- so worth it!

  • Kat Eden

    April 21, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Maybe it’s different here in Aus, but I’m happy to say I didn’t experience anything like this. I will say that the midwives were quite brutal about breastfeeding though. My boobs were insanely huge and hurt like crazy. I can honestly say that first week breastfeeding was 90% as painful as labour. And they showed no compassion at all – literally grabbing and squeezing my breasts while I was feeding (trying to get more flow). Meanwhile I had to restrain myself from gripping my bub so hard I’d nearly choke her!

  • Cobblestone

    April 21, 2010 at 9:13 am

    My son nursed for 16 months, we had great hospital support for bf-ing but we also cup fed a little bit because he wasn’t urinating much. He took bottles of formula every once in awhile before he started on food.
    I think that how you feed your infant is one of the first opportunities to focus on what works for you and and your family and to figure out what you’re going to do with all of the other opinions out there. Even when you are tired and in pain, you still can be an advocate for your family and child.

  • Lucia

    April 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

    It makes me cringe hearing these stories of hospitals not being supportive of breastfeeding! I feel so blessed that the hospital where I delivered H was so incredibly supportive. We were NEVER offered formula – for which I am thankful. I was able to nurse him as soon as I got into recovery after an emergency c-section and had LCs stop by the room several times each day to make sure I was doing okay. The LC gave me a syringe of glucose to help with the latching and suggestions for keeping a sleeping baby nursing (rubbing teh back, feet and undressing them). He (I KNOW!) also told me to let H feed one side as long as he wanted and then do the next side at the next feeding to make sure he got the hindmilk. The nurses also were very supportive and always checked to make sure we were doing okay. Our ped called the hospital and told the nurses to let H feed on demand – not on a schedule of every 2 or 3 hours. Sometimes it would be an hour later, sometimes 4 hours later. I am proud to say that we have been lucky that H has not had any formula whatsoever and he is almost 4 months (and has been in daycare a month). It also helps that his daycare is very breastfeeding friendly.

  • Integrative Mom

    April 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    I delivered at a NYC hospital that was supposedly breastfeeding friendly, and my son had a sign on his bassinet- “no bottles.” I lost count of how many times the nurses pushed formula on me, and dealt with the same eye-rolling, condescending attitudes from them. I stood my ground, as did you, but there are lots of moms out there who are too tired to put up the fight. What can we do to change this???