Homegrown Texan

Born and raised in Texas, I've found the home of my heart and soul in the Pacific Northwest. I love trees, cool weather, and rain. I'm a back to basics kind of gal just trying to raise my family and find a bit of time to slow down in this hectic life.

Yesterday I received a box of formula samples in the mail. Yes, baby formula. Yes, my *youngest* son is 6. I guess they aren't exactly doing focus marketing.


Not because my son is way too old. That didn't piss me off, that just made me laugh at their stupidity. It just make me angry that there is very little support for moms who want to breastfeed, or to encourage moms to breastfeed. I was recently at a party that happened to have a lot of members from La Leche League present.  One of the ladies just lost her job as a lactation consultant at the local hospital (where I delivered Michael) because her entire department got cut.  This made me sad, but it also made me mad as I thought about it more, because I remembered back to when I had Michael, and not once did anyone mention that there was any kind of help at all with breastfeeding.  I had all sorts of formula cans dumped on me, unsolicited mind you, but even though I made it very clear that I very much wanted to breastfeed, not once did anyone say "if you run into any problems there is a lactation team you can talk to".  I *do*  remember being told that if I chose not to breastfeed, there was a little class I could go to where I could learn how to dry myself up with minimal pain and discomfort.  Gee, thanks.

Anyway, receiving these samples just brought it all back to me.  I understand that there is no money to be made in promoting breastfeeding, and all sorts of money to be made in promoting formula feeding.  And as a big fan of the free market, I get that.  And I'm not debating the formula companies' rights to market the way they do. I just think it's unethical, and I hate that.  It's not like they wouldn't have a market if they didn't.  I mean, WTF, how much money do they need to make?

So, I wrote "return to Sender" on the box.  And in big black magic marker I wrote things like "Breastfeeding promotes growth and minimizes illness", "Human milk for human babies", "Support breastfeeding moms".  I also responded to comments on the box: "Motherhood rocks, and so do you" (response: "I sure do, I make my own milk!").  "A free gift of nutrition for you baby...inside" (response: "Yep, unlimited supply free, right inside my body!")

I don't feel like there are many people I can tell about it, because most people I know formula fed.  And you know, I don't judge them for it.  For some people it probably really was the best decision, and for many of them, they just don't have the support and encouragement that they need.  I was pretty much a lone island, following the example of my mom who breastfed both my brother and I (something I consider just short of miraculous, especially in my case considering with me she was a 17 year old mom in 1972...the times were certainly not on her side).  For whatever reason it's something I've felt very strongly about since I was a child, and it's something that just makes sense to me.  I don't believe everyone has that same sense of "what the hell else would you do?" as I do.  And that's cool.  It just seems that every effort is made as soon as possible to undermine the chance that moms will make that choice.  And I hate that.

I know what I did won't do a damn bit of good, but it made me feel better.  Rather than send it back, I may even decide to take the formula out of the box and donate it to a local shelter, since that would probably do more good.  I did tell my mom about it.  She laughed when I told her what I wrote, and then when I started ranting about it she said (sarcastically) "wow, I guess you feel kind of strongly about that".  Haha...yeah, I guess I do.


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