I mentioned before how a sweet, well-meaning nurse gave me several goody bags at an OB appointment. That was over two weeks ago and they have since sat on the floor of my laundry room, mostly getting in the way. I had thought I should just give them away to someone and never see them again. My husband felt we could always use any little bags and the rest can be donated. I was hating on the formula companies for how they market and he figured we can get some bags or whatever from them while hating them.
Today I felt like it would be good to know what really IS in a “breastfeeding bag” sponsored by a formula company. So that is what I did. I opened them up and took pictures.
The first one was not a bag but a small box put together by Similac. It is labeled specifically for the breastfeeding mother.
Inside was a can of Similac powdered formula, four breastmilk storage bottles (that felt VERY flimsy and reminded me of those 2 ounce servings of liquid formula that they use at the hospital), a nipple and collar that can screw onto those bottles, a DVD titled “You & Your Baby” (that I haven’t watched), a pamphlet outlining Similac’s different formula options and how to sign up for free offers, a pamphlet about their tip line, and a breastfeeding guide booklet. This booklet talks about the importance of breastfeeding, the benefits and also genuine tips. But i noticed interspersed were little tidbits that break down the worn breastfeeding mother. Or the pregnant mom who just got all of this dumped in her lap. It will speak of the benefits and add in a little thing about the horrible hours, the leaks, etc and then say all that is worth it of course. And towards the end it tells how you may want to stop breastfeeding, perhaps if returning to work, and how to switch to formula.
The next one I opened was actually a bag. It was very tall and kind of skinny, insulated and had a cute design on the inside. It was from Enfamil. It flat-out said that inside was formula for nursing moms. What does that mean?
Attached to the bag was a plastic ring with hard plastic booklet outlining safety things for new parents (like CPR, car seat safety). Inside was, of course, a can of Enfamil Newborn powdered formula (that must be what formula for nursing moms looks like). A hard blue ice pack, a strange collapsible water bottle, a pack labeled “Snappies” which sadly does NOT contain those funky little things to replace safety pins on cloth diapers, but instead some of those “breastmilk storage bottles” that look just like the hospital newborn formula bottles, some information packets on getting coupons and samples from Enfamil, Toys R Us and also info on baby care. The breastfeeding guide in this pack is very thorough. It goes over various hold and challenges (like mastitis) and how to overcome. It is from the AAP and NOT the formula maker themselves therefore it truly is all about breastfeeding.
The last bag is a bit bigger than a cosmetics bag. It calls itself a “Birthing and Beyond Kit” and is labeled “third trimester”. It says to pack it in your hospital bag. I expected this to have things like a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, maybe some other small things mom might need. But when you look at the back you begin to wonder…
“Even if you plan on breastfeeding, put this in your hospital bag. It’s good to be prepared when your newborn arrives. One good way is having both Enfamil Newborn and Enfamil Gentlease on hand. You’ll be prepared if you choose to formula feed and you’ll be ready if your baby experiences stomach sensitivity, which is common in many infants during their first year.”
Wow. Already saying it probably won’t work out to breastfeed. Implying that formula is more gentle on a baby’s tummy than mama’s milk.
I still had hopes that besides formula that is really was a “birth and beyond kit” that had some essentials inside to pack along. No such luck. It had 4 of those hospital sized bottles of ready to feed formula. Two of the regular and two for those sensitive tummies that couldn’t possible handle breastmilk (so don’t bother trying). It also came with a nipple ready to screw right on and feed. The rest was pamphlets. One on newborn care, one fat packet listing all of Enfamil’s products and how to sign up for coupons and samples and something listing a website from the AAP for breastfeeding support. And then a few random (and odd) coupons for Target (laundry spray and prescription meds? I guess that is what having a baby means for some! lol).
So there you have it. A Breastfeeding Bag (and box, and Birth and Beyond Kit) dissected. Take it for what it’s worth, I truly don’t believe these companies are trying to help anyone succeed at breastfeeding.