文：Dr. Jack Newman
译：Lily Yeoh, IBCLC
授权翻译自 Dr. Jack Newman 脸书专页的文章
Some people wonder why I (and others) make a big deal about the giving of free samples of formula to pregnant women, new mothers and their families. Don’t doctors give patients free samples of medications to their patients? What is the difference?
How is the giving of free samples of formula different from giving a free starter pack of a medication from a health professional? There may be many reasons free samples of medication are given out; for example, the patient might try the medication to see if it is effective, especially if it is a new drug and more expensive than older drugs. Perhaps this is legitimate. However, the problem with giving out free formula samples (and the “literature” and brochures that often accompany the formula samples) is that once a mother introduces formula and bottles to her baby, problems with breastfeeding often result, including a reduction in milk supply and even complete rejection of the breast. This is different than providing a sample of a medication. If the medication results in a drug reaction in the patient, or is ineffective, one can always try a different drug or a different approach. But once milk supply starts to decrease or if the baby rejects the breast, it may be difficult, even impossible, to turn things around and get the breastfeeding back on track.
In some doctors’ offices, formula samples are given routinely, even prenatally. Sometimes, however, breastfeeding is already not going well and seems to justify the giving of the formula sample, but I disagree. Starting formula and bottles might be the coup de grace which truly finishes off the breastfeeding. Instead of giving the parents the formula samples, the doctor should be helping the mother with the breastfeeding (most do not know how, however) or referring the mother and baby to someone who can help.
I see no justification in giving a mother free samples of formula. Even if the mother never intended to breastfeed or is not breastfeeding, why should a physician with the authority s/he carries in the eyes of most patients, advertise a particular brand of formula? And it is advertising; there can be no doubt about it. Most ministries of health around the world require that all formulas comply with certain nutritional guidelines and essentially all formulas are the same from the nutritional point of view, whether they are made from cow’s milk or soy beans.
Many doctors’ offices also have “patient information” pamphlets available for patients to take. Formula company representatives often leave their own pamphlets in the slots sometimes without the doctor being aware that the pamphlets are available to his/her patients. Formula company and bottle manufacturers’ “information” pamphlets are notoriously inaccurate with regards to infant feeding in general and in particular with regard to breastfeeding. Very often they contain visuals and text which undermine breastfeeding and make it seem difficult, painful and exhausting, and formula the answer to every problem. Breastfeeding should not be difficult, painful and exhausting if mothers got off to a good start and received good help and encouragement along the way. Unfortunately few do and those who succeed usually succeed in spite of the “help” they get.