Hospital Hops On The Mommyshaming Bandwagon With Horrible Breastfeeding Contract

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A lot of us have had a bad experience with pushy nurses and lactation consultants after giving birth, but a Canadian hospital system has taken things to a whole new low. New moms are being handed a feeding “contract” that basically tells them all the ways that formula feeding rather than breastmilk is going to mess up their kid’s life as well as their own. Then they’re told to pick the feeding method they want to use, and sign and date the contract. No pressure, though! It’s good to know that moms don’t even have to wait till after they’re discharged from the hospital to get a world of mommyshaming unleashed on them!

fraser-health-breastfeeding-contractThe feeding pamphlet handed out by hospitals in British Columbia’s Fraser Health system tells new moms that even one formula can be enough to damage a baby’s gut lining, and gives out a laundry list of illnesses that it says are more common in formula-fed babies. This list includes diarrhea, ear infections, SIDS … and leukemia. Do you want to give your child cancer, formula moms? Do you?

The contract also brings up some possible consequences for mom if she chooses to commit the cardinal sin of popping a bottle in her baby’s mouth. This includes breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and of course, the worst thing that could possibly happen to a new mom: if she’s not breastfeeding, it could take more time for her to lose her pregnancy weight. Yes, heaven forbid a recently-pregnant woman not be her former svelte self in a matter of weeks after delivery. Thanks, hospital!

New moms are under enough pressure to make the right decisions for their babies without getting piled on by the hospital that’s supposed to be there to care for and support them. Even moms who want to breastfeed can be overwhelmed by the stress of being told, “Oh, you can choose to feed your baby however you want. As long as you don’t mind giving him cancer and diabetes.” And since we already know that women who aren’t able to breastfeed despite wanting to do so are more likely to become depressed, this kind of contract is irresponsible at best.

Speaking for myself, I was cared for post-delivery by a wonderful, supportive nursing staff at our local hospital. I still remember crying in the hospital when the twins were losing too much weight, and I realized I was going to have to supplement my breast milk with formula to keep them healthy. I can’t imagine how much worse I would have felt if I’d had to supplement after being asked to sign a contract telling me that the supplementation needed to keep my kids alive was also going to inflict horrible diseases on them.

The good news is that Fraser Health has pulled the contract, but we’ll see if their attitude gets cleaned up as well. Hospitals have a responsibility to help their patients learn how to feed their babies, no matter if that means nursing or bottle-feeding. New moms get enough crap from the rest of the world without hospitals feeling the need to be mommyshaming dicks, too.

(Image: Fraser Health; Zem Liew/Shutterstock)