Formula-Feeding and My idea of Being American


In the past 5-6 years as a social worker working with immigrants from various countries, I do not know how many times I have come across clients who thought feeding formula vs your own breast-milk was being more American. The first year or so I used to interpret even at the medical appointments for some of the clients that spoke my language. I used to get frustrated with the medical health care providers who would just give out the information. They would not necessarily inform the benefits of breastfeeding infants vs formula feeding. They would just be very neutral as expected in their profession, I guess just to be more tolerant/accepting and not wanting to push their opinion on patients.

In my whole career working with the immigrants, I believe there was just once that an Indian descent physician was upfront about advocating for breast-milk. I did not show my excitement. But boy was a excited! I kept my thrill to myself and just interpreted the way it was said in English. Kudos to my fellow-Asian physician who did not care about keeping her opinion to herself. And I clearly remember this client being very annoyed at the physician. She kept saying she did not want to breast-feed, and really did not have a good reason to not do so.

hortense-breast-feeding-paul-1872On the side conversations, I have always encouraged them through my personal story. I have been a full-time social worker for past five years and have raised three beautiful, breast fed kids during the entire time. Really!  My work schedule is usually crazy. Sometimes I have to leave the house at 7 in the morning for medical appointments and frequently be at the airport during the wee-hours. I never know what time of the day I will get an emergency call that someone needs to go to the ER, Urgent Care or simply needs maintenance troubleshooting. Even with my loyal electric breast-pumps, my crazy schedule would interfere with its loyalty. Mind you, I have gone through three of those electric pumps :)!!

I would challenge them with my story. I would encourage them to go with breast-feeding if they were not medically and physically obstructed and are just home. And then I get this apathetic response-sorta. Sometimes, just looks that shout: I AM IN AMERICA. I WANT TO BE MORE AMERICAN. I WANT FREEDOM FROM THE TRADITIONAL WAYS. WILL YOU KEEP YOUR OPINION TO YOURSELF???

For some reason, most of them think the government will provide all the formula their kids might need. And it does to a certain extent. WIC, a state program does fund a certain number of formula a month. But, I wonder if they really suffice. If they don’t, wouldn’t they just need to buy them out of pocket? And they are so very expensive. I used to silently despise how the hospitals would send a care package with a certain branded formula to entice them into it. Oh all that the corporate world does to buy your loyalty!!

To all the people that I have worked with- forgive me if I tried to screw  your idea  of being America! Forgive me for giving you some sound advice. But I hope someday you will look back and think I meant well…………..

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2 thoughts on “Formula-Feeding and My idea of Being American

  1. Many RNs, especially those who work on Mother-Baby units, are Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners, or Nurse Midwives will unabashedly advocate for breast feeding as it is the best for baby (I strongly recommend breastfeeding to any woman). Like you, I, dislike that formula samples are sent home with new moms because it sends a message that formula is just as good as breast milk. I refused the samples when I was discharged with each of my kiddos. Both my kids were breast fed until 9-10 months of age and I don’t regret making it work at all. My motto was “have breast pump, will travel”. So anyhow, I encourage you to keep advocating for breastfeeding and anything that I can do to support you, just let me know!

    Liked by 1 person

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