Ellen Tolan, RD, LDN, IBCLC
Just in time for World Breastfeeding Week, there is great news for moms and babies! Massachusetts has officially become only the second state in the US to be Bag Free! All birthing hospitals and centers in the state have voluntarily decided they will no longer hand out formula company discharge bags. This is cause for celebration!
I remember having my first baby and telling the nurses in the hospital that I didn’t want a formula discharge bag. They gave it to me anyway, calling it a “breastfeeding bag!” The bag included a little information on breastfeeding, but it also contained formula samples and was clearly a way for formula companies to advertise their products. While some people may think the bag is helpful, it actually causes more harm than good in many circumstances.
Although some babies may need formula for medical reasons, most moms can successfully breastfeed. But in the first few days after leaving the hospital, breastfeeding mothers who are having some problems may find it hard to resist offering a little formula. Giving even small amounts of formula early on can decrease a mom’s milk supply, and it’s well known that women who use formula in the early days are more likely to quit breastfeeding sooner than they had wished.
If you are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, be sure to meet with a doctor and/or experienced mother for breastfeeding tips and support. Although I had plenty of challenges in the first few weeks, I was determined to breastfeed, and I’m so glad I did. I had support from my family and friends, and I was able to nurse both of my sons exclusively for over a year. And, yes, the second time around I refused the “breastfeeding bag!”
Massachusetts hospitals are doing the right thing by promoting breastfeeding. For more information, visit www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org.
Weekly Flu Report, December 19, 2014 posted on Dec 19
Rates of flu-like illness increased slightly over the past seven days in Massachusetts, as indicated in the latest weekly flu report. Flu season doesn’t tend to peak until later in February or even March – so there is still plenty of time to get vaccinated …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, December 19, 2014
Weekly Flu Report, December 12, 2014 posted on Dec 12
This week’s flu report shows a slight dip in rates of flu-like illness since last week’s report – which is entirely in keeping with the unpredictable nature of flu season. One thing we know for sure is that no matter what, the single best way to …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, December 12, 2014
Highlights of the Public Health Council Meeting, December 10, 2014 posted on Dec 10
The December monthly meeting of the Public Health Council featured the consideration of one Determination of Need (DoN) request, two votes on final amendments to existing regulations, and an informational presentation to the Council on a key DPH community initiative. First, the Council took up …Continue Reading Highlights of the Public Health Council Meeting, December 10, 2014