Okay so I am about to go on a rant. You have been forewarned!
One of my biggest pet peeves is hospitals giving out diaper bags filled with formula even to moms who have stated they are going to breastfeed. So why does that bug me? Because I believe that that having even that small can of formula is tempting to the mom who is struggling with nursing. They may think that they don't have enough milk and their baby is starving in the first few weeks when the milk supply is establishing and the baby is nursing constantly. Or they may think that because the hospital gave it to them that is the right formula to use and they should use that instead or in addition to nursing. I have heard a mom say more than once that they give their baby an evening bottle of formula because then they will sleep and they just nurse to much during the evening. They do this not realizing it is normal for a baby to nurse frequently in the evening to get more of the fatty hind milk before bed and that by giving them a bottle instead of nursing they may be jeopardizing their milk supply.
And big formula companies know all of this. That is why they give all of those samples to the hospital to hand out. And the hospital hands in out because the more formula they give out the more money they get from the formula company.
I know that not every woman who breastfeeds her baby is going to stick with it. I mean statistics show that on average most babies in the U.S are not breastfed past 6 months and even less are breastfed past a year. And I firmly believe that every woman has the choice to choose how she feeds her baby. Breastmilk is better and has more nutritional value than formula, but every woman is free to choose. Also I understand that some women can't make enough milk due to various reasons and need to supplement. I STRUGGLED with nursing Scarlett who had a dysfunctional suck. So I understand there are reasons for supplementing. However, I know that if at 8 weeks when I was so discouraged with nursing, if I had had a small can of formula in my cupboard from the hospital, I would have gave in and used it. I was so close to giving up nursing, but I could not bring myself to go out and buy the can of formula. And I am so very glad that I did not give it up at that point. I am so happy I did not have that can of formula in my house because Scarlett would not have made it to 1 year on breastmilk (even though not all of it was my own).
Okay rant over.