Monday, December 08, 2008

News coverage of watered-down formula disturbed me in many ways...

It was very sad, indeed, that a young mother watered down WIC formula to make it last a month. To me, this highlights so many issues that are not being well addressed, and that were not well addressed in the coverage:
1. WIC was designed as a supplemental program, and is not meant to meet all the needs for a month. Was this mother properly informed about this? Clearly not. She may have received some information, but it clearly was not communicated.
2. Since WIC is a supplemental program, is there discussion with the client about planning for the end of the month? Is each client counseled to develop a plan and have the plan checked with the nutritionist?
3. Was sufficient attention given to informing this mother and all mothers about the cost savings of breastfeeding?
4. Some blogs following the news coverage assume that she may have tried breastfeeding and not succeeded. There is nothing in the press coverage on this. If it so, then the support she received may not have properly addressed her issues. Was the possibility of breastfeeding fully considered by those who treated her baby? Did they try to help her re-lactate?
5. Is every mother informed of the risks of formula use by WIC, along with risks and benefits of breastfeeding?
6. Why doesn't media highlight the risks of formula use in general in the coverage of these disasters? In no society is the mother at fault when she is deserted in this manner with misperceptions and misinformation.
I find it terribly sad that we leave young mothers to fend for themselves without proper information and support, and then we label them as ignorant or as failures. It is our fault, we who design and oversee these programs; we who endorse a society that is product driven, rather than health driven; we who think of ourselves and our own, and not of those who are lost in the commercial media blitzkrieg; we who have forgotten that the beginning of life dictates so much about the future generation and how they will go forward...

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