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Maternity unit to charge £1 per bottle of ready-made formula

(108 Posts)
stressheaderic Sun 19-Jun-11 23:14:14

I was pretty dismayed today to hear that in my local area, one of the hospitals is now charging £1 for each bottle of formula that you use post-birth - the tiny pre-mixed glass bottles with the long rubber teat.

When having my DD last year, we were told not to 'save' bottles and to use a fresh one for every feed, even when she'd only had a tiny amount. Can't think how many I used - maybe 10-15 over the duration of my (short) stay?

I remember the young girl in the bed opposite me on postnatal had no partner or visitors - she had no money on her and my DP bought her a Coke and a sandwich at midnight when he was getting me one that very first night....can't help but wonder how she'd have managed sad

NHS cuts running deeper than I thought I guess.

Piffle Sun 19-Jun-11 23:16:27

I find that astonsihing though I am an personal supporter of breastfeeding I cannot see that this is rational
Should they with hold meals from bottle feeding mothers too?

Piffle Sun 19-Jun-11 23:16:58

And how is it policed? do they ask for your debit card? send Bailiffs if you default?
MAD!

RitaMorgan Sun 19-Jun-11 23:17:03

I'm sure if someone had no money they'd provide formula, but if you're planning to formula feed then surely you expect it to cost money?

PenguinArmy Mon 20-Jun-11 04:14:29

Depends on how it's implemented, if you're advised to top up with formula it would be a bit of a kick in the teeth to then say you have pay for it on top. OTOH if people plan to formula from the get go, then like you take in your own nappies people should take in their own formula.

I don't like the idea of paying, more encouraging that you should use your own (like pads etc.).

WorzselMummage Mon 20-Jun-11 04:25:30

Why shouldn't you be expected to pay for your child's milk?

dinosaurinmybelly Mon 20-Jun-11 04:37:14

I may be naive here but I thought the likes of SMA and Cow and Gate actually gave these samples to the hospital for new mothers and didn't charge them for it. Something sounds strange to me here. Would be interesting to get to the bottom of it...I would be surprised if it was part of the cost-cutting.

shuckleberryfinn Mon 20-Jun-11 07:45:48

those little bottles cost more than that at Asda. Think it's about 15 quid for 12. If it's considered medically necessary (I know, I know...) then I would guess they'd give them free, same as for emergencies.

Still, this has been debated before hasn't it? Far too early for popcorn.

Wormshuffler Mon 20-Jun-11 08:24:02

I bottle fed in hospital and don't think this is unreasonable to be honest. It is far better than not having available at all, which is happening also in alot of hospitals now. This way you don't have the hassle of having to work out how/where to steralise and make up the feeds, which as an expected CS patient this time around I was nervous about.
While I am talking about it, I will also admit to having taken some home with us for when we were out and about. This would stop this too.
If as dinosaur said they do get them free then it can only be about trying to encourage more breast feeding, which is bully boy tactics in my opinion.

tiktok Mon 20-Jun-11 08:27:40

Hospitals do not get formula milk free. They are charged a market rate for them. This has been the case for many years (at one time, they were free).

RitaMorgan Mon 20-Jun-11 09:05:03

Medical reasons/emergencies then I'm sure hospitals would give it for free, just like any other medicine. But if you are planning to formula feed why not bring some with you? Just like nappies or baby clothes.

BizzeeBee Mon 20-Jun-11 09:12:29

My logic here might be a bit flawed, but if mum as a patient gets a full board food and drink service provided at no cost by the hospital, why shouldn't her baby also get the food he needs provided?

I was attempting to bf my baby and got through shocking quantities of those little bottles.

RitaMorgan Mon 20-Jun-11 09:32:05

I guess the logic is they feed the mother so she can feed the baby. If she chooses an alternative (expensive) method of feeding it's not up to the hospital to pay for it.

sprinkles77 Mon 20-Jun-11 10:01:06

I'd hardly call what they provided for me "food"! Maybe if midwifes actually gave proper advice and sympathetic, unhurried BFing support, women would be trying so hard to BF that almost no formula would be needed. The stupid MWs neglected to point out that 3 hrs after a CS i would have very little milk and DS wouldn't be very interested in sucking. Then they called the new paediatric SHO in to investigate why DS was not feeding. Everyone panicked me into FFing. Not that I'm bitter or anything wink.

thaigreencurry Mon 20-Jun-11 10:14:49

I think it is unreasonable to charge that much. If you know you are going to formula feed you can bring in your own so it isn't an issue. The difficulties arise when you plan on bfing and things don't work out and you have to end up supplementing with formula. If you stay in for a few days it could work out to be quite expensive.

thaigreencurry Mon 20-Jun-11 10:16:09

But Rita when a mother feeds her baby formula in hosptal choice rarely comes into it.

RitaMorgan Mon 20-Jun-11 10:20:47

I doubt they will be charging for formula if it is given under medical advice though.

I think it's wrong, alought I am very pro - BFing and hate the way Formula os pushed upon you at hospital. Patients eat for free at hospital and that should include infants. Parents get vouchers or something for formula of they are on low income, don't they? Will they be able to use these in hospital? If it has to be charged for, will they allow parents to bring their own??

kickingking Mon 20-Jun-11 10:24:29

thaigreencurry when I was in hospital for four days after having DS, none of the other women in my room had any intention of breastfeeding. Formula feeding in hospital was 100% their choice.

thaigreencurry Mon 20-Jun-11 10:26:26

They do allow parents to bring their own. The information you are given from the hospital pre-birth says that you must bring your own bottles and formula. The little ready made bottles are only given when things don't go to plan and you need or request to supplement with formula.

thaigreencurry Mon 20-Jun-11 10:28:49

But then I guess that they brought their own forumula equipment in with them kickingking as the literature I received both time (different hospitals) made it very clear that you had to bring in your own. I only saw one woman who had planned to ff from the outset and she had her own bottles and milk, not sure how she went on with sterilising, I think they possibly did that for her.

RitaMorgan Mon 20-Jun-11 10:29:59

So they're just moving from allowing parent's to bring their own to insisting.

If a baby is severely jaundiced, needs to be tube fed, the mother is unconsious or too unwell or whatever then they should provide formula as it is medicine.

If the parents decide to formula feed then I don't see the problem with bringing some in with them, or sending the dad out to buy some. If everyone did that it'd save the NHS a lot of money.

TheBride Mon 20-Jun-11 10:32:42

I agree with kicking. I think a lot of women choose to ff from birth, many more than we think. The stats are hugely distorted by the guilt factor which makes women go on the "I tried but she wouldn't latch" thing. bf stats, like most behaviour studies, rely on the honesty of the respondents, and we know that in most surveys, respondents tend to tell the researcher what they think they should have done, rather than what they did.

I think £1/carton isn't too bad. Tbh, I took a few of my own as a back up anyway when I had DS.

Mind you, where I live, if you go to the public hospital you have to take your own loo roll and disposable mattress protectors, so maybe I'm just immune to it.

thaigreencurry Mon 20-Jun-11 10:35:19

I don't have a problem with hospitals insisting that you bring your own in if you plan on feeding formula. As I said I assumed this was already the case as it was the case in both of the hospitals I gave birth.

I'm not keen on them charging if you supplement with formula. I used the ready made bottles both times, first time bfing support was non existent, second time the support was fantastic but I still needed to supplement. We also gave ds formula from a cup and each time he was fed they opened a new bottle because they said it was hospital policy, it would have proved to be quite expensive to have paid £1 each time as we were only feeding him 5ml of formula.

RitaMorgan Mon 20-Jun-11 10:36:18

Presumably you were supplementing on medical advice though, in which case they wouldn't charge.

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