If there is one thing I learned from a grandmother who grew up during The Great Depression and a mother who had to make it on her own with no child support for the better part of my growing up years, it was to be frugal, thrifty....cheap, however you'd like to put it. Coupon clipping, sales and if you could get it for free, even better.
So when I was pregnant with my first baby almost seven years ago (Good Lord, could it really be that long ago?), I dutifully took my "free formula gift bag" coupon to the hospital with me. I was determined to breastfeed for at least six months, but I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to get something free. Just imagine how thrilled I was when I didn't even have to present the coupon! A nurse just brought the bag with our check out materials. Lovely! Since then, I have learned that these bags are not just a "gift" from the hospital or formula/pharmaceutical company. The bags are slick, well-designed marketing tools designed to sabotage breastfeeding and ensure that mothers use their products.
The truth is these bags, whether they contain formula or not are very effective marketing tools. Breastfeeding mothers who get the bags are more likely to start using formula. And the "gift" doesn't save you any money - it is less than one week's worth and it is the most expensive kind. It's like a drug dealer "The first hit's always free." And ironically, these are drug companies we're talking about.
If you have your baby in the hospital (my last two were born at home, on purpose). Don't ask for the "gift bag". Don't accept the gift bag(even if you take out the formula). Don't participate in sabotaging your own effort to breastfeed. Give your friends a cute diaper bag like Tutti Bella Bags or at Belly Dance Maternity or if you are more in my price range, you can get a pretty cute bag at Target these days.
Don't sell out. Don't take the free "diaper bag crack".