The war being waged against formula-feeding mothers just got turned up to 11.

It’s being called a “breastfeeding contract”. And you have to sign it before you push.

When you are pregnant you are bombarded with opinions from every man and their dog. Sometimes, quite literally, as when I was pregnant one woman told me I should let my child sleep next to me because her dog slept in her room and always slept soundly so surely that would be the case for the baby too.

For any parent, whether you’re having your first child or your 19th, you have major decisions to make about the birth and future upbringing of your child (although, I do feel Mrs Duggar would be less inclined to stress about such issues).

But never before has anyone actually made you sign a document to outline those intentions.

Not until British Columbia’s Fraser Health Hospital got mums-to-be to sign a contract.

Not only is it a document to outline your parenting intentions, it is a document that outlines whether you plan to breastfeed or not.

If you plan to give birth within The Fraser Health group you are given a “Prenatal Decision making tool”. A 2-page document that firstly outlines the associated risks with formula and the benefits of breastfeeding. The second page then gives you three options “breastfeeding”, “mixed feeding” and “infant formula feeding” and has points about the benefits/risks of each.

To give you a run down of the document itself, the first page includes the following:

Although most babies grow on formula, studies show the routine use of formula comes with some risks to both mothers and babies

For the first 4-6 months babies can’t protect themselves from infections very well; breast milk helps protects them. The protection lasts as long as they breastfeed – and longer.

Even one feed of formula [in early weeks instead of colostrum] can damage that coating and make illness more likely.

It then goes on to note that babies that don’t receive breastmilk are more likely to suffer disease and illness, the documenting noting everything from colds and flu to childhood cancers and SIDS.


Mothers are also not forgotten as you are informed that mothers who feed formula are also at risk of Type II diabetes, increased post-partum bleeding and both breast and ovarian cancers. It also mentions that it can take you longer to lose pregnancy weight.

On the second page you then find this:

Canadian Paediatricians (baby doctors) recommend breastfeeding. You may have valid reasons for choosing formula. Please read this, talk to your nurse/midwife/doctor about feeding your baby, and check off and initial your plan. However you feed, in the first few weeks remember to spend daily skin-to-skin time with your baby. This helps your baby’s development.

After you have read and been reminded of the information that, as a pregnant woman, you are probably well aware of, you then must choose an option of the three given and initial next to the way that you plan to feed your baby.

If you are choosing formula feeding you are given the following information:

“? INFANT FORMULA FEEDING ___________ (Initials)

I want my baby to be formula fed. I know that:

–       formula is provided free while I am in the hospital

–       once I am at home, I will need to buy formula for nine to twelve months (extra costs from $60 to $150 /month)

–        I will need to learn how to prepare formula and bottles under sterile conditions and proper concentration to protect my baby’s health.

–       powdered formula is not sterile, so I will use liquid formula if my baby is premature or ill (unless my doctor gives different instructions).

–       it may be hard to change to breastfeeding after a few feeds/days of formula feeding.

–       I understand that formula feeding increases the risk for my baby and myself for the diseases listed on the opposite page”

Wow. That is very straight to the point (and, we have to say, a little scare-mongering).

As a mother who was fortunate enough to breastfeed successfully, I feel this form is a whole lot of unnecessary stress for any new mother. These women are clearly going to be going through a major life changing event and don’t need a signed contract hanging over their head if their plans don’t work out.

What do you think about this “breastfeeding contract”? Are you as horrified as us?

Want more? Try these:

Is this the most glamourous breastfeeding pic ever 

Baby brain exists – and 5 other things we didn’t need scientists to tell us

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