Just this morning, one of my Favorite bloggers, Amy West of "Just West of Crunchy" (check out the new button on my side bar), wrote a piece about Medela. She discussed how Medela was violating the WHO code in depth and how it denigrates breast feeding awareness. She also covers issues with their pumps and why other brands are superior. I am here to tell you a story of an infant that we shall call Steve (not real name) and the effects the Medela bottles had on him. If Medela had breastfeeding, or infants at all in mind in correlation with their products, an adorable little boy would have had a very different start in life.
A few weeks ago a fellow Day Care Provider called me on the phone and said she had a small infant that she could not care for anymore. He was very clingy and cried all the time and she couldn't handle it and knew that my care would be best for him. I run my day care on the principals of Attachment Parenting and I have apparently started to get a name for myself with this concept in our town. I said yes that I would take him (because every child deserves a chance and I am always up for a challenge). So when this little boy started, on his first day, Mom came with a Medela brand bottle and asked me to only use this bottle even though I provide bottles in my care and use Born Free brand. Mom and baby had issues at birth and had a failed breastfeeding relationship. I said yes and used the Medela bottle. I quickly noticed in my care that this infant was extremely gassy, and also suffered from "raspiness" having difficult breathing after feedings. At home the breathing has been an issue and he had been put on a nebulizer to help with the issues. So even though mom asked me to only use the Medela bottles, I secretly tried out my Born Free bottles on him, which have a vent system in place. After only a few bottles mr. crankymcfussy pants was a new baby. He was smiling after a feeding and spitting up less (his first day when I only used the Medela bottles, he spit up on me so many times I went through 3 outfits), and he was less cranky in general. I continued to use the Born Free bottles on him a few more times and tried the Medela's several other times. He was always cranky after the Medela's. I began to also notice that his breathing improved when I used the Born Free bottles. I let Mom know that I thought he had some gas and suggested the use of a bottle with a venting system. Mom was reluctant to try them but after I sent a bottle of mine home with her, a few days later he was sent with a vented Avent bottle. Just last night I asked her if she had noticed a difference with her son and she opened up to me. She said he was a new baby and everyone was having a better time. It turns out that at home he was super fussy and even at one point, when Grandma was babysitting one evening, she called them and sent him home because she could not take the crying. Now she had a "new baby" and she was smiling for the first time since I met her. If this baby had been given a decent bottle from the start, he would have had a better relationship with his parents and family and probably would have never come to my care. It is a shame that a 4 month old should have to go through this when he is learning just how the world works. I hope to see many more improvements over time with Steve.
If Medela was serious about their bottles, and catering to the needs of infants, they would supply a bottle for mothers with their pumps and in their systems that actually helped infants. A glance at the Medela site offers no support in the lines of actually feeding an infant. What is the difference between their bottles and a cheap old bottle from the Walmart? None. I challenge Medela to change their bottles to fit the needs of all babies. How about a vent system to start with. A breast fed infant does not have to stop nursing at his mothers breast to let air in. And lets further discuss the nipple. How about making a variety of shapes that closer resemble a womans breast? Breast fed babies have more of a challenge at times in the child care setting getting familiar with a bottle nipple when away from the breast. If you really as a company want to promote breast feeding and supplying nursing mothers with a way to give expressed milk to an infant, why not develop a product that supports mothers and infants? It seems to me that Medela has one thing in mind.. making money. Because if you were serious about supporting and promoting breastfeeding, the products you offer would be way different.