You've decided how you're going to feed your baby, and you've stocked up on bottles, cans of formula, and all the jugs of purified water you'll need. But before you're in labor (or sent to the hospital by your doctor), you'll want to find out how the hospital can support your feeding choice. What baby formula do hospitals use and can you choose?
As far as the specific formula, it can run the gamut depending on which hospital you’re in and which part of the United States. However, Dr. Daniel Ganjian, M.D., pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, tells Romper most hospitals carry several different types of formula ranging in brands and types, including powdered and pre-prepared. Hospitals even have “formula labs or rooms where all different types of formula can be prepared for children with different nutritional and dietary needs,” according to pediatrician Dr. Cherilyn Cecchini, M.D.
Additionally, most NICUs in hospitals always have a variety of formula in case babies have an allergic reaction to a particular kind, says Morgan Michalowski, IBCLC, postpartum nurse, and founder of postpartum support website Gravida Mom.
Otherwise, it sort of depends on whether the hospital is designated as “baby friendly,” says Michalowski.
“If the hospital is designated as baby friendly, the formula purchased is based on best market price, as they can't accept gifts or discounts,” she tells Romper in an email interview. “If not baby friendly, it's largely based on the contract they have with either Similac or Enfamil." Different hospitals have different policies, so it's best to call in advance and ask what formula they use. And if the hospital has it, you can ask for it.
One of the best parts about the formula the hospital provides? The samples and supplies can go home with you. No matter what, your baby will be fed how you choose — and that’s the most important part.
Dr. Daniel Ganjian, M.D., pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California
Morgan Michalowski, IBCLC, postpartum nurse, and founder of postpartum support website Gravida Mom