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Perfect Husband took me to buy a new bathing suit at a maternity store after my birthday dinner on Thursday. He has this week off as a random much-needed vacation and he had taken transit out to the local mall while I was at work. When we walked into the maternity store, the clerk smiled at PH and said “back for the bathing suits?”

I have to say, I feel that it must take guts to walk into a maternity store when you are an unaccompanied male. I was nervous walking in, just because I wasn’t visibly pregnant!

But the first reality of my upcoming maternity hit at the cash register.

“Would you like to register for our points card? When you sign up you get sent 400 dollars worth of coupons, and free Pampers and Enfamil samples.”

For four hundred dollars in coupons, I might have said yes. But the Pampers and Enfamil stirred me to such a “hell, no” reaction that I had to make a conscious effort in being polite as I turned down the card.

I suspect I’m going to end up being a relatively crunchy mom, but I’m not a lactivist or anything. I don’t think that mothers who give their babies formula instead of breast milk are bad mothers. While “everyone knows” the benefits of breast feeding, I know that it doesn’t work for everyone. Some people have babies born with cleft palates, who can’t latch. Some women simply never reach full milk, or for some reason their milk doesn’t seem to satisfy their baby. I think it is a good thing that formula exists, so that mothers have something to fall back on when their natural equipment lets them down.

I don’t think that mothers who use disposable diapers are bad mothers, either. I’m a hundred percent sold on cloth diapers, especially when I can hire people to take the diapers away and clean them for me, and have them dropped back on my doorstep weekly, without my ever having to lift a finger. I have already found the diaper service that I plan to use, and while the cost is probably equivalent to disposables, it’s worth it to me, to be able to use cloth without sacrificing convenience. But I understand that some mothers simply prefer disposables. That’s their choice.

But it really bothers me when I see these companies coming in and setting up future mothers. They’re trying to hook women onto their inferior products. I’m sure you have all heard of how baby formula companies “donate” supplies to mothers in third world countries, and have a history of aggressive marketing. It’s positively evil. It’s just that same kind of aggressive marketing that leads women who shop for maternity clothes to be sent free samples of formula. I think it’s sick. I think baby formula has its place, but that should be as a resort for mothers who can’t breastfeed, or for whom breastfeeding is not working. It is not the kind of thing that they should be sending free samples of!

I feel the same way about disposable diapers. I can hardly knock ’em before I try ’em, but we all know how disposable diapers make up 1/3 of all landfill space, that they increase chances of asthma and reduce fertility in boys. We know that they tend to come with increased diaper rash, and a later age of potty training. I’m glad they exist, because cloth diapers don’t work for everyone. They may not even work for me. Even if I love my diaper service and cloth nappies I’ll probably use the occasional disposable. But I don’t want those diaper companies hawking their products at me, trying to get me hooked before I even have a chance to try something else.

Am I overreacting, or does this kind of marketing sicken others, too?