Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Breastfeeding Moms Boot Nestle From Maternity Wards

Posted by   + Show Post


If breastfeeding is healthier for babies, why are hospitals pushing corporate infant formula? How a growing number of states and cities are banning marketing in the maternity ward.

From TIME magazine’s provocative photo of a mother breastfeeding her toddler to the recent controversy surrounding an American University professor who breastfed her baby while teaching a class, how we feed babies often attracts its fair share of media attention.

But while news coverage often focuses on what are perceived as personal choices related to infant feeding, an important piece of the puzzle is often missing from their analysis: the intrusion of massive corporations into the relationships between patients and health-care providers, and the subordination of public-health considerations to profit margins.

Fortunately, advocates and activists are joining forces and putting a spotlight on this missing piece of the puzzle. And momentum is building as hospitals across the country—including all of those in Massachusetts and Rhode Island—are telling the infant-formula industry to take their marketing pitches elsewhere.

Science or sales pitch?

Consider this: Across the country, up to 72 percent of health-care facilities with maternity units distribute so-called infant formula to new mothers in industry-supplied “discharge bags,” complete with formula samples, coupons for formula, and marketing materials.

With the many benefits of breastfeeding touted by the Surgeon General and other public-health officials, why would hospitals send a new mom home with a bag full of formula? Because the infant-formula industry, which is worth $3.5 billion in the United States alone, knows there couldn’t be a better marketing tool than hospital freebies that are seemingly endorsed by health-care providers.

Studies show that women who receive infant formula samples in maternity wards are more likely to stop breastfeeding sooner and less likely to breastfeed exclusively. Though all major health care organizations recommend that infants be breastfed exclusively through six months, only 16.3 percent of moms nationwide achieve this goal. Experts agree that one of the obstacles to exclusive breastfeeding is ubiquitous infant formula marketing.

Certainly, families should make their own decisions about how to feed their babies, taking into account a variety of life circumstances and personal preferences that might make them elect to use infant formula instead of breastfeeding. But as far as practicing evidence-based medicine goes, it makes sense for health care providers to recommend the option that is best for their patients’ health. That recommendation is seriously undermined by infant-formula marketing in health care facilities, highlighting the conflict between the ideal goals of hospitals (health) and goals of formula manufacturers (profit). As one humorous comic put it, discharge bags seem to send the message, “Breast is best, but you probably can’t do it.”

This issue strikes a chord that goes beyond this particular product. We look to our health care providers for scientifically based medical advice, not for a sales pitch. So many aspects of our lives are commercialized, from schools plastered with advertisements, to bridges, highways, and roads named for the corporations that make the highest offer. Still, at the very least, shouldn’t our relationships with our health care providers be spared from the encroachment of values that turn every human interaction into one of buying and selling? Shouldn’t we be able to trust that our doctors, nurses or midwives are offering us advice that is best for us, not best for the bottom lines of deep-pocketed corporations?

The struggle for a marketing-free maternity ward

Fortunately, we are starting to see change on this issue, thanks to many years of work by committed public-health advocates and activists. Recently, Public Citizen, the organization I work for, launched a campaign calling on health-care facilities to stop allowing the distribution of infant-formula samples to new moms. More than 15,000 people have signed Public Citizen’s petition calling on the three major manufacturers of infant formula—Abbott, Mead Johnson, and Nestlé—to stop using health-care facilities to market their products. Some states are leading the charge to get infant formula marketing out of hospitals.

Last fall, Rhode Island became the first state in which all maternity hospitals voluntarily eliminated industry-sponsored discharge bags. This summer, Massachusetts followed suit, with all 49 of its hospitals ending formula marketing on their premises. Massachusetts advocates overcame significant obstacles: In 2005, then-governor Mitt Romney forced the state’s department of health to overturn regulations that would have banned formula discharge bags from hospitals. Most recently, 28 of New York City’s hospitals voluntarily agreed to stop distributing infant-formula marketing materials to new moms.

The movement to ensure that health care facilities promote health, not corporate profits, is gaining speed. It’s time for hospitals across the country to say “no more” to corporate interests encroaching on patients’ access to quality health care.


http://truth-out.org/news/item/11964-breastfeeding-moms-boot-nestle-from-maternity-wards
by on Oct. 5, 2012 at 4:12 PM
Replies (11-20):
conweis
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:05 PM
I agree with this. I bf but I got a free hand pump and formula.

Quoting Godgaveme4:

I hope this means ALL free samples are gone then.  That means no free samples for lotion that help when you BF or anything else given away to help the mother.  Can't have anything corporate interfering right?


If you are banning for one set of parent then you ban all corporate gimicks.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
momma_23girls
by on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:07 PM
Every hospital I've had my babies at (three different hospitals) it took 2-3 days for a lactation consultant to come help me figure out the right way. By that time my breast were so sore and bleeding for doing it wrong. Maybe they go for formula because lactation consultants are hard to get when you need them. I never got help. And they always treated me like I was stupid for not getting it right. I think it should be left up to the parents and if they request formula, then hospitals should have it available.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:11 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting wyattsmom2009:

I was glad that the hospital gave me formula for my son. He would not bf. I tried from the day he was born. He wound up losing weight. So people need to take that into account. Also what about those parents that have open adoptions. They should have the right to get formula samples,etc given to them. Those mothers won't be able to bf. 

This isn't about hospitals not having formula at all for moms who need it, it's about the free sample advertisment samples they send home.   If a parent wants to get them, they just need to sign up with the companies (and say they plan to breastfeed!  haha).

You bring up a good point, though, that it's not JUST these samples that need to be removed, hospitals need to have well trained staff to help new moms and identify problems instead of just handing them formula when a problem comes up.    If your case, it sounds like possibly you or baby has some anatomical issue going on (tougne tie, inverted nipples, etc...)... weight loss is 100% normal and expected, but clearly you want baby latching and taking milk!   A good IBCLC may have been able to identfy why your son couldn't latch and help correct it right away.  

AlternaTickers - Cool, free Web tickers
AlternaTickers - Cool, free Web tickers
AlternaTickers - Cool, free Web tickers
LaughingTattoo
by Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Well, good for them I spose. I breastfeed. Couldnt give a squat what other people do. Ive never, ever been in a hospital or Dr's office that didnt give samples AND PUSH breastfeeding. There are multiple reasons why a mother may not want or be able to breastfeed. Hositals should promote what is best for each specific mother and baby, not what they deem best, whatever that may be.

conweis
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:18 PM
1 mom liked this
The free formula sample helped me bf better. I was less stressed. It was like a safety net to help me relax and nurse better. My youngest didn't have formula until he was four month when his dad took him from me.

Quoting Goodwoman614:

Quoting Godgaveme4:

I hope this means ALL free samples are gone then.  That means no free samples for lotion that help when you BF or anything else given away to help the mother.  Can't have anything corporate interfering right?



If you are banning for one set of parent then you ban all corporate gimicks.






Read the article.



This isn't some anti-corporate thing.

It is about supporting bf, and the specific science behind the link to these formula promotions and an increase in moms who are not as successful w/ bf and/or bf for shorter duration.



So, a hospital making samples of, say, Lansinoh available to moms WOULD BE in alignment promoting best practices.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Goodwoman614
by Satan on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:18 PM
Quoting LaughingTattoo:

Well, good for them I spose. I breastfeed. Couldnt give a squat what other people do. Ive never, ever been in a hospital or Dr's office that didnt give samples AND PUSH breastfeeding. There are multiple reasons why a mother may not want or be able to breastfeed. Hositals should promote what is best for each specific mother and baby, not what they deem best, whatever that may be.




Really??
A hospital, doctors, nurses are in the business of promoting what is best. Just b/c these hospitals are making changes to better align their practices with the evidence on how formula sample handouts negatively impacts bf outcomes DOES NOT mean that an individual mom cannot still opt to ff her infant. The hospital would not let your baby starve.
Goodwoman614
by Satan on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:25 PM
2 moms liked this
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia made the decision to remove the McDonald's franchise from their building, where it was located on the first floor, for similar reasons.

If someone wishes to eat at McD's, they still can.
However, a hospital should not be in the business tacitly approving of the kind of food choices that are behind so many illnesses that they treat, such as the explosion of Type 2 diabetes in children.
kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:29 PM
1 mom liked this

We are talking about corportations getting in the way of what is healthy... not items that promote that same health.  But whatever floats your boat.

Quoting Godgaveme4:

I hope this means ALL free samples are gone then.  That means no free samples for lotion that help when you BF or anything else given away to help the mother.  Can't have anything corporate interfering right?

If you are banning for one set of parent then you ban all corporate gimicks.


babiesbabybaby development

kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:36 PM

You didn't get free formula in the mail?  I got at least 3 with each of my kids.  I kept one as backup for my son, and when he went on a hunger strike before my milk kicked in, we were able to drip half an ounce into his mouth, and ended the hunger strike.  I didn't need the hospital to provide me with any, and I left what they did provide me for someone else who might be more interested in formula feeding.

Quoting conweis:

The free formula sample helped me bf better. I was less stressed. It was like a safety net to help me relax and nurse better. My youngest didn't have formula until he was four month when his dad took him from me.

Quoting Goodwoman614:

Quoting Godgaveme4:

I hope this means ALL free samples are gone then.  That means no free samples for lotion that help when you BF or anything else given away to help the mother.  Can't have anything corporate interfering right?



If you are banning for one set of parent then you ban all corporate gimicks.






Read the article.



This isn't some anti-corporate thing.

It is about supporting bf, and the specific science behind the link to these formula promotions and an increase in moms who are not as successful w/ bf and/or bf for shorter duration.



So, a hospital making samples of, say, Lansinoh available to moms WOULD BE in alignment promoting best practices.


babiesbabybaby development

weezer_cookie
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:42 PM
4 moms liked this
Nestlé is the Voldemort of the food industry!!!
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN