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Breastfeeding Moms Boot Nestle From Maternity Wards

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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 (21-30):
Goodwoman614
by Satan on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:43 PM
Quoting weezer_cookie:

Nestlé is the Voldemort of the food industry!!!


Lol.
conweis
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:43 PM
No I did not get free formula in the mail. Also those bags came with medela products. Breast shells, storage bags and the hospital gave me a hand pump.
The bag was nice too.


Quoting kailu1835:

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.


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weezer_cookie
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:43 PM
Amiright?!!?

Quoting Goodwoman614:

Quoting weezer_cookie:

Nestlé is the Voldemort of the food industry!!!



Lol.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
conweis
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:48 PM
I should also add my now ex was fired a week before I had the baby was born for getting injured. So the bag was very helpful.

Quoting kailu1835:

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.


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
fullxbusymom
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:49 PM
Won't matter. I didn't get samples at the hospital this time around but ended up w/even more samples that simply showed up on my doorstep. 6 full cans sent by the formula companies to be exact and I never requested a one of them, never registered anywhere that I was pregnant etc. So most ladies will still get them whether the doctors or the hospitals give them out anyways.

I EBF so I will be donating them but I was thrilled to have them just in case and it never made me not EBF or sabotage that just because I had them here or got them. It did however, give me immense peace of mind.

Oh and I still got a diaper bag and tons of coupons and free samples just none that were formula related.
Quoting motherslove82:

That is not what the article is saying. It's not about advertisement alone. It's about a doctor/hospital handing out formula samples, which makes it seem like they are endorsing formula. Breastfeeding is healthier. It's kind of like a doctor's office handing out Mcdonald's coupons or gift certificates.

I never used the formula samples, but I love diaper bags, so I would miss getting those. :-)

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
fullxbusymom
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:52 PM
All our hospitals in the area all have Dunkin Donuts in them, LOVE it!!

Quoting Goodwoman614:

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.
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Randi02
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:54 PM
This.

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

I think it's great that hospitals are doing what's right for the health of their patients... and no laws needed!   Fantastic. 

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Goodwoman614
by Satan on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:54 PM
1 mom liked this
Quoting fullxbusymom:




But you do realize that YOU,
YOUR experiences,
are not true of every, or in the case of
WHAT THIS ARTICLE IS ADDRESSING
Most women?

The evidence says that when formula samples are given
Bf success takes a hit.

(Sorry about the caps, mobile can't do italics for emphasis, lol)
fullxbusymom
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:54 PM
Eh I know the controversy surrounding them but love their products too much to ever even contemplate not buying them so yup I guess because we purchase a ton of their products we support them.

Quoting weezer_cookie:

Nestlé is the Voldemort of the food industry!!!
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fullxbusymom
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:56 PM
But they are given out that is what I am saying instead of the hospital giving them out they now just send them to your home. Even more so. When hospitals gave them out I got 1 can, now that they don't I had 6 full cans sent to my door.
Quoting Goodwoman614:

Quoting fullxbusymom:






But you do realize that YOU,

YOUR experiences,

are not true of every, or in the case of

WHAT THIS ARTICLE IS ADDRESSING

Most women?



The evidence says that when formula samples are given

Bf success takes a hit.



(Sorry about the caps, mobile can't do italics for emphasis, lol)
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