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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 (261-269):
Goodwoman614
by Satan on Oct. 8, 2012 at 1:19 AM
Quoting tweety101149:




Really?

Here's a question, then:
Why is there such a thing as La Leche League, but no such equivalent
formula feeding support group?
anxiousschk
by anxiouss on Oct. 8, 2012 at 3:24 PM

I fail to see a comparison between formula and smoking.  I'm comparing the actions, not the companies...though if formula companies were causing cancer in children, I'm fairly certain they wouldn't thrive as they do. 

Again, hospitals here truly don't do that.  You *might* get a new diet, depending on your age and lifestyle.  That's about it.  

Quoting LindaClement:

You don't end up in the cardiac unit anywhere near where I live, where they absolutely do all of that: nutrition consultants, fitness experts, rehab coaches whose job it is to see to it that you stop living your old (deadly) lifestyle and start living a new, potentially life-extending one.

The comparison is extremely apt: both sets of companies have spent billions minimizing the risks and hazards of using their products that they have known about for decades.

Quoting anxiousschk:

I don't recall a pushing for an active lifestyle or tons of nutrition consultants stopping by either.  Nor was my gma sent home with a bag of fresh fruits and veggies.  

Also, I think it's a poor comparison to say formula and cigarettes are the same. 

Quoting LindaClement:

It is rather like the cardiac unit sending quintuple bypass patients home with a bag that includes cigarettes and coupons for cigarettes, with information like 'we all know clean air is best... but if it just doesn't work out... have some smokes on us.'




LindaClement
by Linda on Oct. 8, 2012 at 5:06 PM

You might like to check the research.

Start with NEC death rates.

Quoting anxiousschk:

I fail to see a comparison between formula and smoking.  I'm comparing the actions, not the companies...though if formula companies were causing cancer in children, I'm fairly certain they wouldn't thrive as they do. 

Again, hospitals here truly don't do that.  You *might* get a new diet, depending on your age and lifestyle.  That's about it.  

Quoting LindaClement:

You don't end up in the cardiac unit anywhere near where I live, where they absolutely do all of that: nutrition consultants, fitness experts, rehab coaches whose job it is to see to it that you stop living your old (deadly) lifestyle and start living a new, potentially life-extending one.

The comparison is extremely apt: both sets of companies have spent billions minimizing the risks and hazards of using their products that they have known about for decades.

Quoting anxiousschk:

I don't recall a pushing for an active lifestyle or tons of nutrition consultants stopping by either.  Nor was my gma sent home with a bag of fresh fruits and veggies.  

Also, I think it's a poor comparison to say formula and cigarettes are the same. 

Quoting LindaClement:

It is rather like the cardiac unit sending quintuple bypass patients home with a bag that includes cigarettes and coupons for cigarettes, with information like 'we all know clean air is best... but if it just doesn't work out... have some smokes on us.'





Godgaveme4
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 5:43 PM

 

Quoting futureshock:

Formula feeding moms do not need "support" though in the same way breastfeeding moms do.  Just because a hospital supports breastfeeding does not mean it has to ignore formula feeding. 

 I diagree.

I was thankful for the support when my baby had a hard time sucking.  It was a process to help him figure it out.  I was thankful for the help and support I had with different tips and suggestions for what to do.

All mothers need support at one time or another. There is not one group of mommies that need it more than another.  That is just silly thinking.

tweety101149
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 10:49 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Goodwoman614:

Quoting tweety101149:




Really?

Here's a question, then:
Why is there such a thing as La Leche League, but no such equivalent
formula feeding support group?

Exact;y..Why?  No one really care about the formula feeding mom...please re read my reply.  LaLeeche has taken over.  They make ff moms feel like "leepers" as I said.   They don't take into consideration abnormalties that accure in the breast.., like cancer during pregnancy and the breast must be removed.  or a growth covers over the nipple.  If I want material from Nestle, Enfamile, Simalac then I should be able to receive it, just like a bf mom receives support from la leceeche.

 

 

butterfly on headlynda  




paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Oct. 13, 2012 at 11:46 PM


Quoting Godgaveme4:

 

Quoting futureshock:

Formula feeding moms do not need "support" though in the same way breastfeeding moms do.  Just because a hospital supports breastfeeding does not mean it has to ignore formula feeding. 

 I diagree.

I was thankful for the support when my baby had a hard time sucking.  It was a process to help him figure it out.  I was thankful for the help and support I had with different tips and suggestions for what to do.

All mothers need support at one time or another. There is not one group of mommies that need it more than another.  That is just silly thinking.

I'm curious, what type of support did you get and how did it help him figure out how to suck better?

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Breastfeeding tickers

paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Oct. 13, 2012 at 11:48 PM


Quoting tweety101149:


Quoting Goodwoman614:

Quoting tweety101149:




Really?

Here's a question, then:
Why is there such a thing as La Leche League, but no such equivalent
formula feeding support group?

Exact;y..Why?  No one really care about the formula feeding mom...please re read my reply.  LaLeeche has taken over.  They make ff moms feel like "leepers" as I said.   They don't take into consideration abnormalties that accure in the breast.., like cancer during pregnancy and the breast must be removed.  or a growth covers over the nipple.  If I want material from Nestle, Enfamile, Simalac then I should be able to receive it, just like a bf mom receives support from la leceeche.



Since when did the la leche league advocate women with no breasts or growths that cover their nipples to breastfed their babies anyways??

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Breastfeeding tickers

Godgaveme4
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 11:55 PM

 

Quoting paganbaby:


Quoting Godgaveme4:

 

Quoting futureshock:

Formula feeding moms do not need "support" though in the same way breastfeeding moms do.  Just because a hospital supports breastfeeding does not mean it has to ignore formula feeding. 

 I diagree.

I was thankful for the support when my baby had a hard time sucking.  It was a process to help him figure it out.  I was thankful for the help and support I had with different tips and suggestions for what to do.

All mothers need support at one time or another. There is not one group of mommies that need it more than another.  That is just silly thinking.

I'm curious, what type of support did you get and how did it help him figure out how to suck better?

 Certain ways to hold the bottle in his mouth and holding his chin and mouth.  It is hard to describe.  Kept him stimulated and to not fall alseep while he ate.

piratepixie
by Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 11:57 PM

i never got one of those bags but i want one!!! i can care less about what people think of me i may choose to BF my baby but its my choice to make. i can really use those coupons, everyone else can kiss my ass if they dont like it.

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