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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 (41-50):
Goodwoman614
by Satan on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:01 PM
Quoting LoveMyBoyK:



That is not what my comment addresses.
Clearly, and so not surprisingly, this post illustrates a lack of reading comprehension and/or addressing the OP.
lga1965
by Ruby Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:06 PM
2 moms liked this

 clapping

Quoting FromAtoZ:

I've said this in other threads about this topic.............

In this day and age, if a woman is having a child and is not informed in regards to breastfeeding/formula feeding and having a can of formula waived under her nose makes that decision for her, she has more issues she damn well better tend to now that she has made the choice to be a mother.

That is one loooooooooooong sentence. lol

 

LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:07 PM
Bullshit. If you are too weak a woman resist a free sample after you have read up on it, chosen and planned to breastfeed, you will fail spectacularly in parenting. There is nothing wrong with formula feeding nor with people who chose that route getting free samples, just like BF moms make use of other free samples. If so many women are too weak to resist the apparent magical siren call of free formula samples, have a OPT OUT option but removing them completely absolutely IS a result of sanctimommies run amok.


Quoting SewingMamaLele:

Excuse me?   No need to namecall, here.   

Did I say feeding formula in general wasn't "okay"??  No, I didn't...

If you want to be sucessful at breastfeeding, then feeding formula (unless for a medical reason) isn't "okay" because it can sabotage your efforts.   For moms that want to breastfeed, plan to breastfeed and just run into a few bumps, that hospital endorced can of formula can spell sabotage.   That's what isn't "okay"

Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

It IS okay, Sanctimommy.





Quoting SewingMamaLele:

They need to get your info from you signing up from something, and then it's clearly an advertisment, rather than something that seems to be "hospital endorced".   That's the really damaging thing... mom's thinking it's "okay" because the hospital gave it to them so they must need it.

Quoting fullxbusymom:

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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meriana
by Gold Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:08 PM

I totally support the idea behind this but the fact remains that some women do not want to or cannot BF. I would hope they would have some formula on hand for those women and their babies.

LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:10 PM
1 mom liked this
Yes, princess, you are SOOOOOO complex and complicated and only those who agree with you could ever possibly navigate the labyrinth that is you. *Gag*


Quoting Goodwoman614:

Quoting LoveMyBoyK:




That is not what my comment addresses.

Clearly, and so not surprisingly, this post illustrates a lack of reading comprehension and/or addressing the OP.


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
fullxbusymom
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:11 PM
Well in my case this was my fourth child I didn't sign up for ANYTHING!!

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

They need to get your info from you signing up from something, and then it's clearly an advertisment, rather than something that seems to be "hospital endorced".   That's the really damaging thing... mom's thinking it's "okay" because the hospital gave it to them so they must need it.

Quoting fullxbusymom:

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)


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Lizardannie1966
by on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:12 PM
1 mom liked this

There's some definite reaching on the part of the article writer and the thought process behind all of this. It's not giving new Moms (or those who've had a child or two) some credit for having a brain to make that determination of how to feed on their own. A sample of Enfamil really isn't going to change a potential breast-feeding Mom's mind right then and there as she receives her goody bag prior to leaving the hospital. More than likely her choice to bf or ff has been made on how she will feed her newborn.

I received those cute little bags filled with the samples and seem to recall receiving those samples at Lamaze classes, too.

I still breastfed my kids. I could not express my milk so my younger two received formula as a supplement but it was very rare that they did. And this choice came as a result and long before the birth of each subsequent child because of the first child and discovering then that I could not express my milk whatsoever, no matter what was tried.

paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:12 PM

I remember being a brand new mom. I brought the formula home from the hospital like an idiot and it almost thwarted my attempt at breastfeeding. Picture this. It's my second night home, 3am, my nipples are on fire and the thought of nursing that little demon makes me want to scream. So I sent dh out to grab a pre made bottle from the diaper bag, he feeds the baby and I go back to sleep.

Everything's fine until the morning, I'm SUPER engorged and baby can't latch on. Thank God/dess I knew what to do, (Take a hot shower, massage the milk down and pump for a minute) But what if I hadn't? I could have easily given up and figured that my body doesn't work right or baby can't latch and gone for the formula. Now I'm stuck paying through the nose for an inferior product, (Their brand of course) Plus I lose more sleep in the long run because dh 'Can't get up and feed the baby every night.' He has work in the morning.

Quoting norahsmommy:

I won't touch those freebie bags. It feels to me like your friendly neighborhood pusher giving you a freebie because he such a nice guy. I have had 4 babies in 2 different hospitals spanning 8 yrs. each bag in my room was labeled 'breastfeeding' and each had creams, storage bags, nursing info printed by similac or infamile and cans or ready to serve formula. They tried to give freebie bags with formula at my first prenatal appointments as well. I'm glad they are getting rid of it.


Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Breastfeeding tickers

paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Why couldn't they just bring a can with them to the hospital?

Quoting meriana:

I totally support the idea behind this but the fact remains that some women do not want to or cannot BF. I would hope they would have some formula on hand for those women and their babies.


Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Breastfeeding tickers

louzannalady
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:16 PM
Not true. Plenty of adoptive mothers nurse. You do not have to have a baby to lactate. Even men can lactate!

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. 

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