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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

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 (51-60):
sidneyb
by Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:16 PM
I couldnt bf. I was released before my dd was. I went and bought formula did not rely on hospital
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paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Good for them!

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.


Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Breastfeeding tickers

Bookwormy
by Platinum Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:19 PM
If BFing is best, nothing is wrong with free supplies that support BFing. Your response is snarky while this effort is pro baby health.

I think having some samples available for moms who choose to FF or do both is best. That's just me. I support BFing 100%, but also know every ounce counts, & exclusive BFing isn't for everyone, including me. I mostly used expressed breast milk when I returned to work at 6wks, but had to supplement when pumping. Samples were nice.


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.


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SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:20 PM


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

It's actually HARDER in this day in age.   In the generations before formula was around/became popular women had the social support of the women around them.   Their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, etc... had all breastfed their children and "knew the ropes".   Now, the number of women from the past few generations who has breastfed is minuscule.  We hear from every side that since the baby is nursing every hour, or for an hour, or waking overnight that there must be something wrong and our milk isn't good enough... because that's what they KNOW, that's what they were told.  

Reading all the books and websites in the world does not truly prepare a woman for new motherhood.   We need real-life support to get us through that and the reality today is that our real life support often never breastfed.    Just experiencing one of the biggest, most life changing events of our lives and then being told we must be starving our baby because of X Y or Z and actually believing it might be true does not mean a woman has issues, it means shes normal.  

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SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:24 PM

If you give your info to motherhood, or any website, or BRU... they all sell it to formula companies.   I got a can with my second and was LIVID!    Luckily, nothing came for my third.

Quoting fullxbusymom:

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)



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paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:26 PM
1 mom liked this

I know a lady who breastfed both of her adopted kids.

Quoting louzannalady:

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. 


Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Breastfeeding tickers

paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:27 PM

And that's how you do it.

Quoting sidneyb:

I couldnt bf. I was released before my dd was. I went and bought formula did not rely on hospital


Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Breastfeeding tickers

ButterMeUp
by Silver Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:27 PM
1 mom liked this

I think it's a BS way to try and penalize those who do not wish to BF.

If a mother was already formula feeding in the hospital I high doubt shes is going to wake up on day and decide to switch. Why should she not get samples apon leaving? If you Bf, just put them back and go on about you marry little way. 

louzannalady
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:29 PM
1 mom liked this
Would you call the World Health Organization a "sanctimommy"? Because, they are the ones that have created extremely strict guidelines on the marketing of breast milk substitutes. Even stricter than not having a hospital not give out free samples! They state, for the health of mom and children and to protect providers from ethical dilemas there should be no marketing of breast milk substitutes by any medical providermWe are actually one of the only industrialized nations who have not adopted it.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Code_of_Marketing_of_Breast-milk_Substitutes#section_1



Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

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)







Posted on CafeMom Mobile
louzannalady
by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:31 PM
1 mom liked this
In every other industrialized nation, it is illegal to provide formula without medical reason. In those countries, if a family wants to ff, they simply bring their own with them to the hospital.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Code_of_Marketing_of_Breast-milk_Substitutes#section_1


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.

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