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EDIT!! (to include a link for signing petition) Hospitals pressured to end free baby formula

Posted by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:22 AM
  • 1718 Replies
15 moms liked this
This is the URL for the link to sign the petition:

http://action.citizen.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=10062



Hospitals pressured to end free baby formula

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updated 4/9/2012 3:49:09 PM ET

Reuters

WASHINGTON — New parents leaving U.S. hospitals often take home a corporate gift along with their babies: a tote bag filled with infant formula. Consumer advocates want to end the giveaways, which they say undermine breastfeeding.

In a letter to more than 2,600 hospitals, dozens of consumer and health organizations called on the facilities to stop distributing free samples of formula that they say entangles healthcare providers in pharmaceutical and food manufacturers' marketing and could be seen as an endorsement.

Giving formula to new parents discourages some new mothers from breastfeeding, the groups said on Monday in the letter sent by the advocacy group Public Citizen. They are also petitioning the $4 billion infant formula industry's leaders - Abbott Laboratories, Mead Johnson Nutrition Co and Nestle SA - to halt the practice.

Related: Photo of dad feeding baby turns controversial

Hospitals aim "to promote the health of infants and mothers, but the ongoing promotion of infant formula conflicts with this mission," Public Citizen President Robert Weissman wrote in the letter to hospital chief executives.

The move is part of a renewed effort to boost U.S. rates of breastfeeding, which is known to confer a wide range of health benefits from reducing obesity to boosting immunity and is recommended for at least a baby's first six months of life.

Formula makers and hospitals defend the free samples, saying they are meeting women's needs.

Just 14 percent of 6-month-old infants are exclusively breastfed, something U.S. health officials want to increase to about 26 percent by 2020. Breastfeeding also lags among lower-income women, according to the government data.

Related: The pressure to wean

Still, breastfeeding in the United States is increasing, according to the World Health Organization, partly because more hospitals offer breastfeeding support and allow babies to stay in their mothers' hospital rooms.

About 66 percent of hospitals still give away formula, a 2009 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released last year found, down from nearly 73 percent in 2007.

Often the practice involves a corporate-sponsored tote bag from a formula company filled with samples of their product along with diapers, pamphlets and other items. Samples are often also mailed to people's homes along with coupons for more.

The industry's trade group said such samples had been given away for more than 40 years and that most women wanted the bags.

"We can't forget that some moms even though they plan to breastfeed, they either can't or they decide not to," said International Formula Council Executive Vice President Mardi Mountford. "We believe they want more information, not less."

The consumer and health groups said in their letter that a hospital's involvement could sway women and that giving away formula samples worked against their other efforts. Rather than promoting breastfeeding, the packages of formula could encourage women to give up nursing their infants instead of seeking help and support, the groups said.

Once the free samples are gone, families also end up spending between $800 and $2,800 a year on formula, they added.

Some hospitals have already stopped formula giveaways, and a few states and cities have banned the practice.

The American Hospital Association, in a statement, said its members drafted policies based on mothers' preferences and that while breastfeeding was best, "having information and resources available for mothers who choose not to breastfeed is a responsible and supportive approach for the hospital."

Representatives for Abbott, Mead Johnson and Nestle did not immediately return requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46996330/ns/health/t/hospitals-pressured-end-free-baby-formula/
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by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:22 AM
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Replies (1-10):
cabrandy03
by Brandy on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:26 AM
22 moms liked this

Good! 

Momof3smoochies
by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:30 AM
60 moms liked this
One free can of formula won't make a difference. Baby still gotta eat and so u buy. And those who qualify can get it from wic. They should remember breastfeed isn't always best for baby or in my kids case enough.
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UxorQuodMatris.
by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:31 AM
2 moms liked this
Yep!

Quoting cabrandy03:

Good! 

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JuliaWoods99
by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:32 AM
2 moms liked this
Good


gomomgomom
by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:34 AM
32 moms liked this
That's crap. Some people wont bf weather they get the formula free or not. So what do the want to put a stop to wic too. I think bf is best but some just will not or are not able too. Just my opinion.
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Randi02
by Platinum Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:34 AM
59 moms liked this

Good!

If someone wants to formula feed, they should have to pay for it themselves. I also think you should require a doctor's note to get it from assistance programs - such as WIC.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/s720x720/387292_2884772599754_1273299282_33296172_1842233479_n.jpg

larissalarie
by Platinum Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:35 AM
24 moms liked this
If one can of free formula didn't make a difference, why do the formula companies fight this so hard?
It's not about women who can't or don't want to bf, but they've gotta throw that into the mix because they know it will get women riled up and end a logical intelligent, discussion by bringing it the high emotions.
If a woman can't bf, SHE should select the formula her child receives, not get a hospital handout, which constitutes an endorsement. The formula companies know though that whatever the hospital gives a mother to use, there's a 99% chance that that is what she will continue to use if her baby doesn't have any trouble with it.


Quoting Momof3smoochies:

One free can of formula won't make a difference. Baby still gotta eat and so u buy. And those who qualify can get it from wic. They should remember breastfeed isn't always best for baby or in my kids case enough.

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cabrandy03
by Brandy on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:36 AM
9 moms liked this

Agreed!

Quoting Randi02:

Good!

If someone wants to formula feed, they should have to pay for it themselves. I also think you should require a doctor's note to get it from assistance programs - such as WIC.


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norahsmommy
by Bronze Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:37 AM
20 moms liked this
They even have formula in the bags that say ' breastfeeding' on them. I didn't take the bags home with my last 2 kids. The last 3 times i was in the hospital with a newborn, the bags had ready to serve bottles in them. Talk about tempting for a new mom stressed out about bfing. It's not helpful at all
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Baby_Avas_Momma
by Gold Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:37 AM
1 mom liked this
Nice!!
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