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

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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/
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 11:22 AM
Replies (1351-1360):
ab51304
by on Apr. 12, 2012 at 1:56 PM
2 moms liked this
Maybe they should partner with medala or dr. Browns and provide promo bags for mothers who wish to breastfeed and a bag for those who wish to formula feed. I am an extended breastfeeder of all my children. I CHOSE to breastfeed because I wanted to. Most of my family members CHOSE to formula feed. The keyword here is choice. Either way, a mother should be supported. I have two sisters who, as soon as baby was born, got the shot to halt lactation. Is it my business that neither felt comfortable? NO! My kids have never had a drop of formula. Does that mean they should tell me to supplement? NO! Compromise people! Yes, most women are perfectly capable of breastfeeding but that isn't the issue here, support of the mother is.
2munchkins09
by on Apr. 12, 2012 at 1:57 PM
2 moms liked this
If my insurance company is paying thousands of dollars for my delivery and hospital stay, I fully expect the hospital to supply me with diapers, formula, and other supplies while I am there. To suggest that a mother bring her own formula is ridiculous, especially if you have no intention of breast feeding. I was fine with my decision not to breast feed and don't feel the need to defend it. If you don't want the samples just say no! I always find breast feeding mothers say that everyone is so critical of breast feeding, meanwhile they are very critical of those who don't.
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Mommyzlovez
by on Apr. 12, 2012 at 2:01 PM

 That formula is super helpful for those moms that cant breastfeed, like myself with my first was not able too and that kept me from having to add one more thing to my list or make a stop, was so thankful for it, I know a lot of you say...."Good" but stop for a moment and think about those moms that breastfeeding is not an option for, dont judge encourage those that can breastfeed and support those that cant. OUr hosptial gives it out only if you are not going to breastfeed and they work with you to help you be able to do so, second time I was able too but only for a week and a half (hormone levels were out of wack) so again that formula did come in handly.

mitty18
by on Apr. 12, 2012 at 2:02 PM
Sorry lol. I have a 21 month old and 6 month old teething. Sleep is a foreign concept in this house right now :-)

Your right in my daughter's situation. But what about my son? They gave him the formula and didn't ask. They didn't bring him to me or even have a bfing counselor or lactation consultant on staff!

If they chose to do this then it would stop that all to common practice od going behind the mother's back and giving formula.


Quoting jillianmayasmom:

In the scenario that I presented, it was ME choosing to eat it not him. My point is that just because something is there does not mean you have to use it. I understand being overwhelmed and struggling with breastfeeding. Believe me I do and I am sorry you experienced that and did not have good support but unless you were physically forced to put formula in a bottle and give it to her, it was still your choice. Don't blame the hospital or the formula companies.


Quoting mitty18:

Totally different situations. Your husband isn't sleep deprived or full of raging hormones. He isn't overwhelmed or struggling.

Yes, I chose to give her that formula. I was overwhelmed and struggling with this new responsibility. Had it not been there and I was given more guidance and assistance in learning how to bf I would not have had to ff my dd. Formula should only be available to those who have a medical need for it. All others should bring their own.



Quoting jillianmayasmom:

My husband buys a lot of junk food. I am trying to cut down on it. If I go to the cabinet and decide to eat some, is it his fault for buying it? No, it is my fault for making the choice to eat it. You made the choice to take the formula from the hospital when it was offered and you made the choice to give it to your daughter. The hospital has the right to offer it if they choose to and you have the right to say no thank you.






Quoting mitty18:

Disagree totally.



When I had my 21 month old I was determined to ebf her. I was sleep deprived and frustrated as a new bfer and the free formula was there. I gave it to her. Had it not been there and I had to buy it, I would not have given it to dd and therefore the damage I did to my bf relationship wouldn't have occurred.






Quoting jillianmayasmom:

I think you don't give women enough credit for being able to make informed decisions. If a mother is determined to breastfeed, she will whether she gets a sample or not. If she is determined not to, she won't. Just because a woman doesn't choose what you chose does not automatically mean that she is uninformed. Information about both options should be available. At my hospital, it was.










Quoting larissalarie:

They are giving out a free product, not information.

And you SHOULD be fully informed before you choose to do something unnatural, artificial, and worse for mom & baby's health. You just can't reverse it and say "oh mom needs to be informed before she does what nature intended" That logic is just not sound.










Quoting jillianmayasmom:

If this post was the reverse and about how hospitals are being pressured to stop encouraging breastfeeding, the vocal pro-breastfeeders would be screaming about how women should have all of the information and be given all this help. But, because it is formula, information should suddenly be withheld. Hmmm...










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Mommyaustin12
by on Apr. 12, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Some women are not able to breastfeed so to offer help to those women but not to the women who either can't or who don't make enough isn't right. Isn't the health of the baby the important thing?

jjchick75
by Bronze Member on Apr. 12, 2012 at 2:05 PM

You can still get the samples. You just have to go to the formula companies website and they will send you lots fo samples and cupons. Nobody is saying a mother can't chose to formula feed and formula will still be provided if needed. They just won't send you home with samples.

Quoting Mommyzlovez:

 That formula is super helpful for those moms that cant breastfeed, like myself with my first was not able too and that kept me from having to add one more thing to my list or make a stop, was so thankful for it, I know a lot of you say...."Good" but stop for a moment and think about those moms that breastfeeding is not an option for, dont judge encourage those that can breastfeed and support those that cant. OUr hosptial gives it out only if you are not going to breastfeed and they work with you to help you be able to do so, second time I was able too but only for a week and a half (hormone levels were out of wack) so again that formula did come in handly.


Mrs.Ziggy
by on Apr. 12, 2012 at 2:21 PM
1 mom liked this

Totally false logic.  The formula companies shell out the money to do it because plenty of  mom's formula feed and if the first thing given to their baby works for said baby (the formula given to them at the hospital) and they are then set home with a bit more, well when the time comes that they head to the store to buy more they automatically buy what baby has already been eating.  It's called consumer loyalty, branding ect.

Do you seriously think that a mother who wants to breast feed is going to look at a trail size can of formula and say, "aw fuck it I'll just give the baby this instead".  ::shakes head::::

Quoting SewingMamaLele:


Quoting Mrs.Ziggy:

A formula sample is not going to determine if a mother BF's or not.

It clearly does in some cases... or else the formula companies would not shell out the money to produce the bags.  


sandra2012
by on Apr. 12, 2012 at 2:27 PM

There is no reason to end this practice, a mom who is determined to breastfeed will do the work to do so, and some babies will require supplements, or need to change formulas anyway. I went through all instances and i know i needed all the help i can get. As for the ignorant and strange comments about needing an MD note to get onto WIC, there are already enough hoops to jump through to get onto WIC, and people need help sometimes to get a healthy start for the babies.

VarelaClan
by on Apr. 12, 2012 at 2:31 PM
Quoting SManzi:

I'm sorry, adequate resources? breast milk bank? I'm NOT giving MY kids some persons milk I don't know. You want to risk your baby, that's on you. The meds they try to push on you to increase production are DRUGS you will PASS ON TO YOUR CHILD. How stupid with horseblinders are you?




Wow! You sure are upset. It's too bad you're in such an uproar over this. Calling others stupid for knowing what is best for babies is not needed. Seems to me maybe the truth about formula needs to be put out there so moms really see what they are going their child. Have you researched what is in formula? Those "drugs" you speak of actually do less harm to a child than formula can. I too think women should choose for themselves, but I also know how awful formula is. I would choose doner (preferably from a friend) any day over formula. Btw....I did give formula to my 1st after 4 mths by my CHOICE,, but after doing the research I am very dissappointed that I did.
Red1967
by on Apr. 12, 2012 at 2:34 PM
1 mom liked this

I breastfed all three of my kids but I still really appreciated those formula samples. There are almost always emergency situations where I was glad to have it. SOmetimes you can't breastfeed immediately and my child should not have to be hungry waiting on me.

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