November 22nd, 2013

Top Hospitals Putting an End to Formula Marketing to New Moms

Our Bodies, Our Blog

Despite a wealth of evidence that breastfeeding provides the most health benefits for infants, many barriers — including rigid work conditions and lack of family or community support — can interfere with a woman’s ability to start breastfeeding, or to keep breastfeeding for at least six months.

Health advocates have long criticized the popular hospital practice of distributing infant formula to new mothers, because doing so descreases the length of time that women breastfeed — even when they have indicated a desire to try breastfeeding, and sometimes instead of providing lactation support (read this previous post, which discusses a report on Chicago hospitals in low-income neighborhoods).

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 77 percent of infants in the United States start out being breastfed, which is an increase over recent years, yet fewer than half are still breastfeeding at the six-month mark. Many hospitals have banned pharmaceutical or other industries from providing marketing materials directly to doctors, in order to avoid conflicts of interest, but many hospitals still provide free formula samples directly to patients. A new report from Public Citizen, however, suggests that more of the top hospitals in the country are agreeing to limit distribution.

Read more: http://www.ourbodiesourblog.org/blog/2013/11/top-hospitals-putting-an-end-to-formula-marketing-to-new-moms#sthash.Ta2t4kdh.dpuf

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