April 11th, 2014

10 things the baby-product industry won’t tell you

By Elizabeth O'Brien
Market Watch (Wall Street Journal)

Inside the $23 billion bringing-up-baby business

Since 1981, the World Health Organization has formally discouraged formula promotion in hospitals. Many pediatricians recommend breast-feeding infants exclusively for the first six months of life, and studies have shown that women are less likely to breast-feed if they receive formula samples in hospital discharge bags. Yet many U.S. hospitals continue to give formula to new parents when leaving the hospital, often in a branded bag provided by the formula company. And formula sales added up to about $5 billion last year in the U.S. alone, according to Euromonitor.

Cow’s milk doesn’t contain enough nutrients for a rapidly growing baby, so if a woman is unable to or chooses not to breast-feed, pediatricians generally recommend formula for infants under 12 months. But new parents see these gift bags as “an implied endorsement” of formula feeding, even though doctors and nurses often have little control over hospital policy on the matter, says Eva Seidelman, coordinator of the Commercial Alert project at the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, who has studied the issue extensively.
The practice of giving formula in discharge bags has declined in recent years.

Read more http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-things-the-baby-product-industry-wont-tell-you-2014-04-11?pagenumber=5

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