December 19th, 2013

Does the A.A.P. Logo Belong on Formula Gift Bags?

The New York Times

If you walked out of a hospital with a new baby and an Enfamil-sponsored gift bag of formula during the past year, you might be wondering why it sported the American Academy of Pediatrics’ logo on its tag, just a little over a year after the same group released a lengthy policy statement reaffirming its recommendation that babies be exclusively breast-fed for the first six months, and up to one year with complementary foods. The logo appears on a safety tag attached to a bag containing gifts of formula as well as a booklet published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “New Mother’s Breastfeeding Essentials,” with, according to Crystal Lewis of Women’s eNews, “Mead Johnson’s name prominently displayed on the inside of the cover page.”

For years hospitals have reaped handsome rebates from the infant formula manufacturers in exchange for giving them unfettered access to all delivering mothers for distribution of free formula samples. These increasingly controversial discharge bags have been found to undermine a mother’s breast-feeding goals (such as those recommended by the A.A.P.), and some infant health advocates are concerned that the profit motive and marketing dollars are coming before a baby’s well-being.

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