May 11th, 2012
Maternity Ward Swag
By Elizabeth Mitchell Armstrong
The New York Times
FLOWERS will be arriving on moms’ doorsteps this Sunday; cards and homemade presents will be on their breakfast trays. But the newest mothers, in hospitals across the country, will receive a gift that does more harm than good: free starter packs of infant formula.
Breast-feeding offers numerous benefits to babies, including protection against childhood obesity, diabetes, some respiratory and ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome. Mothers who breast-feed have lower risks of breast and ovarian cancer. Yet although three out of four mothers in the United States breast-feed their newborns, fewer than half are still doing so by the time their babies are 6 months old.