July 16th, 2012
Report: Massachusetts birth hospitals ditch free infant formula gift bags
Massachusetts maternity hospitals will no longer offer infant formula gift bags to new moms, according to a new report.
Public health officials tell The Boston Globe all 49 birth facilities in the state had voluntarily eliminated the giveaways by the beginning of July. The announcement is a milestone for breast-feeding advocates.
Studies have shown that breast-feeding mothers who receive free formula are less likely to be breast feeding by the time their infant was 1 month old.
Massachusetts first tried to end the free formula practice with a statewide ban in 2005. The decision was overturned several months later when Gov. Mitt Romney replaced some members of the council that approved the ban.
“Clinical studies and many years of consumer use have shown infant formula to be a safe alternative which supports normal growth and development in infants,” the industry’s trade group, the International Formula Council, said in an emailed statement. “At the end of the day, the real objective for any campaign intended to increase breastfeeding rates should be to provide sound advice and support to new mothers.”