Free Formula at Hospitals: Awesome or Harmful?
It seems moms’ hospital freebie bags have gotten a little lighter. A new study from Pediatrics has found that fewer hospitals are giving away free formula samples to new moms -- out of 1,239 hospitals surveyed, 28 percent of them did not give out samples in 2010. That’s a big increase from the findings in a 2007 study that 14 percent of hospitals were formula-free. So what’s the big deal? The practice of handing out formula samples has been criticized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other medical groups because they believe it promotes formula feeding over breastfeeding. The AAP recommends that moms exclusively nurse their babies from birth to six months (and then keep going until at least one year) because of the health benefits of breast milk. The Pediatrics study also found that once a certain number of hospitals in an area stopped giving away the free formula, others were more likely to follow suit. In response to the new no-samples policies, many formula companies have said that mothers should at least be provided with information on what to do if they’re unable to breastfeed.
What do you think of hospitals not giving out formula samples? Are you bummed about the lack of free samples, or do you think this sends a positive message about breastfeeding?
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