Goodwoman614
Breastfeeding Moms Boot Nestle From Maternity Wards
October 5, 2012 at 4:12 PM


If breastfeeding is healthier for babies, why are hospitals pushing corporate infant formula? How a growing number of states and cities are banning marketing in the maternity ward.

From TIME magazine’s provocative photo of a mother breastfeeding her toddler to the recent controversy surrounding an American University professor who breastfed her baby while teaching a class, how we feed babies often attracts its fair share of media attention.

But while news coverage often focuses on what are perceived as personal choices related to infant feeding, an important piece of the puzzle is often missing from their analysis: the intrusion of massive corporations into the relationships between patients and health-care providers, and the subordination of public-health considerations to profit margins.

Fortunately, advocates and activists are joining forces and putting a spotlight on this missing piece of the puzzle. And momentum is building as hospitals across the country—including all of those in Massachusetts and Rhode Island—are telling the infant-formula industry to take their marketing pitches elsewhere.

Science or sales pitch?

Consider this: Across the country, up to 72 percent of health-care facilities with maternity units distribute so-called infant formula to new mothers in industry-supplied “discharge bags,” complete with formula samples, coupons for formula, and marketing materials.

With the many benefits of breastfeeding touted by the Surgeon General and other public-health officials, why would hospitals send a new mom home with a bag full of formula? Because the infant-formula industry, which is worth $3.5 billion in the United States alone, knows there couldn’t be a better marketing tool than hospital freebies that are seemingly endorsed by health-care providers.

Studies show that women who receive infant formula samples in maternity wards are more likely to stop breastfeeding sooner and less likely to breastfeed exclusively. Though all major health care organizations recommend that infants be breastfed exclusively through six months, only 16.3 percent of moms nationwide achieve this goal. Experts agree that one of the obstacles to exclusive breastfeeding is ubiquitous infant formula marketing.

Certainly, families should make their own decisions about how to feed their babies, taking into account a variety of life circumstances and personal preferences that might make them elect to use infant formula instead of breastfeeding. But as far as practicing evidence-based medicine goes, it makes sense for health care providers to recommend the option that is best for their patients’ health. That recommendation is seriously undermined by infant-formula marketing in health care facilities, highlighting the conflict between the ideal goals of hospitals (health) and goals of formula manufacturers (profit). As one humorous comic put it, discharge bags seem to send the message, “Breast is best, but you probably can’t do it.”

This issue strikes a chord that goes beyond this particular product. We look to our health care providers for scientifically based medical advice, not for a sales pitch. So many aspects of our lives are commercialized, from schools plastered with advertisements, to bridges, highways, and roads named for the corporations that make the highest offer. Still, at the very least, shouldn’t our relationships with our health care providers be spared from the encroachment of values that turn every human interaction into one of buying and selling? Shouldn’t we be able to trust that our doctors, nurses or midwives are offering us advice that is best for us, not best for the bottom lines of deep-pocketed corporations?

The struggle for a marketing-free maternity ward

Fortunately, we are starting to see change on this issue, thanks to many years of work by committed public-health advocates and activists. Recently, Public Citizen, the organization I work for, launched a campaign calling on health-care facilities to stop allowing the distribution of infant-formula samples to new moms. More than 15,000 people have signed Public Citizen’s petition calling on the three major manufacturers of infant formula—Abbott, Mead Johnson, and Nestlé—to stop using health-care facilities to market their products. Some states are leading the charge to get infant formula marketing out of hospitals.

Last fall, Rhode Island became the first state in which all maternity hospitals voluntarily eliminated industry-sponsored discharge bags. This summer, Massachusetts followed suit, with all 49 of its hospitals ending formula marketing on their premises. Massachusetts advocates overcame significant obstacles: In 2005, then-governor Mitt Romney forced the state’s department of health to overturn regulations that would have banned formula discharge bags from hospitals. Most recently, 28 of New York City’s hospitals voluntarily agreed to stop distributing infant-formula marketing materials to new moms.

The movement to ensure that health care facilities promote health, not corporate profits, is gaining speed. It’s time for hospitals across the country to say “no more” to corporate interests encroaching on patients’ access to quality health care.


http://truth-out.org/news/item/11964-breastfeeding-moms-boot-nestle-from-maternity-wards

Replies

  • lga1965
    by lga1965
    October 5, 2012 at 6:06 PM
    Yeah it's about choice. Formula won't make anyone decide not to breast feed. Women decide all by themselves. Sounds like a conspiracy theory.
  • paganbaby
    October 5, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Bump for later

  • SewingMamaLele
    October 5, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    They need to get your info from you signing up from something, and then it's clearly an advertisment, rather than something that seems to be "hospital endorced".   That's the really damaging thing... mom's thinking it's "okay" because the hospital gave it to them so they must need it.

    Quoting fullxbusymom:

    But they are given out that is what I am saying instead of the hospital giving them out they now just send them to your home. Even more so. When hospitals gave them out I got 1 can, now that they don't I had 6 full cans sent to my door.
    Quoting Goodwoman614:

    Quoting fullxbusymom:






    But you do realize that YOU,

    YOUR experiences,

    are not true of every, or in the case of

    WHAT THIS ARTICLE IS ADDRESSING

    Most women?



    The evidence says that when formula samples are given

    Bf success takes a hit.



    (Sorry about the caps, mobile can't do italics for emphasis, lol)


  • SewingMamaLele
    October 5, 2012 at 6:43 PM


    Quoting lga1965:

    Yeah it's about choice. Formula won't make anyone decide not to breast feed. Women decide all by themselves. Sounds like a conspiracy theory.

    Studies and research show otherwise.   Heck, the fact that formula companies spend so much money on these advertisments show otherwise!

  • FromAtoZ
    October 5, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    I've said this in other threads about this topic.............

    In this day and age, if a woman is having a child and is not informed in regards to breastfeeding/formula feeding and having a can of formula waived under her nose makes that decision for her, she has more issues she damn well better tend to now that she has made the choice to be a mother.

    That is one loooooooooooong sentence. lol

  • LoveMyBoyK
    October 5, 2012 at 6:54 PM
    It IS okay, Sanctimommy.


    Quoting SewingMamaLele:

    They need to get your info from you signing up from something, and then it's clearly an advertisment, rather than something that seems to be "hospital endorced".   That's the really damaging thing... mom's thinking it's "okay" because the hospital gave it to them so they must need it.

    Quoting fullxbusymom:

    But they are given out that is what I am saying instead of the hospital giving them out they now just send them to your home. Even more so. When hospitals gave them out I got 1 can, now that they don't I had 6 full cans sent to my door.
    Quoting Goodwoman614:

    Quoting fullxbusymom:






    But you do realize that YOU,

    YOUR experiences,

    are not true of every, or in the case of

    WHAT THIS ARTICLE IS ADDRESSING

    Most women?



    The evidence says that when formula samples are given

    Bf success takes a hit.



    (Sorry about the caps, mobile can't do italics for emphasis, lol)



  • Goodwoman614
    October 5, 2012 at 6:54 PM
    Quoting lga1965:

    Yeah it's about choice. Formula won't make anyone decide not to breast feed. Women decide all by themselves. Sounds like a conspiracy theory.




    ....aaaand another one who missed the point.
  • LoveMyBoyK
    October 5, 2012 at 6:57 PM
    Oh ffs give it a rest ... people not AGREEING does not mean they do not understand you.


    Quoting Goodwoman614:

    Quoting lga1965:

    Yeah it's about choice. Formula won't make anyone decide not to breast feed. Women decide all by themselves. Sounds like a conspiracy theory.







    ....aaaand another one who missed the point.

  • singlemom1208
    October 5, 2012 at 7:00 PM
    As long as it stays the hospital's choice. We don't need any more laws or government control.
  • SewingMamaLele
    October 5, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    Excuse me?   No need to namecall, here.   

    Did I say feeding formula in general wasn't "okay"??  No, I didn't...

    If you want to be sucessful at breastfeeding, then feeding formula (unless for a medical reason) isn't "okay" because it can sabotage your efforts.   For moms that want to breastfeed, plan to breastfeed and just run into a few bumps, that hospital endorced can of formula can spell sabotage.   That's what isn't "okay"

    Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

    It IS okay, Sanctimommy.


    Quoting SewingMamaLele:

    They need to get your info from you signing up from something, and then it's clearly an advertisment, rather than something that seems to be "hospital endorced".   That's the really damaging thing... mom's thinking it's "okay" because the hospital gave it to them so they must need it.

    Quoting fullxbusymom:

    But they are given out that is what I am saying instead of the hospital giving them out they now just send them to your home. Even more so. When hospitals gave them out I got 1 can, now that they don't I had 6 full cans sent to my door.
    Quoting Goodwoman614:

    Quoting fullxbusymom:






    But you do realize that YOU,

    YOUR experiences,

    are not true of every, or in the case of

    WHAT THIS ARTICLE IS ADDRESSING

    Most women?



    The evidence says that when formula samples are given

    Bf success takes a hit.



    (Sorry about the caps, mobile can't do italics for emphasis, lol)