Free formula promotional items at the hospital are banned in many hospitals. Photo via Enfamil.
The advocacy group Public Citizen has sent letters to more than 2,600 hospitals asking them to stop giving out free samples of baby formula.
Many hospitals give new mothers a corporate sponsored bag with samples of diapers, pamphlets, coupons, and formula. Consumer advocates say that giving the free formula to new mothers may discourage them from breastfeeding. Their fear the samples of formula would encourage new mothers to give up on breastfeeding instead of seeking support. The formula giveaways are banned in some cities and states.
The American Hospital Association still believes that breastfeeding is best. However, they still want to be able to provide new mothers with a choice, just in case they are unable to breastfeed.
According to Reuters, 14 percent of 6-month-old babies are exclusively breastfeed. The U.S. would like to see this number at 26 percent by 2020. Breastfeeding is on the rise in the United States. The World Health Organization believes that this is due to more newborns staying in with their mothers hospital room.
Approximately 66 percent of hospitals are still giving the bags away.
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