MA responds to hospital ban of free infant formula
BOSTON, Mass. (WHDH) -- Massachusetts will become the second state not to give out free formula to take home. Boston Medical Center did away with the gift bags in 1999.
The gift bags contained samples of baby formula. It is not just a push to promote breast-feeding, but to stop the marketing.
“What we are talking about giving stuff things to take home. Gift bags that are really samples of formula to get moms formula feeding,” said Ann Merewood, the Director of the Breast-feeding Center at Boston Medical Center.
All 49 birth facilities in the state have voluntarily eliminated the give-aways.
“Breast-feeding is undermined when women go home with these bags. Women are less likely to breast-feed and they’re less likely to breast-feed exclusively,” said Merewood.
The international formula council said the research has not been consistent; some studies a connection and others do not.
“I think that is a bias statement. The research is consistent and I’ve done a lot of it. No one is saying that you can't formula feed your baby. No one is saying that we won’t give your baby formula in the hospital. It is simply about reducing the marketing,” said Merewood.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed during the first six month. Courtney is breastfeeding her son but says the gift bags do not seem bad.
“I think it seems kind of silly that they stopped giving them out,” said Courtney Pierce.
Pierce is breast-feeding her son Parker exclusively, but said the gift bags do not seem that bad.
“It wouldn't have influenced me either way and maybe it would be a nice option for some women,” said Pierce.
The International Formula Council issued a statement in response. It reads, “If parents are discouraged from using infant formula, they may resort to inferior methods of infant feeding which can cause serious nutritional deficiencies and put their infant’s health at risk.”
Not giving away infant formula at birth facilities is becoming a national trend.