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Should Hospitals Stop Giving Away Baby Formula? – Poll Of The Day

roebot, flickr

Breastfeeding is good for babies.  No, breastfeeding is GREAT for babies.  But, for varying reasons, it is not always an option for every family.

Hospitals have been sending home new Moms with gift bags.  Gift bags which include infant formula.  Now some are changing that policy because they believe it encourages mothers to turn to formula too early.  In fact, Massachusetts just became the second state to voluntarily ban infant formula giveaways to new mothers.

Should hospitals stop giving away baby formula?

WLBZ has more on the voluntary ban in Massachusetts:

All 49 birth facilities in the state have voluntarily eliminated the giveaways.

“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 Ann Merewood, Boston Medical Center Breast-Feeding Center Director.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed during the first six months.

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.”

Baby formula is expensive.  On Monday, there was a police chase involving stolen baby formula in Muskegon.  Many West Michigan families who need or choose to use baby formula would be forced to pay if the no-giveaway policy continues to spread.

But, just because a sample is given away, doesn’t mean it’s going to be immediately used.  Samples can be saved for months, then will be ready for use when needed.

It is definitely within a hospitals’ rights to voluntarily stop any giveaways they deem unhealthy.  A voluntary ban is fine, a law requiring a ban would be taking it too far.

Should hospitals stop there?  Should hospitals also voluntarily stop the sale of pop and candy and everything else unhealthy too?

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