Fewer hospitals giving away free formula
September 26th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Fewer hospitals giving away free formula

An increasing number of hospitals are no longer giving new moms industry-sponsored baby formula samples when they leave the hospital, and that's a good thing,  health experts say.

The number of hospitals choosing to discontinue this practice doubled, on average, in the past four years according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

However, most hospitals still send new parents home with samples of formula, even though major health organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend mothers try to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life.  Breast milk is considered to be the best source of nutrition for newborns and infants.

"It's a change, but it's just a small change," says Anne Merewood, Ph.D., director of the Breastfeeding Center at Boston Medical Center and senior study author.

Four years ago, researchers surveyed hospitals in all 50 states and found that all but 14% of hospitals were giving new mothers free baby formula samples. In 2010, they surveyed hospitals in 20 states (the 10 best and 10 worst states when it comes to distributing industry-sponsored formula samples).

The latest study found 28% of hospitals were now leaving formula out of the goodie bags they were sending home with new moms.

"But most hospitals are still giving them out," says Merewood.  She adds that most hospitals do not pay for the formula they feed their youngest patients or give the parents.  "Hospitals don't have a role in marketing formula but that's what they're doing,"Merewood believes.

In August, the CDC released a report that found hospitals need to do more to encourage moms to breastfeed. "We know 80% of mothers plan to breast feed," says Cria Perrine, Ph.D., one of the authors of last month's CDC report.  She says 75% of moms do start nursing their newborns, but half of them give their baby formula by the time their little one is one week old.

Experts including Merewood and Perrine believe that new parents may interpret the hospital's gift of free formula as an endorsement.  Merewood adds that when women are given free formula, that's usually the brand they will continue to use.

"It's very hard to change hospital practices," says Merewood.  "It's natural for people to want to give things away."  But she is encouraged by the trend she is seeing with her new survey.

Perrine says recent CDC data also finds fewer hospitals giving away free formula, (65.8% in 2009), "but it's not as fast as I would like to see."

In the past the American Hospital Association has told CNN that hospitals support breastfeeding, but "breastfeeding is a personal choice and hospitals will follow the wishes of the mother, be it to breastfeed or bottle feed."

Perrine says even if mothers intend to breastfeed and give their babies formula, they shouldn't start the formula until after they leave the hospital. During the first few days of a newborn's life, mom's breast milk provides baby with antibodies to ward off infections, hormones to regulate eating and it helps reduce diarrhea. Studies have also shown that breastfeeding helps lower risk for sudden infant death syndrome, as wells as diabetes and obesity later in life.

soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Dutchgirl2

    I breast-fed my baby for 10 months and really think it's the best for a baby but was grateful for the samples the hospital provided. The samples supplemented my feedings until my milk came in on day 5. I know the die-hard breast-feeders will disagree with me and say that colostrum is enough for a baby in the first 3-5 days of their life, but my experience says otherwise. Without the formula my (8 pound) baby was sleeping less than an hour at a time. After a formula feeding we both got a couple hours of much needed rest. Having a baby is an emotional experience and not having enough milk to feed them is even more emotional. A little formula along with the support to breast-fed can make the first few days much less stressful.

    September 26, 2011 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nexus

      The main reason you are not to use formula at all in the beginning is due to supply/demand. If the infant is given formula in the first few days, it tells the mother's body that she does not need to make as much milk, which in turn hurts the nursing relationship. Colostrum IS enough for the first 3-5 days..as mammals it's what we were MADE for.

      September 26, 2011 at 18:33 | Report abuse |
    • Tana Nichols

      Yes, breast milk is best for baby, but not always the best for mom. I sincerely believe if I had supplemented my newborn with formula in the first weeks I wouldn't have ended up in the Mental Health Unit suffering from Postpartum OCD and depression. I was sleep deprived, and my first day in the hospital I slept 10 hours straight. I'm not saying that I wouldn't have had Postpartum problems, but I know that the lack of sleep from feeding my son every 2 hours took a huge toll. I was then put on drugs that prevented me from breastfeeding at all. I'm sick of the moms who act as if no one ever has problems breast feeding, and make the choice to use formula seem like child abuse.

      September 26, 2011 at 22:27 | Report abuse |
    • CARRIE

      I completely agree with you. My baby was super hungry and colostrum wasn't enough. Added to that was difficulty latching. The supplemental formula was incredibly helpful until my milk came in and we worked out our latching. My health plan was amazing with lactation consultants for support to help me achieve my goal of breast feeding. The bottom line is that this is not a black and white issue. There is what you think is right and want to do as a new Mom (be it formula or breast feeding) and there is the reality of what really happens and making sure your baby gets what it needs to thrive.

      September 28, 2011 at 18:39 | Report abuse |
  2. Kabra

    The problem is NOT in the choice to breast of bottlefeed but in the medical endorsement of formula and the marketing of a particular brand. If the doctor/nurses hand formula, they are also handing out the opinion that this is what we support. And it is done in the time a woman is most vulnerable to quitting. It's not a "gift" as much as it is like a time-share, they hook you in and then you have to pay from then on....

    September 26, 2011 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Binky42

      Exactly. The only reason any for-profit company ever makes free samples available is to promote a product. They are in the business of taking your money.

      September 26, 2011 at 10:28 | Report abuse |
    • Dutchgirl2

      Good thing I know how to read and I'm capable of independent thought. I think it a little insulting to assume that mothers will blindly accept all marketing claims. Everyone knows they have choices.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
  3. Denise

    After my daughter was born, we decided to read for ourselves all of the major studies on the effects of nursing (and yes I have a Ph.D. in an empirical field). And although we did decide to do it, the effects have been dramatically overstated. Breastmilk has some beneficial short term effects and may have some small long term benefits in a developed country. It isn't the magic elixir that activists make it out to be.

    There is a tendency to shame new mothers who choose not to nurse. I hope this isn't part of that ugly trend.

    September 26, 2011 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Binky42

      It would surprise you how many published articles about breastfeeding are funded by companies that produce baby formula.

      September 26, 2011 at 10:27 | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      My 20 y/o daughter just had a baby girl. She wanted to breastfeed and did her best in trying thought she was not producing much milk. However, the support she did NOT receive once she left the hospital played a pivitol roll in her decision to change exclusively to bottle feeding. All the support she was told she would have once discharged dried up. The only "support" she received was in phone calls telling her to keep trying and to not supplement with bottles. I agree that the benefits of breast versus formula is overstated. There is such a thing as true support to women who are trying to breast feed and then there is shame that is offered if a mother decides it is not the best for her and her infant. Shame is what was dished out to my daughter in large portions. Oh and my granddaughter is doing remarkably well on formula.

      September 26, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      the main benefit of breastmilk over formula is not so much a nutritional one, but an immunological one. Breast milk has many factors that contribute to a newborn's weak immune system, and helps to build a healthy flora in their intestines. formula does not give these factors, and has been strongly linked to immunological problems that persist through life such as allergies.

      September 26, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
  4. John

    Denise : breast milk contains antibodies specific to human beings that the baby has a mechanism for uptake. Broad studies that basically depend on low quality data (questionaires, etc) are not a good way to analyze the effects of something. This is why a huge amount of this research is wrong or misleading. The biochemistry is solid, however. Can't screw up something you can see plain as day in a microscope. Artificial milk does not contain these antibodies, and as such does not properly supply the infant. This mechanism is complex and specific enough that there must be an evolutionary reason for it.

    September 26, 2011 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Junie

      Studies show that the antibodies help with digestive issues that may kill a child in a 3rd world country – diarrhea, stomach virus, etc. It does NOT protect against general cold and flu viruses, allergies, etc. People get carried away with breastfeeding propaganda. The antibodies do not crossover into the blood stream, they stay in the digestive tract. Helpful, yes. Will your child suffer ill effects if you don't breastfeed? No, unless you live in a 3rd world country.

      September 26, 2011 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
  5. Dr.Science

    I breastfed my child for 16 months, exclusively for first 6 months, but it was not easy since I went back to work after 8 weeks (2 unpaid...). I know a lot of women who find it too difficult to go back to work and find time and energy to maintain milk supply by pumping and breastfeeding when at home. It is a tiring process and rather than scolding hospitals from hading out free samples, perhaps a review of the maternity policy (if you are lucky enough to even have it) is in order. 6 weeks is nothing (again, if you are lucky enough to have that). We want a healthy population but do nothing to promote it. If a woman wants to take longer time off, she is seen as weak and employers see that as a waste of time. So, until that is taken care of (like in most developed countries, especially in Europe), all of those Academies and CDS can write all they want against the formula, but nothing will change!

    September 26, 2011 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Nicole

    If the mother doesn't have a healthy diet, then breast feeding isn't necessarily the best. I agree that hospitals shouldn't "sell" a brand but people should not be misinformed either. I know women who consume fast food WAY too much who breastfeed and women who hardly eat anything. There is no way that breastmilk is good for their babies. I think the overall message should be to do what's best for your body, family situation as well as the child. There are women who can't breastfeed (for whatever reason) and there is no way they should be made to feel as if their child is getting anything less or worse than another. This needs to be presented is a less biased way.

    September 26, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lisa

      That is not true *at all*. The only time a woman's diet should affect her breastfeeding is if she eats something the baby is allergic or intolerant to, or takes medications that are contraindicated in breastfeeding. You can eat mcd's 24/7 and your breastmilk would still be better for your baby than formula. Your body takes the nutrients from food to make your milk, and you get what's left over. If you eat crappy, the only one you're hurting is yourself.

      September 26, 2011 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Nicole, you're completely wrong. Women in famine conditions are able to breastfeed their children. The body will draw from the woman's nutrient and mineral stores if necessary to produce milk with the correct composition. If a woman in a developed country is eating a poor diet while nursing, the only one she's hurting is herself.

      I'm a nursing mother who has worked full time outside of the home since our daughter was 10 weeks old. I pumped for her until she was a year old and she is still nursing at 14 months; I will let her nurse until she decides she's done. She was exclusively fed breastmilk, either by nursing or in a bottle until we added solids at 6 months, and she has never had a drop of formula. It is doable if a mother is motivated to make it work and is given appropriate support.

      I was not offered a formula sample by the hospital since they're working towards Baby Friendly status. Even if offered, I would not have accepted it. It is good that safe and nutritious formula is available for supplementation or exclusive feeding when the mother's supply is insufficient or if there are medical contraindications. However, more than 90% of mothers are physiologically able to breastfeed exclusively – those who claim low supply usually have a low supply because of early formula supplementation without real medical need. Breastfeeding should be the norm, not formula.

      September 26, 2011 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
  7. Nicole

    Also...all my kids were formula fed. Of all three children, one has had to take anti-biotics once, the other two, never. I don't keep them in a bubble and yes they have probably eaten with dirty hands...the more we "sanitize" a childs world, the sicker they are...just saying...

    September 26, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Julie Johnson

    What many here are failing to realize is - just as with food for adults - the closer you can get to nature with regard to feeding/eating habits, the better. Formula-fed babies end up heavier (and not in a good way), more prone to diabetes and exposed to more chemicals and processed foods younger in life. When my mother was raising babies, the "shaming" went the other direction - the medical community looked down on anyone who breastfed because it was just a "hippy" movement, and why feed your child that way when you could help them quickly gain weight and get "complete nutrition" with forumula. It's pretty much like telling people to eat frozen foods all the time because they are better for you - they aren't. Fresh is always going to be best for our bodies.

    That said, there are cases when formula is going to be better - a mother who isn't producing milk, a mother who is working full-time and struggling to keep up with breastfeeding needs, a mother who isn't eating properly. Having worked with people across the medical community for many years now, I can tell you that physicians know there are times when formula, either as a supplement or as a replacement to breastfeeding, is an important option. The key, though, is that they want to try and make it the exception rather than the rul.

    September 26, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Junie

      Maybe physicians should let mothers make the choice without pressuring them? There are many, many reasons a woman may not choose to breastfeed. Give me a break – there is not going to be a long-term negative impact if she doesn't. There are bigger fish to fry and doctors should be looking at that.

      September 26, 2011 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      Women should be pressured to breast feed if they can, because it's absolutely best for both her and her baby. However, when she can't, due to medical conditions – either hers or the baby's – the doctor should be pressuring her to use formula, and whatever formula is best for the situation. Only the doctor knows the risk/benefit of formula versus breast milk – mom may want to choose, but having her choose isn't always the best thing, because what's easy isn't always best long-term. Just look what happens when Christian Scientist mothers choose not to treat their kids for various illnesses – and then their kids die. Parents should not be given the choice to put their child at unnecessary risk.

      September 26, 2011 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
    • Junie

      DX2718: Please, not breastfeeding your child is not putting them at risk. It just isn't. Sorry.

      September 27, 2011 at 00:04 | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      Actually, Junie, I was mostly referring to the other way around – giving them a choice TO breastfeed when, say, they are on medications with unknown long-term effects. HOWEVER, not breastfeeding IS putting them at risk too, if breast feeding is better for that particular mother and baby. All else being equal, formula-fed babies are more likely to be obese, suffer from diabetes and various cancers. That's plenty of risk.

      September 27, 2011 at 07:31 | Report abuse |
  9. theybetrippenyo

    I just had my baby in march. I was planning on exclusivly breastfeeding when I was Struck with a Pulmonary embolism. The Doctors swore up and down that I could take Lovanox and Warfrin (Rat poison) and that my baby would be fine. However if you think about it... Putting rat poisin into yourself much less your child by Proxy? No friggan way.

    I had her on the breast for 2 weeks, Then I had to switch. But becuase of the Doctors PUSHING me to breast feed, I had no idea what to look for in a formula. I eventually settled on one, and haven't looked back.

    The Train goes both ways sometimes.

    September 26, 2011 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kat

      They don't know if those drugs are safe to take. I am on levothyroxine and lisinopril for thryoid and high blood pressure, and lisinopril is dangerous for the baby. I had to take an alternative medication when I was pregnant, and after I gave birth I was in the hospital for high blood pressure. I had to go back on my original medication, and you can't breast feed with all of that junk in your system.

      September 26, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
  10. doc

    As an OB/GYN for many years we need to support whatever the mother chooses; I saw lots of tears from moms made to feel they were somehow inadequate when they did not breast feed for 20 years.....

    That said, I am shocked at the seemingly neverending need for instruction. Seriously, moms and babies have been doing the breast feeding thing for , well, FOR AS LONG AS HUMANS HAVE BEEN AROUND! I understand there are exceptions, but really!

    September 26, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dx2718

      Umm, breast feeding isn't easy. The reason why mothers have been able to do it forever is because they've had other people around – their own mothers, midwives, friends, etc. – to help them figure it out at the start. Just because instruction is necessary doesn't mean that it's something someone can figure out on their own. Take reading. People have been reading and writing for centuries but without any instruction, most children would be illiterate.

      September 26, 2011 at 17:18 | Report abuse |
  11. Keri

    As a mom who has experienced difficulties providing enough breastmilk to my children I appreciate what formula can provide. While I did my best to breastfeed as often as possible during those first few weeks, it wasn't feasible to breastfeed exclusively due to my lack of milk production. As a parent it's hard to watch your child cry in hunger and to continue to lose weight then they should be gaining it. For me, using formula turned things around. While I continued to breastfeed, forumla helped suppliment what I was unable to fully provide. I can recall feeling guilty when I opened my first can of forumla with my oldest child due to the striong push for breastfeeding. But the fact that my child was no longer going hungry made my decison to introduce forumla the best decision. And I did appreciate that the hospital sent me home with some formula, as being a new mom I wouldn't ahve known what to buy, or where I could purchase some at 2 in the morning.

    I do support the idea that infants should be breastfed as long as possible, but realize that each woman has their own reasons for or against it. It can be challenging to do, and is worth the effort, but the decision is the mother's and not the general publics.

    September 26, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Binky42

      That's exactly the problem – you wouldn't have known what to buy, so the hospital provided some to you free of charge as a marketing scam by the formula companies. If you're a mother it's your JOB to research these things, not take the first thing a stranger hands to you.

      September 26, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      It's possible that if you hadn't had formula to supplement, your baby would have been forced to try to eek as much milk as possible out of your breasts, and their sucking would have stimulated your production, which would have caught up to your baby's needs. This is how it's supposed to work in nature. It might still have failed, but if you started out right away supplementing, your milk production was doomed.

      September 26, 2011 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
  12. Kat

    I couldn't breast feed any of my three daughters. I have high blood pressure, and I had my thyroid taken out. I am on medication everyday, so I had to give them formula. High blood pressure is hereditary in my family even if one is super thin. I really didn't have a choice with all the drugs in my system.

    September 26, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Binky42

      With such a dangerous hereditary disorder, why did you have three kids? Why not adopt instead?

      September 26, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      in such situations that is why we have formula and you don't have to explain yourself to anyone. Also binky, why would you even ask a complete stranger something like that?

      September 26, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • SocietyforthepreventionofBinky

      Binky replied that way because he/she/it is a sociopath. Sociopathy would be an actual contraindication to parenting.

      September 26, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
  13. Amanda

    I think the hospital personnel need more training regarding who they should give out formula to. I was all about breastfeeding and I even had a meltdown (instigated by exhaustion and hormones) when the nurse gave my baby a pacifier for an hour while I was asleep and didn't ask me first. They gave me a big ole' bag of coupons and formula samples (for some reason I thought it was a hand pump and didn't realize it was formula until I got home). I am breastfeeding. What part of that is hard for you to understand? Not every single breastfed child in America requires supplementation. It almost gives those who wish to breastfeed a signal that maybe you are not going to be able to do it. Just saying.

    September 26, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. dx2718

    It's because the formula companies are sending the samples directly to women. Disgusting, really. I got my free sample of Enfamil Newborn in the mail during my 3rd trimester!!! Forget the fact that this is baby #2 for me and I successfully breast-fed #1 for nearly a year and a half without supplementing with any formula...I'm insulted that they think I need formula, and are willing to shove it in my face before I even have the chance to try breast feeding my baby. I'd much rather that they have to go through the hospital to give me samples; at least that way the nurses can judge whether I need it or not before offering it to me (and can give me a choice about whether to take it).

    September 26, 2011 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. MommyDearest

    Well breast milk has never had a recall.......nor is it made in China.

    September 26, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. TedsMum

    I don't know why people are so up in arms about formula. My baby lost so much weight after being born because I was unable to produce enough milk to sustain her. I'm thankful that there is such a thing as formula because if not for that, my baby would have just starved. I did all the things I was supposed to do and pumped and let her feed away at me, but I still could not produce the amount of milk to maintain her weight. Formula isn't evil. The hospital didn't force formula on me or the baby. It was up to me and I decided I wasn't going to let my baby starve so that I can maintain the ideal of breastfeeding. Formula is a blessing for those of us who are unable to make enough milk. I'm sure those starving babies in Somalia could only hope to have some formula. I think people get carried away on their high horse when then you should be greatful that we live in America and have the options of breast milk or formula and can choose for ourselves and our babies. It's the overprivileged people who don't realize how good they have it and can make such a stink about how bad formula is. Hmmm. Malnourished kid only breastfeeding or baby getting calories from formula? I know what the breastfeeding zealots would choose.

    September 26, 2011 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dx2718

      How long before you panicked and started supplementing with formula? It can take weeks for supply to catch up to demand. My daughter lost nearly a pound in the first few days after she was born, and then had trouble latching, so I was feeding her for an hour every couple of hours for the first few weeks – BUT, after that, she was fine – I ended up with oversupply, milk squirting everywhere, and she maintained 50th percentile until 6 months of age exclusively drinking my milk.

      September 26, 2011 at 21:16 | Report abuse |
  17. Ally's Mom

    I am VERY thankful for the samples of formula I was given when leaving the hospital! I had a C-section, my daughter was sent to the NICU, and I wasn't about to nurse her for the first 6 hours of her life. She was given a pacifier, as is common when babies are in the NICU, without my consent. As soon as I was able to, I was in the NICU trying to nurse her. I would put her to my breast and she would SCREAM bloody murder and turn purple, after trying for an hour to get her to nurse I would return to my room, pump for 15 minutes (getting nothing) and sleep for 90 min until it was time for me to go back to the NICU for another try. I did this for THREE days. One of the requirements to get her out of the NICU was for her to eat. Well, I gave her formula. I wanted my baby with ME. When we got home, I kept trying the nursing to no avail. I would pump and bottle feed her what little I was able to eek out of my breasts. I had low production and started taking herbal supplements to get up my production. She was still starving and dropping weight so I had to supplement with formula (mailed to me by Similac- thank god! It was free and worked for her!). We kept trying to get the latch and she kept turning purple and screaming. After two weeks, when she and I were BOTH in tears and I decided it was enough. We went to a lactation specialist who was gentle, didn't shove her head at my breast, and patient and we walked out of there nursing. 🙂 This was a month ago. My little one is now TOTALLY in love with my breasts and throws a fit when I have to take her off so that I can get SOMETHING/ANYTHING done. She'd hang out all day long if I let her! So, I think that giving away formula is JUST FINE. If a mom wants to use it, fine. If a mom wants to breastfeed, it's always a nice back up to have when things aren't going quite the way they "should"

    September 26, 2011 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Larry5

    Cow's milk is for baby cows. Beyond that it's difficult to find cow's milk that is just cow's milk. Cows today are not what they used to be. They receive a lot of help from genetic engineering to chemicals and drugs and all that stuff is good for the producer to the determent of the original product, the milk. If the milk you use is processed in any way and from cows that have been engineered and chemically enhanced and drugged then you're putting someone's health in the hands of an industry that could care less about the side effects of what they do.

    September 26, 2011 at 21:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. diana

    geez people...get a grip, and quit judging.

    September 26, 2011 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. LG

    So are dairy products for baby cows too? Ridiculous. We have co-opted a lot of animal and vegetable products for human use that originally evolved for the benefit of the species that produces them. Everyone should stay out of other people's business. It is a personal decision and in my view, if the mother and baby are happy and well fed – that's what is best. I wish people would stop making mothers feel guilty about these things and get off their high horses – it's not affecting anyone but that baby and family. Formula may not be as good as breast milk, but that doesn't mean it's harmful. When our children are in school, I guarantee nobody will be able to tell who was breast fed and who was formula fed.

    September 26, 2011 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Ego Sum Lamia

    To those of you who plan on breastfeeding until your child graduates high school. THUMBS UP TO YOU!!!! You are a magnificent, wonderful example of the picture book mother seeking everyone's approval.
    To those of you who tried and couldn't, or didn't produce enough you are the better mother. You did your best and as long as they got the colostrum you did well. My daughter tried breast feeding my grandson and did great the first 3 weeks, then she slowed on production. She hand expressed, she pumped, she went to the local health department to see what was going on. He was eating every 10 minutes and not getting full, just wearing himself out from frustration. We did not get a sample from the hospital, we got one in the mail. It filled him up and he stopped crying and actually slept. It also allowed my daughter to go back on her meds. If you breastfeed, good for you but back off the ones who don't . PS: we also spoke to the manager of Town Center Mall about their lack of facilities for breastfeeding moms and now, based on our suggestions there will be 2 separate areas, 1 at each end of the mall, for mothers to breastfeed in private. While most of you have no issue feeding in public, some do, especially young modest women. Now ya'll play nice.

    September 26, 2011 at 23:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Megan

    "To those of you who tried and couldn't, or didn't produce enough you are the better mother" First of all I think that is a terrible statement! Whatever you decide to do, you are a good mother to your child. I breastfed my daughter for a full year and worked a full time job. I only had 6 weeks maternity leave and used a bathroom to pump everyday at work. That was my decision and I feel like I am the best mother for my daughter! Don't cast stones upon others and judge. We don't know why people choose to formula or breastfeed. I do agree that the American culture does not help a new mother. A 6-week maternity leave is nothing and if a mother decides to breastfeed and work full time she should have the facilities needed to pump and be able to take breaks. In my opinion breast is best, but I certainly don't give women who formula feed any less respect.

    September 27, 2011 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. thespunkyone

    I debated for MONTHS on whether or not to breastfeed my daughter, pressured to the point of crying by my ob. I honestly thought I was going to be a terrible mother if I didn't breastfeed. However, as soon as my UNPAID maternity leave was up I had to go back to working in a daycare. I would not have been able to stop and pump when I needed to, the two year olds I was teaching needed me more. Also, the infants I cared for? Were much happier on formula. The breastfed babies weren't content for nearly as long, and when there are five other babies in the class we can't drop one with a dirty diaper to feed another that just got done eating half an hour ago. And my daughter? She's three, above average intelligence, not remotely overweight, tall for her age,and has only been sick three times in three years, two after I started her in preschool. She was totally formula fed. If you want to breastfeed fine, but don't judge me because I didn't.

    September 27, 2011 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC

    Distribution of commercial formula discharge bags is a form of marketing, defined as such by HIPPA. These bags are not designed to provide full information on infant feeding methods. That is something that should be done by health care providers, not infant formula companies whose goal is to sell more products. Most of the information contained in these commercial discharge bags is biased to say the least. Peddling pricey products to vulnerable patients is hardly what could be called evidence-based care. Hospitals who engage in this practice have morphed into the marketing arm of formula companies. No other unit in the hospital endorses brand name products and urges their patients to act in a manner that may not be in their best interest. These bags are not free. They cost the mother at least $700 as they promote the most expensive brands of formula, urging her to use those rather than the less expensive store brand formulas. It is time that hospitals stop acting as a sales venue and start providing breastfeeding mothers with sufficient evidence-based breastfeeding care and the services of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, rather than as a front and shill for the formula industry.

    September 27, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Man

    Know what woman is spelled backwards? Give up? Alright I'll tell you, kitchen. Get in there, go on and makes me a sammich, get those damn shoes off, pump out another midget for me, take care of the house, and leave the man work to men. Get it? This country has gone to hell ever since the matriarch left the role of family caregiver. And this whole PC, let's make wimps out of men thing by making them "sensitive"...oh my, that will certainly play out well for the nation in the long run.

    Net, net...whip a boob out, feed the kid, take care of your family. Formula? Hey if you need it, you need it. Otherwise, don't buy into the marketing hype, they're just trying to sell you a product.

    September 27, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Cheyanne

    I am still in school and for all the people who commented i would ask if you could vote. When you comment can you post the question and then your chocie please nobody hurt one anothers thoughts. thank you.

    The question is: As a mother or new mother or bout to be a mother what is your desoin on this news? Please Explain.

    Im doing a project on this so this could really boost my grade!!! Thank you once again.

    October 6, 2011 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Becca

    If I could have breastfed, I would have. However, my milk producers didnt want to do their job (duct problems). Im kinda sick of seeing this massive breast feeding campaign, because it starts to feel like women who feed their babies formula are bad mothers. I understand "breast is best" but breast isnt always an option. And when you see NOTHING but breast feeding being healthy, breastfeeding being the best, ALL the time, it really makes those of us who COULDNT feel really bad about doing what we had to in order to feed our children. I will support the decision to not send formula home, as long as it doesnt turn into the hospital not even having ANY inside the hospital. Because I wouldnt have had anything nearby to feed my son, had the hospital not had formula there.

    November 25, 2011 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Brett

    I breastfeed my baby born until he was 2 years and 6 days old! I am very proud that I was able to do it for so long! He never had a bottle, only breast. I know the health benefits are amazing, but our bond with each other is WONDERFUL. I know some people struggle to breastfeed their little one's and it can become frustrating because it is all you get done, but enjoy every moment and who cares if you have to sit down every hour to breastfeed. Those 2 years went extremely fast and I am so thankful that I was able to share the experience with my very healthy baby boy!

    February 20, 2012 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
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  30. rachel

    i personally could not breast feed. i wanted to and i tried and it did not work for me. i dont think its fair for a hospital to make that decision for the mother. with my twins, i was told by the lactation consultant that the only way id be able to sustain my babies with breast milk was going to involve a lot of pumping and i would need a hospital grade pump. my babies were not eating for the first day of their life because i just could not breastfeed.

    August 3, 2012 at 23:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Brenda

    They totally forget that some people cannot breastfeed or should not because of health problems.

    March 14, 2017 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.