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Good News for Breastfeeding in New York Hospitals

July 31, 2007

New York City public hospitals issued a press release today, stating that they will “exclude free baby formula samples from gift bags to new mothers, will ban formula promotion materials from labor and delivery units and will encourage initiation of breastfeeding in the baby’s first hour as part of a campaign to increase exclusive breastfeeding and improve infant health.”

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s breastfeeding program is set to include:
* New gift bags for moms with a breast milk bottle cooler, disposable nursing pads, breastfeeding tips and an “I eat at mom’s” baby t-shirt;
* Education sessions starting early in pregnancy about the benefits of breast milk;
* Breastfeeding coaches who provide one-on-one lactation support to moms at the bedside to help initiate breastfeeding within one hour of delivery;
* Promoting breastfeeding on demand by having moms and babies stay in the same room until discharge;
* Making available hospital-grade electric breast pumps to moms whose newborn must remain in the hospital;
* Distribution of free personal breast pumps to eligible moms who have no health insurance;
* Ongoing peer counseling and support groups for breastfeeding moms after they leave the hospital.

However, HHC will still make formula available to women who choose to breastfeed or “are unable to breastfeed for medical reasons.” The hospital group hopes to triple the number of women who are exclusively breastfeeding on discharge by 2010. The Wall Street Journal reports that other hospitals have gotten rid of the gift bags altogether, including Brigham and Women’s in Boston, and Kaiser Permanente facilities in Northern California. Some states have attempted to pass bills banning the bags, but formula makers have lobbied against the change and none of these bills have passed.

The International Breastfeeding Symbol blog has more on this as well.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Adele permalink
    August 1, 2007 4:13 am

    Congratulations New York. Wow. This is fantastic news. Hospitals should market health and nothing else.

  2. August 1, 2007 12:42 pm


    I posted a similar entry on my blog this morning. Someone on the forum alerted me to it, and I’m really glad you posted on it too! I agree with Adele who says hospitals should market health and nothing else. Totally agree. Too bad most of them don’t. 😦

  3. August 1, 2007 12:44 pm

    Btw, thanks for the link! 🙂

  4. August 1, 2007 1:57 pm

    Thanks for your comments. MB – I’ve updated the post with a link to your entry.

  5. Drake Milton permalink
    August 2, 2007 10:07 am

    I understand the benefits of breastfeeding, but can you please be sensitive to the mothers who cannot breastfeed? As adoptive parents, my wife and I had to use formula. Yet, we received sneers and comments from the breastfeeding advocates.

    If you are an active breastfeeding advocate please do not allow your actions to fuel discrimination towards others.

  6. August 2, 2007 12:16 pm

    Drake I understand your concern, and I appreciate that you commented on my blog as well (with the same comment), but please understand that a support of breastfeeding does not equal a condemnation of bottle-feeding. I bottle-feed my child out of necessity as well and am extremely sensitive to this.

  7. Kate Fox permalink
    August 2, 2007 2:43 pm

    I understand the supposed benefits of breastfeeding, but I chose to feed my first child on formula and I intend to feed my next child in the same way. OK, some mothers don’t breastfeed because they are unable to do so – I respect that. But there are some women who, like me, simply don’t want to do that and our wishes should be respected also.

  8. August 2, 2007 3:54 pm

    Like MamaBear said, supporting breastfeeding should not equal disrespecting or rude behaior toward women who formula feed. I know that may not the case on some discussion boards you may have visited, but I truly want to keep a civil environment going here. The NY decision is not so much about disrespecting women who do not choose to breastfeed, but making sure to systematically encourage breastfeeding for public health reasons. They will continue to provide formula samples to those women who request them.

  9. Kelly permalink
    August 6, 2007 10:01 pm

    That is awesome! Way to go NY! Now if the rest of the country would do the same!

  10. January 21, 2010 4:10 pm

    Wow, putting the health of the infant and mother before commercial gain for its vendors. What a novel approach for a hospital!


  1. The International Breastfeeding Symbol » Blog Archive » I Love NYC
  2. The Formula Samples - Why Are You So Angry? « Women’s Health News

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