Sign the Public Citizen Petition

Formula was directly advertised to consumers for the first time in 1989. Prior to that, formula was marketed only to health care professionals who, in turn, prescribed it to their patients. Prescription drug use has increased 71% since drugs were first advertised to consumers, and likewise, formula feeding increases when formula is marketed directly to new moms.

Most new moms want to breastfeed; 75% give it a try. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all US babies be exclusively breastfed for six months, only 13.3% are. One of the obstacles to continued breastfeeding for many moms is the relentless marketing of formula; nearly two-thirds of new mothers receive free formula samples. 

Most of the 3300 US maternity hospitals distribute industry sponsored sample packs of formula to new mothers, regardless of whether or not they are breastfeeding. A study in Pediatrics showed that only 28% of these hospitals were sample free in 2010, up from 14% in 2007.

Research shows that formula marketing undermines breastfeeding. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have called for an end to formula samples in hospitals. The WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes monitors formula advertising internationally because 5000 babies a day die from lack of breastfeeding.

In 2005, Massachusetts became the first state to ban the distribution of formula samples to new mothers in health care facilities. The Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition, co-founded by Marsha Walker, worked for eight years to get this legislation passed and also launched a national campaign, Ban the Bags, to eliminate the distribution of formula discharge samples.

The Massachusetts governor at the time was Mitt Romney, who pressured the Public Health Council to rescind the ban. The council successfully resisted his pressure until he fired and replaced three members just prior to a vote on the ban; it was rescinded in May 2006. Less than two weeks later, Romney announced a deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb, the world’s largest formula maker, to build a $66 million pharmaceutical plant in Devens, Massachusetts. Nonetheless, many Massachusett hospitals upheld the ban voluntarily.

In 2007, Portland, Oregon became the first city in the US to become “bag-free” and in November 2011, Rhode Island banned formula sample giveaways in healthcare facilities.

Public Citizen, the premier consumer advocacy group founded in 1971, has taken up the cause of banning formula sample bags. In March, the organization wrote to 2600 US hospitals urging them to discontinue the distribution of commercial infant formula discharge bags.

On April 9th, Public Citizen launched a petition demanding that Abbott, Mead Johnson and Nestle stop distributing samples of infant formula in health care facilities; over 12,000 have signed it so far. According to the petition, “the immediate end of this practice would be a crucial initial step to become fully compliant with the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.”

Does the hospital in your town distribute free formula samples to new moms? Here’s a list of bag free hospitals and here are the hospitals that received Public Citizen‘s letter. In her Ban the Bags article for Mothering, Marsha Walker suggests a letter of complaint to the CEO and other officials of the hospital as a first step. Here’s a sample letter from Ban the Bags.

Check out the Ban the Bags Tool Kit.and other Action Ideas. If Public Citizen doesn’t get any response from the hospital in your area, consider social action. Start a thread in Lactivism or Finding Your Tribe to encourage others to join you.

Sign the petition today.

Peggy O’Mara  (101 Posts)

Peggy O’Mara founded in 1995 and is currently its editor-in chief. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has lectured and conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League International, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four.

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52 thoughts on “Sign the Public Citizen Petition”

  1. I am happy to say that my local hospital has banned formula in the discharge gift bags. Its a trend worth promoting nation wide. Breast IS best!

  2. I agree with getting rid of the formula (i breastfeed) but i also got other things in my discharge bag that came in handy. Diapers, wipes, even a book that I could read to my daughter and a few other things. The way I look at it. It is a womens choice to feed her child they way she would like but if a mother is breastfeeding then have the nurses just take the formula out of the bag. simple solution and its not going to cost tax payers money for people to take something as dumb as this into congress.

  3. Even though my boys are now teenagers, I thought what a waste of resources to receive free baby formula when I knew I was going to breast feed. Seems like the hospital should screen who should receive the goody bags.

  4. I’ve breastfed my three children but oddly, each time I received that formula sample in the hospital bag it felt like doubt. How about some milk storage bags next time!

  5. I am from Rhode Island. Hospitals here are no longer giving out the free formula samples. We are the smallest state in the US. I think we only have 7 hospitals. But I am proud of “Little Rhody” and I hope all states follow our example.

  6. I don’t know why but I sorta disagree. I breastfed (even though I had to pump the entire time and it ruined my experience but hey, he wouldn’t latch and I had resources – big time). They all agreed that my nipple was too small and needed serious extension (sucking) to get the tendons to loosen. But I kept going…and for what? My milk hurt him. For whatever reason, my milk upset his stomach (no matter what I ate) so for some parents, education about formula is a good thing. We should know (without pushing a certain brand on us) why formula can be a great help to mothers who cannot breastfeed or do not want to breastfeed, it is a choice..and if I had to do it all over again, I would have fed him formula. 7 months of mastitis, pain and overall discomfort for all of us was not worth it..the minute he started earth’s best soy formula, his stomach settled and he has been a healthy kid pretty much since birth. I don’t think our tax dollars are at work here though – the companies give this out for free.

  7. I must say that I actually disagree. I recently gave birth to my third child and even though my hospital did not offer the bags, I called the companies directly and asked for them. Of the 3 I called, all of them offered exclusively breastfeeding bags for new moms. While they included coupons for formula, they didn’t include actual samples. They did however include bottles for breastmilk storage, educational toys coupons for numerous other products including cloth diapers, and lanolin. All of them came in bags that are great for a busy mom! Why wouldn’t I want these products?

  8. I also breastfed, and the formula samples did not change my mind in any way. I held on to them, and gave them to friends. With my 2nd child- I had an extremely HORRIBLE case of thrush and couldnt even pump. The samples came in handy. With my 3rd child, the samples were removed from my bag since I was a BFing mom. I agree that breast is best, but I am also open minded and realize that it is a CHOICE and some mothers simply can’t. If a mother doesn’t want them, she can simply decline them or donate them. I don’t see the need for this petition.

  9. I had both my daughters in small-town hospitals in Alberta, and each hospital gave me a tin of formula when I left. The first hospital had a midwifery program and the midwife spent quite a bit of time helping me figure out how to breastfeed my newborn baby, so I was surprised that such a hospital would still be giving away formula samples. I agree totally that hospitals SHOULD NOT be giving out formula to new moms. I ended giving both of my tins to the food bank.

  10. Formula is pushed on mothers even before the baby is born. We need to take a stand and say enough is enough. Breast is best and we need to offer new mothers support and encouragement not a can of crap that makes them feel like a failure.

  11. Don’t sign the petition! It’s not fair to those of us who medically can’t breastfeed and rely on those samples (and many others) to help offset the cost of formula. I am all for supporting breastfeeding and I do think that Mom’s need MORE support from the hospital, but if they need to formula they should be able to have access to it.

  12. I am a breastfeeding mother BUT come on! Banning formula samples?? Really? If a mom is “converted” to formula feeding by one little sample then seriously, she didn’t want to breastfeed in the first place.

    I’m all for promoting breastfeeding but if you think banning formula samples will dissuade women from formula feeding well that’s just ridiculous in my opinion.

    You want to really make a change? Get hospitals to offer proper breastfeeding support. My hospital used to offer free lactation consultant sessions. I just had a baby last month and found out they are no longer available! Not only that but when I contacted public health to enquire about seeing an LC (the only way to see one now)nobody returned my call!! Seriously, put the effort where it’s needed – making breastfeeding support available to those who need it! Not by banning stupid formula samples.

  13. Whenever someone gave me samples of formula, I just smiled and said thank you b/c I can always give it to someone who needs it.

  14. Why would you this? This is awful. There are MANY moms out there who are not able to breastfeed. When my first was born premature, I wanted to do everything I could for him which included pumping (I hadn’t planned on breastfeeding, but everything changed when he came 13 weeks early). I pumped and pumped – 15-20 minutes every 3-4 hours for 1 solid month. The most milk I ever got was 10ccs (about 1/3 of an ounce) a day (total for the day, that includes all of the pumping sessions – and pumping just after holding him, pumping while looking at a picture of him, taking medicine to get more milk,…).

    The hospital I delivered at (and the other 2 my DS went to for surgeries) offered lactation consultants. I used them and all of their advice…still no milk. My milk didn’t come in with my next 2 kids either. My mom and my sisters had the same problem. After unsuccessfully trying to pump and breastfeed, I had a lactation consultant tell me sometimes formula is the best.

    Please do not sign this petition!

    What’s next? No more disposal diaper samples?

    Instead of banning samples, do what Jennifer did – smile, say thanks, and give the samples to some one who needs them.

  15. My SIL just had a baby in our local maternity hospital. Between her OB and the hospital she got three months worth of free formula before the child was even born. Her OB had her sign up on all of the formula company mailing lists and she received 24 pre-mixed bottles from one, full sized cans from another few, and when she left the hospital, she was given a bag full of sample packages. I was completely floored that this could even be allowed. How can it be ethical to advertise to a FETUS? I didn’t get anything like this leaving my birth center. We had some neat reading material, some nipple cream and baby leggings in ours. I’m by no means against gift bags like this, but I’m against the formula samples. Their marketing is very sneaky and aggressive. They pounce at a very vulnerable time for moms and babies. It’s predatory.

  16. i got my bag at discharge. it had two ice packs and a bottle and both powdered and liquid formula. it took five days for my milk to come in and i have to admit i was tempted to give in by those cans and that bag. i didn’t give up though, i used those ice packs and bottle for expressed breast milk. i later donated the can and bottle of (what i now consider)poison to a food bank. it seemed ethical at the time. anyway, 23 months later, i weaned my daughter from the breast.

    i held out and breastfed exclusively. but, those cans were a temptation in a very fragile time of my life and i resent this practice. a friend of mine who gave birth two months later found it really easy to give up nursing in two weeks. she used the formula from her bag and went on to purchase the same brand for the next year. pretty effective marketing, i’d say.

    it does need to stop. thank you for this article, i signed the petition and read the toolkit. very good stuff.


  17. being pushed away from breastfeeding with my first a few weeks ago durring my hospital stay, and then being discharged with bag and packet and coupons for formula, made it worse. I breastfed exclusivly, but it was hard with the temptation to give in the hospitals push.

  18. I don’t know what it’s like in the USA but here in Canada, hospitals are passionately moving towards being “baby friendly”. This means that there are no formula samples being handed out. Formula used in the hospital is kept in a closed cupboard. Hospital staff cannot advertise formula & even notepads or pens with the formula company’s brand names are either kept out of sight, thrown away or just not accepted by the hospitals. In fact, hospitals can no longer accept funding or free product from formula companies. This doesn’t mean that somehow, the formula companies get your address (from maternity stores) & send new moms a free sample but you won’t find it in the hospitals if they are working towards the baby friendly initiative.

    I feel for moms who have trouble breastfeeding. Get help early, try laid back nursing, unwrap your babies & spend plenty if time skin to skin. Breastfeeding early & often builds supply.

    All the best.

  19. What a wonderful subject!! It’s getting way too easy to ignore our babies! Just give them this free formula & you know what, I’ll have a C-Section too, for no reason other than I don’t want to push the baby out of my vagina. Ugh. I’m breast feeding, co sleeping, mother of two. I have been given so many samples. Seriously, thanks, but No thanks!

  20. I completely disagree with this petition. I have breastfeed both my kids, exclusively till they were 9mths. Then I weaned and slowly went on formula, to help while I went back to work fulltime. Not everyone has the luxury of exclusively breastfeeding or pumping. Some have physical limitations, some of us work fulltime, and some simply just don’t want to do it anymore. For whatever reasons, its our choice. Those samples, wether you use them right away or not, are very, very helpful. Formula is not cheap by anymeans. There have been many times when my output dropped dramtically and I had to compensate. It was either I use formula or let my baby scream. To limit samples to women who need them is just plain righteous. It is time we support each other and stop using these peitions as a platform to voice our views.

    I really didn’t think that was this type of site. I will be canceling my newsletter.

  21. I agree with Kimberly above. I made the CHOICE to breastfeed and I had the good fortune that I was able to provide for my son. However, I was grateful for the FREE formula that I received at the hospital (and was sent to me) when I had to supplement with it when I went back to work full-time.

    If you want to make a difference, improve the education about breastfeeding in the prenatal classes, in doctor’s offices, and through public awareness. But, recognize that it is a choice women can make for their babies and with their bodies.

    This petition is the equivalent of people who are against sex education saying do not provide free condoms at the health center.

  22. I strongly agree that these samples should not be given out to new moms at hospitals. Health professionals should not be in any way contributing to the normalization of formula feeding, given the extreme importance of breastfeeding for not only nutrition, but also gut immunity, colonization of the gut by healthy bacteria passed on from mom, bonding and maternal health. Formula feeding is an acceptable substitute for breastfeeding if a medical reason prevents a mom from breastfeeding, and in this case free samples given out by doctors would certainly be in order. However, handing these out to everyone is comparable to handing out free samples of antidepressants or other meds to the general public. It is this type of practice that normalizes formula feeding and reinforces the belief that this is an acceptable choice for any new mother, regardless of her ability to successfully breastfeed. Which, as science has very clearly shown us, it isn’t.

  23. In the hospital, I didn’t feel like they were “pushing” formula on me at all. I knew I was breastfeeding, came Home with it and thought… Hmmmm…. I wonder if I will ever have to use this. 5 months in, and baby and I are still going strong exclusively breast feeding. I have seen so many women struggle, get sick, have Ill babies bc of their breast milk…. Allergies or whatnot. Having a sample handy at home is a great thing for those moms. What I do think is that every woman should be given the facts about breast feeding and be given a reality check on it too…. It’s not always easy! Keep at it! The formula containers say directly on them, breast milk is best. So if someone chooses not too, it’s not because she didn’t know better. Removing samples, is almost like saying women shouldn’t have a choice. Make them breastfeed. Hey, I think every woman should breast feed…. But I also think women should feel empowered to know what is best for themselves on their own… No formula marketing campaign should alter that. Women, stand strong and be empowered. Taking the samples away in essence is like saying women aren’t smart enough and strong enough to make the right decisions for their babies and themselves.

  24. They were sent direct mail to my house too! Didn’t influence my decision though. I think it’s just a waste of paper…. Bad for the environment all that packaging.

  25. If you’re too weak to resist the temptation of one tiny free sample of formula, then you’re ridiculous.

    I’m quite convinced that breastfeeding is healthier, but who are you pandering to with this petition? Women who are too stupid to make a decision and do the best they can with their child?

    I do not need the force of law to make the right decision and I am totally against social engineering, which is EXACTLY what you’re trying to do.

  26. I am a physician, and a mom, and received no samples whatsoever upon discharge. I breastfed, and supplemented solids with formula after I went back to work at 6mos. I wholeheartedly DISAGREE with formula samples being given at the hospital. They are easy to get by requesting them from the manufacturers if you want your free stuff. I also completely AGREE that more support is needed for breastfeeding moms. It is very rare to have a mom be medically or physically be unable to breastfeed. It is, however, extremely common for it to be very difficult to breastfeed for a number of reasons. If moms get the right help (which sadly can be very expensive, time-consuming or difficult to access) it is do-able. A good LC, or a trained physician willing to take the time and energy to help is what moms really need, not cheap backpacks and poor substitutes for liquid gold.

  27. And sadly it seems most women are not smart enough when you look at the statistics! Why do we need to encourage a trend that is so harmful to our society? Choosing to formula feed a newborn is not an empowering descision, it is a careless and neglectful act born out of ignorance that should in no way be encouraged by health professionals. If the general public had any sort of understanding of the science behind this issue, people would not treat the “choice” of whether or not to breastfeed this way. After all, do we talk about the “choice” of whether or not to use car seats? Pr brush their teeth? Sure, I would love the convenience and free time I could gain if I totally neglected

    to brush my children’s teeth! And what an empowered woman I would be if I stood up for my right to stop brushing their teeth so I could do better things with my time! Where did feminism go wrong, I wonder, if we can now equate neglecting our own children’s basic needs with women’s empowerment?

  28. I cannot believe all of the horrible things some of you mothers say on this page. Guess what? Not everybody breastfeeds! I for one gave my children only formula, and thats my decision because I’m their mother. I do what I feel is best for my kids. I would never complain about free nursing instruction in a hospital setting, I would just refuse it because its not what I plan on doing. How would you feel if their was a huge ban on any breastfeeding help for new mothers, or if people made comments saying the that you were giving your babies poison? Their are some seriously distrubed women on here with rude and insensative comments. Get over yourself. If you dont want the formula, just refuse it. Its that easy. But its horrible to try and put a ban on something just because your not using it. I have and always will feed my babies “posion” as you like to call it!

  29. I am a formula feeding mother who had a c-section because I didnt want to push a baby out of my vagina. I hope you don’t teach your children to behave like you do. Just because up nurse, cosleep and whatever else you do does not make you better than anyone else. Live and let live – and stop judging others. I’m sure you’re far from perfect.

  30. I didn’t see anyone say here anything about formula feeding so they could have more free time. I don’t know where you got that. By saying that it is careless and neglectful is VERY shortsighted. How about the mom who has to go back to work after two weeks and is desperately trying to find times on her break to pump? Is she neglectful because she has to make a living outside of her home for her little one and isn’t producing enough milk? Or what about the mom whose baby is bleeding in his stool even after she has gone on a gluten free, lactose free, soy free diet? Is she neglectful and careless by moving to formula so her son doesn’t have bloody diapers anymore? These are the stories of two of my friends from the past two months. Being empowered as I mentioned in my post, not sure if you were making reference to it, means being well informed and being confident in the choices you have made for yourself…. So yes women, be empowered.

  31. I am really sorry if you feel these comments are horrible, however the fact that a caring mother such as yourself is under the impression that choosing not to breastfeed is what’s best for your kids illustrates perfectly how our society has failed in educating women about this issue. Formula is not poison, it is an acceptable substitute for breastmilk if breastfeeding is impossible. But by no means is it remotely equivalent to breast milk. I am not saying this to be rude or controversial, it is a scientific fact. This is why the WHO prohibits companies from advertising formula. Having studied this topic extensively during my university studies in nutritional science, I can only say that I am very sorry that not everyone has had the same opportunity to learn how important brastfeeding is for so many reasons. Please educate yourself before judging what peo

  32. I am really sorry if you feel these comments are horrible, however the fact that a caring mother such as yourself is under the impression that choosing not to breastfeed is what’s best for your kids illustrates perfectly how our society has failed in educating women about this issue. Formula is not poison, it is an acceptable substitute for breastmilk if breastfeeding is impossible. But by no means is it remotely equivalent to breast milk. I am not saying this to be rude or controversial, it is a scientific fact. This is why the WHO prohibits companies from advertising formula. Having studied this topic extensively during my university studies in nutritional science, I can only say that I am very sorry that not everyone has had the same opportunity to learn how important brastfeeding is for so many reasons. Please educate yourself before judging what people are saying about this.

  33. Many women make the choice not to breastfeed not out of necessity or due to a valid medical reason, as in the case of your friend. Often, it is indeed a choice made out of ignorance, which is not to say it is the woman’s fault but that society has to a large extent failed in this regard. Where I live, in Canada, women get one year of maternity leave, but this does not mean that everyone breastfeeds though it does help our breastfeeding rates. Women in the US need to stand up and demand their right to care for their children. It is not right that they be forced back to work so early. Again, a failure not of the mother herself but society as a whole.

  34. Big corporations do give 3 months here in US. A year would be glorious. You can take 6 months by law and you are protected from getting fired but it is unpaid time off. In the case of my friend, she works in a small physician’s office and was only given her vacation time. I feel so lucky I am able to stay home with my little one. I quit my job for this new job. Breast feeding exclusively is A LOT of work but we are doing it because the benefits are no doubt worth the work for a year. I forgot…. My sister in law just had her baby 3 weeks ago and she is on meeds for an auto immune disease…dangerous to baby if she nurses. If she goes off them, she risks getting very I’ll and having to go on cancer meds. She is ANOTHER person in my life right now who is formula feeding. I actually don’t know anyone who is formula feeding just because. But I guess from what you are saying there are people who do it. I feel there are more people who have valid reasons as to why but maybe not? Have you seen the formula packages? They really do say “breast milk is best” on them. They are not trying to perpetrate a fraud claiming to be better or equal.

  35. Until our government advertises just as aggressively as the formula companies do, to educate the public, to re”normalize” breastfeeding, people will remain ignorant of the science, and ignorant of how they have systematically, and generationally, been lied to by formula companies and their doctors and damaged deeply in the process, and all for greed, and/ or, puritanical overzealous sexual repression.

    Formula is not a “choice”. It is a regrettably pathetic substitute, that should absolutely be given as a last resort of the desperate. I would get a wetnurse, before I would feed my child that horrible stuff.

    People think that since they were fed formula, and they are “fine”, that it’s good enough for their kids too. Well, the trouble is they aren’t fine.

    How could they assess for themselves how many more I.Q. points they were robbed of, or whether they might not have developed type 2 diabetes or be overweight, if they had been breastfed, instead of formula fed. Are they really going to wonder “what if she had breast fed me for two years?” when their mom breaks the terrible news that she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer? No. No one wonders about these things, because very few people think to blame their ills on a lack of breast feeding.

    But this social and biological experiment on our species is very new in the course of human history. Formula was only invented a few generations back. If you want to look at statistics with an eye to epidemic, chronic health disease, you need only look at this past few generations. Hmmm. Anyone see a pattern? It’s only when we decided that humans babies should be fed from other non human sources, that things went terribly awry.

    People don’t know how to breastfeed because they’ve barely ever seen it done. They don’t have Moms or aunts who’ve done it, to help them get through the learning curve. They feel uncomfortable doing it in public, because generations of men have been shown breasts, only in the context of pornography.

    But it would be a foreign concept to many people in this country to learn, that in other cultures, where breastfeeding is the norm, that it’s not an awkward event for them.

    In some cultures the men just look the other way, out of politeness. In other cultures, she may get pats on the back and encouragement, telling her how big and strong their child will be for feeding him so well.

    Oh, and when she’s done, could she spare a cup for them too?, because it’s considered a delicacy. Not kidding. Go ahead a laugh, but it’s only funny because you grew up here. There, it’s just Tuesday.

    So, yes I do think that we need some help from our government to fix this awful mess we have ourselves in. The costs in healthcare alone are worth the effort on all our parts, and would help get us out of this debt crisis as well. It makes good economic sense, and it might save our species from extinction.

    Oh, and did I mention, that it was God who designed breastmilk. I think He’d appreciate the effort too.

  36. I’m an RN and I’m appalled at this petition!! I agree with the commenter who said this is nothing less than social engineering, and it’s wrong. We still have freedom of choice in this country, and it’s important to respect personal decisions. Breastfeeding is just as personal a decision as contraception or abortion or fertility treatments (you do realize that there are many trying to ban these choices as well, don’t you?). If you want to do something useful, work on breastfeeding education and do it with kindness and enthusiasm, not contempt and ridicule, but stop trying to control other people’s lives or you just come off looking like fascists. I breastfed my firstborn, even under difficult circumstances, but many years later when I had my twins, things had changed and I could not breastfeed despite INTENSE effort and the support of several lactation consultants. I moved on to formula knowing I had done my best. Thank God there was formula, otherwise my babies would have died. As someone else already pointed out, if a woman would change her mind about breastfeeding because of some free formula samples, then she wasn’t committed in the first place. Let me ask you something: After you ban the free samples in the hospital, are you going to move on to banning formula in the grocery stores as well? I’m seriously considering cancelling my subscription. I don’t need the nuttiness.

  37. Batyah, if nursing weren’t so ostricized in our culture, you might have been able to hire a wetnurse to give them breastmilk. If you could keep your children from developing heart disease and diabetes, wouldn’t you “choose” that? If you could take a pill to prevent breast cancer you might jump at the chance, but many women don’t know that breastfeeding for two years might do exactly that! But we are so squeamish in this culture that no one even thinks of a wetnurse. Before the invention of formula, a wetnurse was the norm in cases where a mother couldn’t feed, or sometimes, as a matter of “choice” if a woman had the means.

  38. REAL education on the benefits of breast feeding would be AWESOME!If people would LEARN about what is going to help their child advance,not be held back from illness or functional issues of the brain or other organs from lack of REAL TIME food that baby NEEDS at the moment of feeding.Now,why not love that baby that much?Finances or what is more important than your babies life long health? :)

  39. Jeanne, you are very passionate and that should be applauded. But where is your compassion for the less educated? What are you doing other than ripping into people here for their decisions? Are you judging every woman who uses formula? I left a post above describing 3 women I know right now who are using formula bc of certain circumstances…. One is on a medication for an auto immune disease and the drug gets into the breast milk. One has a baby with bloody stool who after going gluten free, soy free and dairy free still couldn’t resolve the issue after 4 months. And the other had to return to work 2 weeks after giving birth and despite trying to pump enough on her meager breaks, she loosing her supply. She now supplements. And yes, because we don’t have wet nurses, formula is the end result. Why don’t you get involved with educating women on the topic? Why don’t you volunteer at a hospital… Or lobby your local hospitals about getting education for women? I teach prenatal and mommy and baby yoga. I get that platform to do so, but after I have given women all of the information I can, I know I need to let go. You can’t force anyone… All you can do is educate. I know NO women in my life and circle of friends who has chosen to formula feed out of convenience or ignorance. I for one am breastfeeding exclusively and my 20 lb 5 month old is doing great. We had no idea how to do it. My mother didn’t breastfeed and no one around us did, but we tried and were very successful. I feel like my little boy taught me how. I gave him the nipple and he did the rest. I am lucky. I can stay home and care for my baby 24/7. Unfortunately, as in the case of my friend, she has to work to put a roof over her baby’s head. Everyone I know has struggled with the decision to use formula. The world is not so black and white, Jeanne. Having compassion and trying to make change are paramount in our human connections. I hope you use your passion for good instead of just blaming the government for all that is wrong and judging people here on mdc.

  40. I’m so sorry for offending you! I shouldn’t have made you feel badly. You’re right, I’m far from perfect. I just don’t think that formula should be given to everyone. It is very hard to breast feed & I think more people would succeed without it being pushed on us. And it’s not environmentally friendly to waste. I think the companies are definitely trying too hard with the marketing. The lady below made a great analogy: it’s like giving antidepressant to everyone & everyone doesn’t need them. So, I hope you cheer up:) I didn’t mean to upset you & I’m very sorry:)

  41. It’s really quite unfortunate that you feel this petition is nutty, and that as an RN you take the side of the formula manufacturers over health! Again, a clear indication of how the normalization of formula feeding, which is indeed heavily influenced by the distribution of formula samples in hospitals, has so effectively influenced moms and medical professionals alike.

  42. I’ve done hours and hours adding up to days worth of research on this. Without question, breast feeding is an option for everyone- even those who can not do it themselves. The benefits of Breastfeeding are so great, that in contrast formula can certainly be looked at as poison. It’s amazing that as a society the majority of us who decide we are fit enough to be mothers also decide not to feed our own previous babies. Instead we ask for a chemically created concoction that hardly resembles breastmilk. Would we live off of “fake food?” would we eat food in a powder form? No. Our bodies deserve real food- real nutrients and real enzymes from fresh fruits and veggies. Why oh why do we prevent our babies from having real breast milk? Why do we market that they should eat fake breastmilk? It’s beyond me. Its unfair. We are one of the only countries that prefers to consume- to feed our bodies and minds- with complete poison. No wonder we are so confused we hardly know how to feed our own babies. No offense to mothers whos babies are grown up. I do feel that love is stronger than any other thing. Love is even more important than food. What is life without love? Surely it is not life. so for those of you who were not fortunate enough to have been able to Breastfeeding, thank you for giving your child love!!!!!!

  43. Marise, please – get a grip. I haven’t “taken sides” with the formula company (this is an example of the extremist, fascist nutty thinking I was talking about), rather, I’m trying to bring REASON back into the conversation. Do you hear yourself? Obviously “breast is best,” but there are circumstances that prevent many mothers from breastfeeding. Some of those circumstances can be eliminated via good education, but not all. Breastfed babies have an advantage, but formula fed babies do perfectly well. In any event, the entire proposition to ban formula samples in hospitals is weirdly totalitarian and any rational person would see that as the red flag that it is. Our culture would be vastly improved if we would only bring back PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY as a cultural and personal value. Try it!

  44. After having to transfer to the hospital with my failed homebirth, I was completely offended by being sent home with formula samples. While I received a lot more support than I thought I would at the hospital to breastfed, I still was angered every time I glanced over the kitchen counter and saw the formula packets sitting out. After two weeks of being at home, I told my husband that I would like to donate all the formula and he said wait.

    Well, it turns out his paternal instinct was better than my maternal and at 6 weeks postpartum I ended up back in the hospital. During my week and half stay, I was on some serious drugs that prevented me from giving breastmilk to my baby and while I pumped and dumped in an attempt to keep up my supply, I am very thankful for those horrible formula samples that had come home with me. I don’t know what my already super stressed husband would have done with me completely incapacitated and unable to feed the baby.

    On a happier note, I was able to bring my supply back after about 3 months of supplementing with formula but it took some serious prescription drugs and my daughter never did relearn how to latch. I won’t be signing this petition because while my case was rare, the formula samples saved my husband at a moment’s notice from having to panic further. And if the trip to the hospital postpartum hadn’t been an emergency, I would have loved to make a search for donated breastmilk since it is better than formula but I couldn’t be a mother for a few days and I definitely think my husband handled the situation as best he could. Instead of a petition like this, I think America needs more education on why breastmilk is best and why formula is 4th/5th best.

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