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Should this be legal?

Poll Results: Should it be legal for formula companies to give "gifts" at the hospital?

 
  • 12% (30)
    Yes to free formula and free gifts
  • 12% (31)
    Yes to free gifts but not free formula
  • 70% (174)
    No, it discourages breastfeeding
  • 4% (12)
    Undecided/Other
247 Total Votes  
post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 
Should it be legal for formula companies to give gifts (like diaper bags with their company name) and free formula at the hospital?

I mean, they already do it, but SHOULD they be able to?
post #2 of 70
I say no, but not that it just discourages breastfeeding. Some of the gifts certainly do discourage breastfeeding, and by the hospitals giving them out, is basically an endorsement.

But I think even things that are not related to infant feeding should not be given out to new mothers at the hospital. I remember getting my gift package from the comminuty with all kinds of crap it in. I thought it was rude and tacky, and I was very annoyed at the hospital for not only allowing it, but participating in it, and wasting my time by having me look through this box of junk, with me under the impression that whatever was inside was a nice gift.

I got crappy pacifiers from the local sporting goods store, and cheap rattles from a local real estate manager, etc.

The hospital is just provinding free advertisement, through vulnerable patients.
post #3 of 70
I said yes it should be leagal to give whatevere they want. In reality it depends on if you are at a private or public hospital. Mainly at a private hospital it is between the hospital and the company and therefore should not be resricted by law. Since a public hospital recieves state/county aid they can be regulated more and should not be allowed to hand out gift of any kind.

Personally, so as not be misunderstood, I think it really sucks that they do this and it ismorally reprehisable but none the less I feel government should keep its nose out of private business.
post #4 of 70
Some mothers have said that they planned to ff their first baby and they were not given the free stuff, but that the mothers delivering at the same hospital who were planning to bf got all the bottles and formula samples and all that.

That to me is sick and wrong.
post #5 of 70
I'm 100% pro-breastfeeding, but I think I have no business telling people how to conduct business. If you don't want the bag you don't have to take it. I think a woman's decision to breastfeed goes way beyond free samples. If you really want to breastfeed you will give it all you've got, and probably know the facts. If you didn't start out with that commitment in mind, I think you'd be likely to go out and but formula free samples or no.

Every woman I've met that said they were going to "try" breastfeeding has given up. It seems like if you have that maybe/maybe not mentality when the going gets tough you'll get the formula wether you have it there or not.
What the samples do is get those women to use their brand.

The only way to get women breastfeeding more is proactive prenatal education...IMHO

Carla
post #6 of 70

Arrggh!

No, hospitals should not give out free artificial baby milk. How can they say they are pro-bfing, and then give out that poison?

"Of even greater concern is the mother who encounters a breastfeeding
problem. In some situations, she may use the formula she received upon
discharge from the hospital instead of seeking assistance from a
knowledgeable health care provider or La Leche League leader. The practice
of formula discharge pack distribution impresses upon the mother that the
hospital endorses that particular brand when in fact it is usually the
lowest bidder who obtains the privilege to supply the hospital with that
brand.
Do health care professionals wish to continue being unpaid sales
representatives for the formula companies? Some may argue that they aren't
unpaid when they accept free food, training and gifts from a formula
company, a practice that the authors, along with many other lactation
professionals, discourage. These practices that occur in clinics and
hospitals across the US are in direct violation of the WHO/UNICEF
International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes. According to
WHO/UNICEF, between one and two million infants worldwide die each year due
to artificial feeding. It was also WHO that first recommended that infants
be breastfed for at least two years.

While most of the United Nations countries signed onto the Code in the early
1980s, the US withheld it's support of the Code until the Clinton
administration voiced it's approval in 1994. The Code bans all promotion
of bottle-feeding and sets out requirements for labeling and information on
infant feeding products. Any activity which undermines breastfeeding also
violates the Code. The Code's main points are for no promotional efforts to
consumers, health care professionals or hospitals yet these violations
continue in hospitals and clinics across the country."

--C. Curtis IBCLC, M. Griese IBCLC from Breastfeeding Online
post #7 of 70
Quote:
I think a woman's decision to breastfeed goes way beyond free samples. If you really want to breastfeed you will give it all you've got, and probably know the facts. If you didn't start out with that commitment in mind, I think you'd be likely to go out and but formula free samples or no.
I think this is kind of a cold attitude. We're not just talking about some woman succeeding or failing at doing something she may or may not want to do. We are talking about a child's healthy.

Most mothers do NOT "really want to and give it all they've got."

Those few mothers who do, will not be easily swayed. But the rest of the mothers need every little bit of encouragement and support that can be mustered.

If you take a woman who figures she might as well give breastfeeding a shot, and you surround her with support and information and help, and encouragement, you will likely end up with a dedicated breastfeeding mother.

If you take a woman who figures she might as well give breastfeeding a shot, and you surround her with formula ads, and inaccurate information, and all of the professionals and family members around her telling her to just give the baby a bottle of formula, and you will likely end up with a bottlefeeding mother.

So, you may say, well, it's her own fault for not learning more in the first place. Maybe so. But who suffers? The baby.

Let's do what we can to help babies get what they deserve.
post #8 of 70
Quote:
If you take a woman who figures she might as well give breastfeeding a shot, and you surround her with support and information and help, and encouragement, you will likely end up with a dedicated breastfeeding mother.
I agree, that's why I said prenatal/postnatal education needs to be ramped up. I think its a shame that more people don't breastfeed and we need to worry more about breastfeeding promotion through the medical staff at hospitals and ob/gyn's etc.
We also need to build support via word of mouth, and setting a more widespread example. this will take time. LLL presence should be increased, lactation consultants made more available for at home visits.

I still think it takes a commitment on the mother's part to see it through. I have two cousins with babies who just didn't have any commitment to it, and within the first couple of days gave up. it had nothing to do with formula samples etc. I could tell before they even had the babies that they weren't going to see it through, they were just so nonchalant about it. I tried heavy BF advocacy, they just weren't going for it.

It's not great that they give out the samples, but I don't think it is something that needs legislation. which was the original question. Hospitals should consider banning it as their policy, but LEGALLY I think it's best left alone. I think it goes into legislating ethics and morality which is opening a can of worms

Carla
post #9 of 70
I was always told those samples *ARE* illegal. WHO has fined playtex, gerber, nestle, mead johnson etc for giving out samples. It is illegal because it is contraindicative to worldwide health. Of course in the US No one enforces it, but they get heavy fines.
post #10 of 70
I think Carla's right. Hosptials should, on their own initiative, refuse to hand out these samples (although I seriously doubt many ever would). This is not an appropriate venue for legislation. If the legislature were to get involved on public health grounds, it would be much better off acting to ensure women had adequate job, seniority and benefits protection as well as wages during an extended absence from work (at least 6 months of protected time, I would argue) following childbirth.
post #11 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Marlena
[B]I think Carla's right. Hosptials should, on their own initiative, refuse to hand out these samples (although I seriously doubt many ever would).
Actually, many hospital are doing just this. Just not many in this "great" country of ours, where dollars matter more than lives.

Have you heard of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative? One of the requirements for being designated baby friendly is to *not* give out free ABM. Instead, you must train all maternity staff in *correct* lactation management, and send the bfing moms home with a list of bfing support persons/groups (intead of ABM). An inner city Boston hospital manged to do this. Hospitals in third world countries manage to meet these requirements. Most American hosps don't bother.
post #12 of 70
I hate to answer a question with a question, but...

What do you think of cigarette companies giving away free samples to heart & lung patients? I mean, not all can quit smoking. And they would be giving little "quit smoking" pamphlets along with the samples. The samples would clearly state "no smoking" is best. But, not everyone can't not smoke. They don't want to encourage people to smoke, just get those who are going to use cigarettes to use their brand.
post #13 of 70

i think it should be available

but, you are not and should not be forced to take it.


i think it is actually a good thing to send home with all mothers. the reason i like it is for a back up. in case the mother was to die or something trajic was to happen to her. or if she was late getting home from somewhere. i would think an emergency can would be a good idea.

that is my two cents.
post #14 of 70
Quote:
What do you think of cigarette companies giving away free samples to heart & lung patients? I mean, not all can quit smoking. And they would be giving little "quit smoking" pamphlets along with the samples. The samples would clearly state "no smoking" is best. But, not everyone can't not smoke. They don't want to encourage people to smoke, just get those who are going to use cigarettes to use their brand.
I don't think this comparison works as tobacco is a HIGHLY ADDICTIVE, highly carcinogenic product. ABM might not be great for a baby, but hardly shares these characteristics. I'm a ABM baby and I'm certainly not DYING from it. I may have hada better health record or be a pinch smarter, have a closer relationship with parents etc...

I think it isn't helpful to the cause when making such extreme comparisons

Respectfully disagreeing

Carla
post #15 of 70

Re: i think it should be available

[but, you are not and should not be forced to take it.


How many women refuse free stuff? not me..and im an avid nurser.. i just sold my samples on ebay

i think it is actually a good thing to send home with all mothers. the reason i like it is for a back up. in case the mother was to die or something trajic was to happen to her. or if she was late getting home from somewhere. i would think an emergency can would be a good idea.

that is my two cents.
[/QUOTE]


It is true.. an emergency can would be nice... but why not buy a pump? wic gives em for free... even manual stimulation isn't that hard... possibly if they did a free can... how about giving out free eye droppers instead of nipples? My kids had to have ABM at some point, but you know what? they suck down from an eyedropper a helluva lot faster than some nipple AND it won't cause nipple confusion!
post #16 of 70
I don't think it should be illegal, but I find it wrong for them to give it for free. Hosptials should promote breastfeeding. Its hard for something free to be advertised.

Let the hospitals advertise breastfeeding and the formulas can do it (like they already do) outside of the hospital.
post #17 of 70
I think it is okay to give gifts but not formula. I received a diaper bag with a bottle cooler, ice packs, and bm storage containers. I use it to carry my pump and dd's bottles the day my mom watches her. The nurse at the hospital asked if I wanted it and was quick to add "there's no formula in it". It kind of made me feel good to take something from the formula company when they will never be getting anything from me!
I think the issue is the overall attitude toward bf'ing at the hospital. I gave birth at a hospital based birthing center that is very pro-bf'ing. I called the nurses in many times in the middle of the night to check latch (I wanted to get sidelying right before I went home) and they were always happy to come in and check. The LC stopped by for 20 minutes both days to chat and when she heard through the grapevine that I was running a fever the day after I left she called to tell me to get acidophilus if I was on antibiotics. So with all the encouragement and support even if I had formula I wouldn't have felt the need to use it (although I was going to bf - there was never a doubt for me) whereas if a women wasn't given formula but was in a setting that didn't fully support and encourage bf'ing she might be more likely to go buy some.
post #18 of 70
Although I don't particularly like the idea of giving out samples, I am not totally oppoesed. There are a lot of women who went into the hospital knowing that they were not going to breastfeed. I think these women should get the samples, b/c it can be money saving(not quite like breastfeeding!). I also lets these women know they can register and get more free formula, coupons, and other items. I formula feed my first son, for lack of good info and help from crappy LC, but I used all the coupons I got, I used all the free stuff I got, and I even registered for mailing lists. With ds2 I went home with 1 pack of 8 4oz nursette bottles, but was given a syringe to finger feed if I was too sore. This is all my son got, other than the occassional botthle of formula when I ws gone and I forgot to thaw Bm. I think we went through that pack only after a few months.

I still clip coupons for free formula. I add one scoop to my son's applesauce...b/c he is very slow to gain weight. I got six free cans, and I gave away two, and am on my next to last can. Adding formula to applesauce and yogurt was the middle ground to keep WIC and ped from bugging me about giving pediasure. I have several coupons that I need to call and get the free cans for a friend who gave up on nursing But I know they are tight on money so I will get the cans to help out, since she decided not to continue nursing.

So to sum up I think no formula for breastfeeding moms, but yes to formula feeding moms.
post #19 of 70
As a doula I am careful to prepare my clients for successful breastfeeding,,I make sure they are educated to begin with, use positive language (I hate more than anything hearing a woman say she is going to TRY to breastfeed! I always get her to change that and say she most definately is going to breastfeed..) and I also prepare them for the inevitable feeling within the first couple of weeks that somehow she is not providing enough milk,,EVERYONE wonders,,and a woman knowing that will be more prepared to work through it. Our hospital offers breastfeeding clinics 3 times a week, where they can go and get any support or help they need, as well as weigh the baby before and after nursing,,so they can be supporten in the knowledge that they are providing just what the baby needs, though they can't see it, they can't measure it, and the baby seems to always want to be nursing!

But in preparation for their nursing success, I always really encourage them to leave the formula at the hospital. I am happy to take advantage of all the goodies, and encourage them to do the same! (I have a diaper bag, cooler packs and a thermal pouch, a "Nursing Mothers Compaion, the first 2 months" all courtesy of the formula companies.) They also wanted to send home some packets of formula,, as if to say "Best of luck with nursing,but when you fail,,here is something to fix it!" I just leave the nipples, formula and coupons there..I think most of my clients do as well.

I do think it is gross that the evil companies prey on that time when new mothers are so vulnerable. Everyone has a moment in the beginning when it seems like it would be so much easier to offer a bottle, when you are so sleep deprived and grandma tells you a bottle will help youget sleep, or it seems like the baby is not getting enough..so on. To make sure that there is a sample of formula available at that time is just wrong.
post #20 of 70
When I checked out of the hospital in April with my second, the nurse went through the samples/freebies with me and, before I could decline the formula samples, said, "But you're breastfeeding, so you probably don't want these. Do you want me to donate them to a food bank for you?"

I said yes. Too bad they can't staff a LC at the food bank, though!

Of course, I arrived home to find THREE CANS of formula from Enfamil on my doorstep...How'd they get my name?

Mel
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