Doctors endorse formula gift bags in hospitals - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-17-2014, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The manufacturers of formula make deals with hospitals to have hospital staff members (usually nurses) give new mothers free gift bags which contain formula and other formula related baby items. That is a very effective marketing strategy by the formula companies because it gives the impression that health care professionals consider formula feeding to be as beneficial as breastfeeding. The only thing that was missing from this marketing strategy was the
actual endorsement of health care professionals. That changed late last year.

In late 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed Enfamil formula in hospital formula gift bags for new mothers. In spite of the fact that the AAP has repeatedly condemned the practice of providing formula gift bags to new mothers, they have violated one of their own core principles. The AAP’s policy statement “Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk” can be found at: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full

In response to the AAP’s endorsement of formula gift bags, the U.S. Lactation Consultant Association sent a letter to Dr. Thomas McInerny, the President of the AAP, criticizing the AAP’s new association with Mead Johnson (the company that makes Enfamil). That letter can be found at:http://uslca.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/12.13.13-Letter-to-AAP.pdf

The Breastfeeding USA organization also sent a letter to the AAP criticizing the AAP’s endorsement of formula gift bags. Their letter can be found at: https://breastfeedingusa.org/content/breastfeeding-usa-urges-american-academy-pediatrics-aap-divest-its-association-formula-manuf

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine also sent a letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics asking them to severe their ties with Mead Johnson. The link to that letter is:
http://bfmed.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/abm-executive-committee-urges-aap-to-discontinue-formula-marketing-relationship/

While it’s not uncommon that an individual member of an organization would do something that violates the policies of the organization, it IS quite unusual when the organization itself does something that is contrary to their own written policies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization that places a great deal of emphasis on professional standards and ethics. It is for that reason that an endorsement by the AAP is highly prized and difficult to get. The AAP has not responded to the letters sent to them by the U.S. Lactation Consultant Association or Breastfeeding USA, nor have they issued a statement explaining or justifying their new affiliation with Mead Johnson.

I don’t want to speculate as to why the American Academy of Pediatrics would provide an endorsement to any formula company. Instead, I would rather that everyone reading this thread go to the AAP’s website and submit your own question to the AAP. The link to their website is: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full

There is a “contact us” tab on the AAP’s webpage. Please ask the AAP why they have endorsed the practice of providing formula gift bags to new mothers upon discharge from the hospital. Please post the answer you get from the AAP here in this thread. Thank you!
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#2 of 4 Old 03-17-2014, 01:58 PM
 
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Actually, my doctor's office gave me a formula gift bag at the appointment confirming my pregnancy last year!  I think that formula may have gone bad by the time the baby came. But it also included, to be fair, a booklet from the AAP that breastfeeding is best (with details about that and other baby essentials). Furthermore, although I am exclusively breastfeeding, I am a little relieved that in case something terrible happens to me, there is the emergency backup food at home.

 

What did seem a little odd to me, though, was that I -- and another exclusive-breastfeeding mom with a different doctor -- were recently encouraged to start solids at four months. The AAP still says to wait until six months! My doctor said the baby needs iron and may not like the taste of the iron supplements. My natural food store pointedly doesn't carry iron supplements for babies: something about the liability/toxicity.

 

Are iron supplements really worse than iron-enriched cereals for a four-month-old? I don't want the hassle (honestly) of messily spooning in highly processed cereal, and my breastfeeding books say to wait until six months. (My baby doesn't have eczema or other allergy-indicating conditions, which is why my doctor says introducing food now "has not been shown to have negative effects." Not a real selling point.)

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#3 of 4 Old 03-20-2014, 09:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viobio View Post
 

Actually, my doctor's office gave me a formula gift bag at the appointment confirming my pregnancy last year!  I think that formula may have gone bad by the time the baby came. But it also included, to be fair, a booklet from the AAP that breastfeeding is best (with details about that and other baby essentials). Furthermore, although I am exclusively breastfeeding, I am a little relieved that in case something terrible happens to me, there is the emergency backup food at home.

 

What did seem a little odd to me, though, was that I -- and another exclusive-breastfeeding mom with a different doctor -- were recently encouraged to start solids at four months. The AAP still says to wait until six months! My doctor said the baby needs iron and may not like the taste of the iron supplements. My natural food store pointedly doesn't carry iron supplements for babies: something about the liability/toxicity.

 

Are iron supplements really worse than iron-enriched cereals for a four-month-old? I don't want the hassle (honestly) of messily spooning in highly processed cereal, and my breastfeeding books say to wait until six months. (My baby doesn't have eczema or other allergy-indicating conditions, which is why my doctor says introducing food now "has not been shown to have negative effects." Not a real selling point.)

 

I think that this is just another thing for companies to make money off of.  Your breastmilk has everything that your baby needs.  Are you still taking your prenatals, and eating a healthy well balanced diet. If so I'm confused why your doctor says your baby isn't getting enough iron.  And as far as cereal and start solid foods.  I would wait until 6 months. I did with my daughter and she healthy as ever.  However, every child is different, and Mama knows best.  Do what YOU feel is right for you and your baby.  If you don't feel right about starting solid foods/cereal with your baby, then don't.  Mama knows best, and no one knows your baby better than YOU.  Follow your heart and your instincts. 

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#4 of 4 Old 03-31-2014, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The slogan of the AAP is “Dedicated to the health of all children.” Perhaps they should have included a disclaimer to that slogan – “However, we are not fully dedicated to the health of all children.”

Today marks two weeks since I started this thread. That is more than enough time for the American Academy of Pediatrics to have responded to those of you who have sent them a message inquiring about their endorsement of providing formula to new mothers in formula gift bags.

In my original post I included a link to the AAP’s “Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk” policy statement. Please note at the top of that policy statement where it says “Organizational Principles to Guide and Define the Child Health Care System and/or Improve the Health of all Children.” The policy statement is a “recommendation”, as opposed to an opinion or a random thought. Health care professionals rely on information presented by the AAP to be the best possible advice they could receive. When the AAP itself provides an endorsement for formula, they cast doubt over the reliability of their own policy statement.

Any professional organization with the resources and prestige of that enjoyed by the AAP will be very cautious and very deliberate when forming a partnership with another organization or business. At the 2012 Annual AAP Leadership Forum, the “Divesting from Formula Marketing in Pediatric Care” resolution was adopted. You can read that document at: http://www2.aap.org/breastfeeding/files/pdf/DivestingfromFormulaMarketinginPediatricCare.pdf

You may be assured that the AAP fully comprehends how an alliance with any company will be perceived by the public and their members. That is why there is no other way to view the new alliance between the American Academy of Pediatrics and Mead Johnson, the manufacturer of Enfamil formula, as being anything other than anti-breastfeeding!
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