The manufacturers of formula make deals with hospitals to have hospital staff members (usually nurses) give new mothers gift bags which contain free 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 missing from this marketing strategy was the actual endorsement of health care professionals. That changed late last year.
In 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 free formula to new mothers, they have teamed up with a formula company and are now participating in that practice. In 2012 the AAP issued a policy statement titled “Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk” which you can read at: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full
After the AAP and Mead Johnson (the manufacturers of Enfamil) formed their alliance in 2013, 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. You can read that letter at:
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:
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:
While it’s not uncommon for an individual member of an organization to 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, Breastfeeding USA, or the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. 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:
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!