Many Hospitals No Longer Giving Away Free Formula

The number of American hospitals that don't distribute free samples of infant formula to new mothers has doubled in the past 3 years, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found.  That translates into over one quarter of all hospitals holding back from offering the samples.

"We found a trend, in what I consider to be the right direction, that more hospitals are discontinuing sample pack distribution," said Anne Merewood, PhD, director of research for the Breastfeeding Center at Boston Medical Center and one of the report's authors.

She explained that multiple studies have shown formula freebies decrease both breastfeeding exclusivity and duration. Public health groups, including the Centers for Disease Control, say formula samples can negatively affect breastfeeding, particularly among first-time moms and those who are ill in the postpartum period.

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