The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that nearly half of 2,600 hospitals that were surveyed no longer provide formula samples to breastfeeding women. This is up 25% from 2007. The survey did not state if women who were not breastfeeding were given formula samples.
Formula samples come in gift bags that pregnant women receive when they start their new baby visits with their OB-GYN and typically continue to receive after they enter the hospital.
These goody bags usually consist of an array of powered premix samples and coupons. These incentives to the new mom usually result in the formula company gaining an extra $700 a year in sales. Unfortunately this lower to this competition is the new baby and mom.
These formula companies have also marketed the hospital staff with gifts and incentives which has further encouraged their stronghold in the maternity ward. As a result, many of the staff is not eager to bid adieu to their own goody bags as part of this marketing deal.
In any case, the significant drop in formula perks and advertising to pregnant and postpartum women is good news for breastfeeding and newborn health. Although formula may be a necessary option for some new moms with health issues, for the majority of moms and babies breast milk really is best and breastfeeding is doable with the right support system in place.
We at TummyStyle understand that breastfeeding isn't always easy for new mothers. 100 years ago there was a community of women who had previously nursed (there was no formula then) and these friends and female family members could provide support to the new mom and tips for breastfeeding. Now a days with many families not living near other relatives, and formula easily available and even encouraged, breastfeeding can be a more challenging task.
We encourage all pregnant women who want to try breastfeeding to find out about breastfeeding education through your local prenatal classes at the hospital and to get the support you need soon after birth with a certified lactation consultant. Many hospitals provide this service during your hospital stay but sometimes you may have to actively request the service from a lactation consultant or nurse on call. Oftentimes you may need more help after you return home in which case you may need to find a local lactation consultant. It may cost around $500-$60 per session but that expense will be more than made up in a few month of not spending on formula as well as the priceless increased health benefits to both your baby and yourself.
Once you and your baby are in the groove of breastfeeding, it just becomes more natural. Although it may seem easier to get a good night sleep up front and give the baby formula, you will soon be glad you went through the effort when you baby is happily nursing and thriving on your natural organic personal breast milk.