Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Hospitals Ditch Formula Samples to Promote Breast-Feeding"

The lead from an article "Hospitals Ditch Formula Samples to Promote Breast-Feeding" in today's New York Times:
"For years, virtually every new mother has been sent home from the hospital with a gift bag full of free product samples, including infant formula.
"Now health authorities and breast-feeding advocates are leading a nationwide effort to ban formula samples, which often come in stylish bags with formula company logos. Health experts say they can sway women away from breast-feeding."
Of course, an argument comes along with this shift, one based on facility, marketing and the so-called nanny state, but the health benefits are unchallenged:
"The debate over formula samples isn’t about whether breast-feeding is healthier. Even formula companies acknowledge that 'breast milk is the gold standard; it’s the best for babies,' said Christopher Perille, a spokesman for Mead Johnson, which makes Enfamil formula.
"Breast-feeding decreases babies’ risk of ear infections, diarrhea, asthma and other diseases, and may reduce risk of obesity and slightly improve I.Q., experts say. The question is whether samples tempt mothers who could breast-feed exclusively for the recommended six months to use formula when they’re exhausted or discouraged if nursing proves difficult."
"The C.D.C., the World Health Organization and breast-feeding advocates say samples turn hospitals into formula sales agents and imply that hospitals think formula is as healthy as breast-feeding. Health experts warn that even small amounts of formula dilute breast-feeding’s benefits by altering intestinal micro-organisms and decreasing breast milk supply, since women produce less when babies nurse less. They say that while some women face serious breast-feeding challenges, more could nurse longer with greater support, and that formula samples can weaken that support system."
Naturally, with the shift to banning formula, we'll hear cries of nanny-stateism. Hogwash. Where are the cries of corporate-controlism? For the sake of nothing but marketing and profits, we are bludgeoned with free baby formula in hospitals, junk food commercials on children's television, soda machines in school cafeterias and funding of university agricultural departments by pesticide companies. Aren't these an infringement on my right not to support our crumbling health care system by paying higher monthly insurance premiums?

And the corporate controlists make no excuses about what they are doing:
"Hospitals are 'the ideal setting for new mothers to get information about feeding options,' Mr. Perille said. And 'if they’re going to formula-feed, we would like them to choose our brand.'”

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