The World Health Organization and UNICEF have released their long-awaited report on formula marketing. According to the report, “Formula milk is a US $55 billion per year industry that systematically undermines parents’ infant feeding decisions and compromises women’s and children’s health and human rights.” It also states, “Marketing of formula is emblematic of marketing of other products such as tobacco or gambling that prioritize sales over health and well-being.”Continue reading
July 18, 2021- A rigorous study showed that formula supplementation in the hospital decreased a mother’s likelihood of sustained exclusive breastfeeding. Hospital supplementation decreased her likelihood of initiating breastfeeding in a subsequent child by at least 66%, and reduced the duration of breastfeeding in any subsequent children by at least 6 weeks.Continue reading
March 20, 2020- Formula marketing never takes a holiday, it simply moves to greener pastures, as more hospitals have banned the bags (1,316 or 40% of hospital by Ban the Bags’ last count). Continue reading
Boston — As of July 1, 2012, all 49 Massachusetts maternity facilities have voluntarily eliminated the formula company diaper bags, traditionally given to new moms at hospital discharge. Massachusetts became the nation’s second “bag-free” state after Rhode Island’s seven hospitals eliminated the bags in 2011. The achievement will be celebrated on July 18, at 10:30 am at Nurse’s Hall at the State House, in an event that includes Dr. Lauren Smith, medical director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
In 2005, nearly all maternity facilities in the state were giving out discharge bags from formula companies. The marketing technique is particularly effective in lowering breastfeeding rates in part because of the implied endorsement of the hospital and health professionals. The bags often come with a requirement that hospitals get their formula for free, which contributes greatly to unnecessary use of formula by breastfeeding mothers. Research has consistently shown that such use is one of the strongest predictors of early breastfeeding failure— with a resultant increase in formula sales.
Providence, Rhode Island — As part of efforts to support breastfeeding mothers, women who give birth in Rhode Island will no longer receive infant formula marketing packs when they head home from the hospital. Rhode Island’s First Lady, Stephanie Chafee, Lieutenant Governor, Elizabeth Roberts, RI Department of Health Director, Michael Fine, and Marsha Walker from the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition’s Ban the Bags campaign joined the Rhode Island Health Department Monday November 28, 2011 in celebrating the state’s becoming the first in the nation to eliminate the distribution of infant formula marketing bags in all of Rhode Island’s birthing hospitals.
Director Fine, the Lt. Governor as well as the First Lady spoke of their commitment to breastfeeding families and their support of the hospitals’ efforts in this giant step forward in removing the commercial barriers to breastfeeding. State health officials noted that studies link giveaways to decreased breastfeeding rates, which is not in keeping with their efforts to promote optimal health for mothers and infants in Rhode Island.
For more information, see coverage in USA Today.
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About Our Ad:
Our ad focuses on formula marketing as a consumer issue, and part of a bigger pattern of unethical marketing techniques from the pharmaceutical industry. In this sense, we can show our leaders that this practice affects all citizens, and is not just an issue about breastfeeding.
Because research shows that formula fed babies incur higher health care costs, this results in increased expenditures for Medicaid and private insurers, and can potentially drive up premiums. Research also shows that mothers of formula fed babies miss more time from work, resulting in decreased economic productivity.
Where did we get $700?
Our WIC reference shows over a $700 price difference between formulas marketed by hospitals, and store brands. A conservative estimate shows the name brands cost 66% more. Other sources show an even greater difference in price. The Sam’s Club website shows $.82 per ounce of name-brand powder (in bulk) compared to $.32 for their own brand? more than twice as much.
Research shows brand loyalty runs high with consumers of baby formula. Parents are often hesitant to switch to a different brand if they know their baby is tolerating the expensive brand they started in the hospital.
In response to the predatory marketing practices of the infant formula industry, the World Health Organization (WHO) embraced the Code in 1981 as a means to protect breastfeeding mothers and infants from commercial pressures to avoid or abandon breastfeeding.Continue reading
March 20, 2020- With slumping infant formula sales has come the industry shift in marketing to toddler or follow-on milks for babies starting as young as 9 months.Continue reading
March 20, 2020- Synthetic human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are being added to formula and driving up prices? But are they effective and worth the extra price?Continue reading
Ban the Bags reports that 1,316 hospitals and birth centers are now bag-free – 40% of all hospitals and birth centers in the US. While this is always good news, formula marketing never takes a holiday, it simply moves to greener pastures.Continue reading
All birthing facilities in West Virginia have now eliminated formula company discharge bags, as as confirmed by Ban the Bags. Continue reading
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finally taking some major steps to tighten scrutiny of the labeling (and accompanying advertising) messages that the infant formula industry has been using to market their products in the US. Continue reading
UK Criminalizes Formula Marketing Offenses and
JAMA Forum Comes Out against “Big Food”
According to a report, the UK government has introduced regulations that would make a company’s failure to fall in line with EU infant formula and baby food marketing laws a criminal offense subject to fines. Continue reading
New Hampshire’s 19 maternity facilities have all stopped distributing formula company discharge packs, Ban the Bags has learned. New Hampshire thus becomes the nation’s fifth bag-free state following Rhode Island (1), Massachusetts (2), Delaware (3), and Maryland (4), as well as the District of Columbia. Continue reading