This is the 51st in a series on Booby Traps, made possible by the generous support of Motherlove Herbal Company.
Can you help us collect information about the distribution of formula “gift” bags? Read on and answer our survey below!
A slow but steady trend is occurring in hospitals: more and more are eliminating the distribution of formula “gift” bags, once a ritual of hospital discharge.
A 2011 study found that between 2007 and 2010 the number of hospitals going “bag free” in 20 states doubled. Last month Massachusetts became the second (after Rhode Island) and largest state to go entirely bag free.
But as a 2010 study noted, “pediatric and obstetric offices serve as alternative, medically related distribution sources. It is possible that if distribution decreases in the hospital, the industry will increase marketing efforts in such alternative outlets.” And as I’ve written before, even a single formula gift during pregnancy has a measurable effect on breastfeeding outcomes.
But this shift from hospital to prenatal and pediatric settings in fact happening? Your comments on this blog suggest that it is, but so far there is no research to confirm the trend. And as far as I can tell there is no research about the prevalence of formula bags in pediatric offices, or regarding the total number of bags mothers are offered from different providers in the course of one pregnancy and birth.
So I thought it would be a good use of this post to shed some light on the topic.
Please fill out the survey below (or use this link) to help us understand what’s happening. Our hope is that your responses will lead to further investigation on this topic!
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