A new study published in the latest issue of Pediatrics found that fewer hospitals are giving new moms samples of formula, although most still are. In an earlier 2007 study, just 14% of hospitals studied refrained from sending home formula samples. In 2010, twice as many of the same hospitals had gone sample pack-free. The most significant drops were seen in states that already had lower rates of formula distribution in 2007.
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Studies have shown that the samples can disrupt efforts to breastfeed exclusively, and health advocacy organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have complained about the practice. The CDC released a damning report on hospital breastfeeding support earlier this year, explaining that some formula companies give hospitals free formula for preemies and other special needs infants who can’t breastfeed, but only if the hospital agrees to put samples of formula in the goody bags they send home with new moms.
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However, some new parents argue that having samples on hand provides peace of mind in case of middle-of-the-night breastfeeding troubles, when breastfeeding support and lactation consultants may not be available.
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Did you get samples when you left the hospital? Did you feel they undermined your efforts to breastfeed?