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Health: New Breastfeeding Initiative Changes Some Philadelphia Hospitals’ Policy

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Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A group of Philadelphia hospitals, that deliver babies, say they’ll no longer give free formula to mothers when they leave area hospitals.  3 On Your Side’s Stephanie Stahl has the details. A Philadelphia breastfeeding task force made the announcement today, no more formula giveaways. The goal is to raise the city’s breastfeeding rates.

Studies show breastfeeding can help improve children’s health and even benefit the mom, reducing her risk of cancer.

Now six Philadelphia hospitals, including Temple University Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, Hahnemann University Hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hospital are making a dramatic shift in policy, hoping more mothers will breastfeed.

Say goodbye to those commercial formula bags.

“We want really all Philadelphia babies to get a healthy start, the best healthy start possible,” said Katya Pigur, the Director of Clinical and Breastfeeding services at Philadelphia’s Maternity Care Coalition. She led the “ban-the-bag” campaign. She says Philadelphia breastfeeding rates are well below the state average. She hopes this latest initiative will change that, making Philadelphia the City of Motherly Love.

“This is important because we know moms that receive free formula samples with discharge they are less likely to breastfeed longer than 10 weeks,” said Pigur.

The commercial bags that are provided by formula companies contain cans of formula, along with educational material and discount coupons.  Some say getting it from the hospital made many moms think it’s good for their baby.

“Formula advertisement really influences moms who want to breastfeed and also undermines their breastfeeding success,” said Pigur.

Chrissy Allen is a big believer in breastfeeding.

“I think it’s the healthiest for the baby. It’s the most natural, easiest for them to digest,” said Chrissy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the American Academy of Pediatrics have recommended against formula marketing at hospitals.

This announcement coincides with World Breastfeeding Week 2014, that started today.

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