I applaud Massachusetts – who’s next?


State bans gift bags to promote breast-feeding– “Mass. hospitals to stop giving diaper bags filled with formula, other freebies”

I know this news is almost a week old now, but I have to applaud Massachusetts’ new ban on distributing gift bags full of formula* to moms in the hospital.

Some view the ban as too extreme, but I think that it helps encourage breastfeeding and I see that as a positive thing. I, for one, would be happy to see hospitals or even other states follow suit.

The article (above) notes that: “According to 2004 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 74 percent of Massachusetts mothers breast-feed, but only 39 percent are still breast-feeding when the baby is 6 months old, below the federal goal of 50 percent. Nationally, about 36 percent of mothers breast-feed at 6 months.” I’ll be curious to see how much (if at all) the percentages change a year after this new ban is in place.

From another article on the subject, “Giving out these bags reduces the duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding and is considered unethical by many national and international groups, including the World Health Organization. Multiple studies, even from prestigious medical journals such as the Lancet, have shown that the bags interfere with breastfeeding, causing moms to switch to formula sooner, or quit nursing altogether– even when the bags do not contain formula samples.” “Most parents see these as a “free gift,” but the bags are a marketing technique that implies that the hospital endorses the product, successfully boosting sales of formula at the expense of breastfeeding.”

On one of the Yahoo! Groups I belong to, a few of the moms have been working on letters that we can all send to hospitals in our area to encourage them to adopt the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative as instituted by UNICEF and the World Health Organization. “A maternity facility can be designated ‘baby-friendly’ when it does not accept free or low-cost breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles or teats, and has implemented 10 specific steps to support successful breastfeeding.”

While I don’t believe that it necessarily needs to be legislated by the government, I would like to see more hospitals simply adopt the BFHI policy and not give out formula unless it is specifically requested. I think those steps could go a long way at increasing the number and longevity of breastfed babies.

By the way, here’s a great site about the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in the USA.

*It’s worth noting that the ban does not prevent the hospitals from giving formula to moms who request it.

Nice holiday (with pics)

We had a nice holiday around here. Even though Santa didn’t come through with his promise to make us all well and it was kind of weird not having any other family around, we still had a nice day. ;)

Ava enjoyed her presents of Legos, pajamas, clothes, Aquadoodle, lots of books, and a Little People doll house, as well as some money for classes (music classes probably).

Jody and I didn’t exchange gifts, but we still got some presents from our parents. I got a honey bath set, a soy candle, and money from both sets of parents for my photography business. Also, my mom spent some long hours making a beautiful two-sided tree skirt for us. It is quilted and has our names on it, as well as the year.

I made a nontraditional meal for Christmas dinner (because I didn’t buy a turkey in time to thaw it). We had chicken milano (with a few additions – spinach and artichokes), with a spinach salad and brownies for dessert. :)

We are all feeling a lot better now. Jody and I still have some congestion and Ava has a lingering cough, but we are all doing so much better than we were. Yay! Jody’s off of work until Thursday and it’s been wonderful having him home. :) Both Ava and I have enjoyed having him around the house.

Jody has been playing with Ava’s Legos since nearly the moment she opened them. It was always a tradition in his house to get out all of this Legos around Christmas, but since the sets he has have such tiny pieces, he’s had to settle for playing with Ava’s this year. Today he made a very nice looking duck and alligator. She’s enjoyed destroying whatever he creates. Although she did get a big kick out of the duck and alligator and carried them around for a while. :)

Today we went to the library for a free dog show. It was pretty cute. Ava loved watching it and applauding the dogs as they performed their tricks. After the show, we let Ava pick out some books to bring home. That’s the first time we’ve hung out at the library with her, but I think we’ll do it more often. I’m also going to look into taking her up there for storytime each week.

Here are some pics from Christmas.

Presents!

Playing Legos with daddy.

Wearing the tree skirt. :)

Cutie in front of the tree.

Hope you all had a nice holiday and have a great new year. :)