In support of breastfeeding the nursing staff at Los Alamos Medical Center’s (LAMC) Women’s Health and Childbirth Center no longer distribute formula company diaper bags as discharge gifts to new families.
Numerous studies over the last 20 years demonstrate that distribution of free diaper discharge bags, gifted to hospitals at no cost by formula companies, decrease exclusive breastfeeding rates. These “gifts” of formula samples and coupons undermine maternal confidence and encourage mothers to supplement breastfeeding with formula, ultimately leading to decreased milk production and an actual need for continued supplementation.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Office of Women’s Health, and the World Health Organization encourage healthcare organizations to end the distribution of these bags.
The Women’s Health and Childbirth Center nursing staff no longer distribute these formula bags as one of many developments targeted to support families in their choice to breastfeed. Under the guidance of Denise Martinez, RN, Women’s Health and Childbirth Center Director, policies and procedures are changing to support better breastfeeding outcomes. These changes include direct, uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact between mother and babies immediately after birth, prenatal education on breastfeeding management, encouragement of “on-demand” in lieu of scheduled feedings, and direct “rooming-in,” keeping mothers and babies continually together.
Family-centered cesarean sections are also on the rise at LAMC. Family-centered cesarean sections allow expecting families to remain united after surgical birth, no longer separating mothers from their babies and partners. In conjunction with the Surgical Services department, led by Keith Lepsch, RN, and local obstetric, neonatal, and anesthesia care providers, the Women’s Health and Childbirth Center staff are working towards making this style of delivery the norm for non-emergency cesarean deliveries.
For more information of the ban the bag initiative, visit www.banthebags.org
For more information on improving breastfeeding outcomes, visit www.babyfriendlyusa.org