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Ban the Bag initiative works to promote breastfeeding state wide

Bag the Bags helps promote breastfeeding and the elimination of formula discharge packs
Bag the Bags helps promote breastfeeding and the elimination of formula discharge packs

Hospitals all across the state are adopting measures to help promote breastfeeding to new mothers. The initiative, called “Ban the Bag”, was started in 2000 by the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force as a way get hospitals to stop giving out formula gift bags to mothers who are leaving the hospital with newborns.
Back in 1986 WHO passed a resolution banning free and subsidized supplies of breast milk substitutes to hospitals. Of the 118 countries that signed an agreed to the resolution, the United States was the only country that did not agree and refused to sign. In the state of New Mexico, ten hospitals have taken the step to ban formula gift packs. One hospital in particular, Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, has refused to give formula gift bags for 15 years now.
Formula gift bags come from pharmaceutical companies to help promote their business. Hospitals generally sign contracts with these companies that allow them to distribute their product in exchange for promotion of their hospital.
Studies have shown that women who receive discharge packs are more likely to breastfeed less than ten weeks. In New Mexico, only 56.9% of women were continuing to breastfeed after the first two months with the percentage being lower among women who work or are in school. Hospitals who have banned the bag are more likely to have better breastfeeding resources and most will have access to breast pumps to help promote continued feeding after returning to work or school.
The elimination of formula gift packs is still a work in progress, and the hopes of a higher percentage of exclusively breastfed babies is still far away. But with the help of the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force and hospitals and pediatricians across the state we can hope for a better tomorrow and the complete elimination of formula gift packs.