Removal of industry-sponsored formula sample packs from the hospital: does it make a difference?J Hum Lact. 2012 Aug; 28(3):380-8.JH
Most US hospitals distribute industry-sponsored formula sample packs. No research has examined outcomes associated with sample pack removal as part of a hospital intervention to eliminate sample distribution postpartum.
To examine prospectively hospital-based and breastfeeding outcomes associated with removal of industry-sponsored formula sample packs from the hospital.
We enrolled mothers postpartum at Cooper University Hospital, an urban New Jersey hospital, in 2009-2010. For the first 6 months, all women received industry-sponsored formula samples packs (control group); for the next 6 months, all postpartum women received hospital-sponsored bags with no formula at source (intervention group). Research assistants blinded to the design called subjects weekly for 10 weeks to determine feeding practices.
We enrolled 527 breastfeeding women (284 control; 243 intervention). At 10 weeks postpartum, 82% of control and 36% of intervention women (P < .001) reported receiving formula in the "diaper discharge bag." Kaplan-Meyer curves for any breastfeeding showed the intervention was associated with increased breastfeeding (P = .03); however, exclusive breastfeeding was not significantly different between intervention and controls (P = .46). In post hoc analysis, receiving no take-home formula in bottles from the hospital was associated with increased exclusive breastfeeding in control (P = .02) and intervention (P = .03) groups at 10 weeks.
Although the hospital-branded replacement contained no formula at source, many women reported receiving bottles of formula from the hospital. Change in practice to remove industry-sponsored formula sample packs was associated with increased breastfeeding over 10 weeks, but the intervention may have had a greater impact had it not been contaminated.