NEW YORK, May 10 (UPI) -- New York officials are asking city maternity hospitals to limit the promotion of infant formula, which can interfere with a mother's decision to breastfeed.
New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said breastfeeding mothers report receiving free formula at hospital discharge can make them feel like their breast milk is not enough to satisfy their babies.
"Human breast milk is best for babies and mothers," Farley said in a statement. "When babies receive supplementary formula in the hospital or mothers receive promotional baby formula on hospital discharge it can impede the establishment of an adequate milk supply and can undermine women's confidence in breastfeeding. With this initiative the New York City health community is joining together to support mothers who choose to breastfeed."
Twelve private New York hospitals have made the commitment. All 11 public hospitals run by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. banned formula from gift bags and promotional materials from hospital labor and delivery units since 2007, Farley said.
A Health Department subway and hospital poster advertising campaign shows the benefits of breast milk, such as reducing the risk of ear infections, diarrhea and pneumonia, will be posted beginning next week, Farley said.