New regulations prohibit hospitals from providing gift bags with formula marketing materials

Joe Gullo

New regulations by the New York Department of Health will prohibit hospitals and affiliated clinics from giving out gift bags that contain formula marketing materials in an effort to boost breastfeeding in the state.

Health officials say newborn infants that are exclusively breastfed in the first few days of life is only 44 percent in New York compared to 70 percent nationally.

The amended regulations will require hospitals to place newborns with their mothers immediately after delivery unless there are medical issues.

“The amended regulations help ensure that we provide the support and encouragement new mothers need to breastfeed their babies and continue to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. “Research shows that breast milk provides unique nutrients and antibodies that help protect babies from diseases such as ear infections, lower respiratory infections, and diarrhea, and decrease the risk of asthma, diabetes, and obesity later in life. For women, breastfeeding lowers their risk for breast and ovarian cancer, as well as diabetes.”

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