Why is the APP Endorsing Formula Bags at Hospitals?

Recently, Women’s eNews revealed that the American Academy of Pediatrics logo is featured both inside and outside formula bags hospitals are giving for free to new mothers. According to the article (and happily, I can’t verify in person because my local hospital stopped giving out formula bags over a year ago!), the bags feature the AAP logo on a set of CPR/safety cards, and the bags contain the APP publication “New Mother’s Breastfeeding Essentials,” with a prominent Mead Johnson logo on the cover of said publication.

Apparently, the safety cards with the APP logo have been on the formula bags since at least 2012, but the addition of the AAP publication/MJ logo came in December 2013.

Breastfeeding advocates are both confused and outraged. The AAP itself recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and their annual leadership forum adopted a 2012 resolution to “[Divest] from Formula Marketing in Pediatric Care,” according to a response letter from Breastfeeding USA. So…why would the AAP endorse formula bags that have been proven to undermine women’s breastfeeding goals?

Organizations like Breastfeeding USA, the International Lactation Consultant Association, the Canadian Lactation Consultant Association, Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand, and the U.S. Lactation Consultant Association are writing open letters to the president of the AAP, urging them to finally make good on their resolution to sever ties with formula marketing.

A joint letter from those Lactation Consultants organizations points out that the AAP has actually signed the Council of Medical Specialty Societies’ Code for Interaction with Companies, a document that points out how much the public trusts physicians’ objectivity, that they’ll uphold ethical standards.

These letters point out that the AAP is undermining their own work to promote breastfeeding, infant and child nutrition, and to fight obesity. What gives?

If you were interested in writing your own letter, maybe modeled after the others we linked to, you could! Here’s the contact information for the AAP President:

Thomas McInerny, MD, FAAP
The American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Boulevard
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007?1098

Did you write to the AAP urging them to sever ties with formula marketing? Leave us a comment to share your experience.

2 comments to Why is the APP Endorsing Formula Bags at Hospitals?

  • Even though I’m a little outraged about this, each woman has a decision to make on how they will proceed with breastfeeding – if at all really. Thank you for the address. I will write and let the AAP President know my thoughts.

  • Sarah Joy

    I have a few friends whose milk took several weeks to come in. For them, formula was a necessity that enabled them to get to a point when they could breastfeed their children. I think it’s great that the APP is supporting mothers who are unable to breastfeed (whether at all or just initially) rather than shaming them for having different bodies. The women I mentioned earlier did not feel support from the pediatricians or nurses in the hospital.

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