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Marketing to Moms Affects Breastfeeding

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"This is an interesting study because it shows that information given to a woman early in pregnancy will have an effect on her choices," says Anastasia Stekas, RN, MSN, a board-certified lactation consultant at Mount Sinai-NYU Health in New York City, who reviewed the study for WebMD. "Women trust their obstetricians ... and what is given by them is extremely influential."

Stekas agrees with the authors that one of the limitations of the study is the lack of socioeconomic and racial diversity. She also raises the question of the obstetrician's bias. "For the first few weeks, breastfeeding is very hard, and if for some reason the obstetrician encourages a woman to stop, she will."

Vital Information:

  • The World Health Organization prohibits the distribution of free formula samples and promotions in health care facilities, but this is widely practiced in the U.S.
  • New research shows that distribution of these materials can influence more women to stop breastfeeding within the first two weeks after childbirth.
  • In the long-term, there was no difference in breastfeeding habits among women who did or did not receive these promotional materials.
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