Delaware to Stop Providing Baby Formula in Hospitals - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware to Stop Providing Baby Formula in Hospitals

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SEAFORD, Del. - Delaware is the third state to "ban the bags" and discontinue giving formula gift bags to new parents in all maternity facilities. 

The state follows Rhode Island and Massachussetts in the effort to encourage breastfeeding as the optimal nutrition for infants.

Kate Libby has been exclusively breastfeeding her six-month-old son Hudson since the day he was born.

"We started to breastfeed because we always heard that breast is best and I knew that it would be the best choice for me and my baby," she said. "There's so many benefits along with it impacting their health; it's free and it's convenient and it really helps establish a bond between the mother and the baby and that's been the best part of it for us so far."

She's one of several mothers who support Delaware's hospitals discontinuing giving formula to new parents.

According to the Delaware Division of Public Health, breastfeeding protects babies from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, asthma and more. Studies also show mothers who breastfeed have less risk of ovarian and breast cancer.

But some moms, like Alyssa Titus, a mother of three, say it pressures new parents.

"I absolutely think it's forcing people to conform with what I guess somebody in the medical profession has deemed the best thing and I don't think that's fair," she explained. "It's not right for everybody and it's actually for those people who have never done it it's a really difficult thing to manage."

Officials said distributing formula is an implicit endorsement that health providers shouldn't be making, but DPH director Dr. Karyl Rattay still acknowledged the choice.

"It's a personal choice," she said. "We want moms and dads and families to have all the information they need to make an informed choice but we have to support womens' choices and if they choose not to that's fine."

This decision goes hand in hand with Governor Jack Markell's proclamation that August will be national breastfeeding month.

In 2011 in Delaware, 13.2 percent of infants were breastfed for the first six months compared to 18.8 percent nationally.

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