Delaware is the third state, along with Massachusetts and Rhode Island, to “ban the bags.” New moms no longer get gift bags with formula after giving birth.
For decades, new moms leaving Delaware hospitals with their newborns have been handed gift bags filled with bottles and formula. That trend is officially over. Delaware health officials say none of the state’s hospitals will give out the bags anymore.
It’s all part of an ongoing effort to increase the rate of mothers who breastfeed.
Last year, health officials announced that the number of breastfeeding mothers in the state had declined by 3.8 percentage points. There was also a consistent decline in mothers who were still breastfeeding their children at three, six, and 12 months of age.
“There’s an abundant amount of science that supports the health benefits of breastfeeding,” said Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay last year. “Our more recent data are also confirming the benefits in decreasing risk for developing leukemia, or developing diabetes, or developing overweight or obesity, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the risk is decreased among breastfed babies and I could go on and on, the benefits are numerous.”
There are economic benefits for breastfeeding in addition to the health benefits. An American Academy of Pediatrics study estimated that if 90 percent of mothers were to breastfeed as recommended, the U.S. would save $13 billion in health care-related costs per year.