Infant Formula

Visit our infant formula marketing campaign website.

Sign the petition calling on formula makers to stop marketing in healthcare facilities

Breastfeeding has crucial health benefits for both babies and mothers. Children that are breastfed have reduced risk of acute otitis media, non-specific gastroenteritis, severe lower respiratory tract infections, atopic dermatitis, asthma, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, syndrome (SIDS), and necrotizing enterocolitis. Mothers who breastfeed also experience improved health outcomes, including reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, obesity, ovarian cancer, post-partum depression, and bladder infections. Yet, infant formula makers (primarily large pharmaceutical companies) aggressively market their products to mothers, often using misleading information to suggest that formula feeding is equivalent to breastfeeding.

Healthcare providers should not act as marketers for any products. Yet, many are co-opted by formula companies to market their products: in the United States, the vast majority of birthing hospitals dispense industry-sponsored samples of formula to new mothers after they give birth. This practice sends families the message that hospitals are endorsing formula feeding. Mothers who received formula samples in hospital are less likely to breastfeed exclusively and breastfeed for shorter durations. It's not just hospitals that market formula on behalf of manufacturers; other healthcare facilities, such as clinics and doctors offices, also participate in formula marketing.

In 1981 the WHO established the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. The Code states that healthcare facilities are not to be used for the marketing of infant formula. Hospitals in the U.S. that continue to distribute formula samples, as well as the formula makers that pursue this type of marketing, are in violation of the WHO Code.

We are fighting to end the practice of formula marketing in healthcare facilities.

More Information

News Releases

Infant Formula Manufacturers Criticized for Violating World Health Organization Marketing Standards
Public Citizen | May 21st, 2014

Study Shows Vast Majority of Top-Ranked Hospitals Have Ended Infant Formula Marketing
For Immediate Release: Contact: Margrete Strand Rangnes (202) 588-1000 Angela Bradbery (202) 588 | October 29th, 2013

Commercial Alert to Hospitals: Stop Handing Out Industry-Provided Samples of Infant Formula
April 9th, 2012

Related Articles and Links

Related Articles

Infant Formula Manufacturers Urged To Stay Out Of Delivery Wards
Carey L. Biron | Mint Press News | May 31st, 2014

No more baby formula samples in goodie bags
South Florida Times | May 28th, 2014

JMH Stops Giving Out Formula Samples In An Effort To Promote Breastfeeding
ANA VECIANA-SUAREZ | CBS Miami | May 27th, 2014

To promote breastfeeding, Jackson Health System stops giving out infant formula samples
ANA VECIANA-SUAREZ | Miami Herald | May 27th, 2014

Free Ain’t Free
Katrina Pavlik | Breastfeed Chicago | May 21st, 2014

Forget the WHO Code. It’s The Street Code That Undermines Mothers in Detroit
Kimberly Seals Allers | Mocha Manual | May 21st, 2014

We Support Formula-Feeding Moms AND We Fight Formula Marketing
Danielle and Bettina | Best for Babes | May 21st, 2014

The WHO Code, marketing, sponsorship, and why you should give a damn
The Boob Geek | May 21st, 2014

Why Keep Infant Formula Marketing Out of Healthcare Facilities?
Kelly Bonyata | kellymom.com | May 21st, 2014

Mama Bear doesn't go away when the kids are grown: Day of Action #NoFormulaAds
Jodine Chase | May 21st, 2014

Mama Bear doesn't go away when the kids are grown: Day of Action #NoFormulaAds
Jodine Chase | Jodine's World | May 21st, 2014

Day of Action: get out from under the influence of a lifetime of formula marketing
Kimberly Lee | Breastfeeding Medicine | May 21st, 2014

Five Reasons American Women Won’t Breastfeed
Rani Molla | Wall Street Journal | April 14th, 2014

10 things the baby-product industry won’t tell you
Elizabeth O'Brien | Market Watch (Wall Street Journal) | April 11th, 2014

In-hospital formula use deters breastfeeding
Medical Express | February 14th, 2014

Letter: Samples discourage breast-feeding
Dr. Betsy LeRoy, President, Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition | The Advocate | February 6th, 2014

Half of Oklahoma Hospitals Encourage Breastfeeding by Not Giving Free Formula Bags
Oklahoma State Department of Health | Native Times | February 4th, 2014

Stop marketing infant formula
Eva Seidelman and Lisa McCloskey | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Opinion) | January 17th, 2014

One of 2013’s best kept secrets in breastfeeding
Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka | Momsrising.org | January 3rd, 2014

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine urges AAP to end formula marketing partnership
Health Canal | December 31st, 2013

ABM Executive Committee urges AAP to discontinue formula marketing relationship
Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine | December 26th, 2013

Does the A.A.P. Logo Belong on Formula Gift Bags?
KIMBERLY SEALS ALLERS | The New York Times | December 19th, 2013

Does the A.A.P. Logo Belong on Formula Gift Bags?
KIMBERLY SEALS ALLERS | The New York Times | December 19th, 2013

Formula Marketers Put Pediatric Academy in the Bag
Crystal Lewis | Women's eNews | December 11th, 2013

When Will You Stop Taking Money From Junk Food Peddlers?
Nancy Huehnergarth | Huffington Post | November 30th, 2013

St. Joseph Medical Center no longer offers samples of formula to new moms
Beth Anne Heesen | Reading Eagle | November 26th, 2013

Top Hospitals Putting an End to Formula Marketing to New Moms
Our Bodies, Our Blog | November 22nd, 2013

Special Report: How Big Formula bought China
ALEXANDRA HARNEY | Reuters | November 8th, 2013

New Report: Vast Majority Of Top Hospitals Prohibit Infant Formula Marketing
Kindredcommunity.com | November 7th, 2013

Changes at hospitals dramatically increase breast-feeding rates
St. Louis Today | October 31st, 2013

Need a Little Good News?
Cal WIC Blog | October 30th, 2013

Report: Nation’s Top Hospitals Not Pushing Baby Formula On New Moms
Chris Morran | The Consumerist | October 29th, 2013

Formula Samples Decline
Peggy O'Mara | peggyomara.com | October 29th, 2013

Employee claims Danone gave bribes
Zhou Wenting | China Daily | September 24th, 2013

Ban advertising of infant formula, UNICEF urges Gov't
Jamaica Gleaner | September 20th, 2013

Formula-fed babies may be more susceptible to chronic disease, study finds
UC Davis | August 8th, 2013

Breastfeeding rates on the rise
JOHN MICHAELSON | Tennessee News Service | August 7th, 2013

Obesity rates decline among low-income preschoolers after rising for decades
Lena H. Sun | Washington Post | August 6th, 2013

Maryland hospitals commit to increased support for breastfeeding mothers
WMAR Staff | ABC2News.com | August 5th, 2013

Md. health officials issue set of recommendations for breastfeeding newborns
Associated Press | The Washington Post | November 15th, 2012

Industry opposes HK govt ban on baby formula ads
Ming Yeung | China Daily | October 31st, 2012

Push for Breast-Feeding (3 Letters)
Elizabeth Ben-Ishai | New York Times | October 23rd, 2012

Hospitals discourage baby formula samples to promote breastfeeding
Haley Hernandez | WCBD | October 17th, 2012

Hospitals Ditch Formula Samples to Promote Breast-Feeding
PAM BELLUCK | The New York Times | October 16th, 2012

Breastfeeding flashmobs: Chinese mothers are abandoning formula
Tessa Thorniley | The Telegraph | October 9th, 2012

Breastfeeding Moms Boot Nestlé from Maternity Wards
Elizabeth Ben-Ishai | YES! Magazine | October 5th, 2012

Breastfeeding: Ounces of prevention
Kate Long | The Charleston Gazette | September 24th, 2012

Hospital support, limits on formula key to breastfeeding success
Katie Kerwin McCrimmon | Health Policy Solutions | September 20th, 2012

Oklahoma Hospitals 'Ban The Bag' To Encourage Breastfeeding
Deanne Stein | News 9 | August 29th, 2012

City Continues Breastfeeding Initiative
Cheryl Wills | NY1 | August 29th, 2012

Md. crafts state hospital breast-feeding policies
RACHEL ROUBEIN | Carroll County Times | August 27th, 2012

Breast vs. bottle: Should the government intervene?
Carly Weeks | The Globe and Mail | August 20th, 2012

‘Latch On NYC’ breastfeeding campaign draws attention, but is hardly unique
Jennifer LaRue Huget | The Washington Post | August 14th, 2012

Minister wants strong regulation for advertising baby formulas
Taddeo Bwambale | New Vision (Uganda) | August 13th, 2012

Formula v breastfeeding: Should the state step in?
Kate Dailey | BBC News | August 8th, 2012

CDC report: Colorado number 1 in breast feeding
Kim Posey | Fox 31 Denver | August 2nd, 2012

Bloomberg’s Breast-Feeding Plan: Will Locking Up Formula Help New Moms?
Bonnie Rochman | Time | August 1st, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg's infant formula plan aimed at promoting breast-feeding in NYC hospitals
CBS News | July 31st, 2012

AAP Resolution On "Freebies" Not Among Top Ten
Heidi Green | babygooroo.com | July 30th, 2012

Carroll Hospital Mulls Eliminating Infant Formula Gift Bags
Lisa Rossi | Eldersburg Patch | July 25th, 2012

Massachusetts Hospitals Ban Free Baby Formula Gift Bags 7 Years After Mitt Romney Said No
Jessica Samakow | Huffington Post | July 19th, 2012

What Mitt Romney Has to Do with Breast-Feeding and Infant Formula
Bonnie Rochman | Time | July 17th, 2012

Report: Massachusetts birth hospitals ditch free infant formula gift bags
Staff | CBS News | July 16th, 2012

Mass. birth facilities ban infant formula gift bags
Deborah Kotz | Boston Globe | July 13th, 2012

Hospitals drop free baby formula, encourage breast feeding
Gail Huff | WJLA | July 13th, 2012

Infant Formula Gift Bags Will End At Howard County General Hospital
Lisa Rossi | Ellicott City Patch | July 10th, 2012

New push to stop free infant formula at hospitals
John Dorschner | Miami Herald | June 25th, 2012

Fonterra's genie in the bottle
Pat Booth | Aukland Now | June 21st, 2012

Nestle Opens Clinical Development Unit To Back Health Claims
Emma Thomasson, Reuters | Huffington Post | June 6th, 2012

Breastfeeding goals: Over half of new moms miss the mark
Stephanie Hanes | Christian Science Monitor | June 6th, 2012

Why Mitt Romney Is No Fan of Breastfeeding
Adam Weinstein | Mother Jones | May 17th, 2012

Making Choices in the Age of Information Overload
Adam Davidson | The New York Times | May 15th, 2012

Maternity Ward Swag
Elizabeth Mitchell Armstrong | The New York Times | May 11th, 2012

Some Hospitals Will Curb Samples of Baby Formula
ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS | The New York Times | May 11th, 2012

"Latch on NYC' to support breastfeeding moms
Kemberely Brown | Eyewitness News | May 10th, 2012

Plummeting breastfeeding rates in East Asia “alarming” -expert
Thin Lei Win | AlertNet | May 3rd, 2012

Breast-feeding advocates want Ohio hospitals to stop giving out formula
MARANDA SHREWSBERRY | WKSU | May 1st, 2012

Can a Formula Company Really Promote Breast-Feeding and Fight Child Obesity?
Bonnie Rochman | Time | April 30th, 2012

Hospitals halt free baby formula
Erin Grace | Omaha World Herald | April 30th, 2012

Public Citizen: Florida Hospitals Shouldn't Hawk Infant Formula
WCTV | April 30th, 2012

The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women
Katie Allison Granju | Slate | April 30th, 2012

Nestlé’s Purchase of Pfizer’s Infant Formula Unit Detriment to Public Health
Wenonah Hauter | Common Dreams | April 24th, 2012

Corporate Profits or Healthy Babies?
Robert Weissman | Huffington Post | April 16th, 2012

Should hospitals pass out free baby formula to new moms?
Amy Graff | SFGate | April 12th, 2012

Food Marketing to... Neonates? Bad Form, Bad Formula!
David Katz | Huffington Post | April 10th, 2012

Advocacy group calls on hospitals to support breastfeeding
Meredith Cohn | Baltimore Sun | April 10th, 2012

Public Citizen targets hospitals offering infant formula to new moms
JANET ST. JAMES | WFAA | April 10th, 2012

Group: Hospitals wrong to give baby formula to new moms
South Florida Sun-Sentinel | April 9th, 2012

Should Hospitals Stop Giving Out Free Samples Of Baby Formula To New Moms?
Chris Morran | Consumerist | April 9th, 2012

Hospitals pressured to end free baby formula
Susan Heavey | Reuters | April 9th, 2012

As Governor, Romney Dove Into Breastfeeding Debate
Andrew Kaczynski | BuzzFeed | April 7th, 2012

Canadian infant formula crackdown fails to make baby steps
Sarah Schmidt | Montreal Gazette | March 26th, 2012

South Africa: Draft regulations on baby formula, foods published
South African Government News Service | March 7th, 2012

Protesters briefly disrupt U of A ceremony awarding honorary degree to Nestle exec
Sheila Pratt | Edmonton Journal | March 2nd, 2012

How Companies Learn Your Secrets
CHARLES DUHIGG | The New York Times | February 16th, 2012

Canada: Natrel accused of milking parents' fear with Baboo, a toddler drink
Jennifer Pagliaro | The Toronto Star | February 7th, 2012

Abbott Nutrition Webcast to Target Canadian Health Care Providers
INFACT Canada/IBFAN North America | Informed Parent | January 18th, 2012

In Hong Kong, a call for baby formula ads to stop exaggerating
Vanessa Ko | Smart Planet | December 21st, 2011

Uganda: Baby food supplements face ban, says ministry
Flavia Nalubega | Daily Monitor | December 19th, 2011

Bill to stop giving baby formula sparks debate
JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH | The Jerusalem Post | December 16th, 2011

Free Formula Samples Hamper Breast-Feeding Efforts
Nancy Melville | Medscape | December 5th, 2011

RI eliminates free infant formula giveaways at hospitals in move to boost breastfeeding
Associated Press | Washington Post | November 29th, 2011

China May Ban Infant Formula Ads to Encourage Breastfeeding
Natasha Khan | Bloomberg | November 10th, 2011

Infant-Formula Companies Milk U.S. Food Program
Molly M. Ginty | Women's e news | November 8th, 2011

Study: Infant formula ads reduce breast-feeding
TERESA CEROJANO | Associated Press | November 3rd, 2011

Do hospitals' freebies undermine breast-feeding?
Medical XPress | September 26th, 2011

External Links

Ban the Bags
A national campaign to stop formula company marketing in maternity hospitals. The campaign’s web page includes a list of hospitals in the United States that have banned formula sample bags.

The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes
The World Health Assembly adopted the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes in 1981 to protect and promote breastfeeding, through the provision of adequate information on appropriate infant feeding and the regulation of the marketing of breastmilk substitutes, bottles and teats.