This puts hospitals in a tricky situation, because while the medical community agrees about the importance of breast feeding, it simply isn’t feasible for all new moms and their babies. For those patients who for whatever reason doctors determine won’t be successful at breast feeding, a few free formula samples to get them started doesn’t hurt.
But the free samples should not be handed out to all new moms. Patient health comes first and for most babies that means breastfeeding.
If your organization is considering updating your formula sample policy, be as transparent as possible. Craft a press release, post an article on your website, and educate staff so that they are up to date if any patient asks. Even if you don’t want to change your policy, explain why you’re sticking with it. Patients will appreciate the honesty.
From Formula to Burgers
Hospitals have also taken heat for housing fast food chains like McDonald's in their cafeterias. Earlier this month NPR reported on the intensifying pressure for hospitals to only serve sensible, healthy food on campus.
Last year the AHA issued a call to action urging hospitals to eliminate unhealthy food in cafeterias as one way to create a culture of wellness, but for some organizations it’s not so simple. Ten years ago the Cleveland Clinic was unable to terminate its contract early with McDonalds, being forced to wait it out.