Should hospitals stop giving out formula samples?

PORTLAND, Ore. - The consumer advocate group Public Citizen just launched a new campaign to get hospitals to stop giving out formula samples in maternity discharge bags.

In a letter sent to 2,600 hospitals, the group says healthcare facilities shouldn't market any "potentially harmful commercial products" to new moms. It also believes mothers who receive formula samples in the hospital are less likely to breastfeed exclusively and more likely to breastfeed for shorter durations. Public Citizen has also posted an online petition targeting formula manufacturers.

In 2007, Portland became the first city in the U.S. to become "bag-free" when more than a dozen area hospitals decided to eliminate the samples from discharge bags.

According to the Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon, 40 of the 52 birthing hospitals in Oregon have already eliminated the free samples. There are 12 hospitals throughout the state that still give them out.

In December, 2011, Rhode Island became the first bag-free state in the nation. Several groups are pushing for Oregon to become the second. Many hospitals in Southwest Washington, including PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, do not give out free samples of formula.

What do you think?
Should hospitals be banning the samples? Were you given formula samples after the birth of your child? Did it influence on your attitude to breastfeeding?
Let us know in the comments below.