Mexico Bans Free Baby Formula In Hospitals

Mexico has banned free samples of baby formula in an attempt to boost breastfeeding rates

The Mexican government has announced that it will no longer provide free samples of baby formula at hospitals and clinics, in an effort to boost the country’s breastfeeding rate.

The announcement came Tuesday and while women can still buy baby formula at stores or through a doctor’s recommendation, it will not longer be given at private and public hospitals.

Currently, only one in seven mothers in Mexico breastfeed exclusively in the first six months of their child’s life. Mexico’s rates are the lowest in Latin America. The World Health Organization recommends that mothers breastfeed for the first two years of their child’s life and add supplementary food as their child grows.

The Mexican government finds the current rates problematic because of the country’s high poverty rate and the lack of access to clean drinking water.

While we understand that breastfeeding is the ideal way to feed a newborn, many women simply cannot breastfeed. Health, economic struggles and personal preference are all factors in a mother’s decision to breastfeed or not. Cutting samples only puts further strain on a woman, who may feel inadequate in her role as a mom because she cannot breastfeed.

Also, by cutting off samples to women, many of whom may live in poverty, it only creates more problems. Many women in Mexico work to supplement their household, so making time to breastfeed may be not be possible and pumping is discouraged and in some workplaces, banned.

In 2014, Mexico City launched an ad campaign to encourage breastfeeding. The campaign suggested that women who don’t breastfeed are turning their backs on their children and are bad mothers. The campaign received public backlash for both sexualizing women and for condemning mothers who don’t breastfeed.

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