Maryland's Journey to Becoming Bag-Free
Dana Silver, Vice President, Maryland Breastfeeding Coalition
In the United States, the majority of birthing hospitals distribute industry-sponsored samples of formula to new mothers after they give birth. Mothers who receive formula samples in hospital are less likely to breastfeed exclusively and more likely to breastfeed for shorter durations. As of October 2015, all 33 of Maryland birthing hospitals ceased distribution of formula discharge bags making Maryland a “bag free” state. The 8-year journey to accomplish this feat took many turns. Despite this stellar achievement, it continued to be a heated issue among some stakeholders in the state. This discussion will review the Maryland experience and present insights and suggestions to other states involved in efforts to end marketing of commercial formula in birthing hospitals.