National Survey Shows Mothers Want Support for their Infant Feeding Choices
Ninety-eight percent of mothers surveyed say, "It should be my decision how I choose to feed my baby."
WASHINGTON (January 24, 2013) –Mothers want to continue making their own infant feeding decisions, and they want unrestricted access to infant feeding information, according to a recent national survey. The new survey also shows that mothers in the United States do not agree with hospital or government policies that limit access to educational information on infant formula and samples during their hospital stay. The nationally representative survey of mothers with children under 12 months was conducted by the bi-partisan team of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQRR) and Public Opinion Strategies (POS) was a reprisal of a 2009 survey and sampled opinions of more than 1,000 mothers.
"Moms are telling us that they want to feel supported by hospitals and healthcare providers, whether they choose to breastfeed, formula feed, or use a combination of the two," said Anna Greenberg, Senior Vice President at GQRR. "Being fully informed is important to moms, and they trust hospitals to not restrict their access to infant feeding information and formula samples."
- 71 percent of mothers have already decided how to feed their babies before entering the hospital
- Of the 95 percent of mothers who receive any infant feeding information in the hospital, only 58 percent reported receiving educational material on infant formula
- 81 percent of mothers get infant feeding information from their doctors and nurses
- Moms reported not being able to produce enough breast milk and having to go back to work or school as the two biggest barriers to feeding their babies breast milk
- 94 percent of mothers said restricting the use of formula in the hospital would not have influenced whether or not to breastfeed or how long they breastfed
- 90 percent of mothers approve of hospitals giving out hospital discharge bags with infant formula samples, and 76 percent said they used the samples they were given
- 77 percent of mothers opposed hospital policies that restrict hospital discharge bags with infant feeding information and infant formula samples, and 82 percent opposed government restrictions on hospital discharge bags
"With today's increased focus on hospital-patient satisfaction, it's important to know that nine out of 10 mothers, regardless of whether they formula feed, breastfeed or both, want infant formula educational materials, discharge bags and infant formula samples, whether they ultimately use the samples or not." said Greenberg.
When asked what actions could help increase breastfeeding in the U.S., 29 percent of mothers said, "guaranteeing paid maternity leave or longer maternity leave" and 28 percent said, "providing more support for non-food items like a breast pump, so women can continue to breastfeed when they go back to work." Moms also said they would like more breastfeeding support in the workplace.
"These are areas where healthcare providers, the government and employers could do more to support mothers to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates," Greenberg added.
Mothers identified a number of other barriers that either prevented them from initiating or continuing breastfeeding – the most common of which include the inability to produce enough milk and problems associated with breastfeeding. "Many mothers want to breastfeed," stated Nicole McCleskey, Partner at POS, "but oftentimes they realize that when it's time to go back to work, continuing to exclusively breastfeed and maintain their milk supply can be difficult without adequate support."
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Note to Editors: Between August 8 and September 3, 2012, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Public Opinion Strategies interviewed 1,001 mothers of children age 12 months or younger throughout the country. This sample included an oversample of 210 Hispanic mothers. Mothers of multiples, pre-mature babies and adopted babies were screened out to give us a sample of mothers without medically determined or influenced decisions about how to feed their children. The overall margin of error of this survey is +/- 3.10. This research was sponsored by the International Formula Council, an association of manufacturers and marketers of formulated nutrition products. For more information on the findings of this survey, please visit www.MomsFeedingFreedom.com.