Woman nursing her baby

Welcome to the PABC

The Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition was established in 1992 to protect,promote, and support breastfeeding in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

We have gathered breastfeeding advocates from across the Commonwealth, who meet quarterly and communicate regularly through our listserv. Comprised of health professionals from hospitals, clinics, state-level public health departments, and universities, concerned parents and citizens, and volunteers from community organizations such as La Leche League and local nursing mothers counselors, each member contributes time, energy, and expertise to activities that support breastfeeding in Pennsylvania.


Next Meeting April 24, 2014, Harrisburg, PA 

Immediately after the meeting we will be visiting PA legislators at the Capitol. Separate sign ups required--please click Meeting tab for details. 


Study Shows Vast Majority of Top-Ranked Hospitals Have Ended Infant Formula Marketing  

Prohibiting In-Hospital Formula Promotion Is Now Best Practice Nationwide


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The vast majority of the U.S. News and World Report’s 2013-14 “Best Hospitals” have ended or substantially limited formula marketing to new mothers, according to a new study released today by Public Citizen and the Ban the Bags campaign.


The vast majority of top-ranked U.S. hospitals have stopped distributing formula company-sponsored discharge bags with formula samples, the most common form of formula marketing.


The study, based on a Public Citizen survey and reports collected by Ban the Bags, shows an encouraging trend among hospitals seeking to improve mother and baby health through infant feeding support policies. It also represents progress in efforts to block companies from co-opting hospitals and using them to peddle products to new mothers with what appears to be a stamp of approval from the medical establishment.


“This report shows that prohibiting infant formula marketing is not only a recommended policy, but a best practice employed by the top hospitals,” said Public Citizen’s Executive Vice President Margrete Strand Rangnes, a mother of two. “The most reputable hospitals are realizing that marketing formula is unethical and ultimately undermines the health of mothers and babies. Now it's time for the laggards to catch up, to protect infant health.”


The report finds:


·         Sixty-seven percent of top hospitals in gynecology (30 out of 45) reported not distributing formula company sponsored discharge bags, formula samples or other formula company promotional materials to mothers in their maternity units. Another 11 percent (5 of 45) reported limiting formula company-sponsored discharge bag and sample distribution to mothers who request them, or based on other criteria.

·         Eighty-two percent (14 of 17) of U.S. News’ Honor Roll, of overall best hospitals, reported having a policy or practice against distributing formula company-sponsored discharge bags or other promotional materials.

·         Eleven percent of hospitals in gynecology (5 of 45) still distribute formula company-sponsored materials, and a handful of hospitals did not respond to the survey.

“It is such wonderful news that so many of the top-ranked hospitals have eliminated the distribution of commercial infant formula discharge bags,” said Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC, co-chair of the Ban the Bags campaign. “This demonstrates such a significant commitment to the health of their littlest patients. Our experience at the Ban the Bags campaign in Massachusetts has shown that formula marketing does not belong in the hospital, and hospitals should market health and nothing else.”


There is overwhelming agreement by major healthcare provider organizations that distributing discharge bags sends the wrong message to mothers that hospitals endorse formula feeding. Healthcare professionals agree that instead of using formula, breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months after a child is born has numerous short- and long-term health benefits for both babies and mothers.


Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and others have estimated that women save up to $1,500 per year in formula costs if they exclusively breastfeed.


Research convincingly shows that mothers who receive infant formula samples are less likely to breastfeed exclusively and are more likely to do so for shorter durations. Accordingly, the U.S. Surgeon General in 2011 called for more enforcement of a World Health Organization (WHO) International Code that prohibits in-hospital formula marketing. Hospitals are increasingly seeking to become Baby Friendly, a designation that requires them to cease marketing formula to new mothers.


The report reaffirms other data showing that hospitals have been steadily trending toward ending formula promotion over the past decade. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) survey, 27.4 percent of hospitals had discontinued the formula discharge bags in 2007, and by 2011, 45.5 percent had ended the practice. All hospitals in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have voluntarily banned discharge bags.


The study is part of a nationwide Public Citizen campaign aimed at both healthcare facilities and major formula makers, and Ban the Bags’ campaign. More than 16,500 people have signed Public Citizen’s petition calling on the three major formula companies – Abbott, Mead Johnson and Nestle – to stop marketing formula in healthcare facilities. To read Public Citizen’s report and learn more about the organization’s campaign to stop infant formula marketing in healthcare facilities, visithttp://citizen.org/infant-formula.


Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.



Eva Seidelman


Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert

1600 20th St. NW

Washington, D.C. 20009

TEL: (202) 588-7751


Public Citizen, Celebrating 40 Years of Progress

Public Citizen employees are proud members of SEIU Local 500.

Access Full Report with citations HERE

 Four Pennsylvania Hospitals Have Been Recognized by Public Citizen as Among the Leading US Hospitals who have recently discontinued the practice of distributing infant formula marketing bags to new mothers. View the Press Release HERE.