Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Portland Hospitals Give Babies the Best Gift of All for WBW!

That is, they are no longer giving away formula-filled discharge bags!

As of today, all major hospitals in Portland, Oregon, will no longer serve as formula company marketing hacks, sending new babies and moms home with formula in the traditional "gift" bag. This was managed without government intervention, but by staff lactation consultants and others who persuaded their hospitals administrators to voluntarily stop issuing the bags. (Once a couple hospitals agreed to stop, an LC at one holdout warned, "You don't want to be the last hospital in town still giving away formula, do you?") Altogether, five hospital systems, totaling 16 medical centers (including several outside the Portland area, as far off as Medford, Oregon), have stopped giving out formula in discharge bags. Some still are giving bags, but without formula or coupons.

Today, during its annual Benefit Luncheon, the Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon awarded the following hospitals for "Maternity-Care Best Practices" for eliminating infant formula sample packs:
  • Adventist Medical Center
  • Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center
  • Legacy Emmanuel Hospital and Health Center
  • Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center
  • Legacy Meridian Park Hospital
  • Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center
  • Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital
  • Providence Portland Medical Center (where my two came into the world!)
  • Providence St. Vincent Medical Center
  • Providence Milwaukie Hospital
  • Providence Newberg Medical Center
  • Providence Seaside Hospital
  • Providence Medford Medical Center
  • Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital
  • Oregon Health and Science University
  • OHSU Doernbecher Neonatal Care Center
  • Three Rivers Community Hospital (bag-free since 1997 and Baby Friendly since 1999!)
Thank you to all those who worked to make this happen. Oregonians once again lead the way in the US, supporting, protecting, and promoting breastfeeding!


Anonymous said...


Can I copy this and submit it to the hospital I work at.

Ali said...

Chris, has there been any press on this? What is the local reaction? I'm following the NYC story with interest, being from Massachusetts (where Governor Romney derailed the Ban the Bag initiative).


Rachael Blair said...

I've just found your blog and think it's great! Excellent also to read about the hospitals taking breastfeeding seriously!

Rachael Blair said...

I've just found your blog and think it's great! Excellent also to read about the hospitals taking breastfeeding seriously!

Anonymous said...

Dear Reluctant Activist,

Please read the blog at on the subject of the media lies, about the Ban on formula samples and ads in NY city hospitals. I didn't write this but I wish I did. Thanks!

the direct link:


Chris said...

Rachel, Thank you for your kind comment! I love your blog, too. Hope to find your book soon. Is it being published in the US?

Chris said...

Ali, we haven't seen *any* local media coverage of this, though press releases have been sent out. I'm very disappointed with our usually responsive media.

msubulldog said...

I am so glad to hear this! When we had our initial appointment (St. V's circa 2002) with my first pregnancy we got the Similac diaper bag with cans of formula, sample packets--the whole shebang. With my 2nd (born in May) we didn't get anything. I even remember mentioning it to my husband in the "I hope they've stopped pushing this stuff" way. Very pleased that this is the case. Hooray! :)

Mama Luxe said...

That's great!

Also, I thought you might like to check this out:

Some woman was told she had to cover up to feed in an Applebees. She showed the manager the law and he just didn't get it.

Anonymous said...

Chris I don't know if this might be of any interest to you.

Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge

Anonymous said...

It's nice you put up this kind of subject. This blog will be one of the many that I visit everyday.

Til then,

Morgan said...

In the UK, formula companies are in court to weaken and remove restrictions on formula marketing and promotion. We need help and support. Full details on

Anonymous said...

Nice Posting

Amber said...

I vacationed and breastfed in public in Portland just last week. My husband and I talk about moving there pretty regularly. Though we have home births, this will put another check on the "pros to moving to Portland" list. My only regret is how many people stood next to me smoking as I nursed my child on a sidewalk bench.

Anonymous said...

I had my daughter in WA 2 yrs ago and still have the cans of formula they gave us. I totally noticed we didn't get any formula, but rather a consultation from a lactation consultant at Portland Adventist last month with the birth of my son. So happy this is happening!