Oklahoma Hospitals 'Ban The Bag' To Encourage Breastfeeding - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Oklahoma Hospitals 'Ban The Bag' To Encourage Breastfeeding

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Twenty-four Oklahoma hospitals will stop sending baby formula home with new moms.

It's part of a pilot program called "Ban the Bag." The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) said as part of the program, participating hospitals have agreed to stop sending new mothers home with commercial formula discharge bags.

"Oklahoma hospitals are working hard to encourage breastfeeding and provide quality care to breastfeeding families by joining the Ban the Bag project," said Becky Mannel, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and the project leader. "Breastfeeding support is an important strategy toward improving the health of Oklahoma mothers and their children."

According to the OSDH, the free infant formula samples hospitals send home with new mothers has been known to reduce breastfeeding rates. In addition, it says new mothers who have any problems with breastfeeding are more likely to turn to the "free" formula given to them by their hospital than to call someone for help.

"We must continue to focus on providing better support in our hospitals and communities, and this will, in turn, help improve Oklahoma's breastfeeding rates," said Mannel. "We are very proud of the hospitals that are working to provide a supportive breastfeeding environment for new mothers and babies."

Low breastfeeding rates are one of the reasons Oklahoma continues to rank in the top 10 nationwide for obesity, diabetes and infant mortality, said the OSDH. In a report by the Centers for Disease Control, it state 71 percent of new moms in Oklahoma try to breast feed compared to 77 percent across the nation. Evidence shows that breastfeeding improves the health of mothers and babies while formula feeding adds a significant cost to families and to the state of Oklahoma.

Hospitals Already Bag-Free:

Great Plains Regional Medical Center, Elk City

Jackson County Memorial Hospital, Altus

OU Medical Center, Oklahoma City

OU Medical Center, Edmond

St. Anthony Shawnee, Shawnee

Weatherford Regional Hospital, Weatherford

Hospitals To Be Bag-Free By The End Of August 2012:

Claremore Indian Hospital, Claremore

Comanche County Memorial Hospital, Lawton

Deaconess Hospital, Oklahoma City

Duncan Regional Hospital, Duncan

Hillcrest Medical Center, Tulsa

INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, Oklahoma City

INTEGRIS Baptist Regional Health Center, Miami

INTEGRIS Bass Baptist Health Center, Enid

INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Regional Hospital, Yukon

INTEGRIS Clinton Regional Hospital, Clinton

INTEGRIS Grove Hospital, Grove

INTEGRIS Health Edmond, Edmond

INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center, Oklahoma City

Mercy Health - Ardmore, Ardmore

Norman Regional Health System Moore Medical Center, Moore

Norman Regional Health System HealthPlex Hospital, Norman

St. Anthony Hospital, Oklahoma City

St. John Medical Center, Tulsa

Read the CDC's full report on hospital support for breastfeeding and how it has improved throughout the country and since 2009.

For more information about the Oklahoma Hospital Breastfeeding Education Project contact: Becky Mannel, Department of OB/GYN, at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center at (405) 271-4350.

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