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No more free infant formula at RI hospitals

November 28, 2011
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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Mothers giving birth in Rhode Island will no longer leave the hospital with a free bag of infant formula.

As part of an effort to encourage breast feeding the state's seven birthing hospitals stopped formula giveaways this fall.

Rhode Island is the first state in the U.S. in which all hospitals have ended the practice.

State health officials say studies link formula giveaways to decreased breastfeeding rates. Breastfeeding has been shown to be healthier for both infants and mothers.

The state's first lady hailed the decision Monday at a Statehouse event. Stephanie Chafee (CHAY'-fee), a nurse and the wife of Gov. Lincoln Chafee, says eliminating formula giveaways is a critical step toward improving breastfeeding rates.

Formula will still be available to new mothers who experience difficulties with breastfeeding.

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