COLUMBIA, Md. - Howard County General Hospital will no longer give away free baby formula samples to new mothers.
In an effort to get the hospital to a "Baby Friendly" designation, Howard Co. General will join 90 other hospitals in a collaborative program called Best Fed Beginnings. The program was recently launched by the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ).
The hospital is one of only two in Maryland starting this initiative. They hope to raise the rates of breastfeeding among new mothers.
On average 30.9 percent of breastfed infants in Maryland receive formula before 2 days of age. That's 24.5 percent higher than the national average according to the Center's for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It's certainly a difficult, but significant designation to obtain and Howard County General is well on its way, already implementing a number of the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding." Doris Cybert Wilcher, Lactation Consultant at Howard County General said in a statement.