National Survey Shows Mothers Want Support for their Infant Feeding Choices


A new survey of mothers of newborn children (under 12 months) shows mothers want support for their infant feeding choices. These mothers know breast feeding is the healthiest option, but want to be fully informed about feeding choices. Yet many report being denied basic information about infant formula.   These mothers overwhelming oppose hospital or government policies that restrict information or access to discharge bags.

Key Findings

  • Seventy-one percent of mothers have already decided how to feed their babies before entering the hospital.
  • Of the 95 percent of mothers who receive any infant feeding information in the hospital, only 58 percent reported receiving educational material on infant formula.
  • Eighty-one percent of mothers get infant feeding information from their doctors and nurses.
  • Moms reported not being able to produce enough breast milk and having to go back to work or school as the two biggest barriers to feeding their babies breast milk.
  • A 94 percent majority of mothers said restricting the use of formula in the hospital would not have influenced whether or not to breastfeed or how long they breastfed.
  • Another 90 percent of mothers approve of hospitals giving out hospital discharge bags with infant formula samples, and 76 percent said they used the samples they were given.
  • Seventy-seven percent of mothers opposed hospital policies that restrict hospital discharge bags with infant feeding information and infant formula samples, and 82 percent opposed government restrictions on hospital discharge bags.

This survey was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Public Opinion Strategies between August 8 and September 3, 2012.   It involved 1,001 mothers of children age 12 months or younger and included an oversample of 210 Hispanic mothers. The overall margin of error of this survey is +/- 3.10. This research was sponsored by the International Formula Council, an association of manufacturers and marketers of formulated nutrition products. For more information on the findings of this survey, please visit http://inr.synapticdigital.com/ifc/MothersOpinionPoll2012/.

Read the full memo here (pdf).

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