The New York Times published an article yesterday about how hospitals are stopping the practice of distributing formula samples to breastfeeding mothers. It was interesting to read in the context of considering the use of disposable cloth diapers in hospital maternity wards (and are also often sent home with new parents).

Newborn baby in hospital-provided disposable diaper

Photo courtesy Sarah in San Diego

Like cloth diapering, breastfeeding is the healthiest option for babies.  However, formula companies recognize the crucial marketing opportunity they have with new parents in hospitals.  Samples provided by hospitals

- improve brand recognition for future consumers and
- imply that the product is approved by their doctor.

If providing formula samples to new parents is so useful that formula companies give them to the hospitals for FREE, what about the use of disposable diapers in hospital maternity wards?

Would the use of reusable cloth diapers in maternity wards encourage longer term cloth diaper use?

Heather McNamara
Executive Director, Real Diaper Association



2 Responses to “Disposable diapers in hospitals”

  1. Aryn Kennedy Says:

    The difference here is that the formula isn’t used in the hospital unless the mother asks for it (in many hospitals) or if it’s medically necessary. The formula is simply sent home with the mother as a sample. Also, formula companies are large corporations with large marketing budgets. I doubt most cloth diaper manufacturers have the budgets to provide diaper samples to send home with mothers. When I gave birth, the nurse gave me the extra disposable diapers from the bassinet along with the gauze wipes. It wasn’t a formal sample from Huggies.

  2. hdellarocca Says:

    Each hospital uses a certain brand of diapers in their maternity wards. I suspect that disposable diaper companies would compete for that position – to be the diaper that parents first use on their babies AND the diaper that appears to be endorsed by their doctor/hospital. How much is that competition worth to them? I wonder about the discounts/freebies that hospitals get from disposable diaper companies for the privilege. And I also wonder how all this affects the perception of parents on the health and safety of disposable diapers…

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