WakeMed, Wake County's largest hospital, will stop giving out formula samples and pacifiers, in an effort to encourage more mothers to breastfeed and win a "Baby Friendly" designation.
Critics have long complained that by giving out free formula samples and diaper bags provided by formula companies, hospitals discourage new mothers from breastfeeding.
By seeking to be the first Triangle hospital given the Baby Friendly designation from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund, WakeMed is hoping to stand out from local rivals in the baby business, including Rex Healthcare.
Applying for the WHO designation is a long process that requires WakeMed to meet various education and training milestones. Hospital officials expect to submit an official application within two years, said spokeswoman Heather Monackey.
WakeMed's new, no-formula policy at its Raleigh and Cary hospitals takes effect Sunday, which is Mother's Day.
The hospitals will still provide formula when parents request it. Some new Moms find they need to supplement breastfeeding.
WakeMed also has adopted a 10-step policy for nurses and other staff to encourage breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding has been tied to better infant health, and reductions in problems later in life such as asthma, diabetes and obesity.
A recent study by French researchers showed that breastfeeding had a lasting impact on children's metabolism. Read more about that study here.