Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico bans giveaways of baby formula at hospitals

Women breastfeed babies during an event at a park in Mexico City. (01/08/2015) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Only one in seven mothers in Mexico breastfeed exclusively in the baby's first six months

The Mexican government has banned free baby formula at hospitals in an effort to encourage breastfeeding.

Health authorities said baby formula would still be available for purchase in shops and could be supplied at a doctor's request.

But they said the country needed to boost low breastfeeding rates.

Mexico has one of the lowest levels in Latin America. Only one in seven mothers breastfeed exclusively during the baby's first six months.

The World Health Organisation says exclusive breastfeeding for six months is the optimal way of feeding infants.

It says thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond.

The Mexican health authorities said Mexico's poor record is problematic in a country where millions of people live in extreme poverty and drinking water is often dirty or contaminated.

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