Golden Bow Award

What qualifies hospitals for the Golden Bow Award?

In order to earn a Golden Bow Award, maternity facilities must demonstrate 3 actions:​ 1) No commercial infant formula gift bags are distributed. (Note: removing formula from commercial bags before distribution does not suffice.) 2) All gifts to maternity patients are free of infant formula advertising of all varieties (coupons, samples, infant feeding information published by a formula company, etc.) 3) A 24-hour supply of infant formula is given at discharge ONLY if it is left over formula from the baby’s cart and/or is medically indicated by the infant’s health care provider.

Golden Bow Recepients

Click here to view and download the list of current Golden Bow Award Recepients.

About the Golden Bow Award

For decades, infant formula companies have distributed bags containing formula samples, coupons, and other advertising to maternity patients. These “free gifts” are used to boost sales of formula at the expense of breastfeeding. The key to the success of this marketing strategy is the distribution by healthcare providers, which implicitly endorses the formula included in the bags. Nearly 88.6% of North Carolina mother-baby pairs initiate breastfeeding, but a mere 23.4% are exclusively breastfeeding at six months, according to 2018 data from the CDC. Research indicates that one reason for the low rate of exclusive breastfeeding is the marketing of formula in healthcare facilities. Multiple studies show that when breastfeeding mothers are given commercial companies’ marketing bags, they are more likely to start using formula – even if the formula samples have been removed from the bags. The practice also encourages formula-feeding mothers to maintain loyalty to the brand that was “recommended” by the maternity facility, even if it results in financial hardship, as these brand cost 35% more than store brands (~ an extra $700 annually). When hospitals prove that they have stopped distributing formula companies’ discharge bags, North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition is proud to present them with a Golden Bow Award. Golden Bow Awardees recieve a presitgous plaque with certificate to hang in their facility, are listed on the NCBC website year round as a recipient, and are acknowledged as a recipient with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Apply for the Golden Bow Award

Click here to apply for the Golden Bow Award