Mothers participate in a demonstration in front of a clothing store in a shopping mall in Montreal
Mothers participate in a demonstration in front of a clothing store in a shopping mall in Montreal January 19, 2011. An employee had requested a mother not breastfeed in their store earlier this month, prompting a group of about 60 mothers to hold a "nurse-in" in the shopping mall to express their right to nurse in public, according to local media. Reuters

Less hospitals are providing industry-sponsored infant formula sample packs to the mothers of newborns, according to a study.

The follow-up study found that less U.S. hospitals gave out these packs in 2010 than they did in 2007.

Researchers had contacted 1,239 hospitals in 20 states in 2007. Fourteen percent did not give out any sample packs. In 2010, 28 percent of these same hospitals were not giving out any sample packs.

I don't think hospitals are the right place to market anything and I don't think hospitals should be marketing a product that is nutritionally inferior to breast milk, study author and Boston University medical school associate pediatrics professor Anne Merewood said, the Associated Press reported. People do think if a doctor gives something it must be good for you.

The American Academy of Pediatrics believes women should breastfeed exclusively for six months, and then introduce solid foods in addition to breastfeeding for at least 12 months.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, then foods plus breastfeeding for up to two years or more. WHO also recommends that mothers begin breastfeeding within an hour of giving birth and that breastfeeding be done whenever the baby wants.

Breast milk alone is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first six months after birth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Even when babies enjoy discovering new tastes and textures, solid foods should not replace breastfeeding, but merely complement breast milk as the infant's main source of nutrients throughout the first year, according to the CDC.