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Disney Moves to New Market - Newborns

Tokyo Disneyland Parade
Mickey Mouse and crew at Tokyo Disneyland in January. Getty

Disney may be a part of most people's childhoods - but they want that to start earlier.

The company began sending representatives late last month into 580 maternity hospitals across the country, offering new moms a free Disney Cuddly Bodysuit for their newborns, reports the New York Times.

Representatives from Disney Baby provide bedside demonstrations and ask moms to sign up for e-mail alerts. The company is planning to give away 200,000 bodysuits by May, when Amazon, Nordstrom and Target will begin carrying the products.

Hospitals have long given away gift bags, but some have banned the practice after arguments that giving away baby formula samples discourages breast-feeding. The Times reports that Disney has also received criticism from groups like Children Now for targeting families at a vulnerable time.

Disney has been criticized for marketing products at the very young. In 2009, the company issued refunds for their Baby Einstein line of products after the legitimacy of their education claims were questioned.

The company, however, plans to solider on in a market they estimate to be $36.3 billion annually, according to the Times. Planned items include bath products, strollers and baby food.

The items will be part of a larger push to reach younger children. Disney Junior, a new channel geared towards preschoolers, will debut on Feb. 14. Disneyland Resort is revamping their It's a Small World ride to have a Disney Baby marketing tie in, according to the Times.