Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why are formula companies sponsoring breastfeeding guides?

No matter what your personal opinion or experience with infant feeding, you have to admit that it is a little suspect to have Nestle providing breastfeeding support information/guides.  Nestle makes money off of every mother who uses formula to feed her baby.  They make zero dollars (or very little) for every mother who breastfeeds. It is in the corporation's best interest to give incomplete or misleading information regarding breastfeeding.  It is also in their best interest to appear to be supportive of breastfeeding mothers, for PR reasons, as well as because mom will be likely to supplement with or switch to whatever brand formula "helped" her when she was trying to breastfeed.

It is a scientific fact that if a baby receives formula in the first day of life, then the chances of he/she receiving breastmilk are greatly reduced.  It is also a fact that if a mother has some formula on hand while she is trying to establish breastfeeding, she will be more likely to supplement with formula and eventually formula-feed full time.  Why else do you think there are formula-sponsored gift bags at many hospitals?  Why do you think you see all kinds of formula ads in pregnancy magazines and on websites?!
Mothers are in a vulnerable position when they run into one of the many challenges of breastfeeding.  It's a great time for a corporation to lead her to offer a bottle of formula to get some sleep or give some time off for a sore nipple or to give her time to pump to boost her supply (all bad advice).  And so without even realizing it, a woman is being manipulated to fail, to get to the place where her supply is too low or the damage so great that she cannot bear to think about pursuing breastfeeding any longer. 

This is another example of how corporations try to manipulate mothers by playing on our vulnerabilities, fears and desires to give our kids the very best.  Why else would we buy shopping cart seat covers, GPS trackers for our kids, and Baby Einstein videos?!  We don't need these things and if we were not bombarded with the 1000 ways our kids were in danger of being kidnapped, getting sick, and falling behind, we would have time to think things through and analyze the advice we consume.  But so many of us are over-worked and too tired and harried to even begin to think about it.  We go with what we are told to trust, what we think we can trust.  And unfortunately there are corporations there waiting to quiet our fears while lining their pockets.

There are great places to get breastfeeding advice online.  Kellymom is one of the best and most trusted.

1 comment:

  1. I love that in New Zealand there is little or no input from formula companies in any of the handouts from Midwives or hospitals for new Mums. In fact, in NZ the bias is very much against bottle feeding - and some Mums who are unable to breastfeed face real pressure to keep trying and very little support.

    I loved breastfeeding my kids. Wasn't so keen on the initial discomfort, or the cracked nipples - but loved the whole idea. The snuggles, the power I felt at being able to do this incredible thing, the fact that there was no washing up, I could take it anywhere ...

    BTW am loving your blog :)


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