Tuesday, April 01, 2008

There's no escaping...

...the all-powerful formula companies. Got a sample from Enfamil in the mail. Not one, but TWO cans of formula! Then there was a little pamphlet, for those who would choose to breastfeed. It had two pages of basic breastfeeding advice, and the rest of the pamphlet was all about how to supplement breastfeeding with formula, including a schedule on how to introduce it. And lots of "this is why Enfamil is so great". Hm, nice. Thanks, but no thanks. If any of you who live close-by know anyone who'd like two cans of Enfamil Lipil, let me know. They're going to just rot in my cupboard. :p

Personally, I think there should be a law against this type of advertising. If someone wants to formula feed their child, that's a choice they have, but they can go to the store and buy formula there. I think "free" formula samples come at a great cost. Both financially and health wise. There's lots of research that shows just how superior breastmilk is to formula, there's really no comparing the two. I know that sometimes, women have underlying issues and can't breastfeed. And some women just don't want to. That's fine. What bugs me is the notion that formula is just as good as breastmilk. The small print "breastmilk is best" on the formula cans is almost comical, if it wasn't so sad. If you believe breastmilk is best, why do you push your product? Not because your product is so great, or so close to breastmilk. No, it's all about the money. It's all business. Here's an interesting article from Mothering magazine that sums it up perfectly.

Formula for Profit: How Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes Undermines the Health of Babies

Here's another great read, also from Mothering magazine.

Is Breastfeeding in Trouble?

Just some food for thought. I'm not totally anti-formula, it definitely has its place. I used formula for a few months with my oldest son (though had I known more about breastfeeding and pumping then, I may not have). I think formula is beneficial when mothers, for whatever reason, can't breastfeed. And, of course, it gives women a choice. What upsets me is that this "choice" is pushed so aggressively. That even women, like me, who fill out all the forms saying they're planning on exclusively breastfeeding get bombarded with the stuff. Someone take it from me, please, so I don't have to look at it anymore...

One last note, and then I'll stop. I know people complain all the time about the lactivists who make them feel guilty for choosing to formula feed. Look at it this way - at least I'm not shoving my boob down your baby's throat. ;o)

9 comments:

Jeannie said...

Do you have freecycle in your area? You could always list the formula samples on there, they will get taken by someone who really needs them. Or bring them to a shelter.

That is what I did with the samples I got after Nate was born.

I do think it is funny that they put 'breast is best' on the cans, though.

miranda said...

I was really grateful for the formula samples. Since I had to work at the time, and I dried up early (after 3 months, even with pumping), it was a real boon.

I guess breastfeeding longer would have been nice, but The Boy doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects.

Leia said...

I had 32 cans of that stuff from samples in the mail and hospitals by the time Dee was born (I started saving when we had trouble ttc, so I had lots...). I donated them to the food pantry - they were grateful!

I'm still annoyed with the way formula is thrown at new mommies, even having had to use it more often than not this time around. I love your last line, LMAO! You should put that on a shirt!

Beth said...

I just have to say, that just like you get the formula samples unwanted. Mothers that bottle feed still have their milk come in. So just for arguments sake, it happens to all:)!

Doreen said...

Ah, but Beth, milk coming in is a normal, natural consequence of giving birth. It's what's supposed to happen. Receiving formula samples in the mail (or at the hospital, or doctor's office), on the other hand, is anything BUT natural. ;o)

Like I said, I do think formula has its place. For working moms, in cases of adoption, if there are medical problems, or just for choice (and I'm sure there are other reasons I just can't think of right now). What bugs me is the aggressive marketing, and the fact that it affects breastfeeding rates...

Dawn said...

My hospital recently changed their style... No formula samples or free diaper bags from formula companies! I like that. Instead, they come around and give out "milkband" bracelets to help you keep track of which side you nursed on last! It's a big initiative at the hospital, and I like it!

Doreen said...

Dawn, that's great! :o)

beemama said...

Came across your blog and I have to give you a big thumbs-up on this! I also nursed both children, and though we didn't get any formula from the hospital, one of my magazines sold my name to the formula company & we got formula checks. I used them to get the formula and then donated it to our community food bank. They are always grateful for donations like that.

Your baby is beautiful, by the way.

Alissa said...

i received 2 cans of enfamil and 2 cans of another brand... i sent them to my sister who has had to dry up her milk and is dirt poor. i figure that at least it's helping SOMEONE.