Reading the paper today I came across this article.
Save the Children, a charity, has stated that they wish for formula cartons to have ‘cigarette style’ health warnings that ‘breast is best’.
Now, a lot of you who are regular readers know how I feel about the BF VS FF steel cage match (for newbies, read here), and this something that honestly made my blood boil.
Every new mother, whether by reading baby books, actively seeking information on the internet, or having information thrust at them by midwives are fully aware that breast milk is the best milk for babies. We have it shoved down our throats on a daily freaking basis. Even the follow on milk adverts start with assuming you would be breastfeeding first.
Don’t forget, they aren’t allowed to advertise First Milk – so there’s actually a lot less information out there on breast milk alternatives. In fact, I think that the main problem is that mothers are only informed of breastfeeding as the only option out there when it isn’t.
However, calling it a cigarette style warning on the can implies that formula is akin to the poison of a cigarette which I definitely do not appreciate. It’s all well and good to say you can give up certain food if your baby is allergic to the breast milk. What if you gave up loads of different foods and yet your baby still couldn’t take your milk? It would mean a starving baby and a low supply, right? Would you still continue to try breastfeeding even though baby is losing weight? Probably not because instinctively you want to protect and feed your baby – so you go and grudgingly get a can of formula milk and see a huge fuck off label basically branding it poisonous… How is that supposed to make a mother feel?
Formula is currently the only safe and legal alternative to breastmilk. I understand in 3rd world countries breast milk is encouraged because it is actually the better option in countries where malnutrition is the biggest killer and water is sparse. In the UK we don’t have such a problem
Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world and I support any mother who wishes to do so. I support any choice as long as the baby is fed and healthy. Some babies won’t take to the breast at all even if there’s nothing wrong with the supply. Yes, mothers can pump til their hearts content and use donor milk if necessary but not everyone wishes to do that so they shouldn’t be torn down for the decision to choose formula first.
After all, you can lead a horse to water…or in this case, baby to boobymilk. It doesn’t mean they’ll drink it.
Earlier in my lovely blog here I wrote about the big debate between booby feeding and bottle feeding. Something I have come to notice lately are TV adverts about this issue.
Do you ever wonder why you don’t see adverts about infant first milk? Only ever follow on milk? The World Health Organization has done intensive investigation into the advertising practices of formula companies, the health risks of the use of breast milk substitutes, the associations between advertising practices and breastfeeding rates across a multitude of cultures, and the impact of advertising on consumption and cultural beliefs. After several years of research analyses and committees and publications, they produced the
International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.
Yep you read that correctly. It sounds like a covert mission doesn’t it? Here are some of the things that the ICOBMS says:
There should be no advertising or other form of promotion to the general public
of products within the scope of this Code.
So – they actually are not allowed to advertise infant formula.
Manufacturers and distributors should not distribute to pregnant women or
mothers or infants and young children any gifts of articles or utensils which may
promote the use of breast-milk substitutes or bottle-feeding.
This basically tells us formula is wrong and breast should be the only milk
The World Health organization recommends that an infant be fed its mothers own breastmilk from the breast. If that is not possible, expressed breast milk from that infant’s mother is the next choice. After that, breast milk from a wet nurse or donor milk. After that, banked, pasturized breast milk. Finally, if all of the above options are not possible, a breast milk substitute (such as infant formula) is recommended. Wow – Cow and Gate is apparently the very last option for choice.
I also heard another line this week by that idiot I spoke about earlier. She says “If you don’t choose to breastfeed, don’t open your legs”. Ridiculous! Some people believe teenagers shouldn’t open their legs either but no one was judging her…another topic this one!
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has banned the advertising of infant formula but allows follow on formula to be advertised as it’s post breastfeeding or when you choose to move on from it. The original guidelines were written down in 1981 and get reviewed every year as research change but it still stands that we don’t see anything advertised for first milk for babies. I have never ever seen a formula tub that states formula is the best option – which is correct – breastmilk is the best option of course but it is important to realise it is not the only option out there and I really don’t think that the WHO should be stopping the advertising of formula.
People are not stupid. TV does not dictate to us what we should or shouldn’t do and if it does that for you go and get yourself checked over. Fast.
I don’t go out and buy a Moben kitchen just because it pops up on the screen. Nor do I go and buy Freederm….because I don’t need it. Mothers who see formula on the telly will buy it if they need it not because TV says so
Jeez I wish people would stop treating us like morons and allow us to think for ourselves. This banning of adverts is pathetic!