Q and A with Mike Brady from Baby Milk Action

(327 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 06-Dec-10 14:05:33

We're inviting you to send in your questions to Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action.

Mike graduated in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and has worked in Africa as an engineer and science teacher. At Baby Milk Action, he monitors the baby food industry and campaigns to hold them to account.

Baby Milk Action is a non-profit organisation which aims to save lives and to end the avoidable suffering caused by inappropriate infant feeding. It is the UK member of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), a network of over 200 citizens groups in more than 100 countries.

Baby Milk Action's slogan is: "Protecting breastfeeding - Protecting babies fed on formula". It is perhaps best known for promoting a boycott of Nestlé, but also works with national governments and international bodies on regulations and marketing standards.

Mike was seen earlier this year outside Nestlé (UK) HQ in the guise of Mr. Henry Nastie, explaining Nestlé's marketing practices.

Send your questions in to Mike before midday on Friday 9th December and we'll link through to his answers from this thread later the following week.

Zimm Tue 07-Dec-10 17:32:06

Bookmarking the thread.

Caz10 Tue 07-Dec-10 18:59:26

lagrandissima clearly I am not Mike Brady grin

But just thought you would be interested to know that breastfeeding is mentioned, albeit fleetingly, in the new Scottish curriculum!

Have never seen nor heard of this translating to actual lessons, but the curriculum is just new, so over time it might filter through. I would imagine that many teachers (including myself) wouldn't be sure where to start teaching?

moondog Tue 07-Dec-10 19:29:51

Fantastic.What an absolute honour and coup for MN to have Mike along.
I've been a member of BMA for many years now.The work they do as a tiny operation against a huge machine that just wants to sell, sell sell and undermine women's most fundamental gift to their children is nothing short of awe inspiring.

Thank you-on behalf of all the women and children you have fought and continue to fight so hard for.

smile

confuddledDOTcom Tue 07-Dec-10 20:45:55

Marking my place too.

One of the things I find hard is that some people can't separate formula feeding in our nice cosy UK (or US etc) homes with all the mod cons from the poor of Africa and make it a breastfeeding debate. Any tips on dealing with it?

Oooh, brilliant. DH is giving me a Baby Milk Action membership for Christmas.

My question is this: if there is one message you would like the 18-21 year old mums / dads of the future to receive about breastfeeding, what would it be?

(I'll pass it on in January to my undergrads during their infant feeding lecture. It'd be great to have something from the horse's mouth, as it were - no insult intended there grin)

ohanotherone Tue 07-Dec-10 20:52:24

Hi, seeing this thread. I just sent an e-mail to Nestle. Keep on the campaigning! It's not just the undeveloped world. Formula feeding is costing this country a huge amount in baby hospital admissions, and acute and chronic illnesses. The power of the formula companies is huge and I feel that formula shoulad not be available as a food product in supermarkets.

PS - ditto what moondog said

HarkTheHeraldEverything Tue 07-Dec-10 21:23:14

Trubert I'm sorry if my comment upset you, but I can't take it back, I really believe that babies are being let down by the general belief that formula is as good.

Mumfun Tue 07-Dec-10 21:31:09

Hi delighted to see Mike on here and looking forward to hearing about the current effects on baby milk selling companies of the actions and boycotts

bb99 Tue 07-Dec-10 22:01:13

Mike

How could the benefits of breast feeding for the mother be promoted (ie some evidence of a reduced risk of some female cancers, loss of 'baby weight', hormonal support of sleep disruption when feeding at night)?

How honest does/could the health profession be about the potential risks and dangers of formula feeding in order to encourage breast feeding? (ie formula milk companies continually promote the 'benfits' of their products)

Has the 'breast is best' campaign damaged breast feeding by promoting it as NOT the average/normal way to feed babies (with the normal / average health benefits), but an optimal method of super feeding babies which could be merely aspirational, therefore enabling women to feel it is beyond their reach to BF and preventing them from feeling confident in their BFing abilities?

MilaMae Tue 07-Dec-10 22:18:04

"formula should not be available as a food product in supermarkets"-what a truly awful thing to say shock.

I for one won't bother to read this discussion.I can see the extremist,scaremongering,formula feeding bashing way it's going. Shame I thought it would be interesting.

FunnysInTheGarden Tue 07-Dec-10 22:34:26

Along with other posters, I too am uncomfortable with this discussion. I'm afraid that BMA and it's followers really do appear to be anti formula, and to me that is unacceptable.

I am not sure if politically it is wise for Mumsnet to host a chat with an organisation which holds such one sided views. Of course they say they support both types of infant feeding, but a glance at their site would suggest otherwise.

Suffice to say I won't be posting a question.

Incidentally, why is a man fronting this campaign. Surely there are many women who would be better placed to do so?

PuzzleRocks Tue 07-Dec-10 22:37:59

God you're so right Funnys, really unwise of Mumsnet to host a Q & A with someone who is tirelessly looking out for the interests of babies. Silly Mumsnet.

Mike, I applaud your work.

FunnysInTheGarden Tue 07-Dec-10 22:41:43

really PR I don't care what you think. I am uncomfortable with it, and so felt compelled to say so. I don't like the angle of BMA and never have.

EldonAve Tue 07-Dec-10 22:42:40

Is the Nestle boycott having any effect?

What can be done to reduce the influence of formula marketing on HCPs?

Caz10 Tue 07-Dec-10 22:45:36

funnys what is it you don't like? (genuine question btw, i am trying to figure out where i sit on this, interesting to hear all the viewpoints)

FunnysInTheGarden Tue 07-Dec-10 22:55:31

Caz10 what I don't like is that BMA appear to say that they support both BF and FF mothers. One look at their site indicates that while they wholly support BF mothers, they whip everyone up into a frenzy to boycott Nestle. I don't have an issue with that per se, but wouldn't it be more constructive to lobby Nestle and not boycott?

By suggesting a boycott, I think they alienate FF mothers.
Formula is a good baby food and very necessary to many mothers.

Incidentally, I am also very uncomfortable with the many campaigns here on MN which seek to demonise formula and the companies which make it.

MilaMae Tue 07-Dec-10 22:58:50

If Mike Brady has the same views as some I've read on this thread then I don't think he should be doing a Q&A on Mumsnet either.

Mumsnet is supposed to support both breast and ffeeding mums, I'm very disappointed with this thread.

And for the million time we all know the pros and cons of formula feeding v breast,more support is what is needed not some of the total nonsense I've read on here.

I'm totally against formula being pushed in 3rd world countries but I refuse to learn more if I'm going to be subjected to this anti formula, scaremongering witch hunt towards the use of formula in this country. They are 2 different scenarios.

Many,many mothers start bfeeding(myself included) but they give up due to lack of support not a pretty picture on a tin that isn't allowed to be advertised,sold cheaply or even discussed in detail with health professionals.

By all means boycott Nestle(I do) but don't use it's wrong doings in the 3rd world as an excuse to push extremist anti formula views in this country.It does the whole cause a total disservice.

FunnysInTheGarden Tue 07-Dec-10 23:03:47

MilaMae totally agree with your post.

lowercase Tue 07-Dec-10 23:04:37

hmm

confuddledDOTcom Tue 07-Dec-10 23:05:11

Funnys, are you African and living in a shack with no electricity?

FunnysInTheGarden Tue 07-Dec-10 23:06:20

confuddled there is no need to be glib.

tabouleh Tue 07-Dec-10 23:07:16

Hi Mike! Really glad MN took up my suggestion to invite you here. blush <preen>

Before I ask a Q - I'd like to make it clear to people here that I had problems with BF and had to move to formula. Lots of people will know that I am passionate about sharing the information on how to safely prepare formula. Those of you here who don't "like" BMA etc and who are upset at "formula bashing" - you do realise do you that BMA is practically the only bloody organisation looking out for your DCs safety wrt to formula hmm. They campaigned to get the labels changed and to make sure the hotlines are giving out the NHS/WHO advice! BMA are not anti-baby milk they "protect all mothers and infants from irresponsible marketing". I totally "get" how hacked off you can get as a FFing mother who is hearing about problems with formula and "how hard" other mothers worked to "succeed" etc - but although I would not criticise any mother for FFing for whatever reason I believe that many FF due to a lack of support which is a direct result of the FF culture and advertising from formula companies. Anyone FFing deserves to have access to independent advice about formula and how to prepare it.

Question 1: Mike how did you get involved with BMA?

Question 2: What practical actions can MNers do to support BMA and are there any tasks which MNers could volunteer to help out with?

Question 3: How can we launch an effective campaign to ensure HCPs know/understand and communicate the safe methods of preparing formula?

My favourite formula links:

UNICEF formula leaflet
DoH leaflet
WHO leaflet
Irish guidance note - click on note 22 - very very comprehensive and well explained leaflet

Earplugs Tue 07-Dec-10 23:08:54

I don't think Mike Brady should be doing a Q&A on here either.

I'm assuming Mike has no personal experience of the difficulties of bf himself so I'm really not interested, electrical engineering qualification or not!!!!

HarkTheHeraldEverything Tue 07-Dec-10 23:14:07

Earplugs I don't think breastfeeding is an essential qualification for running successful campaigns and holding companies to account when they break the law. hmm

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