As some of you may have seen from press coverage over the weekend and this morning, Save the Children is today launching a report into the marketing practices of formula milk manufacturers.
The report focuses specifically on marketing in developing countries - where a lack of good sanitation and public health awareness can make formula-feeding precarious - and on the importance of colostrum to a baby's long-term health. You can read more about the campaign and see the petition here.
We've been asked to get behind this campaign - and as ever, in these situations, we need to know what you think!
YES YES YES. If the formula companies just followed the WHO rules on this it would help, but they don't and violate all the time. For companies like Nestle it isn't even a core business it accounts for a very small % of products and profits.
Children are needlessly lost due to this and it should be criminal if everyone read Politics of Breastfeeding they would find their profits hit the decks very quickly.
Yes, please do support this, MN. It will save the lives of many babies. It's disgusting that formula companies put profits before human life. I would also third the recommendation to read The Politics of Breastfeeding, it's absolutely astonishing.
Support it, especially for such countries where sanitation etc is poor. However, I had awful problems breastfeeding and became ill and had to give up after 8 weeks. I felt so awful about it. This support for BF needs to be worded in a way that mothers like myself don't feel even worse. But certainly do support it.
Having read the links, I am a bit unsure about the 'cigarette style warnings'. I am very pro breastfeeding but, given that the effort to relactate is pretty huge, lets face it once a woman has stopped breastfeeding she has to feed her baby formula. And if she stops breastfeeding at say 2 months, she has to feed formula for 10 months. It is not like cigarettes where you can choose to stop at any time. So I am massively in favour of a campaign to limit marketing, but I would prefer a blanket ban on advertising any milk to children under one year (with adequate safeguards to prevent marketing practices which then push early weaning). I would prefer plain packaging on formula milk, and better campaigning aimed at everyone, not just mothers with new babies, on the dangers (in this case it is a danger) of formula feeding.
I would support it too. I disagree with there not being a need in Europe though. Marketing practices sneak into everyday life and affect everything we do. Without aggressive marketing, more people who want to breastfeed would not have subtle anti-bf campaigns glaring out of baby magazines, tv, etc, and would mean that HCP's would gradually stop pushing formula (once BFing is established) as the cure for all issues.
Just click on the first link from Rowan, news "over the weekend" to read about Fifi aged 20 and her 6 mth old baby in Indonisia. Living in a room the size of a bathroom with no access to clean water (like 45% of Indonisians) or any sort of kitchen in order to boil the water needed. Cost of formula milk for her baby (£26 per month) is half of her husband's monthly wage. Midwives being targeted by FF companies, with gifts and other incentives.
Doctor there says situation is like the "killing fields" - diarhoea and malnutrition in infants both huge issues here. Formula milk often watered down (with unsafe water) due to it's high cost to the families. Fifi's baby is attending the clinic due to sickness.
I would also wholeheartedly support a ban on advertising of formula in the UK.
The cost of formula is a huge burden to some of the poorest families in Britain, and my understanding is that formula is priced so highly because baby milk companies spend such extraordinary amounts of money on marketing their products.
98% of UK babies have formula by the end of the first year - the baby milk companies have clearly persuaded everyone, especially the poorest, youngest and least educated women (who are most likely to ff from birth) that their product is trustworthy. So enough already. The adverts don't tell women what they really need to know, which is what formula is best tolerated by the largest number of babies. They are not objective. Women and babies deserve protection from this sort of manipulative marketing. Choice of a baby's sole nutrition is too important an issue to be left to the vagaries of the market and the influence of advertising.
Good point Icbineg - we all need to look beyond ourselves and the situation in the developed world, and imagine life with a baby and no access to either clean water or a kitchen. In these situations breast-feeding is a baby's life-line. Nothing should be allowed to interfere with that.