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Why advertising formula milk is illegal and why what Milupa is doing is wrong

118 replies

mears · 24/08/2005 09:44

I thought it might be a good idea to explain why the promotion of 'breast milk substitutes' is such a problem as many mumsnetters believe it is an attack on bottle feeding mums. It is not.

this site has loads of info which explains it better than me

Also have a read at Tiktok's posts of explanation.

One of the best things to have happened since advertising was banned is that all information about bottle feeding comes from the dietitians in our hospital. It is factual advice that is given. Not claims of milk being the closest thing to breast milk ever.

We no longer have breastfeeding information leaflets that are produced by formula companies being given to women. The language was negative and the pictures were of poorly positioned babies with miserable looking mums.

We als stopped giving breast feeding women home free tins of baby milk powder "just in case" they did not have enough milk.

All this undermined the woman who chose to breastfeed before she got out the door.

There is absolutely no problem with women choosing to bottle feed when they make informed decisions.

I will post my other link on this thread too about 'guilt' and the role of advertising.
Please research this topic thoroughly before just deciding that this is just business and mumsnet needs the money.

I urge mumsnet to seek other means of revenue.

OP posts:
QueenOfQuotes · 24/08/2005 10:18

(I called the NCT breastfeeding helpline when I was struggling to feed DS2 - and was told that if I couldn't express any - which I coudln't - to give him some formula - her reasonsinng being that if I was more relaxed about it I'd have more chance of expressing my BM and getting DS2 to take it!).

I didn't call back!

bonkerz · 24/08/2005 10:18

((when you are exhausted and someone is offering you "help", only with a profit making agenda))

sounds like my job!!!!

My ds is perfectly healthy and he was breast and bottle fed. He was also weaned at 6 weeks on advice form my own support network ((ok i am a terrible mum)) Will probably not use MILUPA and use COW AND GATE or SAM anyway so really can say the advery has not affected my way of thinking at all!!

Cant really breast feed after 6 weeks anyway as i will have to start work and look after 4 children under the age of 4 and cant really seeing them being happy with me stopping to breast feed every few hours!!! Atleast with bottle i can get some help!! Maybe teach my baby to feed itself from 6 weeks, you know prop the bottle on a pillow etc....

OK am running now cos will defiantely get mobbed for that comment!

WigWamBam · 24/08/2005 10:20

bonkerz, Milupa isn't advertsing breast-feeding - it's advertising a breast-feeding advice line. And the advice that their line is giving is to use formula. Women who are struggling to breastfeed and who contact this help line are not going to be given the support that they are looking for.

I don't really care how people feed their babies - as long as they feed them! What concerns me is that women who want to breastfeed but who are struggling aren't going to get the support that they need are going to contact this helpline (which looks as if it's endorsed by Mumsnet) and instead of getting good, sound advice which could help them continue, will be told to use formula. And will believe that this is good advice, because after all, it's from a breast-feeding support site.

I breast-fed, but the first couple of months were hell. I was determined that I was going to continue feeding, had good support, got over the problems and fed for two years. If I had rung that helpline, I would probably have switched to formula at 4 weeks and felt guilty for years about it.

The ironic thing is, if I had formula-fed it would have been Aptamil - the midwives at my hospital flogged it as though they were on a commission.

QueenOfQuotes · 24/08/2005 10:22

"it's advertising a breast-feeding advice line. "

Well from what I read on the homepage of MN - they're advertising their "Milupa Aptamil's Mums' Network" ............If I hadn't clikced on the link - I would have thought that's all they were advertising - and probably wouldn't even have bothered clicking if it wasn't for the 50 odd threads on here about it!

monkeytrousers · 24/08/2005 10:42

Beansprout, exactly. When peopel are at a a low ebb, not feeling confident about bf'ing they'll turn to this 'helpline' which as part of a long term strategy is promoting a forumla brand.

It's not doing this out of the kindness of it's own heart. It's a business and it's only loyalty is to it's board and it's only purpose is to make money.

beansprout · 24/08/2005 10:46

MT - exactly. Like all those scientists are slaving away out of the goodness of their hearts!!

monkeytrousers · 24/08/2005 10:52

I meant shareholders not board BTW.

And scientists are often impartial. It's whoever commissioned the reports that needs to be known before the results can be interpreted.

Aragon · 24/08/2005 10:54

They are still breaking the code they agreed to at the end of the day.

I don't care how anybody feeds as long as they are happy and feel supported with what they are doing.

Milupa are advertising a "Mums club" and the reason they are doing so is because they can familiarise you with their brand and tell you "we lead the way in making our milk as close to breast milk as possible". This is in common with every other baby milk company out there and they need to be stopped. Advertising is insidious - you may not believe you are influenced but you are. ALL companies know this and they wouldn't bother advertising if it didn't reap benefits for them in the long term. It's not in their interests to keep a mum breastfeeding so why the "advice line" and the info? Because IT WORKS.

They advertise a "breastfeeding support line" (don't make me laugh) so you feel they are supporting you - they're not.

And bonkerz, formula milk IS responsible for the deaths of thousands of babies worldwide - not here as we are fortunate enough to have access to clean water but in less developed countries where they don't have clean water freely on tap and are influenced by the ads to feed their babies formula instead of breastmilk - formula which is made up with filthy water. These companies are, in fact a global public health menace. Go check out Baby Milk Action (who are not anti bottlefeeding but are anti formula marketing).

I don't personally mind them advertising - but comparing their milk to breastmilk - pur-leeese! They haven't got a prayer of EVER reaching the same standard and they should never be allowed to say they can or are "leading the way in making their milk close".

It would be good to see a "bottlefeeding adverts" area here so those of us who do bottlefeed (yes I bottlefed - and I have no regrets) can check out the various companies claims online. I can tell you now that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM will say " "We support breastfeeding" and "Our milk is closest to breast milk". And that latter statement is a load of rubbish - and they know it.

Also many of us might not look on the home page but plenty of people do or they wouldn't bother advertising there.

Caligula · 24/08/2005 10:54

No one has ever said that as a result of this one ad, some mothers who want to breastfeed will bottle feed instead.

The arguments are much more complex than that, and have already been made several times.

madmarchhare · 24/08/2005 11:04

The Baby Milk Action link below has a link to the NCT. The NCT do suggest using formula if having problems with breast feeding. OK theyre not a multi million dollar making company but doesnt this fly in the face of the whole point of the argument?

beansprout · 24/08/2005 11:05

Not really, no, as the NCT do not have a vested interest in mothers using formula so they are more impartial on this issue.

madmarchhare · 24/08/2005 11:07

I realise that but I thought the point, underneath it all, was to promote breast feeding as it is thought generally that not enough is done to do so.

madmarchhare · 24/08/2005 11:08

(and I said to myself that I wouldnt post on here )

Caligula · 24/08/2005 11:18

You and me both mmh.

I think the NCT's remit is slightly wider than that.

NCT link

Spookily, they're doing a survey about formula!!

Freckle · 24/08/2005 11:24

The NCT isn't an exclusive breastfeeding club. It is about informed choice, which is why they are doing a survey about formula. How can they ensure that mothers are informed if they don't have information to offer them?

The NCT supports breastfeeding and bottlefeeding mothers. What is does not do is support bottlefeeding per se.

It will promote breastfeeding, but also offers support to those mothers who choose to bottlefeed.

madmarchhare · 24/08/2005 11:40

OK I have just come back to this and realised that I could really get myself caught up it a whole load of stuff I dont want to, so Im backing away .

I think its a shame though that one advert has caused so much fuss, but I suppose that is the nature of a forum like this!

madmarchhare · 24/08/2005 11:41
wordsmith · 24/08/2005 11:44

I had no idea advertising formula milk was illegal. Can someone point me to the rules and regs please. If this is the case why aren't we reporting MN to the ASA?

Aragon · 24/08/2005 11:46

I don't think MN have done anything wrong. They've taken an advert which helps keep the site up and running. They are not to know the ads contents.

Miluoa are very much in the wrong not MN.

lemonice · 24/08/2005 11:47

formula milk is milk for babies from birth=no advertising outside closed publications (eg those addressed to health professionals rather than the general public)

follow on milk from six months can be advertised

wordsmith · 24/08/2005 11:48

But if MN have taken advertising which they know to be illegal then they are in the wrong and have broken the code! They are a media outlet as much as a newspaper is - report them now!!!

CarolinaMoon · 24/08/2005 12:14

Wordsmith, the Infant Forumla and Follow-on Formula Regulations ban advertising of formula for babies under 6 months old (regulation 17). This is a law, rather than an advertising code.

You can complain to your local trading standards office (I already have). I think they co-ordinate with other local offices in the case of nationally-available adverts.

giraffeski · 24/08/2005 12:16

Message withdrawn

giraffeski · 24/08/2005 12:20

Message withdrawn

CarolinaMoon · 24/08/2005 12:22

please do, Giraffeski

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