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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:
giraffeski · 24/08/2005 12:23

Message withdrawn

QueenOfQuotes · 24/08/2005 12:23

"Aptamil is definitely infant formula and not follow on."

Not entirely true - "Milupa Aptimal Forward" - is an follow on milk. And they also do an "Milupa Aptimal Growing up Milk" - don't know if they are able to 'work round' the legislation because of that??

giraffeski · 24/08/2005 12:25

Message withdrawn

CarolinaMoon · 24/08/2005 12:34

I guess Milupa would argue that's what they're doing (providing information in accordance with reg.21), but it's a blatant advert dressed up as support for parents and all the more insidious for that.

If they get away with this marketing strategy, surely that's the beginning of the end of the advertising ban?

caligula · 24/08/2005 12:49

Has anyone been on to the NCT about it? They are probably going to be the most effective organisation to deal with the issue of formula feed companies setting up helplines etc., in a wider context.

Thinking about it, shock horror, I think I once worked on Milupa. I honestly had forgotten about it, but I remember the client was very keen back then on reaching upmarket mums and even long term, setting up a helpline (this was years ago). They genuinely did want to give advice about breastfeeding. The problem of course being, that if they don't do it in conjunction with a knowledgeable body (like the NCT for example) and they only do it with the NHS (whom we all know are about as much use as a chocolate teapot) then with the best will in the world (and some of us may question if they have the best will in the world) they will do it wrong. And actually, that's not in the long term interest of their brand, because their helpline will become known (by those in the know) as crap and that kind of PR is very hard to counter. And they know that.

hmmmm · 24/08/2005 12:51


milkymouth · 24/08/2005 12:52

If you look on the link (Mears' first post) to Baby Milk Action and check out examples of regulation violation (countless examples from named companies) you will see that it matters a great deal.
Milupa is a greedy and immoral money making machine. Those of you saying 'So what,it's only an ad.' are playing into their hands which they are rubbing in glee.

Feffi · 24/08/2005 13:00

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tatt · 24/08/2005 13:01

Thank you for drawing my attention to an add that I normally wouldn't have bothered to read. You are providing excellent publicity for milupa. As for the ad seems to start witha load of stuff about breast being best how terrible is that?

triceratops · 24/08/2005 13:04

I think that adverts increase the levels of bottle feeding. Smoking rates decreased when they banned advertising.

I think that mumsnet made a bad decision allowing formula advertising on its site. According to current statistics bottle feeding reduces the life expectancy of babies and increases breast cancer rates in mothers.

tatt · 24/08/2005 13:08

I know people put off breastfeeding by too much pressure to do it.

Tiggiwinkle · 24/08/2005 13:08

It is very naive to say that advertising does no harm or to think that it does not affect the choices people make. After all, why would advertisers spend vast amounts of money on it, if it had no effect?
Agree with others-advertising formula is immoral and shuld not be allowed, especially on a site such as this.

lemonice · 24/08/2005 13:09

That was an interesting link, it actually mentions the website which is linked to from the home page, I think...I assumed that milupa would have their legal eagles very carefully assess each of these promotions but it seems it's a case of act and get the publicity and wait to be brought to book...are there penalties for violations

Heathcliffscathy · 24/08/2005 13:27

i've thought a little about this overnight and have to agree that the milupa advertorial (which is what it is, and therefore worse imo than a straight ad) is insidious and wrong, borderline illegal and I totally understand why people have a major problem with it. I breast and formula fed.

Also, 'follow on milk' is the biggest con ever isn't it?

Ladymuck · 24/08/2005 13:32

Whilst I wanted to breastfeed I ended up giving formula in hospital. As I said I wanted to continue b/feeding I was advised to use Aptimil as it was the "closest to breast milk". Under the circumstances (v hungry baby needing fed now!)I didn't have to time investigate the differences etc, so went with what the midwife said. Am of course very curious as to where she got this infomration from? I have to say that out of all my (v middle class) friends who ended up using formula, they used Aptimil for this very reason.

Feffi · 24/08/2005 13:47

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

caligula · 24/08/2005 14:03

Aptamil is an upmarket brand. I think it might even be more expensive than the others. They were certainly targeting upmarket mothers, rather than all mothers.

monkeytrousers · 24/08/2005 14:10

Oh, Caligula, you'll get no work done again!

snafu · 24/08/2005 14:19

I was also told to use Aptamil, when ds was a few weeks old, feeding beautifully and growing like gangbusters. I had complained of tiredness - as any new mother would. A couple of Aptamil feeds a day - 'to take the pressure off you' - was the answer, apparently... It is insidious.

I've avoided much of this debate, intentionally. There are lots - tiktok and mears especially - saying it far more eloquently than me. I have no issue with formula feeding by informed choice. But this is much more than just an ad.

colditz · 24/08/2005 14:26

I am in Leicestershire, and when I asked my midwives which formula's were best, they refused point blank to comment. she was very nice about my decision to FF, but would not in any way help me choose a formula.

I chose Cow and Gate in the end, after a friend told me that was what she had used.

The lady in the bed next to me chose Cow and Gate because she saw me using it.

tamum · 24/08/2005 14:39

snafu has just said it all for me. I wouldn't mind an advert, actually, but this is so much more cynical and devious. I am disappointed in MN to be honest.

CountessDracula · 24/08/2005 14:42

not read all this but

if it is illegal then why do the ASA allow it?

milkymouth · 24/08/2005 14:44

Who suggested this snafu?

milkymouth · 24/08/2005 14:46

CD,look at mears' initial link to Baby Milk Action to see numerous examples of adverts which fall foul of the law. All the big names are shamed and named.

It really is a case of David and Goliath and yet people still seem to think that they should defend these companies.
I amamazed at the naivety demonstrated here.

Ladymuck · 24/08/2005 14:49

CD, because the ASA don't get to vet the campaigns - in the main they respond to complaints (after the event).

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