Last night the Toronto Globe & Mail Newspaper publish a blog article by Tralee Pearce entitled "Why do "Lactivists" want to ban baby formula advertising?". It would seem to be a valid question. Why DO breastfeeding advocates want infant formula advertising banned? And if the article was really serious about discussing this topic, I would whole heartedly join in the conversation and gladly discuss the WHO Code and the ramifications of formula advertising on breastfeeding rates and longevity....
But that's not what the article is about at all. No, this article is yet another attempt to play the "oh woe is me" card using the media to incite yet another mothering riot, pitting the breastfeeders against the formula feeders, and vice-versa.
The article starts off by quoting Babble blogger Catherine Connors about the recent Babble debacle:
“The message at the core of the ‘ban all formula advertising’ platform is simple: formula is bad. You should not use it. You should not even think about using it. You should not look at words or images that in any way suggest that you are not a terrible mother if you choose it. Giving your baby formula is akin to sticking a cigarette in her mouth. If you use formula, you are a bad, bad mother.Influential Canadian blogger Catherine Connors characterized the anti-advertising stance this way:
“This is nonsense. This is pernicious nonsense that is harmful to mothers, inasmuch as it undermines mothers’ powers of self-determination and calls into question their ability to make the best choices for themselves. It is harmful, because it shames mothers.”
I disagree with the hard line of many breastfeeding activists that any and all formula advertising is by definition – because it is the advertising of formula, full stop – bad. I disagree with the position that any and all advertising of formula is uniquely deceptive and sinister; I disagree with the claim that the very existence of formula advertising meaningfully undermines breastfeeding. Yes, I know that the World Health Organization recommends against the advertising of formula. But the WHO recommendations were developed primarily to address real problems with the marketing of formula to vulnerable communities – problems that are being widely addressed by most formula companies. Mothers in the North America are not, by and large, a vulnerable community. And the choice to formula feed, freely made, is not an terrible one, nor is any mom who cannot for any reason breastfeed and is therefore compelled to formula feed harming her child.
(Edited original article to add these two points)
Can Catherine tell me the difference between "vulnerable communities" and non-vulnerable communities? What is she trying to say? That women/mothers in developing nations, like China and the Philippines, are not as smart as mothers in developed nations, like Canada and the US? That they are stupid and therefore require the World Health Organization to create a Code of conduct for formula manufacturers just to protect them? But not to protect women and mothers in Canada and the States, because they're smarter than their poorer counterparts in Asia?
You know what the difference is between the marketing strategy of infant formula companies in the Philippines vs America? In the Philippines, the formula company pay medical professionals to go out into the community and tell new moms that infant formula is just as good as breastmilk. Then they give these new mothers just enough free formula to make sure that their breastmilk supply dries up, thus forcing them to BUY the company's formula to feed their baby. In North America the formula company pays someone pretend to be breastfeeding professionals, and they sit in front of computers talking to mothers in their virtual community. And they tell them that "Good quality infant formula is just as good as breastmilk" and they send the mother enough free formula to insure that they have the family hooked on the bottle, so that then the family is forced to buy their infant formula from the company.
And women from both the Philippines and North America fall for this marketing tactic. Every. Single. Day.
...yes, formula companies are "addressing" the problems of infant formula marketing in NON-vulnerable communities by creating pretend "breastfeeding help lines" staffed by pretend "breastfeeding support" people. And that is supposedly ok. And the breastfeeding advocates are apparently suppose to sit back and not comment on the conflict of interest. And "Lactivists" are not allowed to point out that the horrific advice given by these fake breastfeeding support people (who are really formula salespeople in disguise) is.... HORRIFIC and WRONG on all levels, because if they do, then they are causing "SHAME" and "GUILT". And Gods forbid that a breastfeeding mom happens to mention the risks of using infant formula to another, non-breastfeeding mom!!!! THE ABSOLUTE HORROR!
Why is it that the formula companies can promote their product all over the place, yet breastfeeding advocates can't promote their product? Why is it that formula pushers continuously point out that so many women fail at breastfeeding and they Need to feed their babies formula? Why don't they recommend that these women feed their babies species specific donated breastmilk?
Yes, Why DON'T they recommend that women who cannot breastfeed use donor milk? WHY?!
....Because formula companies don't make any money off breastmilk- whether it comes from a donor or directly from the mother.
It all comes back to the almighty dollar. Would Babble make such a big issue about this if they weren't getting paid from a formula company? Would writers, like Catherine Connor, make such a big stink about it all if they weren't getting paid by formula companies dirty money? Would the major media outlets continuously flog this battle between breastfeeders and formula feeders if it didn't mean money in their pockets?
In their reality, money makes the world go round, not the truth. The truth is easily verifiable. It takes a google search less than 2 seconds to pull up articles about the risks of formula feeding, about the multitude of studies done that have proven over and over again that formula is NOT a healthy substitute for human breastmilk, and that formula advertising directly negatively impacts breastfeeding. Babble and Catherine and the media bulldogs can hide their heads in the sand (along with their ill gotten money), and pretend it's not true, but that doesn't change the facts.
I still haven't said all that I want to say on this topic, but my baby needs to nurse.
Tomorrows topic "GUILT & SHAME"
oh yes, I will go there!!