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Breastfeeding Magazine

How Formula Advertisements Try to Fool New Parents



Gimmicks won’t do your baby any good, but formula
advertisements will try anything to fool you into not breastfeeding.

You get up early in the morning, wrap yourself in a warm robe, and make yourself to the kitchen. You turn on a small kitchen appliance and pour in some water. Minutes later you don’t have a cup of coffee to wake yourself up, but a warm bottle of formula to nourish the baby starting to cry down the hall. This is the picture Nestle hopes you will see as desirable as they start to roll out a new formula maker that operates on pods much like a coffee maker.

stop misleading advertisingThis is only one example of the way some manufacturers are now catering to parents who prefer to bottle feed. Since there are many such parents around the world this may not seem like a big deal, but there is harm in marketing formula as the best way to feed an infant. All parents need to know the truth about artificial formulas and breast milk, so they can make decisions that protect the health and well being of their babies.

Know the Code

So many parents do not realize that there is an active code sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) advocating the health and safety of breastfeeding. This code specifies that all companies signing onto the code stop advertising and promoting artificial infant formulas. There will always be people who want or need to use these formulas for their own reasons, but the advertisement of formula sends the wrong message to unsuspecting parents. It makes them feel that bottle feeding with formula is preferred, more convenient, or even more damaging, just as good as breastfeeding.

There is clear evidence that breast milk is far superior to artificial infant formula. A mother’s milk protects a baby from illness, disease and infection in a powerful way. No matter what advancements are made in the formula industry, there is no way for an artificial product to mimic the health protections that are passed between a mother and her baby through natural breast milk.

There are some formula companies that advertise in a manner that seems to say “our formula is just as natural and wholesome as breast milk.” This is deceptive, since there are protections offered through breast milk that simply cannot come through an artificial formula.

Defend the Code

While the WHO code is an honorable attempt to let all parents know how beneficial breastfeeding is to the littlest members of our society, there is one problem with the code: it is nearly impossible to enforce. Companies like Nestle have been charged with breaking the code on numerous instances, and there are no consequences for their behavior. Countries signing to the code seem unable to hold companies accountable for their aggressive advertising schemes on behalf of formula products.

formula advertisement quoteThis is why the new formula brewing kitchen appliance put out by Nestle is raising so much criticism. It’s not that some parents won’t find the machine useful or that Nestle has no right to explore new forms of technology. The problem is that they don’t have the right to mislead parents into thinking machines like this are better for their babies than breast milk.

The best thing parents can do is defend the WHO code by refusing to use formula products in their household. You cannot control what other parents are feeding their babies, but you can make sure you give your baby the healthiest feeding options. This is always going to be breast milk created by your own body, not by a percolating machine in the kitchen!

The more parents are informed of the health benefits of breastfeeding, the more they will be able to see through the heavy marketing tactics of companies like Nestle. Parents who are informed are much less likely to put the profit of a company ahead of the health of their babies.

Self-Create…Don’t Percolate!

While no one wants to stomp on advancing technology, it is important that parents see through the gimmicks currently coming out in the artificial formula market. Nestle may very well find parents who choose to bottle feed for their own reasons and convince them that they need to pay an outrageous price for formula pods and a formula brewing machine. What Nestle should not be allowed to do is convince unsuspecting parents that they should switch from breastfeeding to bottle feeding because of these conveniences.

There are definitely advantages to breastfeeding that no technology can beat. The comfort of knowing the food you put into your little one’s mouth is protecting them from illness is far more important than being able to quickly percolate a warm bottle along with your morning coffee. In fact, there is nothing faster than propping your breast up for your baby to feed from. Your natural milk is always ready to go…no percolating necessary!

How Can YOU Help?

Don’t let others be fooled into thinking that formula is anything less than a SUBSTITUTE.  Pass along information that need to make a good decision!

When parents know the facts, they won’t be fooled by the gimmicks.

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