By SafBaby Co-Founder Sandra Blum
When I left the hospital after having my baby I left with a free diaper bag full of formula samples, bottles, coupons and even a little formula-promoting cooler to keep my formula-filled bottles in.
I had already joyously made the decision that I was going to breast feed my baby and didn’t really think much about the “gifts” I was leaving home with. Now, the more I learn about this “business”, the more I am heart-broken about how mothers are being misled and our babies’ health taking a back seat all for the benefit of infant formula corporations.
I am actually a product of this programming. I was a formula-fed baby, and my mom was always led to believe that “breastfeeding was gross.” Truly this is something we are taught by someone who has ulterior motives, because breastfeeding is amazing, beautiful and naturally miraculous!
Linda Folden Palmer, DC has written an absolutely amazing book which promotes exclusive breastfeeding, attachment parenting, optimal nutrition and much more. She starts her book, Baby Matters, giving insight on why and how infant formula has twisted its way into a modern day norm.
Breast Milk vs. Formula: The Marketing Scheme
Basically formula manufacturers got the ball rolling back in the early 1900s. They had (and have) huge campaigns promoting their businesses and aggressively used/use forms of media to program mothers into believing that their milk was inferior to “their” product. Not only that, but these persuasive corporations have been funding doctors, pediatric schooling and hospitals with large sums of money! So they now have power to persuade in their favor.
“Pediatricians spend much time frightening parents with 1 in 100,000 risks from vaccine-preventable diseases when parents question the utility and safety of vaccines. ‘Would you want to risk the life of your child?’they demand. Yet these very same professionals offer formula samples with the other hand – when the magnitude of health risks associated with the use of formula is 500 times greater.
Parenting is all about making choices and weighing risks and benefits. Many parents need to make the riskier choice of formula feeding in order to balance other factors that benefit the family. Yet some parents who have lost their children, possibly based on pediatric advice condoning or encouraging formula-feeding, would surely wish that they had been informed of the very real risks related to using formula.” – Linda Folden Palmer
20/20 Report on Breastfeeding vs. Formula Advertising
National news program 20/20 recently aired an interview with Dr. Jay Gordon describing how infant formula corporations have corrupted our ideas on breastfeeding and formula feeding. We hope that as this information becomes more known, parents everywhere will no longer be persuaded by big companies who hope to become filthy rich at the expense of our babies’ health!
Infant formula, which has been available for more than a century, remains a welcome alternative for mothers who cannot breastfeed or choose not to. For more than 40 years, formula makers have supplied hospitals with free formula and newborn “starter pack” gifts for new mothers.
“Portland is the first U.S. city where every hospital has banned distribution of these discharge packs,” said Amelia Psmythe, executive director of the Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon. “Women who received such gift packs were more likely to stop breastfeeding exclusively within 10 weeks than women who got no gift pack,” the study found. And a new Oregon study suggests, “Hospitals send new mothers a mixed message by touting the health benefits of breastfeeding while sending them home with free samples of infant formula.”
Here is a list of hospitals and birth centers nationwide who no longer handing out free gift bags with formulas and coupons.
What You Can Do
Let your hospital know that you are not interested in receiving any formula or formula accessories (logo bags, coolers, coupons, etc.). If you have the desire, you can also write a letter to your hospital letting them know your decision for your choice.
By not falling into the trap of the infant formula marketing scheme, we can take back the power of making our own decisions on how we desire to nourish our babies!
To read more about the benefits of breastfeeding, please read Linda Folden Palmer’s well-researched article:”Formula Feeding Doubles Infant Deaths in America.”
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