I understand the tears a mother sheds when she feels like her body is failing her or she just can’t figure out how or why her baby will not latch on. Feeding your newborn baby is one of the most emotional decisions a new mother faces. I could re-write the post I wrote in June, but you can read it here – Breastfeeding is Painful. There is very little support in hospitals for new moms and in that post I even used a few examples from some small town hospitals within driving distance of me. Those examples made me cry for the new moms.
With that emotional turmoil that every mother faces – and sadly there is not very much support for breastfeeding moms and sometimes formula feeding moms feel scrutinized – we need to find a balance. So yes, moms will end up using formula. My question to you is in the title: What do you think of formula companies advertising on breastfeeding support sites? Would you trust a lactation consultant helping your baby breastfeed if she was wearing a name badge proudly announcing her as an employee of Similac of Enfamil?
To me a formula company that advertises on a page like that is hoping that by associating themselves that way, a breastfeeding mom that is having issues will choose their brand when they switch or supplement.
So is that so bad?
In my opinion, it is.
Because economically it does not make sense to say that formula companies really want all moms to succeed at breastfeeding without supplementing. They make money when moms use their products, why would they encourage the disuse of them?
If that makes logical sense Dave Ramsey should allow Discover card to advertise “how to get out of debt” on his site. I know for a fact he never will. Talk about a conflict of interest!
I think there is a time and a place for formula to be advertised – but how and where is heavily debated since formula companies continue to use unwise marketing practices. The World Health Organization has an official stance against all ads by formula companies.
Devil’s advocate for a second: let’s just say that advertising formula is perfectly ok and is handled responsibly and ethically. Is this being done when they advertise on breastfeeeding websites? No, it is not. Ads that belong on breastfeeding support pages: nursing bras, nursing covers, La Leche League phone numbers, breast pumps, and lanolin for sore nipples. If a mom is going to a website for advice on how to succeed at breastfeeding she should be directed to pro-breastfeeding websites and products, not formula companies that succeed when she does not.
For one particular example, here is a screenshot of WebMD’s page about breastfeeding. One ad is a bit much and they have six!
Of course I love to hear what you think too! My opinion is not the be-all and end-all, what do you think?