You’re sitting at your doctors office and he (or she) asks you the big question, “Will you be bottle feeding or breastfeeding?” You say “Breast” because, “Breast is best, right?” but you don’t know much about it. The doctor (or nurse) retracts and then comes back with a gift. You look down at this box, “A breastfeeding support kit — cool!” Then you begin to observe it. Enfamil? Aren’t they a formula company? Why would they be supporting the very thing that could put them out of business? Good question.
Breastfeeding Support Packs
Formula companies are deceiving you. They aren’t in support of your breastfeeding — come on! This breastfeeding support pack makes just as much sense at receiving information on a nicotine-free life from major cigarette corporations.
What they are doing you is the bait and switch. “Oh how kind of Enfamil for giving me this stuff. They must REALLY care about me and my breast feeding. I trust them. And this free sample of formula? I hadn’t planned on using it.. but I guess once wouldn’t hurt. I mean, I have to sleep one time.”
Do you see where I am going with this? They understand that the simple act of having it in one’s possession (along with misinformation) will weaken the new mother enough to use their product; to see its temporary “ease”, and switch from breast to bottle. (And believe me — as a breastfeeding Mom who used to bottle feed.. breastfeeding is SOOO much easier!) Yes it’s harder than hell at first but if you push through it (and you will) it’s just SO much easier all around.
When I had Carli in June of 2008, I didn’t know much about breastfeeding. I knew very little people who breastfed so my support system lacked incredibly. I had no one around to keep me going when I was feeling overwhelmed or lost or insecure about my breastfeeding relationship. But you know who was there for me? Enfamil & Similac and their endless formula samples. (Gag)
Overly tired and drugged up from my c-section, I let my husband give her a bottle. There wasn’t one single day in Carli’s life where she wasn’t supplemented with formula. Needless to say, we stopped breastfeeding by 2 months. Feeling endless guilt, I tried to re-lactate but found it incredibly hard and the formula samples kept coming! I vowed not to be a pawn in their marketing schemes with my next child. I would be well-informed and decline everything.
Katelyn has gone 2 months, so far, without a single taste of formula — and going strong. Boo ya, Enfamil/Similac et all.
Breastfeeding Support Lines
Abbot (aka Similac) has created a new breastfeeding support help line. It’s another bait and switch tactic. Just imagine, a breastfeeding mother — overwhelmed and no support calls up this “support help line” because they are feeling insecure about their supply. Instead of calling a certified IBCLC, they call this Similac support help line — because it’s a name they are familiar with so “it must be trustworthy” — right?
In fact, an IBCLC I know called them up, pretending to be a mother with very basic breastfeeding issues (an insecure with supply) and you know what they told her? They mixed basic breastfeeding support with marketing their product, “Well, you’re going to want to get the baby to breast as much as possible — but you’ll also need to supplement with our formula because it sounds like the baby is not getting enough. Some Mom’s just can’t breastfeed.”
Are you SERIOUS?! Nice. REAL nice.
Do you know the actual percentage of mom’s who CAN’T breastfeed is incredibly low — like, less than 1%? And most likely, if you’re having breastfeeding difficulties, you’re NOT that 1% no matter what a doctor may tell you. If you are having (what you feel) is supply issues, see a certified IBCLC. Then, see another. Join a support group of breastfeeding Moms. Get the facts, not the false information forked over by formula companies to urge you to switch to their products.(And yes, many doctors or hospitals are financially supplemented by these formula companies to recommend their use.) If you come across ANY doctor that says that without a doubt, formula is equally as good (if not better) than breastfeeding, find a new doctor. Find one quickly.
If after seeing MULTIPLE IBCLCs and participating religiously in support groups, you are still having issues — you may in fact be that 1% but most likely you will be diagnosed with supply issues for a specific reason BY an IBCLC. They are trained specifically to help, diagnose, and treat. In very rare occasions, formula may be your last resort. But let it be that — your last resort.
But back to the issue at hand — support help lines. Do you know that these “counselors” are not certified through any breastfeeding organization? They are NOT IBCLCs (although Nestle claims thier counselors are CLCs, to which I would report them for their malpractice). So just who are you getting your “expert” information from? What dignifies them as an “expert”? A day-long training from Enfamil? Pu-lease. IBCLCs train for YEARS to understand how our breasts work and how to support a healthy breastfeeding relationship. YEARS. It’s not information you can learn in a day and no respectable, professional, IBCLC would ever work for a formula company. Case closed.
If they claim they are “certified”, ask them their intentions as breastfeeding supporters working for the very organization that is recommending formula supplementation to a “client” they have never met or observed breastfeeding. Don’t take advice from a counselor recommending formula without careful observation and documentation of your situation.
They are everywhere. In a normal world — free is good. Free is fabulous — especially when the product is expensive. But in a breastfeeding world, free is dangerous (unless of course you’re receiving free stuff that is SUPPORTIVE of actual exclusive breastfeeding [whether by breastmilk in a bottle or actually to the breast.])
When I gave birth to Carli at Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, FL — the formula samples were right there. Showing me their cute little “individual” sized bottles. Oh and I got a TON when I went to Prenatal Impressions in Orlando for her 3D Ultrasound. Then I come home after having the baby, and more samples in the mail. An actual large case of it! You almost feel wasteful for throwing it out — so you use it. Bad move.
This time around when I gave birth at Altamonte Hospital (I switched after my horrible experience with Winnie Palmer) — I received not a single sample of formula. Not a coupon, or anything. I had not ONE nurse tell me I needed to supplement, but only worked with me to make sure Katelyn got the best pre-milk (MY milk) possible. It was because of their support that I was on a good start and breastfeeding exclusively today.
Now — let’s talk about the ultimate free sample nightmare, Nestle. Do you know what those morally-corrupt a-holes did? Don’t worry, I didn’t know until about a month ago and since then I have boycotted Nestle and their products.
They went to a third-world country (who, by the way , breastfeed) and handed out a vast array of free formula samples claiming that it was better than their breastmilk. These mothers, wanting the very best for their children and knowing very well that being in a third world country, they lacked in general, they eagerly accepted these hand outs.
Nestle gave them just enough formula to last them until their milk went dry and they were unable to breastfeed any longer. Now the issue starts, these families can NOT afford formula. So what they would end up doing is heavily diluting their formula with bad and/or tainted water so it was mostly water. In effect, their babies were now severely malnourished and/or died. Nestle did nothing to help. But .. helping was not their issue. They just wanted to push and sell their product.
To read more about the Nestle & bad marketing crisis, read the following web-articles:
- Why I Protest Nestle
- Have you ever boycotted anything?
- The Nestle Wars (or why I buy my chocolate chips from Trader Joes)
- Nestle Answers: Can a formula company really support breastfeeding?
- Breastfeeding.com: The Nestle Boycott
- Nestle Boycott: Wikipedia
Just to name a few..
Now if these formula companies are choosing to be so deceptive in their marketing plans to get you to buy their product, what else are they not telling us?