Enfamil unwittingly endorses extended breastfeeding

Imagine my shock and surprise (not) when I found out that Enfamil (and probably other formula companies) had developed a “toddler formula” to use instead of milk, because [drum roll and a big tada] this artificial food had DHA and ARA — “important building blocks of child’s developing brain and eyes” in it.

Um, so does breastmilk!

So, Enfamil, by saying that toddlers need DHA and ARA, you are saying that physiologically speaking, toddlers should still be nursing! So stop undermining the efforts of mothers who want to nurse their babies by giving out free samples in hospitals, advertising in magazines that target pregnant moms and new moms, and all the other things that go against the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

And to you moms out there who have been faced with some sort of negativity for still breastfeeding your infant or toddler, you can whip out the Enfamil ad [like you haven’t already ripped it out of whatever magazines you came across and threw it away in disgust — but next time you see one, you can save it for just such an occasion! :-)] and wave it under the nose of your friend or family member or nosy stranger and say — “See! Even Enfamil agrees that toddlers still need what breastmilk has! So back off, buddy!”

[Ok, you don’t need to get militant… unless you want to. :-)]


7 Responses

  1. That’s pretty hilarious. I don’t think I would have picked up on that.

  2. Brilliant! I love it!!!

    I’m still mourning my breastfeeding days with our DS – I would not have quit yet if my supply hadn’t dried up!!! (We made it to 2y, 9mo).

  3. So, one of my many job roles in the OB department is I serve as the buyer for neonatal equipment and supplies. I deal with formula reps all the time. I would love for our hospital to be a “baby friendly” hospital, meaning that formula is only housed on the unit for medical reasons (adoption, preemies, mom’s in ICU etc). Let me fill you in on the realities of formula pushing in hospitals (This is why I call myself Reality Rounds 🙂 ) Formula is free in hospitals. Hospitals serve as the gateway for parents to use this product for the duration. Not only do they supply the formula, they supply the bottles, nipples, diaper bags, breast milk supplements, and volu feeders for free. The formula companies also offer extensive education hours for the staff, for free. But nothing is really free, is it?
    What frustrates me is how readily available the formula is. If a tired and frustrated new mom says she wants a bottle given to her baby at 3am, boom, some nurses give the baby that bottle to solve a problem with a short term solution. Formula is also put inside the “breast feeding” bags that the formula companies give us for free. Some one tell me how that is a breastfeeding bag? I some times feel like I am fighting a losing battle with the bottle.
    Sorry for the long comment. You did give me permission to be militant though Kathy, and I salute you for this 🙂

  4. RR — as a long-winded person myself, I see nothing wrong with the length of your comments! 🙂

    But it is disheartening to be facing this stuff. No, “free” is almost never truly “free.” Formula companies are for-profit companies, which means if they lose money, they go out of business, which means if they find out they’re losing money with some promotion or marketing or venture, then they’ll stop it. Therefore, they cannot be losing money by giving out all this “free” stuff, and they know it.

    I remember reading something about razors and razor blades — I think this was back when Gillette first came out with the disposable safety razor, so about a century ago. Basically, the marketing strategy was to sell the blade handles for less than it cost them to make (or for very little or no profit), knowing that once they sold people on the product, they would recoup their costs by selling the replacement blade refills. Barbie dolls also operate this way, because you don’t just buy your little girl one doll, but you end up buying ten outfits and dollhouses and Barbie cars, etc., and *that* is where the money is made.

    I know I’m preachin’ to the choir here, but formula companies make their money by being the free formula sent home with new moms, knowing that a certain percentage of them will turn to formula, and specifically their brand of artificial baby milk, which is where they make their money. I recently read that the average formula-fed baby consumes $1500 worth of formula in the first year. Even if only half of all babies are exclusively formula-fed (and since many “breastfed babies” will have at least *some* supplementation with formula at some point in the first year, even if it’s just mixing it with baby cereal; and many breastfed babies are fed a mixture of formula and breastmilk after the first few months, I’d bet the numbers are probably not far off), that is about 2 million babies times $1500 apiece, or $3,000,000,000 gross profit. And that’s just the United States!

    Free? I don’t think so!

  5. I have been saying for years that toddlers should breast feed. Because they have terrible eating habits. Mothers are always worried about what their toddler is or is not eating.

    Also if our society get used to toddlers breast feeding, it will be easy to get used to infants breast feeding.

    I think, if you want to increase the amount of folks who breasts feed, you should staff your hospital appropriately. If each nurse has no more than 3 couplets, she can spend a good amount of time helping the first time Moms with breast feeding.

    Also staff your hospital with nurses who like to help folks breast feed. I have been shocked to find out many maternity nurses do not like helping with breast feeding. This makes no sense. It is lke being a pedicatrician and not liking kids.

  6. I first heard about the toddler formula last summer when a friend was using it.
    I breastfed my 1st for 10 months and my 2nd just turned two and is still nursing.

    I am glad that even the formula companies have to know that breast is best.

  7. RR, thanks for the insight. It’s what we all figured was going on.

    I gladly take the “breastfeeding” bag. I donate the formula (I get the willies thinking about people who already turned to formula and can’t afford to mix it properly,) and use a sharpie to black out the Similac logo in the cold bag.

    I’ll be on the lookout for one of those ads for those “OMG! She’s STILL nursing??!!” moments.

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