Saturday, December 29, 2007

wise words from a wise woman - the nestle boycott

on a local parenting forum i'm on, many of us are "lactivists".  we're the tree lovin, hippy mamas that love to boycott and get active about what we believe in.

in a discussion about nestle and why we should all be boycotting them, my wise friend deb had this to say:

(orange text are my edits)

it isn't about being a bad mother or a good mother. It isn't that Breastfeeding is BEST.. it is that Formula Feeding is inferior...

(world health organization recommends:)
1 momma's milk from source
2 momma's milk expressed and bottled
3 human milk from another source
4 formula

and if you are in that 3% of women who cannot breastfeed their child then you gotta do what you gotta do and there is no good or bad attached to it. Someone isn't bad because they can't hear or see.. they find other ways.. but you know more than 3% of the population use formula.. because they believe it is equal to breastmilk or 'good enough'.

There are entire populations (the Philippines for one) who are tricked by advertising to believe that formula is BETTER.

HERE in canada women are often told by their DOCTORS that their milk isn't good enough, that their baby needs to put on more weight and their milk isn't rich enough.. better switch to formula. So the woman, thinking she is doing what is best for her baby, listens to her doctor and the advertising she sees on reputable sites, in her own doctors office and thinks.. maybe even subconsciously.. well if they endorse it, it can't be that bad can it?

the problem is that the formula companies are RUTHLESS.. they want to make a buck.. they don't give a good god damn about children's health or women's rights to knowledge. They want the MONEY.

in the Philippines the formula companies give doctors, midwives and nurses expensive cruises, holiday packages and take them out for expensive evenings all to get THEIR formula in their offices and samples in their 'take home packages" given to new moms.. the rate of formula feeding is really high over there.. most women think they can't produce good milk , or that it is genetic - "well NO ONE in our family could ever produce milk. so they don't even try."

AND the advertising over there is so misleading .. they'd have you believe if you give your child their formula .. your child will have the best start and become a concert violinist... and when your child is 8 and playing her violin on stage to hundreds of adoring fans..she will look at you and thank you for feeding her X brand formula.. IT IS SICKENING...

the TRUTH is that formula has become a social status thing too... people who can afford it are obviously wealthy and doing the BEST for their children. People who can't, thin it out, (causing malnourishment and brain damage) AND often they are using questionable water supplies.. so many children die of dysentery over there.
and it is no better in africa where they give the moms a 3 months supply of formula for free (like crack cocaine.. get them hooked then they'll have to pay) the mom's milk supply dries up and they have to buy it to feed their kids.. but the same problems arise... contaminated water supplies and thinning the formula to make it last longer.. and you have sick and dying babies...

all they needed was their mother's milk and thousands would be saved.. so NO it isn't OVER THE TOP TO SAY THAT FORMULA COMPANIES KILL BABIES....

ANYWAY.... how does that correspond to western cultures.. how does it affect US...

well for one the WHO set up these policies about where, when and how formula companies could market their formula. A bunch of people boycotted Nestle and they were FEELING it.. so when WHO came out with these guidelines.. Nestle and a bunch of the other formula companies signed it.... THEY SIGNED IT.. THEY AGREED .... and people stopped boycotting NESTLE.. well over the years.. they are back to their old tricks.. ignoring the WHO guidelines and breaking their agreement. 

WHY is advertising formula a bad thing? I guess because it normalizes it. Like the "watch your language" article dani posted it makes it normal.. Breastfeeding is above and beyond.. (where the opposite is true breastfeeding is the norm and formula is inferior) if you can't do what is normal.. well of course you will do what you can.. Formula is NOT the same as breastfeeding but the adverts would have you believe it is better... American Breastfeeding rates are low. Canada isn't that great either.. we have been led to believe that formula is fine. My Sister in Law who is a NURSE planned to formula feed.. even when she found out she was going to have a preemie.. her logic "it was good enough for us it'll be good enough for him" oh and "I don't want him sucking at me" the advertising has worked on her. Feeding a baby from a bottle is acceptable.

Just this summer women across canada came together to stop an 'information seminar' on feeding your baby, the best way to avoid allergies.. it was dinner at a fancy downtown Vancouver Hotel for the staff of the Hospital in Burnaby.... sponsored by.. you guessed it.. NESTLE.. EVERYTHING we know about allergies and the immune system says Breastmilk is the best way.. but nope.. NESTLE is going to wine and dine a bunch of hospital workers in Burnaby and pitch to them that their formula can reduce the risk of allergies? absolute BOLLOCKS. (this event was cancelled due to the uproar)

The problem with advertising formula is that it is misleading.. like all advertising right? I mean does anyone REALLY believe that if you drink coors light beer you'll have a great life full of beautiful people or if you drink Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum you'll be cool? well NO of course not.. but with formula it is different.. it is about BABIES.. and doctors say it is ok.. so it MUST be true... but it isn't.. it is misleading and misguides people. The worst part is that your baby is only a baby for such a short time. not much time to do the research. you go to what you know.. if advertising for formula is everywhere and you have a sample in your home (I had 3 samples in my home.. never used them.. but they were here) when things are rough.. you have it RIGHT there... it is too easy.... and they (the formula companies) want it that way.

THERE is no money in breastfeeding.. who is going to pay for that advertising? What I think so many people forget is that the formula companies are out to make money... and they don't give a damn about the truth or your health or the health of the world's babies....

here is a link to the WHO code of marketing breastmilk substitutes.

here is more info on the nestle boycott:


infact canada

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