Similac On My Doorstep

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Today I came home from Dessa’s tykes class to find a package waiting on my doorstep.  Usually I get excited for deliveries of any kind; it usually means something fun and exciting.  Well, when I got in the house and around to finally opening it up, I was pissed to find two sample containers of infant formula from Similac.  It’s part of their “Strong Moms” campaign with snazzy new designs, cool new containers and Ty Pennington smiling and being all BFF with moms.  I didn’t even bother reading anything they sent and fumed off to make dinner.

Now I’m a breastfeeding mami and I can’t sing its praises enough; it’s been an amazing experience I would never give up.  I feel strongly that all moms should make an effort to breastfeed.  Please note that I didn’t say all moms should breastfeed, but they should give it at least a fair shot.  I’m a firm believer and practitioner of attachment parenting and I also adopt their philosophy that each family needs to create a parenting style that works for them.  In that light, I believe each parent needs to make the choices that will allow them to be the best parents possible.  So for breastfeeding, I believe every mother should give it a fair shot then make the decision that will allow her to be the best mother possible.  For some it will mean exclusively breastfeeding while others will supplement with formula and still others will use breastmilk exclusively but integrate the use of a bottle.

So why does getting formula samples piss me off?  Well because I feel like women aren’t being given a fair shot at breastfeeding.  How are they going to believe that breastfeeding really is best if our culture continues to spend it’s marketing dollars on formula?  Well, as I started to cook dinner I was brainstorming ideas for a breastfeeding campaign to get the word to moms-to-be on breastfeeding practices.  I thought for sure the Similac pamphlet would give me plenty of formula favoring info so I went to check it out.

I sat down with their formula loving pamphlet and started reading.  The first section of their Strong Moms “The Art of Feeding” guide is about…breastfeeding!  Even though I saw the title of the section, I was super skeptical.  I thought for sure they’d give crappy advice and point women to supplement with formula.  But, um, I was wrong.  They offered up sound advice and never once suggested the use of formula.  By the time I finished, I was actually really happy about the Strong Moms campaign.

Without a lot of money available to organizations that advocate for breastfeeding, it’s refreshing to see a mainstream formula company stepping up to the plate and spreading the word about breastfeeding.  Their pamphlet is set up to guide new moms and moms to be through the various options that are available to them for feeding their little ones.  While I don’t think this is the perfect solution to making breastfeeding a normal part of our culture, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

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  1. The formula companies have their subtle and not-so-subtle tactics for ruining your nursing relationship. The pictures of bottle feeding parents show them smiling and glowing. Nursing moms look strained. They say things in their pamphlets like, “Your newborn is VERY hungry and will nurse EIGHT to TWELVE times per day, for 5 to minutes per breast!” (they bold the stuff I put in all caps). In other words, breastfeeding is hard and you should only let your baby nurse 5-10 minutes per breast, when any nursing mom can you tell you that it’s more like 20 per breast, and can be up to 40 (and that’s normal!)
    This is from their website:
    “To keep a steady milk supply in each breast, it’s important to switch breasts during feedings. Begin feeding on the breast that was not used last. After five or 10 minutes, try burping your baby, and then offer the second breast for as long as he wants. If he doesn’t seem interested in the second breast, offer that breast first at his next feeding.”

    Um, WRONG WRONG WRONG. You don’t pull a nursing infant off your breast after 5 minutes! Then you have a starving baby that “needs” to be supplemented with formula.
    Sorry they piss me off. I don’t know what you got in the mail, but they are still up to their old tricks.

  2. What an informative article! Thank you for sharing.

    As a former teenage parent, I got really discouraged with breastfeeding and gave my son a bottle after three agonizing days. (I continued to pump and supplement for the next 2-3 weeks, before just switching to formula exclusively.)

    It was way too easy to make that switch! I had endless support from healthcare providers, family, and friends, etc., to switch to formula and have to this day wondered why I didn’t have the same support offered for my attempt at breastfeeding?

    I now have another baby. We have been nursing happily for nineteen months and have no plans to stop anytime soon.

    She has never tasted formula or taken a bottle.

    And it was hard in the beginning!

    But this time, I had support, and opportunities for education on the subject which is what I feel, it boils down to. If mothers don’t “know” better, they can’t “do” better. WIth the formula companies breathing down everyone’s neck, a mom who’s having a rough time might be more apt to go the formula route–I know that I did!

    But at least this new campaign DOES support–and encourage–breastfeeding.

    That’s a positive step! 🙂

  3. Some observers would say that that whole formula company stuff is a conspiracy. Baby formula is such a big biz.

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