Similac Tries to Sabotage Breastfeeding Moms (Again)


similac appI get so tired of sounding like a broken record, but breastfeeding moms ... I need to tell you something. If there is information that comes from a formula company that says it'll help you with breastfeeding, it won't. Just like a plastic surgeon won't help you feel good about your mom gut by telling you it's natural and beautiful. Their goal is the exact opposite of yours, even if it seems like they care.

Speaking of opposite goals ... there's an iPhone app -- Similac Strong Moms Baby Journal -- and it has all sorts of micromanaging tools that tracks poopy diapers, feeding, and sleep schedules. It's a Type-A's obsessive dream and it's for -- Similac says -- moms who are breastfeeding or bottle feeding. But it's an Attachment Parenting nightmare and it's a damaging and worrisome tool.

Moms who try to schedule breastfeeding often face complications, and if you're looking at a clock and not your baby, you're setting yourself up for frustration and supply issues. This app will have a new mom completely obsessing over the color of every diaper, or the ounces or time baby eats. Moms do NOT need one more thing telling them that a clock or schedule is more important than their instincts.

The app tells you to plug in practically everything your baby does, so then it can help you predict a schedule. Except ... babies AREN'T predictable, and like I said, trying to schedule a breastfed baby, especially a newborn, is a recipe for disaster -- it's NOT helpful. Even the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the La Leche League encourage "on demand" breastfeeding, which means you nurse when baby is hungry -- period. These organizations warn against scheduling. The last thing a new mom needs is her phone saying baby doesn't need to eat for another hour.

But no worries, if their app that is trying to schedule your baby feels that you might be worried about how breastfeeding is going, they offer up their feeding helpline. In fact, a little graph will tell you your baby is nursing a lot, then pop up a grey button to connect you right away to their "feeding experts." I think we all can see the problem in asking a FORMULA company how to help you breastfeed successfully, right? Fox in a hen house, much?

We love to say "Mom knows best" (and in most case that's true) but in this case, you'd be saying, "Similac and my iPhone know best" and we all know that's crap. This isnt' the first time Similac or any formula company has gone after breastfeeding moms, and I doubt it'll be the last, unless we start enforcing the WHO's Code of Ethics.

Do you think Similac should stick to formula-feeding advice and leave breastfeeding out of it? What do you think of this app? Helpful or not?

Image via Similac

breastfeeding, formula, iphone, apps


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Jessica French Peterson

Plenty of new moms who have their baby's best interests at heart and who want to breastfeed but who don't get much support could innocently turn to this app for guidance and then have their breastfeeding experience disintegrate. That's exactly what Similac is hoping for. Sure, I know not to use an app, but there are plenty of well-meaning people out there who will be sucked in to this. Very sad. Formula companies ARE out to get anyone they can. It's their business, and sadly, for them to be successful, they need to derail breastfeeders by any means they can devise.

toria... toriandgrace

I'm sorry, but it's a parent, even a first time mom's, responsibility to get the correct information from the correct sources. I do expect parents to be smart enough to know that La Leche League is a better source of breastfeeding support than Similac, just like I'd expect someone to know that information from a doctor at John Hopkins is more reliable than Wikipedia. We need to be responsible for our own lives and our own children, regardless of a poorly designed phone app.

Pishyah Pishyah

Yes, they should reach out to the proper sources of information.  However, that doesn't mean that it works out.  Example (and I'm pulling out of my "failed attempt again":  I called every hospital, every LC, every LLL number in my area when my first was a month old and until I gave up at 3 months.  No one had advice that worked, none of the LLL numbers were in service because LLL disbanded in my area due to the lack of breastfeeding moms there.  LUCKILY, now there are more LLL leaders and groups (YAY!), and women have help.  But, my oldest isn't even in elementary school so this was not that long ago.  When I was asking for help, the only people that WOULD "help" had BAD advice that eventually helped us end our breastfeeding relationship, made me feel like a broken failure, and left me completely uneducated as to how breastfeeding actually WORKS.  So, moms reach out but they aren't going to always get the right information.  I also think women forget how foggy your brain is when you're pregnant as well as when you have the baby. 

toria... toriandgrace

I'm 28 weeks pregnant and my brain still seems to work. I'm sorry you weren't able to find a way to breastfeed with your oldest child, but your brain worked well enough even with a newborn to reach out to the right resources, even if they weren't able to help. I don't think we can blame a child growing in your uterus for an inability to consider valuable and helpful resources from those that are not reliable.

Some women will have difficulty breastfeeding, but it is not Similac's responsibility to ensure that you succeed. It is women's responsibility to educate themselves and find reliable sources of support and information. I am all for more support and funding given to reliable and helpful breastfeeding support groups, but I don't think we need to jump on formula companies for creating a less than helpful app or giving out formula samples. I am just a firm believer in self responsibility.

Sammi... SammiBaby

I don't consider it sabotage, that seems to be a little dramatic assumption. They are just trying out a new line, a way to reach new customers. But seriously, they should stick to their expertise...which is not at all breastfeeding. They sell formula... so they should try and target formula feeding mothers instead of breastfeeding.

If you're naive enough to take BAD advice from a formula company about when and how you should feed your baby, INSTEAD of the experts like LLL, then you have more problems than you realize.

nonmember avatar Anon

Some kids will be formula fed despite their moms' intentions. Get over it! My kid loves country music and the color purple too - yuck. Might as well just shoot me now! Or better yet, bomb Nashville and the purple paint factory for their "sabotage." Sometimes things don't go as planned. Some people will figure out how to make the best of things, while others will look for someone to blame. BTW, my kids were formula-fed and you'd never guess from their mug shots.

nonmember avatar Anon

Maybe all you moms should have stuck to what you knew before - childlessness? I mean, according to you, it's not possible for someone to learn something that isn't already their expertise. See how ignorant that argument is?

Pishyah Pishyah

I'm not blaming the KNOWN fact that a woman gets "fuzzy headed" (because I think it is funnier to say it that way) when she's pregnant for her "failure".  I'm saying that people seem to forget how it effects them. 

Self responsibility is awesome and all but we all know how this stuff is designed to work:  EXACTLY how Christie explains it in her posts against the formula companies.  EXACTLY how so many posters describe it.  They want us to fall on them when their advice helps us fail and formula that they sent us looks so easy.  That doesn't make a woman irresponsible.  This is what the advertising is designed around and for.  They didn't somehow make us fall for it, they designed it FOR US.

bsawy... bsawyer84

I think you're being a little defensive. It's just for fun.

Charlotte M Spurrill-Kayser

Just like a week ago, I received in the mail some "free samples" from Similac.  This was the first time they'd ever sent any to me.  I don't know if they missed the memo, but my youngest child is FOUR YEARS OLD.  Of course they are trying to sabotage breastfeeding mothers, though their most recent lame attempt to sabotage me personally was kind of hilarious.

Of course no one is being forced to use this app.  But it's just one more thing that's pushing the idea of scheduling and micro-managing into the public mindset.

As a first time mom, I was clueless.  I knew breastfeeding was normal and healthy (not to mention free!), I'd seen my mom breastfeed my 6 younger brothers, but that didn't mean I knew much about it.  We started off with a terrible latch due in no small part to the Dr not allowing me to nurse my baby until she was finished stitching my tears, which took her 45 mins.

 My baby was jaundiced and sleepy and I got terribly engorged and he refused to latch onto my rock-hard breasts.  He wasn't gaining well (no duh?), so my Dr told me I had low milk supply (huhwut?).  When I finally got over the terrible engorgement and he finally started to get over his jaundice, I was ecstatic!  He was finally nursing!  It wasn't a fight to get him to nurse 8 times in 24 hours, he was nursing 20 times in 24 hours!  It was such a relief.  Until my next Dr apt, that is.

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