chocolate cakeMany countries are really pushing to ban formula advertising some  have already made formula marketing illegal. Keyword: advertising. Not formula itself, nor peoples' ability to choose/use it. They're banning the commercials, ads in baby and pregnancy magazines, coupons from your OB or with your maternity clothes, and the free samples that show up in your mailbox because someone sold your name to a formula company. You know, they're just looking to stop the constant bombardment of "formula formula formula!" that moms face.

Formula companies list "Breast is best" somewhere small and easy to overlook, instead of sharing the many benefits why it is best. I find that comparing formula freebies to a dieter having chocolate cake can help people really understand the issue.

Mmm ... chocolate cake. All nice and moist and fudge-like. Everyone's got their food or dessert that if it's there, you will eat it. Maybe you've got the willpower to wait until after dinner, and maybe you won't take a tiny piece here and there as you walk by. If you put it in the cabinet or fridge, maybe you can forget it's there during the day.

Well, except if every time you open a cookbook or cooking magazine, or log on to a cooking website to find healthy recipes, there is chocolate cake everywhere. Reminding you how you can always eat healthy tomorrow, or later, but chocolate cake has dairy and eggs and stuff, and makes you happy, and what makes you happy is totally important, right? Oh yeah, you were looking for health food? It's here on the page, but you have to look past the chocolate cake splattered all over the page, even in video creeping down in front of your eyes. Cooking shows interrupt healthy eating shows to show chocolate cake, and even if you know you shouldn't eat it, especially if you're working hard to lose weight or eat healthy, it still nags at you when it's everywhere.

cakeGo to the grocery store for healthy food, and they're handing out samples. Aaah, so hard to resist! And even if you take some home, promising you'll just wait, you know it's there, so when you've had a bad day, or want some quick treat, it practically calls your name. EAT ME! We know chocolate cake isn't bad, of course, and neither are people who eat it. But if you're trying hard to lose weight and eat healthy, the last thing you need is to have free chocolate cake samples show up at your doorstep. Talk about sabotage. Most dieters say, "I just don't buy it because then I'd eat it!" right?

Okay, I'm making light, but the thing is, most women only get information on formula from formula companies, since their advertisements are impossible to avoid. And because of that, women are NOT fairly educated when they go to make a feeding choice. While people will spout off "DHA and ARA are good for brain growth!", an advertising ploy formula companies use that is not proven by science, yet they can't tell you the proper way to mix formula to prevent bacterial contamination or illness, or why preemies shouldn't have powdered formula (if they even know that). Women are not getting good information on breastfeeding or formula feeding.

Woman who have formula in the house are much more likely to quit breastfeeding much earlier than women who weren't given formula ... or even formula coupons. Even the Surgeon General supports enforcing the WHO Code, trying to lessen the impact of the major social influence from advertising. It's not about trying to take away peoples' choice to formula feed, it's about making sure every mom who wants to breastfeed or considers can learn from honest, non-biased sources to make the best decision for herself, and also have support instead of sabotage if she chooses to breastfeed, know how to balance both if she chooses without losing her breastmilk supply, and how to safely formula feed if that is still what she choses.

Do you believe the multimillion dollar advertising industry affects consumers?


Images via Leslie Kalohi/Flickr; roygbivibgyor/Flickr