Free Samples of Formula Is Like Chocolate Cake for Dieters


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

breastfeeding, formula, natural parenting


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Lynette Lynette

love this post!!!  

buffa... buffalove23

Like dieting, its called self control. If you really want to breastfeed you will no matter how much formulating you recieve. If you can't handle it in the house there are many homeless shelters and food pantries that would love to have it. So sick of this conversation.

Littl... LittleManMama

Actually I find posts like this just support the idea that breast feeding is really hard to do.

nonmember avatar Teri

Realizing it isn't about the choice, it's the marketing, I kind of appreciated having the advertising to help me choose a brand. I am not able to breastfeed for the sake of my own mental health (my medications are not good for the baby and are excreted in milk). Thus, formula is my only option. But where formula is concerned, I don't trust samples and they are usually in a formulation that my son can't tolerate, but I do appreciate the coupons. It does help cut down on the cost. I wish I could breastfeed because it has so many more benefits but this is what I am resigned to and as such, I appreciate the advertising.

ashjoy ashjoy

I chose not to breastfeed, and have been SO thankful for all of the coupons and free samples! I am the only one of my friends who did not breastfeed, and they all received the same coupons and samples that I did. It didn't influence them or their decision to breast feed at all. It did however help me because I got three times the coupons! :)

Karri O'Reilly

Really sick of this conversation too.  

1. You presume that most women are too dumb to do their own research and make an informed decision and are instead lured by the wily formula makers.   Get off your high horse and promote education, not mindless bans.     Give women the credit for knowing how google works, and support independent research that honestly gives the pros and cons of breast vs. formula in a real-world application.

2.  You ignore the fact that many women CHOSE to formula feed for reasons (that aside from being none of your business)  that have been carefully weighed.  Heaping guilt on new moms over a perfectly valid choice is just mean.    

3.  Adoptive parents, myself included, who have gone through years of infertility issues only to be blessed with a baby don't need this crap.  I'd have loved to been able to breast feed, and would have, but in my parenting situation but I can't.   I'm grateful for the samples and savings from the formula companies because it is more money in my pocket, and a chance to see what brands my baby tolerates well.    

angev... angevil53

it's ridiculous to think that the american public can't think for themselves. if they are that slow in the brain that they can't make a decision and stick with it breastmilk isn't going to help their offspring. there's nothing wrong with marketing their product that isn't hurting anyone. there are plenty of smart, balanced children that were formula fed, i am sick of the ideas that formula is poison and those who use it are selfish and vile. i do bf by the way and supplement with formula.

CadesMum CadesMum

I breasted my son for three weeks and he screamed and was reluctant to feed every time. Inge doctor thought he had acid reflux, without throwing up, so we tried donor milk, thinking maybe it was something in my milk. That didn't work either! I can't tell you how hard it was to see my little son screaming constantly and we did t know why. No meds worked for him, so the doctor said to try a hypoallergenic formula. Skeptically, we did. By the next day of him trying it, his crying stopped, and he was gaining weight. It turns out he had an extreme sensitivity to milk protein. His doctor brought up the point that of my son had been born before this formula was around, he probably would have died. Hypoallergenic formula (alimentum) is extremely expensive, about 10-13 dollars a DAY. If it wasn't for the stack of $5.00 off coupons that the doctor gave me, it would have been very difficult to get by. I wish the breast feeding had worked. I felt like I failed when my son couldn't drink my own milk. During my pregnancy, I went to breaks feeding classes, bought the best pumps so I could pump at work.. But that's just not how it worked out.

I just bring this up to show everyone that not everyone who uses formula does so because it's "easy and convenient."

mm_mo... mm_mom515

I agree with the last to people.  I don't think it influences people as much as it saves them money if they can't bf.  I breastfed both my children, but when my son was 4 mo old I had surgery that kept me drugged up for 2 weeks and my milk dried up.  My wonderful husband had to formula feed him and I had to after I got better.  I love breastfeeding and would have loved to do it longer for my son, but it just didn't work out.  


nonmember avatar newmoon

Some people simply can't breastfeed because of possible health/feeding issues and these formula samples save money for them. I wasn't able to breastfeed my first child because he had health issues. It's wrong to deprive moms of samples they could really use.

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