Banning Babies From Formula Ads Is a Cruel Jab at Moms Who Don't Breastfeed

Rant 67

formulaMoms in Sweden who choose to formula feed their babies instead of breastfeeding them may feel like social outcasts pretty soon, because the country is considering banning babies' images from all baby formula ads.

No more adorable blue-eyed babies on formula cans, no more formula ads in magazines because they'll only be able to be published in medical journals, and going one step further than the ads -- Sweden also may ban giving out formula samples and selling formula at a discounted price.

And as for the containers of formula that do make it into parents' hands? Yeah, there will supposedly be a warning label saying they should not give formula to their baby without the recommendation from a professional. (Wow. It's almost like they think feeding a baby formula is some sort of crime.)

Ok, so I get the whole "breast is the best" thing and I'm sure the lovely folks over in Sweden have the health and well being of their babies in mind -- but going so far as to not even put a picture of a baby on a can of formula to get the point across? (Really?!?)

For the sake of moms around the globe who are either unable to breastfeed or simply choose not to (because it's THEIR decision and nobody else's) -- this just seems so outrageous and unnecessary.

Sadly, it seems like as time goes on, moms who don't breastfeed are "frowned upon," if not flat-out scolded, more often than not. I can still remember the lactation consultant pacing back and forth outside my hospital room after I had my son like some sort of Nazi. And yes, I did breastfeed him at first, but I wound up switching to formula a few weeks after his birth, and guess what? He's perfectly fine. Couldn't be better.

I don't care where in the world you live, a mother should never be made to feel like she's doing something wrong because of how she chooses to nourish her child. And honestly, banning a baby's image from a formula ad or package isn't going to deter moms from making sure their child gets fed. If they want to promote breastfeeding and get more moms on board with it, they're really going about it the wrong way. Making moms feel like bad parents if they don't feed their babies the way the government wants them to isn't going to accomplish a damn thing.

What do you think of babies being banned from these ads?


Image via nerissa's ring/Flickr

breastfeeding, formula


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nonmember avatar Leslie

It's not about guilting moms for not breastfeeding, it's about protecting moms from advertising. Fact is that advertising formula leads to lower breastfeeding rates. 98% of women in bangladesh breastfeed, which means that only about 2% of the population legitimately has medical problems which keep them from doing so. We Americans are not different, however our society "booby-traps" us at many turns and along with this is formula advertising. Congratulations to you for breastfeeding your child for 3 weeks. You tried the best you could under your circumstances. However, what we as a society (and legislators) need to do is remove those barriers which keep mothers from meeting *their* breastfeeding goals. That's another part of the issue. Mothers know that breast is best and will say that they want to nurse for one year, or at least 6 months and then something happens or derails an exhausted new mother from her goals in all sorts of ways. Not every person will be able to breastfeed their child as long as they'd like because of lack of maternity leave, work challenges, etc. However, a limiting of formula advertising removes some of the barriers. So, good luck to them and good for the babies. No mother should ever be *made* to feel bad for their decisions, but they should also be supported correctly.

ethan... ethans_momma06

The only reason this is such an outrage, such a horror over here is because by and large formula feeding is the cultural norm, and people don't want to have it's inadequacies constantly public so that they don't feel bad.

Here's the thing- there's no need to feel bad if you don't have a choice, because clearly you are doing the best that you can. And that's all that anyone asks.

If you make an inferiour health choice for WHATEVER reason ( and I'm sure I'm about to hear a TON) you better be real comfortable with it. Which means that having it pointed out that, *gasp* it's not the best health choice wont faze you. Because if it DOES bother you that much, perhaps you need to reconsider the choice you are making.

It's extremely important for the health of future children that this sort of think that Sweden is doing is put out there. So why can't we get behind it? Because we carry around a lot of mom guilt? So... we should not ensure the best choices for the FUTURE because we would 'feel bad'? That doesn't sound like a good enough reason to me.

nonmember avatar Jessica

I think it's a great idea. I also think that formula should be given by prescription only. I think that women who choose to use formula without trying or trying hard enough are making a bad choice. And yes, I am aware I'm being judgmental and I'm okay with that.

we2an... we2angels

Why is this the one place it's okay to judge a mom? Shaming a formula feeding mom isn't going to make breast feeding more appealing, but instead have a huge backlash. Embracing and getting all moms is best. How about next you take off kids from all imperfect foods?

we2an... we2angels

Helping not getting

Todd Vrancic

I don't think this will help their cause.

Jespren Jespren

Except, we already know this helps. Places that ban or strictly enforce advertizing regulations for formula companies see an increase in breastfeeding. It's not about judging women, it's not about making formula unavailible, it's about reigning in preditory marketing to women who are feeling vulnerable because they are struggling. A struggling woman, who *wants* to breastfeed, knows she *should* breastfeed, and has every intention of breastfeeding, can fall prey to 'hey, look at the grinning baby and happy mom! This can be you!' When she's struggling with latch, supply, or other issues. Without that staring her in the face she may get real help and overcome her troubles and be happy in her success. With it shoved in her face she may give up, get defensive, and be secretly (or openly) miserable it didn't 'work'.

Chan_... Chan_Brawner88

I think its a great idea. Formula companies advertise like crazy. They know you will hit a hard place, and they want to be there to show you the easy way around. Its like intentionally putting a dunkin donuts next to weight watchers..... Its cruel. If someone doesn't have medical reasons for formula, I assume they are lazy or uneducated if they go to formula.

purvi... purvislets

I don't see how removing a baby's picture from formula ads or by saying that formula shouldn't be given without recommendation from a professional is seen as "shaming".  I breastfed and formula fed both of my children.  The first because I had to go back to work and couldn't respond to a pump and the second because of some bad advice from our old pediatrician.  I never once felt "ashamed" and neither should any other mom.  But, formula is just that -- a scientifically produced "formula" of different ingredients that are designed to mimic (but cannot totally replicate) the benefits and nutritional value of breastmilk.  Breastmilk IS what is best, and if you feel like anyone telling you that formula is not as good for your baby as breastmilk is shaming you then the issue is with you.  

Erin Kull

Chan...I am very educated. And certainly not lazy. I chose to bottle feed because I JUST DIDN'T WANT TO BREASTFEED. Plain and simple. I didn't want to. And I have zero guilt about choosing formula. If ads didn't have babies in them it wouldn't have changed my mind. Period. And guess what else..I had an epidural. So I guess since I didn't have a natural birth I am lazy and uneducated??? Maybe I don't get a tooth pulled without pain relief...why should I have a baby without some as well? I didn't want saggy boobs so I formula fed. Big deal. I was formula fed and guess what...I am not dumb. I have a masters and am working on my PhD. And I am healthy. And (gasp) my son is healthy and is in the gifted program at school. Screw you all for forcing your "I am such a good mom because I breastfed" are and never will be perfect mothers. Try a new soapbox.

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