Their bottom line depends on it.
Have you ever heard of a wolf in sheep's clothing? This is it.
Formula companies do not support breastfeeding. They want to sabotage you. They want to exploit any iota of doubt that you have, any moment of weakness to get you to try their product.
Breastfeeding Support Kits
A breastfeeding support kit from a formula company is like a vegetarianism support kit from a pig farmer.
A formula company offering a free formula sample is like a suicide prevention line offering a free bullet, just in case it doesn't work out (via @mediamum)
It makes no sense whatsoever. They have a vested interest in not supporting you. And they will be as sly and as deceptive as they can be.
Blogs listing coupons and deals and the twitter personalities that support them have been going crazy lately supporting the Enfamil Breastfeeding Support Kit. According to Enfamil, it contains:
- A sample of Expecta® LIPIL® DHA Supplement for pregnant and nursing moms.
- An excerpt from The Nursing Mother's Companion, a useful guide with tips and suggestions.
- A sample of Enfamil LIPIL®, our closest formula to breast milk, should you choose to supplement.
Utah Deal Diva, one of the Web sites listing the breastfeeding sabotage kit provides more detail:
**Note: seems there's a question as to what the Breastfeeding Support kit contains, so I thought I'd answer. Kit contains; breastpads, a container for storing breastmilk in the fridge, a cool-relief gel pad thing that you can put in your bra when you're engorged and yes, a sample of formula. Mine also contained a coupon for a FREE tube of A&D ointment, as well as several other coupons. Hope this helps.
Do not order one of these kits if you want to breastfeed successfully. Perhaps it seems like they contain a few useful things. But having formula in your home is the best way to ensure that you do use it. Like chips in the cupboard when you're trying to diet or a bottle of rum or pack of cigarettes lying around when you're trying to kick the habit. They will be very appealing in a moment of weakness. It will be too easy to give up. When you are feeling desperate is not the best time to make an important decision like this. And yes, just one bottle can hurt.
More on breastfeeding sabotage kits:
Today I was visiting another breastfeeding blog and was surprised to see a formula ad. I contacted the blog owner and she was going to take steps tonight to get it removed. The blog I was on was Blacktating and here is the ad I saw.
Now I say that I was surprised, but actually I wasn't. This is typical of Google Adsense and of the formula companies. It is one of the reasons that I haven't implemented Google Ads on my blog. You can block ads after the fact, but the formula ads just keep sneaking in. This has been the experience on the Mothering.com discussion boards where they use Google Ads, but have to rely on members to notify administrators when they see a formula ad, so that they can contact Google to have it blocked. Not exactly ideal. How many people see the ads before that happens? Why should members and administrators have to waste their time reporting these ads?
I don't like formula ads to begin with, but what is particularly offensive about the one on Blacktating and many others is that they pretend to be a breastfeeding site, a place that you might be able to get support. I've seen this type of thing before and noted it in my post behavioural targeting fail.
Tonight, I did a few searches on Google to further research the topic and here is what I found.
First, I did a search on "breastfeeding" and got an Enfamil Ad.
Not what I was looking for, but at least not overly deceptive.It does tell you what the ad is for, what you are getting if you click.
But then I searched on "breastfeeding support" and found yet another link to Enfamil, this type pretending to be a link about breastfeeding support, but if you read the fine print it is about formula feeding.
Same thing from Enfamil, but in a different format, when I tried "breastfeeding help". No Enfamil, soy-based formula is not breastfeeding help.
But then came the kicker. From Similac, also under "breastfeeding help" comes an ad asking you if you need "professional advice about your baby". Do you see the word formula anywhere? No. But click on the ad and you arrive at the Similac Welcome Club page.
No, you didn't read wrong. You were searching for "breastfeeding help". The ad goes from suggesting you are going to Web site that will give you advice about your baby (presumably breastfeeding help?) to a page that says to a page that says:
When it comes to fulfilling the nutritional requirements of non-breastfed babies during the first months of life, SIMILAC is closer than ever to breast milk.
Unbelievable. Someone looking for breastfeeding help presumably does not have a non-breastfed baby. At least not yet. Not until they found this ad that told them how wonderful SIMILAC is and that welcomed them with open arms to their wonderful club.
Kind of reminds me of cults that come knocking on your door. They hope to find you in a state of weakness and suck you in until it is too late to turn back.
What do the formula companies say?
The formula companies, for their part, pretend to be good citizens. Pretend to be doing nothing wrong.
Mead Johnson, the company that sells Enfamil, says:
In developing countries where laws and regulations have been adopted to govern the promotion of infant formula, we abide by those laws. In developing countries where laws and regulations have not been adopted, Mead Johnson Nutrition has developed and complies with our own, internal guidelines. In developed countries, such as the U.S. and Canada, where the WHO Code has not been adopted by law, Mead Johnson complies with those countries' laws and regulations and applies high-quality company standards.
Really? High quality company standards? Deceptive marketing practices are not what I would call high-quality company standards.
What are you going to do about it?
If you are in Canada, you may wish to read up on Misleading Representations and Deceptive Marketing Practices and consider filing a complaint with the Competition Bureau.
In other countries, I can't pretend to know enough about the law or process for reporting these types of things, but I would welcome comments from anyone that does know.
Thanks to @TopHat8855 from the bee in your bonnet and @lauredhel from Hoyden About Town for suggesting some great links.