Yesterday I wrote about Babble.com conflict of interest in allowing sections of its Breastfeeding Guide to be sponsored by Similac. I know that formula companies engage in predatory marketing practices on a regular basis, but I hoped that Babble was an exception in terms of taking them up on their offer to sponsor a breastfeeding guide.
Turns out I was wrong. I was informed by Elita from Blacktating and Kelly from Kellymom on facebook, that the WebMD Breastfeeding Guide is sponsored by Gerber Good Start (one of the Nestle brands).To some extent, I find this more reprehensible than the Babble/Similac sponsorship, since WebMD pretends to be a medical website versus just being a magazine style fluff website (but at least they aren't suggesting parents call Gerber for breastfeeding help...what was Babble thinking? GAH!).
How many Gerber ads can you count on that page? I count at least 6.
As with Babble, WebMD insists that content and advertising are separate. However, like with Babble, the breastfeeding advice is far from stellar. For example, in their Expert Q&A Tips on Breastfeeding, there are sentences like:
- "In terms of how often and how long to nurse, I advise new moms to do 10- to 15-minute sessions on each breast. At the same time, I encourage them to nurse frequently -- every three to four hours or so -- to build up milk supply. Also, colostrum, the early milk, is very nourishing, so I like to see the baby get plenty of that." [NOTE: How about nursing on demand? Best way to get supply established and baby nursing well]
- "Nipple confusion is actually pretty uncommon" [Not really]
I'm sure others can find plenty of other examples, but those are two I pulled from just looking at one article for less than five minutes. I didn't even bother clicking through to the Gerber stuff, because I know how horrible Nestle's breastfeeding advice is.
Do you want to let WebMD know what you think of its breastfeeding advice and/or its partnership with Gerber (Nestle)?
- Contact WebMD: I can't find contact info for the editors of the Breastfeeding Guide or the Health and Baby Center that it is part of. Nor can I find contact info for the CEO Wayne Gattinella. If anyone else can, please let me know and I'll update the post. There is, however, a generic contact form for Web MD where you can send an e-mail. They must get a lot of questions about their sponsors, since there is a link to info on that right on the contact form.
- Post on facebook: Post on WebMD's facebook page letting them know what you think of their breastfeeding guide being sponsored by a formula company. They don't seem to allow wall posts, but they do allow comments on their postings, so I guess posting on a somewhat related or unrelated article is the only option. Updated to add that if you "Like" the WebMD page, you can create and/or participate in a discussion. There was a discussion started there on this issue and you can add your thoughts to it.
- Blog it: Write something on your own blog, tweet about it, or write a facebook note.
Any other suggestions? Let me know. There has to be a way to stop this incredibly unethical and predatory infant formula marketing on websites pretending to offer breastfeeding support. It is sickening.