Should Baby Formula Ads be Banned?

I found this article on www.theglobeandmail.com  which is a Canadian website. I’m not sure of the laws about promoting baby milk in Canada but over here in the UK any advertising or promotion of infant formula for babies under 6 months is illegal. It’s all about baby milk advertising and it asks if it should exist at all.

Quoting a quote from the article:

Influential Canadian blogger Catherine Connors characterized the anti-advertising stance this way:
“The message at the core of the ‘ban all formula advertising’ platform is simple: formula is bad. You should not use it. You should not even think about using it. You should not look at words or images that in any way suggest that you are not a terrible mother if you choose it. Giving your baby formula is akin to sticking a cigarette in her mouth. If you use formula, you are a bad, bad mother.
“This is nonsense. This is pernicious nonsense that is harmful to mothers, inasmuch as it undermines mothers’ powers of self-determination and calls into question their ability to make the best choices for themselves. It is harmful, because it shames mothers.”
 

Personally I don’t see it like that. I see it to be that formula companies make millions of pounds by tricking mothers who are not well informed into believing that formula is as good as breastmilk.  I don’t think I’m stupid but I know for sure that I have been tricked by adverts;  been persuaded that my hair will be shinier or my teeth cleaner because of some glossy image and some seductive words. If breastfeeding isn’t something that people see around them much but they do see adverts for formula what are they going to choose? The thing that is the most familiar. The ban on cigarette advertising made a difference to the numbers of non smokers who were encouraged to smoke, would a similar ban on formula advertising mean more breastfed babies?

I really think that formula really should be seen as a last resort if breastfeeding doesn’t work out.

What do you think? I like the idea of an advert for full term breastfeeding next to every advert for follow on formula myself but as breastfeeding does not bring in the big bucks that formula does it is unlikely to happen.

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Comments

  1. Eleanor Benton-Gunn says

    In light of the fact that breast fed babies have higher IQ’s, cry less due to reduced colic, have greater levels of intimacy with their mother and enjoy better health, I believe it’s unquestionable that every baby deserves the right to be breast fed. Advertising of junk food to children was banned for public health protection reasons and the same should apply to banning advertising formula milk. It would save the NHS money in the long term, although I believe it would prove most successful alongside education in nutrition for pregnant and lactating mothers, which, having a five month old son myself, I can say is not up to standard with the current healthy start scheme – vitamin supplements need to be broader, and education needs to be more in depth, and certainly not just aimed at mothers who are financially disadvantaged. This would, over time, improve the health of the nation and ease many social problems. Formula does not need advertising as the information is on the label – in my view it should really be prescription only and not down to lifestyle choice, as it is the child who suffers the consequences but has no say in the matter themselves.

  2. Eleanor Benton-Gunn says

    In light of the fact that breast fed babies have higher IQ’s, cry less due to reduced colic, have greater levels of intimacy with their mother and enjoy better health, I believe it’s unquestionable that every baby deserves the right to be breast fed. Advertising of junk food to children was banned for public health protection reasons and the same should apply to banning advertising formula milk. It would save the NHS money in the long term, although I believe it would prove most successful alongside education in nutrition for pregnant and lactating mothers, which, having a five month old son myself, I can say is not up to standard with the current healthy start scheme – vitamin supplements need to be broader, and education needs to be more in depth, and certainly not just aimed at mothers who are financially disadvantaged. This would, over time, improve the health of the nation and ease many social problems. Formula does not need advertising as the information is on the label – in my view it should really be prescription only and not down to lifestyle choice, as it is the child who suffers the consequences but has no say in the matter themselves.

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