regulating breast-milk subsitutes???

Jennifer - posted on 08/01/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )




i found this on the WHO website but i am confused...i see formula ads on television, and in magazines all the time...i received samples of formula from target when i registered for my baby shower...the hospital gave me formula to take home.

any insight on this?

"Regulating breast-milk substitutes

An international code to regulate the marketing of breast-milk substitutes was adopted in 1981. It calls for:

* all formula labels and information to state the benefits of breastfeeding and the health risks of substitutes;

* no promotion of breast-milk substitutes;

* no free samples of substitutes to be given to pregnant women, mothers or their families; and

* no distribution of free or subsidized substitutes to health workers or facilities. "


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[deleted account]

It's not legally binding, and many formula companies have not signed it. The code needs governmental "teeth" behind it to have a positive effect. Despite some companies in Australia, for example, having reached a VOLUNTARY agreement, violations continue to occur. The scene would be pretty grim in those countries where there is a lack of government interest in promoting breastfeeding.

Incidentally, have you noticed that although much of the breastfeeding advice on formula companies' paces is auite accurate, there is a subtle undertone of soeing seeds of doubt into mothers' minds. See, for example:
It's only a blog, not a scholarly article, but it's an interesting read.

Sara - posted on 08/02/2010




I didn't know about that. Regarldess of the fact that I was your typical 42wk cesarean, the hospital I "birthed" at was great. I did NOT get a free sample of formula. I wasn't going to use a pacifier but asked about them just in case, and the nurse told me that they encourage breastfeeding so will not hand out pacifiers. If moms want them, they have to go buy them on their own. :D

That's weird, though. If the WHO has all those regulations, why are we promoting breastmilk substitutes? The only half-way decent thing I see on the formula cans is that they advise moms that breastmilk is the best way to feed a baby. I sound like a hypocrite because I have had occasion to supplement, so sorry, but formula is a last resort only for me. :/

Jennifer - posted on 08/02/2010




thank you for the information Kathy! I am in the US and formula advertisements are all over here...all of them claiming "now contains *insert nutrient here* the same nutrient found in breastmilk!" one ad i saw on television actually said "for mothers who want the best for their baby." i was appalled!

Melissa - posted on 08/02/2010




nothing is as good as breast milk..NOTHING. there is an informational download they get when they are attached and feeding. you are there source to the world and the information they get from you to help them grow. formula is not the right choice it is artificial and just not natural. powder into milk? sorry not for me. we were born to do this we are a God giving gift. Jesus fed from his mother... i can understand and feel for the ones who cannot feed, it truly is sad that they get to miss out on this wonderful journey. it just doesn't sit well with me to feed formula knowing what i know about breast feeding and how beneficial it is to my son.

Lydia - posted on 08/02/2010




I just checked the German formula websites and they also do have bf info on their websites. there is no commercials for formula in Germany (at least what I remember from a few years ago...) only for porridge and baby apple sauce etc

but of course they have also the whole thing online about how good and natural their formula is...

Shivana - posted on 08/02/2010




here in australia it is illegal for companies to advertise "infant" formula but they are still allowed to advertise the "benefits" of toddler formula (as if that is better than continued breastfeeding?????)
saying that, i once went to the local child health centre where the nurse offered me samples of formula (without even asking if i was breast or formula feeding)

Lydia - posted on 08/02/2010




wow, I didn't know that there was such a thing, but the only Israeli formula company (Materna) promotes breast feeding on their website and actually has all basic information for having a good bf-start online. I guess that's a positive exception.

Actually on the page for newborn nutrition they have 2 pictures of bf mothers and 1 of a bottle feeding. On the info for 1+ year they still have a category with info for bf toddlers.

[deleted account]

The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981 promotes, protects and support sbreastfeeding by prohibiting promotional activities by baby-food companies.
By itself it is not legally binding, and relies not only on government policy directives, but also on the willingness of formula companies to abide by it. As far as I am aware (has anyone got a definite answer here?) none of the companies making breastmilk substitutes have signed the code. Nestle, which controls about 50% of breast milk substitues market has refused to sign the code. It has been subject to a boycott of its products, due to its reprehensible marketing practices, for many years. (I have been and continue to be part of this boycott)

I can’t speak for other countries, but the International code has been validated in Australia by adopting the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas: Manufacturers and Importers Agreement (MAIF) in May 1992. MAIF is a voluntary code between 6 major food companies and theAustralian Government. MAIF falls short of the recommended minimum standards set by the International Code and subsequent WHA resolutions which Australia has endorsed at the international level. This link shows that violations still occur and that the agreement is still not strong enough.

The RACGP (Royal Australian College of General Practitioners) has continually updated its position on breastfeeding. Here is its latest position paper:

Australia’s government policy is to promote breastfeeding.$File/Breastfeeding_strat1015.pdf
This has, of course, been greatly assisted by the Australian Breastfeeding Association, a voluntary organisation providing information and assistance to mothers, with links to research.

This combination of government policy and some co-operation with breast milk substitutes companies is working – Australia’s breast-feeding rates are increasing. The Code itself, which would make life easier for thepro-breastfeeding lobbyists if it were signed, can only work with government assistance.

[deleted account]

My insight is that the formula companies violate The WHO code all the time. I just saw something about how they (BF advocates) are trying to get this fixed so that moms/parents can make an informed decision.

Nicole - posted on 08/01/2010




I didn't know about that, but it is crazy! I would never have thought there was anything like that going on. I have six kids, my youngest is 3 months, and I have received samples with all of my children, sometimes full cans, and definitely numerous kinds for each child! I guess they decided to forget or ignore that.....

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