Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wake Up and Smell the Formula!

Earlier this year, I was contacted by the Nestle/Gerber people.  Using flattery as their first tool, , I was told that "they" were so impressed by my website and experience.  (Snake in the grass, getting ready to bite!)  Here it comes....would I please help them out, and review the breastfeeding information for their "infant feeding hot line"?  I would be handsomely paid, she said.  Of course, I declined thinking I'd rather stick a needle in my eye than associate myself with a formula manufacturer whose unethical marketing practices have reached higher heights - the formula sponsored breastfeeding hot line!

Abbott and other formula companies have escalated their marketing campaigns due to dropping birth rates and more mothers breastfeeding. Many parenting websites, blogs, medical practices and hospitals have been successfully lured into the lion's den by wholeheartedly recommending the formula company's (Abbott & Nestle/Gerber) infant feeding hot lines.  Are they stupid or what?  That's as bad as the smoking cessation hotline by Winston! Let's just help Abbot, even more than ever, in its drive to cause more mothers to purchase Similac formula products.....OMG!

Mothers Beware!!! This is what happens: when you call the phone number provided by Abbott you reach Life Care, a company who has also been duped into marketing infant formula for Abbott. The person you reach is not an IBCLC, but an employee who has taken an on-line course in breastfeeding.  You see, IBCLCs do not work for formula companies because it presents a conflict of interest. So you are being mislead into thinking that the breastfeeding help is coming from someone credentialed to do so.

This is a huge problem because mothers are receiving inappropriate information.  I know because I, myself called to check it out, posing as a new mom with a two week old, worried I didn't have enough milk (sound familiar).  I was, of course, told by the "breastfeeding expert" to pump and mix formula with my breastmilk!  These are situations that are serious and adverse effects could be suffered by both mom and baby.

So now, companies like who is pimping formula for Abbott and WedMD, whose infant feeding section is completely sponsored by Gerber (Nestle). are placing mothers and babies at risk.  Would your doctor refer you to a specialist who was not licensed or certified?  I hope not!  Well, referring moms to a 'resource' which is not qualified to deliver the correct information is just that....irresponsible!

Formula companies do not care about you or your baby!  They just care about making money, as much money as they possibly can which, as we know,  is never enough money!  Please tell them you are not falling for their portrayed image of community service(hot line).  Please tell me you will not be duped into buying more of their products with this new ploy!

Keep a sharp watch because the phone number is always the same 800-986-8800 but  advertized several different ways like; Feeding Expert or 24 hr Free Lactation Consultant (lie!)or Feeding Advisor 24 hr/day
Again, these are operators (who took a short on-line course) that work for Life Care, not breastfeeding experts!

Tell them you are smarter than that!  By bringing this to the attention of anyone you know.  If you see your doctor, hospital, favorite website or business recommending this number, bring this error to their attention.  We should give them the benefit of the doubt, (first time offense only) many of them do not even realise the harm they are doing. 

So take a minute and ask to stop peddling formula for Abbott, ask WebMD to stop peddling formula for Nestle. Then, when you are done with that,  report Life Care to the Connecticut state attorney general’s office and Abbott to the Illinois state attorney general’s office. Lastly, complaints can also be sent to the Better Business Bureau in Connecticut and Illinois..........just in case you needed some direction!