Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Little ways to fight back & a new Meme!

As many of you are probably aware, The World Health Organization (WHO) has a code, that most of the world (other than the US) abides by, which outlines appropriate practices of formula companies so that they do not undermine the mother-baby breastfeeding relationship. Among the items on this list is not marketing formula directly to mothers as it makes them feel as though at some point they will fail and need to supplement- it sends the message that mother's milk can't possibly be adequate all of the time (which is of course, untrue!).

Regardless, US formula companies host one of the largest advertisement campaigns of any industry and continue to market to us mothers not only through the mail, but also through our reading materials (magazines & websites), and even doctors and hospitals- all of which are against the WHO Code. In addition, I have even seen advertisements from Enfamil lately that specifically promote what they call a "breastfeeding support kit"... which includes formula! Doesn't sound very supportive of breastfeeding to me!

Obviously- this is a huge frustration for me as a breastfeeding mother, doula and lactation educator in training! So, I do what little I can to fight back. First, of course, by helping educate mothers- informed consumers make the best choices, and really, breastfeeding mothers have no need to be "consumers" of infant food anyway! Second, I try to send a message back to the companies- hence the pictured envelope! I send it back and make the message clear! Also, if I attend an event or appointment at which any formula propaganda is distributed, I refuse it.

What else can we do? How about call the companies or write a letter? We can also boycott other products distributed by formula companies (such as Nestle'). We need to let these companies know that their practices are not acceptable and are directly contributing to the horrendous rates of breastfeeding in the US! Every little bit helps!

Nestlé-Free Zone

Of course, beyond "fighting the man" directly we can also do so by simply breastfeeding, and doing it publicly! By this I don't mean that we should be flashing our breasts everywhere, but rather modestly feeding our babies in public locations so that the breastfeeding image returns to the norm in America. The general public needs to be educated in order for any change to occur.

In honor of this idea I will be introducing a new Meme in the coming weeks for all of us BFing mamas out there! It will be called: I Was Here... Breastfeeding!

I Was Here Breastfeeding button

Each week I am going to try to post a new picture of some place I have breastfed that week- whether it be the park, the mall, the lake, or my son's baseball practice, it doesn't matter as long as I am out there doing it! And I want you all to join me! I will have a Mr. Linky for you to post the direct link to your own post with a pic of where you have been out breastfeeding! Oh, and make sure that you post the I Was Here... Breastfeeding button (code in left sidebar) on your blog post if you would like to be included!

Come on ladies- let's form an army of publicly breastfeeding mamas, share our experiences and help change public perception! This Meme will begin just as soon as this little person pops out of my belly, so keep watching!


Denise said...

I LOVE this idea!! My nursling is turning 2 this week, we've been trying to cut back to mostly nap & night time nursing, but if we do happen to nurse outside the house I'll try to remember to post about it & include your button.

Also I wanted to let you know that I'm getting a white background with very light blue text on your blog & had to highlight it to be able to read it.

homeschoolceo said...

Great idea! Way to go mama.