Adwoa Addison

Since giving birth to a beautiful baby girl Blue Ivy, the superstar singer has been spotted all around New York embracing motherhood and breastfeeding her daughter. The duties Of motherhood vary by culture, family, and the needs of each individual child. However, most agree that mothers have some of the most fundamental jobs of humanity. They are to provide safety and nourishment for their children. This entails making seemingly important decisions to be sure their child is safe and well cared for. Choosing whether to breastfeed or formula feed is one of the first decisions a woman will make regarding her baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (PAP) joins other organizations such as the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Dietetic Association (DAD), and the World Health Organization (WHO) in recommending breastfeeding as the best source of nourishment for babies because it helps defend against infections, prevents allergies, and protect against a number of chronic conditions. This leads us to question why the U. S. Has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding among industrialized countries and one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the world.

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Perhaps we can attribute these stigmas to the fact that companies such as Nestle, Mead Johnson Nutrition Company, and Abbott Laboratories have implemented a plethora of aggressive marketing strategies to appeal to new mothers in order to sell their products. These companies dwell on the overall shift from nature to science to promote their products despite the numerous benefits of breastfeeding; consequently resulting in the declination of breastfeeding and a heated debate between breast and bottle advocates and mothers on this very personal matter.

One can account the shift from breastfeeding to baby formula to the overall shift from nature to science. Take one glance at a can of baby formula and this transition is easily apparent. Michael Pollen author of “In defense of food: An eater’s manifesto states “the entire history of baby formula has been the history of one overlooked nutrient after another… And still to this day babies fed on the most “nutritionally complete” formula fail to do as well as babies fed human milk” (32).

This suggests that we have become so infatuated with science that we fail to recognize when it does not provide the best results. Baby formula companies are aware of this transition and over the years have perfected their formulas; claiming that their product now contains the same nutrients and produces the same benefits as its natural counterpart of breastfeeding. A closer look at a can of baby formula reveals ingredients such as corn syrup lids, soy protein isolates, high ILEC safflower oil and sucrose.

Standing alone, most mothers would be disgusted by the mere thought of feeding these ingredients to their newborns; but after it’s been advertised by formula companies and said to include a bunch of healthy- sounding nutrients, it’s suddenly just as good. In actuality, Babies fed these ingredients have been proven to experience more nausea, obesity and frequent doctor visits than babies fed exclusively on breast milk (3). This proves that we have become so enamored with the fruits of science that we are losing sight of the simplicity f nature.

Despite false advertising by baby formula companies, breast milk is a unique nutritional source for newborn infants that cannot adequately be replaced by any other food, specifically infant formula. During the first months of life, infants are fragile and extremely susceptible to diseases, mainly because the immune system is not yet fully developed. Because of this, it is Very important for newborns to receive the most nutritionally complete form of nourishment to help their bodies grow and mature healthily. According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention’s

Healthy people 201 0, “Breast milk is widely acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for infants, with a range of benefits for infants’ health, growth, immunity and development”(CDC). Certified anatomic pathologist, Dry. Melissa SST¶apple states in her article “Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding’ that some of the benefits of breastfeeding include easy accessibility, resistance to disease and infection early as well as later in life, and high cholesterol content which promotes brain growth and provides the building blocks of hormones, vitamin D, and intestinal bile (SST¶apple).

Not only goes breast milk benefit the baby, but nursing also helps mothers lose weight after delivery (SST¶apple). This suggests that breast milk is composed off unique blend of ingredients that provide essential nutrients for babyish health both long and short term. Some baby formula activists may argue that breast milk is not completely safe for infants because pollutants from mothers can accumulate in breast milk. However, this scenario is extremely unlikely since most nursing mothers are advised by doctors to maintain good nutrition and continue taking vitamin and mineral supplements throughout the nursing period.

In general, breast milk remains superior to infant formula from the perspective of the overall health benefits to both mother and child. For some parents and newborns, certain medical conditions may prevent them from being able to nurse. For these mothers and infants bottle-feeding is necessary. To quote Nestle, “Infant formula was developed to address a critical need for a safe and nutritious alternative when breast milk is not available or not chosen. It is the only product recognized to be a suitable breast-milk substitute by the United Nations Codex Aliment Arias Commission, the international food standard setting body”(Nestle).

Some benefits of formula/bottle feeding include foods, medications, or physical conditions of the mother are no longer a concern for the newborn baby, entire family can be involved in feedings; allowing the mother to get more rest, and formula/bottle-feeding also allows exact measurement of how much food is being consumed at every feeding which is pivotal for certain medical conditions (SST¶apple). This demonstrates that while breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for newborns, unfortunately not all mothers can do so.

Situations such as illness, inflexible work or school schedules, and working way from home restrict a mother from breastfeeding her baby. In cases like these, bottle-feeding is one of the few choices remaining for mothers to provide their babies with proper nutrition. Mothers in this scenario should not feel like they have failed in their role as mothers. Instead, these mothers need to seek medical advice on choosing the best formula for their child’s needs and learn appropriate bottle-feeding proportions as well as proper sanitation methods.

Formula companies have implemented a variety of marketing techniques to persuade mothers to buy their products. These nannies thrive on misleading health claims, appealing to new mothers sense of vulnerability and direct patient advertising. A recent article published by CBS news supported this claim in a recent article pertaining Mead Johnson Nutrition Company’s third federal lawsuit over misleading claims in its Inflamed advertising. The article went on to discuss the latest advertisement by the Mead Johnson Nutrition Company “claiming that Inflame is good for groom, brain or eye health (Edwards)”.

Mead Johnson portrayed this image by showing ” an alarming blurry picture of a cartoon duck, which suggested hat feeding infants anything but Inflame will result in reduced vision and brain development (Edwards). ” The company even had the nerve to run a national commercial portraying this very statement with a “medical doctor” as the main character. Advertisements like these illustrate just how desperate these companies are to sell their product. They are willing to run ads like these no matter how far fetched their claims are.

By introducing medical personnel into the scene, ads like these serve to confuse new mothers into thinking their claims have some credibility to it. Not only are the formula nannies targeting television ads, they are also taking full advantage of hospitals and doctor’s offices. Formula manufacturers distribute free samples of their products to hospitals in an attempt to add legitimacy to their products. Not only are the samples dispersed in discharge bags, they are also for use by hospital nurses and staff as they deem fit.

After giving birth, most new mothers are exhausted and uncertain when nurses recommend bottles to already fatigued mother, breastfeeding is unlikely to come to mind; even if that was the original plan. Melissa Barrack, an internist on the board Of the U. S. Breastfeeding Committee makes an interesting point in CNN health’s article “Bloomberg’s breast-feeding plan: Will locking up formula help new moms? ‘ She states “Hospitals lock up just about everything from Band-Aids to gauze. The question we should be asking is, why aren’t they locking up formula?

The reason is because they get it for free. ” This poses a very serious ethical dilemma to me. Mothers and the public as whole expect to receive the very best medical advice from their nurses and doctors. Because of this fact, doctor’s offices and hospitals should not be used as a venue for the arresting of any product for monetary purposes; let alone one that has been shown to undermine breastfeeding. When these products are marketed in hospitals and doctors offices, it portrays the image that these doctors support and endorse the claims made by these companies.

Supporters and manufactures’ of baby formula argue that with the high price of today’s baby formula, marketing in hospitals provide bottle feeding mothers a chance to receive some free formula; after all, who doesn’t love free things? But are the free samples dispersed in discharge bags really free? A recent article published by citizen. Erg revealed that these samples are not what they claim to be. The formula industry provides the most expensive varieties of formula in these sample bags” (Citizen. Org).

Since mothers assume that they are given the very best at hospitals, they are most likely to continue using the same brand of formula given to them in the discharge bags. Therefore, mothers are unknowingly being tricked into paying for these so called free samples. With all the strategies being executed by baby formula companies to promote their products, something has to be done to protect the breast is best movement. While US public health officials are making great strides in combating this issue, more can be done to promote the benefits of breast milk.

Over two decades ago at the World Health Assembly, delegates of the WHO adopted and implemented a set of laws known as the International Code of Marketing of breast milk Substitutes. These laws were established to prevent further damage to the health Of infants by the aggressive promotion of baby formula by its manufacturers’. The code was said to be the bare minimum of standards to be followed by all countries “to protect all parents from immemorial exploitation and to outlaw biased and inappropriate information “(WHO).