Formula makers hand out nutritional advice
A few days ago, I received an advertising package from
’s leading formula brand. Somehow, they found out my name, address and how old my baby is – how, I have no idea, unless they have access to hospital or health care records, which in my opinion should be made illegal, to prevent them from specifically targeting new mothers. Materna, Israel
There was a pamphlet accompanying the formula samples in the package, which provided, among other things, a supposedly “balanced” sample menu for a six-month-old. It was something that really made me raise my eyebrows. Here it is.
Morning: formula-based porridge
Mid-morning: pureed fruit
Lunch: pureed chicken/meat/soy, with pureed potatoes/rice and pureed veggies
Dinner: formula-based porridge, well-cooked peas OR pureed veggies
Throughout the day: nursing or 1-2 180 ml bottles of formula
Now, I remind you, we are supposed to be talking about a six-months-old! That’s an age when babies, according to the recommendations of the WHO, are only just starting to be introduced to solid foods, and that begins and happens gradually – a six-month-old’s diet isn’t supposed to be based on solids just yet. What they suggest is suitable, in my opinion, perhaps for a baby closer to a year old.
It really grates on my nerves when formula makers start “mother’s clubs”, “baby clubs” and even “nursing help-lines”, as if trying to pretend they have our best interest at heart, when it is obvious, and of course understandable, that what they really want is to sell their product.
They might argue that they are only targeting mothers who aren’t nursing anyway, but because formula is so widely advertised, so easily available, and is claimed to be so close in its qualities to breast-milk, it prompts young mothers to quit nursing when they are discouraged, exhausted, misinformed or unsupported.
In my opinion, it would be more fitting if formula was sold in pharmacies only, in plain, unattractive packages, under a description such as “inferior breast milk substitute, to be used only when necessary”.
But of course, in a money-driven world, it will never happen.