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Similac, Old Navy and Breastfeeding. Huh?

September 28, 2010

In light of the recent news on the Similac recall and Old Navy’s decision to sell a ‘Formula Powered’ onesie, I thought we should chat about breastfeeding today.

I’m not going to bash formula-feeding moms. There are many reasons why a mom would feed her baby formula instead of breastmilk. In a society where formula companies spend BIG MONEY to promote their products, it’s easy to see why so many moms do not breastfeed. They make formula-feeding seem normal and just as good as breastfeeding, even though it’s not.

And they clearly spend more money on advertising and promoting their products through doctors and hospitals than they do on quality control with their products. Did you know that powdered infant formula is not pasteurized and of the various forms of formula available, are the most often recalled, primarily for bacterial contamination? It is nearly impossible to create a sterile powdered formula. If you MUST give your child formula, there is much less risk in giving them premixed formula.

I like what Dr. Thomas, Pediatrician at the Lakeshore Medical Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic, wrote on the subject, “Breastfeeding is normal. It’s what babies are hardwired to do . . . Breastfeeding isn’t special sauce, a leg up or a magic potion. It’s not ‘best.’ It’s normal. Just normal. Designed for the needs of a vulnerable human infant. And nothing else designed to replace it is normal.”

Formula (when it’s not contaminated with beetles or beetle larvae) is a wonderful option for moms that absolutely cannot breastfeed. But that woman is few and far between. Most moms CAN breastfeed (statistically, at least 95% of them). How sad that our society has made it so difficult to choose to breastfeed.

And that’s where Old Navy comes in. Seriously, I thought this had to be a hoax when I saw it. I was appalled to find out it wasn’t.

You know what I think is even worse? They didn’t put out any piece of clothing that says anything about breastfeeding! Really Old Navy?

Who is working in that marketing department? On the other hand, maybe I’m the crazy one. Maybe their market research shows that the majority of their mom shoppers feed their babies formula. Well, of course they do. The CDC’s statistics show that. Ok, so kudos to the marketing department. I’m sure they sold a heck of a lot of those onesies.

But SHAME ON Old Navy for perpetuating the idea that formula is just as good as breastmilk. Like women need one more reason to believe that formula is a wonderful substitute.

So, Old Navy, how about a shirt for breastfed babies? Something like, “I’m A Boob Man” or “Booby Baby” or “I Eat at Mom’s Diner” or “Powered By Mom”.

I’m betting money there won’t be a onesie with any of those sayings, or anything that supports breastfeeding. With only 13% of moms exclusively breastfeeding their babies through six months of age (as recommended by the AAP), there’s just not enough money in it.

What do you think?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 13, 2010 8:53 PM

    I read this post shortly after it was posted…but have only come back to it.

    I get the akwardness of a shirt like that…and I would also want to see a shirt about breastfed babies.

    FWIW, I was just on oldnavy.com & I did not see any shirts/onesies like that at all. They DO carry a line of maternity clothes & nursing tops. If they disliked breastfeeders…they wouldn’t carry nursing tops, right? Maybe the bizarro to the nursing top is the formula onesie? “Hey, we support all these nursing moms with cool tops – but those formula fed kids don’t get anything cool!” …Maybe?

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