Saturday, 31 July 2010

Formula company website giving misinformation to breastfeeding mothers

You might remember this website, it was set up as some sort of response to the Ban the Bags campaign. It's funded by the Infant Formula Council, and they state that banning formula samples in hospitals is "withholding information and support from new moms". Way to entirely miss the point.

Anyway, I stumbled on their site today and found a section entitled "Ask RN" where a lady named Barbara Dehn is giving advice to mothers on breastfeeding and formula feeding. Some of the advice is fine, other is extremely suspect and some outright damaging. Take this gem:

From ghana

my baby is 3 days old, but the mother don't have breast milk can i feed him with formula

Most moms find that their milk doesn't "come in" until day 4-5. I would suggest that you continue to put the baby to the breast every 2 1/2 to 3 hours around the clock. If the baby is making wet diapers (5-7) day, then they are getting nourishment. If there aren't wet diapers, then by all means supplement with properly prepared formula and talk to your baby's doctor or midwife.

No mention of colostrum, and the wet nappy advice is wrong, wrong, wrong. A 3 day old baby would be expected to have 3 wets in a 24 hour period. Not 5-7.

Sara Calloway
From Ohio

I am really stressed out about my 4 month old's weight. We were at the pediatrician's today and she weighs 11 pounds 5 ounces and is 33.5". She is exclusively breastfed and seems happy but the pediatrician wants me to start supplementing her with formula. My lactation consultant, on the other hand, says that she is eating plenty and just seems to be on the small side. She feels supplementing my daughter won't make her consume more, she'll just get less breastmilk.

She has about 9 wet diapers a day, and poops every day or two, so I'm pretty sure I have enough milk. She eats about 8 times a day and 1 or 2 times at night. She does not seem unhappy, her hair is shiny, skin is soft, and eyes are moist. She is alert, rolls over both ways, and if we sit her up, she'll stay unsupported for a several seconds.

The pediatrician sent me home with samples of formula but I don't want to introduce those risks unless I truly have to. I wasn't worried before but now I feel like maybe I'm starving her. Is her weight normal? She was 7lbs 1 oz at birth and 20" long.

I'm just very confused over the conflicting advice and I'd like a variety of opinions to help me decide what's truly best for her.

Thanks in advance!

This is a very good question. The average weight for a 4 month old who was born on time is 14 lbs. Your daughter's weight puts her at the 10th percentile. You didn't mention how tall you and your husband are. You say that she's 33.5 inches long, but I'll bet you mean 23.5. If that's the case then, her length is also in the 10th percentile. It's very possible that she is just a small child and will continue to be small throughout her life.
Here's what I know from almost 30 years as a nurse.
You can bring your daughter to your lactation consultant and weigh her before you feed and after to see how much she's drinking. You can also offer her some pumped milk to see if she's still hungry after a feeding session at the breast. If you do need to use formula, I want to reassure you that it is a safe and healthy option that many moms use, because they can't exclusively breast feed. Formulas today are designed to be closer to breast milk than ever before. Yes, you're right, breast milk is ideal, but if you have to use formula, you can rest assured that this is a safe nutritious source of calories, proteins, fats and other vitamins and essential nutrients that a baby needs to grow. good luck and let me know what happens.

No mention of how much baby is actually gaining per week, just giving a weight isn't really helpful, as baby could have been quite happily gaining on this curve. She's right that some children are just small. But the rest of the reply just sounds like a formula ad.

Debbie Demi's Mom
From California

im breastfeeding and everyone says its the best for the baby is 2 and a half months. but "good" food is expensive so i try to eat as healthy as possible but my baby's bone crack all the time...could it be that my milk isn't nutritional enough?? or could it be more serious? and if my milk isnt good enough what formula is best?

Hi, I'm not sure what you mean by your baby's bones crack? It may just be that you're hearing the new cartilage rubbing on itself. If your baby is growing according to your pediatrician, then I would guess that your milk is the perfect food for your little one. Be sure you drink plenty of milk, or get cottage cheese or other dairy ( 4 servings at least) every day. Continue taking your prenatal vitamin and look for fresh fruits and vegetables in season, because they cost less. If you're concerned about the economy, and really, who isn't right now, aim for using eggs and chicken to get plenty of protein. Good luck

What the fuck? Did she really just tell that mama that she has to drink milk to make milk? Is this Old Wives Tales 101?

I could go on and on, but the misinformation is rife here. Really if they're going to dish out breastfeeding advice they should really have an IBCLC to answer these breastfeeding questions. Here's the direct link to the section if you want to refute some of this garbage as well! Have fun!


  1. holy something or other. that is ... just... well... I don't really know what to call that. I'm somewhat flabbergasted though!

  2. It's shit like this that makes it hard for new moms to base choices on solid fact. When I got breastfeeding advice for my twins in HOSPITAL, literally every midwife said something different - the lac consultant fought on my behalf, but they thought she was crazy.

  3. FFS, she really is funded by those making money out of selling formula isn't she? It's so sneaky that that site actually looks like it will provide breastfeeding advice when it is really a thinly veiled attempt to sell a poor substitute.

  4. I know, Jules. This sort of thing is rife, it seems. There's formula companies setting up "breastfeeding support" helplines all over the place now it seems. Why would ANYONE go to a formula company for breastfeeding support?!

  5. Hey. It's me again. I never said you were an unfit mother because you called me ignorant either. I never said the word because. You were the only one who said the word because. I used a period. If I wanted to connect the two sentences together, I would have used a semi colon. It's ironic that you called me ignorant because you are old enough to have kids and you don't even know simple sentence construction or punctuation. That is an example of a sentence with because in it. You contacted me in the first place because you are ignorant. You didn't understand an obvious joke I made. If a guy says, "I just flew in from the coast and boy are his arms tired", he doesn't actually think he can fly. If you called him ignorant because he thinks he can fly, you don't get the joke. That makes you ignorant to how joke construction works. Most jokes have an element of fiction in them. That's why it's a joke. You also said jokes have to be funny. That is ignorant. Lots of jokes are unfunny. They are called bad jokes. You have never heard a bad joke before? Here is the reason you are an unfit mother. You don't understand simple concepts like logic and punctuation. I only want smart people to have kids. When your kids need help from with their English homework, they are going to get an F under your advisement. You don't know what a period means. Not only are your genes poisoned to your kids but you are probably filling their head with misinformation as they speak. You might as well throw a rock and whatever it hits could parent better than you. Proceed to then hit yourself with said rock. You are British so your kids probably have bad teeth. Maybe when you breast feed them, they will bite down and give you a Staph Infection. I also hope they suck on something that they think is your nipple, but its actually a lump. If you are too dumb to get that one, I'm talking about cancer. Sorry I couldn't fit this into 140 characters.


  6. Hey, look, everyone! It's a troll who can't properly construct a sentence while ripping someone off for presumably doing the same thing! I'd tell him off but I think he's already made his stupidity staggeringly clear. Pity him.

  7. Whoa, well obviously I rattled someone's cage. I could just delete the comment, but I think really it speaks for itself in its ridiculousness. "Johnny", I don't know who you are or what you're even talking about, I assume I upset you on Twitter or something. But I find it rather disturbing that you would go to someone's blog that recently lost a child and wish breast cancer on them. Nice, really nice.