Breastfeeding vs formula: Should the state step in?

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Breastfeeding vs formula: Should the state step in?
6
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 3:32pm

If you had to pick one solution, which one would it be?

Solution #1: Formula on prescription

-- For the minority of women who genuinely can’t breastfeed (those with insufficient glandular tissue, those on incompatible life-saving medication, those that have had mastectomies for example), we could provide a safety net: formula on prescription.

Solution #2: Taxation

-- A: Legislation could be passed demanding that formula companies transfer a proportion of their profits over to the state, a kind of corporate tax. The state could then spend this money on redressing the harms brought about by formula use – the environmental decay, the burden on the health care system, and so on.

-- B: tax the parents - Instead of targeting parents’ moral consciousness (their hearts), target parents’ financial sensibilities (their wallets). People value cold hard money over theoretical health.

Solution #3: Recompense breastfeeders

-- By breastfeeding, a mother is not only preserving the optimum health of her baby and herself, she is also saving money for the state and protecting the environment to boot! She is benefiting us all. It is only reasonable that she should be rewarded for this diligence.

Solution #4: Nationalise formula production

-- A final solution would be nationialising formula production. By nationalising formula production we remove formula as an incessant white noise in our lives. Nationialising formula production will reduce the overall demand for formula.

Read more: http://www.thealphaparent.com/2013/05/breastfeeding-v-formula-should-state.html

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999

If I truly had to pick one, I'd take solution number 3, but honestly, I think the state and government should stay out of our personal lives.  It is our choice what we do, how we feed our kids and unless we are putting them in harms way, they should stay out of it.  While I am completely pro-BFing, I do not look down on people that use formula.  I used formula with my first one.  It is each person's right to decide whether to use formula or to BF'ed period.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006

I don't really like any of the choices, but if I had to pick I'd say #4, Nationalize formula. If formula were to be nationalized, the the amount of money subsidizing formula would be equivalent to the amount subsidizing breastfeeding.  At least then, breastfeeding and formula would in some ways be comparable.

As it stands now, the IFC has a few tens of billions of dollars to market formula and breastfeeding has the kind donations of good hearted people.

Community Leader
Registered: 04-18-2003
Sat, 05-11-2013 - 10:47pm

After reading Nisupulla's

I don't really like any of the choices, but if I had to pick I'd say #4, Nationalize formula. If formula were to be nationalized, the the amount of money subsidizing formula would be equivalent to the amount subsidizing breastfeeding.  At least then, breastfeeding and formula would in some ways be comparable.

As it stands now, the IFC has a few tens of billions of dollars to market formula and breastfeeding has the kind donations of good hearted people."

I think #4 would be an excellent choice.

Gail

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
I am curious how nationalizing formula production would reduce overall demand? I do understand the concept that they talk about in the article, but having done it both ways, formula for my first, and BFing for my second two, the biggest impediment IMO of continued BFing or not BFing at all is the issue of working mothers and the support they get from not only the workplace, but still the stigma of BFing in public, or having to resort to being at home and more isolated than being able to be out and about and not getting stares and other things from strangers in public. If there was a better national education system around BFing, which this article doesn't really talk about, it just talks about taking away more of the in your face advertising of formula. There are so many working mothers that would be happy to BFed longer, but the need to go back to work, and not having the support of businesses to work and pump has not caught up to the need that is out there. I was very lucky that I had very supportive bosses and worked for a state agency so we had locked in 15 minute breaks twice a day and an hour lunch as well as a lactation room to use. Many don't have that advantage. I will also say that the support at the hospital was much to be desired to even get me started BFing, which was most of the reason why I didn't BF'ed longer with my first one. The second one I had decent support and was determined to BF'ed. The third one, even though I was at the same hospital as the second one, I had problems with the two nurses I had, but luckily by then I was a seasoned BFer and knew my way around things and wasn't intimidated by the nurses, because if I had been a first time parent again, I likely would have quit early on. So while I understand the concept of nationalizing it, I think there would need to be a lot more support in other areas to actually make it reduce the demand overall.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008

I am curious how nationalizing formula production would reduce overall demand?

What nationalizing formula would do is eliminate all the negative effects of formula advertising and promotional tricks has on BF rates. There are many reasons why moms use formula, some of which include medical or logistical reasons as well as simply that for some, they simply choose to use formula without any prompting from formula ads or promotional tricks. There are also some moms who have issue related to bad info, advice, etc. from doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc. and that of course would not be solved by nationalizing formula. But what this solution would solve is all the mothers who end up using formula or supplementing with formula unnecessarily due to bad info and/or advice from formula ads and info on feeding provide by the formula companies. At least two studies show clearly that the free samples giving by the formula companies to new moms can indeed effect moms trying to BF negatively when it comes to exclusively BF'ing for at least 6 months. Another issue is the way that formula companies promote their product to doctors and nurses and they way they use their influence to stop hospital programs designed to implement policies that reduce the unnecessary use of formula supplementation in maternity wards. By nationalizing formula, you don't actually prevent moms who need to use formula from getting it, nor due you prevent moms who merely wish to use it by choice from doing so either. But because the government is not in the business of having to make a profit and please shareholders like the formula companies are, they don't need to resort to underhanded tricks to keep formula use high.

Nationalization of formula production is not the end all and be all of increasing BF rates but rather one of many solutions to the problem. You would also want to increase support for BF'ing working moms, increased BF support training among doctors, and inprove hospital BF policies, among other things. But it would IMO help to increase BF rates and duration at least somewhat which is a start.

Having read the article link to in the original post, I have to agree with the authors POV. Having though t about I agree that all the other solutions have serious flaws. Nationalization seems like the best solution of the one presented. I'm not so sure though that nationalization is the only way to achieve the same results. I think that simply banning all foWhat nationalizing formula would do is eliminate all the negative effects of formula advertising and promotional tricks has on BF rates. There are many reasons why moms use formula, some of which include medical or logistical reasons as well as simply that for some, they simply choose to use formula without any prompting from formula ads or promotional tricks. There are also some moms who have issue related to bad info, advice, etc. from doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc. and that of course would not be solved by nationalizing formula. But what this solution would solve is all the mothers who end up using formula or supplementing with formula unnecessarily due to bad info and/or advice from formula ads and info on feeding provide by the formula companies. At least two studies show clearly that the free samples giving by the formula companies to new moms can indeed effect moms trying to BF negatively when it comes to exclusively BF'ing for at least 6 months. Another issue is the way that formula companies promote their product to doctors and nurses and they way they use their influence to stop hospital programs designed to implement policies that reduce the unnecessary use of formula supplementation in maternity wards. By nationalizing formula, you don't actually prevent moms who need to use formula from getting it, nor due you prevent moms who merely wish to use it by choice from doing so either. But because the government is not in the business of having to make a profit and please shareholders like the formula companies are, they don't need to resort to underhanded tricks to keep formula use high.

Having read the article link to in the original post, I have to agree with the authors POV. Having though t about I agree that all the other solutions have serious flaws. Nationalization seems like the best solution of the one presented. I'm not so sure though that nationalization is the only way to achieve the same results. I think that simply banning all formula ads and promotional tricks and such would accomplish much the same thing. There might be unintended consequences with such a solution that nationalization would resolve though. Since I am not apposed to nationalization outright and believe that in some circumstances in can be of benefit I would not apposed nationalizing formula production. rmula ads and promotional tricks and such would accomplish much the same thing. There might be unintended consequences with such a solution that nationalization would resolve though. Since I am not apposed to nationalization outright and believe that in some circumstances in can be of benefit I would not apposed nationalizing formula production.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008

(Edited to remove double post)

Opps! Seems I accidently double posted. Sorry about that!

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