Influenced by formula marketing?

Avatar for luv_my_boyz
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Registered: 04-07-2003
Influenced by formula marketing?
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Tue, 05-06-2003 - 5:28pm
Do you think mothers are influenced by formula marketing? This subject has been touched on in recent threads, but I think it would be interesting to hear more debate. My position is that absolutely mothers are influenced and to the detriment of breastfeeding, not just to the detriment of one brand or another by an already ff mom. One common practice of formula companies is to send out samples and literature at key development periods when they know there may be some breastfeeding difficulty such as during a growth spurt. Pharmaceutical companies spend more money on marketing and advertising than they do on research and development. Does this concern anybody? If you feel you are not influenced by marketing, why do you think the pharmaceutical companies spend more money to market their product than to develop it?

Here is an interesting link for doctors that addresses the subject of pharmaceutical marketing.

http://www.nofreelunch.org/factsfallacies.htm

Danielle

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Avatar for all_girls4me
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 6:12pm
I can only speak for myself,and I was absolutely not influenced by formula marketing. Actually I don't pay attention to it at all. And I 'm a FF mom. With my first child I fully intended on BF and I did for about 2 months and at same time I FF at night and then switched completely. That decision had nothing to do with the formula companies, it was just the choice that worked for me. Actually I have to say that I was somewhat annoyed at the La Leche Consultant in my hospital who gave me the evil eye for substituting with formula. I think she thought I was poisining my baby...lol.

Give a woman the credit to make their own choice, and if they get too influenced by outside opinions, then it would happen anyway, Formula ads or not.

Ilka and "The Girls"



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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 6:42pm
I have to respectfully disagree that you think you are not affected by marketing. Unless you live in a cave (and obviously you don't since you have Internet access - LOL), you are affected by marketing to some extent. We all are. It's impossible to escape it.

How did you choose which brand of formula to use? I would venture to guess either the hospital (marketing), free samples (marketing), or label reading (marketing) came into play. You can claim it had no affect, but I think it had to to some extent even if it was sub-conscious.

- Ingrid


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Avatar for kfira71
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 7:23pm
I guess I was influenced in an indirect way by formula marketing. I knew of Similac because many family members and friends used it - it was the brand I was most familiar with for that reason. In the hospital, my DS was given Similac with iron from day one, and that's exactly what he stayed on till we weaned to whole milk at around 13 months. I don't feel I was swayed by any particular ad that Similac had out, but I guess its prevalance in the market had the same effect? If I had to pick a brand that I've seen the most marketing for, it would probably be Carnation Good Start, and I never even considered that brand. Don't know what that says about the topic, but it's my experience.

To be honest, I don't know that formula marketing is to the detriment of breastfeeding. I planned to breastfeed, but I didn't have that strong resolve that I *had* to breastfeed exclusively, no matter what. I would think for women who *do* have that kind of resolve, the ads and free samples would just be like background noise or minor annoyances (kind of like cigarette ads to non-smokers - who cares? And, no, I'm not trying to compare formula to cigarettes ;o)). I guess women who BF would have more to say on that, but I just don't see a woman who has a strong desire to BF suddenly deciding to switch to formula because she saw an ad in a magazine or because a formula sample showed up in the mail. It just doesn't seem like that kind of decision, KWIM? Try a new face cream from a sample in the mail, sure. But give up BFing? I just don't think so.

I'd say the biggest detriment to BFing is probably the medical community, starting with the OBs. I was never encouraged by any of my OBs (I had several doctors during my pregnancy) to choose BFing. I was asked which feeding method I wanted in a perfunctory manner, and there was no further discussion. Maybe if I had said formula instead of BF, there would have been, but I doubt it. My DS's pediatrician also had nothing to say on the subject. Whatever I was doing was fine, so long as the baby was eating, growing and healthy.

~Kim

"Becoming a parent means agreeing to allow your heart to go walking around outside of your body."

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 7:46pm
Danielle! Something we agree on! LOL!

Yes, I do think we are influenced by formula marketing. For me it didn't so much influence my decision to switch, but when I did switch I used the brand the hospital gave me. Where did they get the formula from? The manufacturer of course! So to that extent I was influenced. I never did get any free samples until I signed up for the club and I only did that because money was tight and the $2.00 off coupons helped. The free samples were only 1 serving size but they came in handy to have in the diaper bag in case of emergency. But, the free samples did come at key developmental periods. The first at about 3-4 months to promote the iron fortified formulas, the next around 6 months to promote their next step formula and then again at one year touting how you should keep your child on formula until they are at least 18 months. I know many of my friends made the decision to use Good Start strictly because of their marketing of "comfort proteins". I specifically stayed away from the carnation products because I didn't like how they marketed. I can see how someone who is having problems bf might be influenced when they see these commercials and advertisements. Yes we all have our own minds but subconsciously things DO influence us. I do believe that women should know there is an alternative if they need it, but I don't think that we need to be bombarded with ads about formula. I think it could be detrimental.

As far as pharmaceutical companies go, marketing is huge! Things are a little different here in Canada because there are much tighter regulations on advertising. Our provinces each have their own drug formulary which show interchangeable low cost alternatives (LCA)(generics). So if you go into a drug store and you are prescribed Zocor 20mg (brand name for hyperlipidemia) by the physician you will get it interchanged to Simvastatin (generic)at the pharmacy level. It will be changed to the LCA unless your doctor specifically writes on the rx "no substitution" or you request the brand name on your own. So the drug companies don't have a lot of influence at the patient or pharmacy level. The big place is at the doctors offices where the reps go to promote their new drugs. I often wonder if the medication I am being prescribed is the best medicine for my particular ailment or just the brand that the last drug rep gave out when he/she visited.

Good question!

Judi

(oh, and the things I mentioned above apply to Ontario, laws are different in every province)



Avatar for cl_sunny_side_up
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 8:18pm
<<>>

Uh, no......they didn't come into play. Believe it or not. The hospital gave me Similac and I never used it. I chose Enfamil with my first because it was the first thing I saw on the shelf. I then had to switch to a hypo-allergenic formula because of his colic. I just stuck with the Enfamil brand. With my second I chose generic from the start. If I found a name-brand for a great price on Ebay, I bought it. Otherwise, I only bought generic for him. No marketing played a part in my decision regarding formula.

If I have another child who is put on formula, I will again choose a generic brand.


christine




~christine~

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 11:15pm
Marketing didn't affect my choice. I met with Emily's ped while pregnant, and asked for a formula recommendation. I also asked family and friends with young children for their opinions. Did some research, and ended up starting with what the ped recommended, then switched to another sort of the same brand when I needed thickened formula. The only one I see ads for is CGS and I don't use that.

-Deb


Edited 5/6/2003 11:18:47 PM ET by debbielys

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 12:18am
And what do you think influenced your Ped's reccommendation? Could it, do you think, just possibly have been marketing by the formula companies?

Isabel





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Avatar for kfira71
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 7:53am
I think most people are answering this question in terms of marketing to the *consumer* (ads in magazines, free samples sent to homes, etc.). Not sure how anyone would be able to say for sure what influenced their ped's recommendation, unless the ped actually said it was because he got free samples or perks from a particular company. I'd like to think that a ped would look at the ingredients, nutritional value, reputation of the company, etc. before making a recommendation, but who can know for sure?

~Kim

"Becoming a parent means agreeing to allow your heart to go walking around outside of your body."

Avatar for cl_sunny_side_up
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 9:39am
We are answering that way because that is what the OP asked.

As for the PED recommendation. I think it's safe to assume a PED has their most vulnerable at heart when they make a recommendation. Don't you?? To think otherwise is just dispicable. Not that there aren't any PED's out there who do such a thing, but I would gather they are few and far between. IME, any DR who works with children is in a class all of their own. It takes a special DR to take care of children......sick children.


christine


~christine~

Avatar for kfira71
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 10:39am
Um, yes, aren't we saying the same thing? I was just trying to point out to the person I responded to that people are answering the OP based on the *direct* effect of marketing on them, not on its effect on other sources of information (peds or hospitals). And, yes, as I said, I do like to think that peds recommend formula based on its inherent value, not on its $ value to them.

~Kim

"Becoming a parent means agreeing to allow your heart to go walking around outside of your body."

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