WHO Code Anniversary – May 21

“It takes adequate and culturally appropriate breastfeeding information and support for mothers to have the chance to choose breastfeeding and to breastfeed successfully,” says Rachel Abramson, Executive Director of HealthConnect One. “Sending new families home with bags of artificial baby milk undercuts the important decision about infant feeding during what can be quite a vulnerable time.”

This is why HealthConnect One joins Public Citizen and a host of other organizations in a campaign to stop the marketing of artificial baby milk in healthcare facilities – today, May 21st – to mark the anniversary of the WHO Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.

Our community partners and allies have this to say about their experience with the marketing of artificial baby milk. You can click on the titles below to read each post in its entirety.

Tytina Bio PicMake Breastfeeding Magical and Stop Marketing Artificial Baby Milk

by Tytina Sanders-Bey, CLC and WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor

“I have witnessed the marketing of artificial baby milk to moms prenatally just by her doing something as simple as reading a pregnancy/parenting magazine. Lots of moms receive formula coupons and bottle samples simply because they are pregnant…”


Toni HillMarketing of artificial baby milk: Everywhere new mothers are
by Toni Hill, Executive Director of Northeast Mississippi Birthing Project

“Mothers trust their primary care provider. The message should be clear there that babies thrive on breastmilk and mothers can produce enough for their babies.”


Kasey Valentine-SteffenJust One Bottle
by Kasey Valentine-Steffen, IBCLC and WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor

“I do find the community is very much impacted by artificial baby milk. Breastfeeding seems to be a lost art. Young women today rarely know of anyone that Breastfed their babies. Though I was fully Breastfeeding when I was discharged from the hospital, I was given a super nice diaper bag with formula in it. The nurse said, ‘I want to be able to give you something for you to take home. You can just throw the formula out if you don’t need it.’ Around six weeks, I learned what a growth spurt was. I threw that formula out. I threw it out into the middle of the yard…”


Infant Feeding in the Age of Hyper-Connectivity
by Eileen Murphy, RN, BSN, IBCLC, RLC

“It seems, in many ways, that we have entered an era of hyper-connectivity. According to a 2012 report by the Pew Research Center, some negative effects of hyper-connectivity include ‘a need for instant gratification and a loss of patience.’ …This impatience seems to carry over to frustrations with breastfeeding.”


To add your photo to the social media storm today, click here.

A and J WHO Code C WHO Code G and A WHO Code H WHO Code


Filed under Advocacy & Action, Breastfeeding

2 responses to “WHO Code Anniversary – May 21

  1. Georg'ann

    Thank you for joining in the targeting of the marketing aspect of formula – your pictures are so awesome! The issue is not whether or not a an individual mother uses formula to feed her baby – but whether or not the formula companies inappropriately target women at their most vulnerable, roping healthcare providers into doing the formula companies’ dirty work for them.

    • Thank you, Georg’ann! There’s a great piece on KellyMom making this important distinction, too – http://kellymom.com/blog-post/why-keep-infant-formula-marketing-out-of-healthcare-facilities/

      About this campaign, KellyMom says:

      “This message is directed at the infant formula manufacturers and the thousands of health care facilities that give these manufacturers free access to mothers:

      “- It is not directed at parents.
      “- It does not advocate against parents choosing to use formula
      “- It does not suggest that formula sales to the public should be limited.
      “- It does say that health care facilities and formula manufacturers should stop these practices that prevent mothers from meeting their own breastfeeding goals.

      “Health care providers need to stop broadcasting a mixed message– ‘Breast is best, but here’s some formula because we don’t expect it to work for you.'”

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