Mommyish Poll: Following The Bloomberg Formula Lockdown, Does This Ad Piss You Off?

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bloomberg formulaIt’s World Breastfeeding Week, which means lots of fun facts regarding the status of breastfeeding, great big nurse-ins, and some tips on that Facebook etiquette. But even though all of us on the Mommyish staff are pretty pro-breastfeeding, this year’s breastfeeding campaign is well-timed with Mayor Bloomberg‘s formula lockdown. Now, Mr. Bloomberg isn’t quite yanking formula from all New York City hospitals, but he is stepping into a hornet’s nest of sensitivity regarding breastfeeding. Considering that lactation experts have left many a woman feeling like they’re in the middle of “one big guilt trip” and other women physically cannot breastfeed for a host of reasons, Bloomberg’s initiative risks further stigmatizing an already touchy arena. Let us remember that formula samples are not the problem when discussing why mommies aren’t breastfeeding. A little maternity leave would help matters.

While I’m not exactly for formula companies shilling their products to new mothers left and right, the idea of a new mommy having to go request formula from behind a big judgey desk, much like a 13-year-old asking for a tampon in gym class, seems — forgive the term — infantalizing.

So to coincide with Bloomberg’s “nanny state,” as our editor-in-chief put it, Latch On NYC is reportedly putting up these ads across the NYC subways. The big red “factory made” versus the friendly green “mom made” makes that good and bad dichotomy pretty clear. Had I glanced up and saw this advertisement on my morning commute, I’d most likely just chalk it up to your standard (i.e. shame on all formula feeders) pro-breastfeeding public service announcements. But in the wake of Bloomberg asking hospitals to participate in a formula contraband initiative, I’m just a tad more annoyed.

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  1. Brandy

    August 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    One thing I’ve been wondering…formula companies won’t be able to hand out “swag”, right? Well, will the lactation “experts” be shilling for breast pump manufacturers, breastmilk storage products manufacturers, makers of breastfeeding pillows, breastfeeding covers, et cetera? If so, it is the SAME problem as with formula “swag”.

    Otherwise, I just dare them to try to guilt trip me into making a decision about my body that I may (or may not) disagree with. Were it not for formula I would have starved to death (I was born with a severe cleft and my mother was underweight due to a kidney infection late in pregnancy). I (gasp!) survived, thrived, and went on to excel in school and life. Breastfeeding or formula feeding is a choice–a choice we women need to support lest other choices be taken away from us (a la Arizona).

  2. CW

    August 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Infant formula *IS* made in a factory. Does anybody really dispute that breastmilk is generally best for babies, even if it isn’t the option that works in the real world for 100% of moms? I’m grateful that formula was available when I wasn’t able to BF my oldest child but while it was an adequate substitute, it wasn’t the ideal nourishment for her.

  3. Kiki

    August 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I’m physically unable to breastfeed, but definitely would have if it had been possible for me to do so. I had a 4 month maternity leave, I could have afforded a fancy pump, I have a job where I wouldn’t have had trouble taking breaks to pump, etc. Surprise surprise…my formula-fed children are quite smart and shockingly healthy, especially considering that they are in (quality) childcare. The propensity to breastfeed exclusively is inextricably linked to a certain type of parent, of which I am one. So to scare tactics like this poster…I guess “indifferent” is the best response. My anecdotal evidence is good enough for me. Too bad Mayor Bloomberg isn’t spending more time focusing on actual issues. But I guess those issues require more complex solutions and aren’t a media lightning rod.

  4. Courtney Lynn

    August 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I exclusively breastfeed, but there are women who for whatever reason that is personal to them, do not. Some can’t. I think the ad is misleading. While formula may not prevent those ailments, it doesn’t necessarily cause them either. It looks like the ad is trying to say, “If you don’t breastfeed, you’re putting your child at risk for these illnesses” when that might not be true.

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