Lactivist Prof. Amy Brown takes a page out of the anti-choice playbook

29043743 - my body my choice message printed on apper hanging on clothesline

When it comes to infant formula, I’m prochoice.

Sure, I breastfed my own four children; I had relatively few problems, I enjoyed it and I had four fat, happy babies. I chose to use my breasts for breastfeeding, but that tells me nothing about what other women ought to do with their breasts.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Brown is no more interested in making formula cheaper than antichoice activists are interested in making abortion safer.[/pullquote]

Similarly, I have never had an abortion and that tells me nothing about what other women should do if they experience an unwanted pregnancy.

Lactivists, like antichoice advocates, feel differently. Antichoice advocates want to make sure that NO woman can have an abortion, except perhaps in extremely limited circumstances like rape and incest. Lactivists want to make sure that NO woman can feed her baby with formula, except perhaps in extremely limited circumstances such as when a baby ends up half dead from insufficient breastmilk.

Both lactivists and antichoice advocates recognize that the majority of people don’t agree with them. That’s why they’ve resorted to stealth tactics — restrictions that are designed to prevent formula feeding or abortions, masquerading as health initiatives.

Consider this bit of nonsense from lactivist Prof. Amy Brown. She may have set a new standard in hypocrisy with her latest piece in entitled Don’t We Deserve Fairer Priced Formula Milks? She’s writing about the bill proposed by Scottish MP Alison Thewlis meant to further restrict formula marketing.

What this bill is seeking to do is to introduce a source of fair and accurate information about formula milks, outside of those who are trying to sell a product. It aims to reduce its cost, by preventing false claims and reducing advertising charges. Overall it plans to hold manufacturers accountable for their claims.


Claiming that the Thewlis bill is designed to lower the cost of formula is like antichoice activists claiming that the restrictive Texas abortion access law was designed to improve the safety of pregnancy termination.

Proponents say that the Texas law will give women who have abortions better access to emergency treatment should complications arise, while providing greater oversight of their doctors. But many mainstream health care groups, who analyzed the law on its medical merits, say the measures are unnecessary and could even compromise patient well-being.

Two provisions of the 2013 law are before the court, which will hear arguments in the case on Wednesday. One requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. The other requires all abortion facilities to meet the specifications of ambulatory surgical centers, which have more staff and equipment, and are more expensive to manage.

The Supreme Court rejected their argument.

“There was no significant health-related problem that the new law helped to cure,” Breyer wrote. “We agree with the District Court that the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting-privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an “undue burden” on their constitutional right to do so.”

The Thewlis bill is similar. It is meant to increase the obstacles for woman who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed. And that’s not surprising; Brown is on record as vociferously opposing the use of formula. She is the author of Why Fed Will Never Be Best: The FIB Of Letting Our New Mothers Down. The title is in keeping with what appears to be the cardinal rule of lactivism — never miss an opportunity to shame women who can’t or don’t breastfeed.

The Texas bill, as terrible as it was, had a justification that was plausibly related to women’s health. Brown’s claim doesn’t even have that.

Both she and Thewlis insist that restricting formula marketing will make formula cheaper. On which planet would that happen? Making an product cheaper involves economies of scale. The more product a company sells, the less it costs to make. That’s why companies of all kinds spend money on marketing. They know that it increases sales and therefore increases profits. There is no evidence of any kind that restricting formula marketing will have ANY positive impact on the price.

Are Brown and Thewlis so ignorant that they don’t know that? Or are they merely sly, attempting to limit access to formula without admitting it?

That would be bad enough, but the truth is even worse. Brown and Thewlis support policies that are designed to make formula MORE EXPENSIVE. In the UK, discounting formula is banned.

[T]he relevant EU regulation bans “any … promotional device to induce sales of infant formula directly to the consumer at the retail level, such as … discount coupons” … [T]he law bans “multi packs (bulk packs), loyalty/reward card schemes, free formula, price reductions, discounts or mark downs and buy one get one free” offers.

Brown is no more interested in making formula cheaper than antichoice activists are interested in making abortion safer. And, like antichoice activists, Brown is willing to say anything — no matter how disingenuous, nonsensical or untrue — to restrict women’s choice of formula.

126 Responses to “Lactivist Prof. Amy Brown takes a page out of the anti-choice playbook”

  1. mabelcruet
    April 7, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

    OT-for UK readers. The ‘tampon tax’, the money raised by government by taxing tampons as luxury items, is being spent on funding a charity Life that is fundamentally opposed to abortion. They run unlicensed advice and counselling centres where biased information is given to women, are completely opposed to choice, and operate using scare tactics, lying to women about how a termination can cause breast cancer. Other grants were made to rape crisis centres and others who support vulnerable women, but the anti abortion charity got the biggest grant. There’s been quite a bit in the news about it and a petition has been set up on 38degrees to ask that the grant is reconsidered.

  2. mostlyclueless
    April 6, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    OT: I was looking at this WHO fact sheet on the top 10 causes of death in low, low-middle, upper-middle, and high-income economies:

    Birth asphyxia and preterm birth are leading causes of death in low income economies, but not in higher income economies. Does anyone have any theories as to why?

    Is it because women in low income economies have less access to home birth? Too many OBs and not enough midwives? Do women in low income economies just not trust birth enough? Has no one told them about hypnobirthing? Do they get too many c-sections?

    Such a mystery. MANA and Ina May Gaskin should get involved and bring their life-saving knowledge to these countries. Can I find them on twitter and let them know they’re needed?

    • Dr Kitty
      April 6, 2017 at 4:16 pm #

      Women in low income countries are all high risk because of poor diet and sanitation.
      So if you have a good diet and sanitation your homebirth in the US will have totally different risk profile, even if you are a first time mother at 47 with a BMI of 38 and a BP of 150/90 and your COM has attended fewer than 50 births…

      • mostlyclueless
        April 6, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

        Does eating Kit-Kats and Cheez-its exclusively for 9 months count as a good diet? Asking for a friend.

        • Heidi
          April 6, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

          Just switch to those Annie organic cheddar bunnies and raw cacao nibs and it’s sewwper healthy and you will have happy homebirth!

        • MaineJen
          April 7, 2017 at 9:49 am #

          MMMMMMM Kit Kats

        • BeatriceC
          April 9, 2017 at 8:25 pm #

          Is your “friend” green, roughly football shaped, and abnormally cranky? Because that’s the Evil Attack Parrot’s preferred diet right now.

    • Sarah
      April 7, 2017 at 2:26 am #

      Don’t. They’d probably go.

  3. SporkParade
    April 6, 2017 at 3:51 am #

    “Women shouldn’t be getting their information about formula from formula manufacturers.” “Health professionals shouldn’t educate new mothers on formula because it discourages exclusive breastfeeding.” FRIGGING CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER.

    • Sarah
      April 6, 2017 at 4:52 am #

      Indeed. I’d be delighted to receive information on formula prep from the NHS rather than formula manufacturers. However, that does mean the NHS having to keep that end of the bargain up. If they don’t, people will look elsewhere, and it’s better that the ‘elsewhere’ be from people who can get sued if they give the wrong advice. Ie formula companies rather than any old random on the internet or at the bus stop.

      But the way to solve this issue is by making it very clear that it’s compulsory for the NHS to provide formula prep advice to all mothers, and enforcing that.

      • Dr Kitty
        April 6, 2017 at 6:20 am #

        Here is the Northern Ireland Public Health Agency chapter on infant feeding from the “Birth to Five” book they give all new mums here.

        There are step by step instructions on how to make up formula (pages 19&20), as well as lots of breastfeeding info.

        • Sarah
          April 6, 2017 at 7:39 am #

          Lucky old NI… I think I’ve mentioned on here before that I left hospital with absolutely nothing on formula feeding for no 2. But a booklet about how often breastfed babies feed (for an exclusively formula fed child).

          I knew how to do it by then of course, and the hospital isn’t woo so it may have been an error. Still though, the NHS is not always providing families with the information needed about formula prep and consumption, and it’s lucky that this error was made with someone who knew how to formula feed already and had access to internet etc.

          • Dr Kitty
            April 6, 2017 at 8:51 am #

            Given that NI has the lowest BF rates in the UK, I think not providing information on formula feeding here would be outright dangerous.

            34% of babies here are on formula from birth, 53% are on formula by one week and 83% are on formula by six months…at least according to the last regional strategy document I read.

          • MaineJen
            April 6, 2017 at 9:43 am #

            Any insight as to why? (Just curious)

          • Dr Kitty
            April 6, 2017 at 10:05 am #

            Irish mammies like their babies chubby and sleeping through the night in their own cots from as early as possible.
            They don’t like to expose their breasts in public.
            They like a few drinks with friends.
            They like to know how much the baby is getting and to have strict feeding routines.
            They also like to hand the baby off to aunties, friends, grannies, cousins and to get back to an active social life ASAP.
            There is also lot of deprivation and breastfeeding rates have always been lower in lower SE groups.

            Culturally, BF is just seen as too much hard work- why would you do all that EBF and AP nonsense when you can just give the baby to granny for 4oz of formula while you have a nap, go out with friends, or get all your chores done and sure, formula isn’t that bad, hasn’t everyone you know thrived on it!

            BF rates are increasing in middle class enclaves, but otherwise no, it really isn’t catching on.

          • MaineJen
            April 6, 2017 at 10:22 am #

            Well it sounds like NI has a much more realistic view of new-motherhood than is being pushed in the US 🙂

          • Dr Kitty
            April 6, 2017 at 11:43 am #

            Most of my adult patients have their parents and siblings within 15 minutes drive of their homes.
            Many live on the same or next street as their closest relatives.
            There is an army of willing relatives happy to help with childcare and feeding, and so the idea that mum has to do everything 24/7 herself has never really been a thing here.
            Most of the dads help with night feeds, and entirely absent fathers are rarer than in the rest of the UK.

            Lots of new mums will try breastfeeding, but only a small minority persist beyond 2 weeks, and most are perfectly happy to switch to formula without guilt or regret.

            I don’t think that any effort has gone in to working out *why* NI and Scottish women breastfeed less than English women, just that this is a bad thing which must be changed.

          • MaineJen
            April 6, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

            It just sounds so refreshing to NOT constantly be getting the message “Of COURSE you’ll want to spend every minute with your new baby” “Of COURSE you’ll want to room in!” “Of COURSE you’ll want to breastfeed” etc. When you constantly hear those things, and then reality hits and you can’t or don’t want to live up to them, that sets you up for PPD in a big way.

          • Dr Kitty
            April 6, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

            Oh, the midwives still do all that, and rooming in is the default in hospital, but it goes in one ear and out the other for most of my patients, who have their own plans and mostly listen to their own mums and friends.

          • Lilly de Lure
            April 6, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

            Oh this – so much this! The NHS is full of the same message in the UK (or at least in Scotland and from what I hear England is very similar) – “of course you’ll want as natural a birth as possible”, “of course you’ll want to exclusively breastfeed” and (for me now) “of course you’ll want to do baby-led weaning”.

            Actually Hell No, Not as a priority and No but feel free to keep right up with the assumptions!

          • MaineJen
            April 6, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

            LOL! I was like “No, I want all the drugs.” Especially with baby #2.

          • Hannah
            April 6, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

            Hah the consultant actually spent several minutes checking I was ok after I found out my meds were unsafe for breastfeeding… and the entire time I’m just shrugging, going ‘well I knew it was a possibility’, not bothered in the slightest. And I don’t mean just checking in, like actually pushing for a bit. It was a little bit strange.

          • maidmarian555
            April 6, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

            Ugh baby-led weaning. My HV wouldn’t stop banging on about it at my last visit with them. I explained that despite *many* attempts, my son won’t touch anything ‘slimy’. He will quite happily feed himself biscuits, crisps, crackers, rice cakes so long as they’re dry. The minute you give him any cut up fruit or vegetables he won’t even touch it. He might give it a poke if you’re lucky and if he’s feeling really brave, he’ll smash it into tiny pieces with his fist. He licked a bit of broccoli once. Once! He will quite happily eat chopped up vegetables if they’re in a stew or spag bol though (tbh I buy pouches and I don’t care as I get to spend my days doing other things that aren’t cooking) and after some persistence, he will share a banana with us (so long as you hold the banana so he doesn’t have to touch it). I’m hoping once he’s a bit bigger and can manage a spoon himself it’ll be less of an issue. The way the HV was banging on, you’d have thought it was *terrible* though. I have done all of the things they suggested and my son isn’t interested. I don’t understand why they think all children have to do everything the same way!

          • Dr Kitty
            April 6, 2017 at 5:06 pm #

            Give me a break!
            We’re currently celebrating because #2 has decided he likes grapes and edamame.
            He, like your son, won’t eat any identifiable fruit or veg but happily shovels baby ready meals which are chock full of puréed veggies into his mouth. It’s clearly a texture preference.

            If we relied only on finger foods he’d just be eating peanut butter or Nutella on toast, Bahlsen Zoo biscuits, pizza, Cheerios, chips and buttered pancakes.

            He doesn’t do peas, bananas, apple, raisin, melon, berries, carrot, cucumber, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes or peppers – and it’s not for want of bloody trying. It was a sinful waste of food.

            It’s a stage. It will pass.

            His seven year old sister actually requested I make beef stew yesterday and her favourite vegetable is broccoli. She ate kiddie ready meals until she was about 3, because she was in bed long before our dinner and I was not cooking twice.

            I have raised one child on baby food jars and ready meals who now eats anything and everything, it is possible.

            BLW is for people with dogs to eat things thrown on the floor and who don’t mind food waste. That’s not me.

          • myrewyn
            April 6, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

            BLW intrigues me and I’m willing to give it a shot ONLY because I know our three large dogs will take care of any waste.

          • Lilly de Lure
            April 6, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

            Given I have carpets and an extremely fussy cat BLW ranks alongside AP for me in the “this regime was clearly designed by someone who hates me” category.

          • Blair
            April 8, 2017 at 12:51 am #

            I am embarrassed to say that I am unaware of the problem for which baby led weaning is the solution?

          • Cat
            April 8, 2017 at 2:27 am #

            According to a friend of mine, we should all be doing BLW because they wouldn’t have had blenders in prehistoric times. I doubt they’d have had blueberries, slices of kiwi and the other healthy finger foods that she was feeding her kid at the time, but hey.

            I don’t actually have any issues at all with BLW if it’s what works for that particular family, but I get snarky about the fact that it seems to have come out of nowhere in the last few years to become The Only True Way to wean a baby. I also get a bit freaked out by how cavalier a lot of the hardcore BLW resources are about the possibility of choking accidents. I know it’s extremely rare but a healthy toddler in my family choked to death on food in the 1950s so I get a bit upset when people tell me that healthy babies and toddlers “can’t” choke because they’re not designed that way. I also get the impression that some mums just don’t want to wean their babies because they want them to be dependent on breastmilk for as long as possible, and BLW can be a fig leaf for that (“yes, DD is still completely EBF at 14 months, I gave her some carrot sticks and she threw them on the floor so I guess she’s telling me that she just isn’t ready for solids yet”).

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            April 8, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

            And completely discounts that some kids are just plain *hungry* for food heavier than milk long before they’re coordinated enough to managed self feeding teensy pieces. My pair were and are big for their age and demanded solids before they were 5 months old but both seem to have the family grace (i.e. none)

          • myrewyn
            April 9, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

            it has nothing to do with delaying getting off the breast in my case. My first was very hungry and ready for solids by a little before four months and he essentially DID lead us through the weaning process. I was kind of flying blind with a kid who wanted to eat everything we ate, hated being spoon fed, and also weaned himself to a cup by ten months. Now that it’s a “thing” I feel like I’ll have a little more in the way of resources if the baby due in a few weeks (!!) is the same way.

          • OkayFine
            April 9, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

            I can’t tell you how many people look at me shocked when I tell them my babies start demanding solid foods around 4-5 months. And how some people think I’m nuts when I say that they stop being able to sleep in our room after a certain point and want their own sleeping room. I’ve done this 4 times and they all seem to have similar preferences. These guidelines are so ingrained that people think you are nuts to be guided by their needs than by the recommendations.

          • April 9, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

            Your friend is right that we didn’t have blenders in prehistoric times (*rolls eyes*) but that’s why people relied on pre-masticated foods and grinding/cooking of foods until they were soft.

            I just finished a book that was discussing women’s lives during the early Colonial years in the USA. One section discussed the surprisingly high number of women who when exposed to Native American culture chose to stay in the tribe they contacted. The example I’m thinking of involved a Quaker woman who was kidnapped with her small children. Her youngest child was an infant of 14 days. During the frantic push to reach safe territory in what is now part of Canada, her milk supply crashed because she had almost no food. She kept the baby alive by dribbling water on her breast for the baby to suckle from the nipple. When the party reached the tribe, the co-wives of her abductor saw that the baby was starving to death from lack of milk and showed the Quaker women how to make a gruel of corn, acorns and some ground-nuts to use as a milk substitute which worked quite well. The Quaker woman became friends with the co-wives and eventually married a different man in the tribe and stayed put.

            So, if they could keep a newborn alive on a plant-based milk substitute, I’m pretty sure they had the skills to grind up whatever else was available for their young infants to eat as a weaning food.

          • kilda
            April 9, 2017 at 8:09 pm #

            sounds interesting, what book is it?

          • Sarah
            April 8, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

            In our case, spoon refusing. Absolute bloody nightmare that was.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            April 8, 2017 at 9:00 pm #

            ugh! Babies!

          • Sarah
            April 9, 2017 at 7:04 am #

            Dreadful beings.

          • Lilly de Lure
            April 6, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

            LOL – I’m terrible too according to the baby-led crowd, not only have I started weaning before the sacred 6 months marker but because my son is still very little I’m using the 4-6 month pouches of puree rather than making them up myself (and risking him choking on any rogue lump or crumb my blender failed to catch). Strangely this rank bad motherhood does not appear to have adversely affected my son in any any that my HV can detect – in fact he’s had the appalling taste to be putting on weigh healthily and hitting his milestones just fine on the new diet.

          • Jules B
            April 6, 2017 at 11:38 pm #

            I remember having a convo with a public health nurse about baby-led weaning and I just started smiling and nodding when she explained I could put garbage bags on the floor to “catch the mess” from letting my daughter “learn about food textures and tastes on her own!” Um, no thank you. I fed her with a spoon myself until I could tell she could handle the responsibility of feeding herself without it getting crazy messy (some mess it to be expected of course). She is almost five now and eats practically everything.

          • April 7, 2017 at 1:51 am #

            The mental picture of your son bravely licking a piece of broccoli made me smile. My son has just started licking things since he’s about a month old now. He mainly sticks to the shirts of people who are holding him and his nasal cannula.

          • Amazed
            April 7, 2017 at 8:05 am #

            To SIL, baby-led weaning would mean Amazing Niece eating her high chair because that’s what she does when someone dares offer chopped fruit and pretend it’s an apple. She throws a tantrum, refuses to eat it because she KNOWS it’s no apple and start trying to break her teeth in the chair.

            Not surprisingly, SIL isn’t a fan of letting her eat whatever she likes. That’s without taking into account her severe potato allergy – poor kid adores potatoes. I don’t want to think what’s going to happen if she’s left to her own devices.

          • Sarah
            April 6, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

            My area is not too dissimilar to that, but then there’s a substantial Irish influence.

          • Cartman36
            April 6, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

            I must be part Irish then because you basically just listed all the things I like do as a mother.

          • Sarah
            April 6, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

            You’re likely right, but then the hospital where I delivered is slap bang in the middle of a community with spectacularly low breastfeeding rates. I don’t have figures, but anecdotally I bet ours in my local area are lower than those of NI as a whole. So I think it was dangerous for us too.

      • jumpygiraffe
        April 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

        I was told in my NHS hospital it was okay to use one of the RTF bottles for 24 hours. Not that I should decant it into a different bottle and put the rest of the fridge. Just that I could us one bottle for 24 hours. Ummmmmm, no. It wasn’t actually that big a deal because by that point our baby was too lethargic to use a bottle and needed an NG tube. We figured out that she was incorrect when we got home and read the box that the formula came in.

        • Heidi
          April 6, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

          I got a magnet with my Medela pump that said breastmilk was good for 6 hours outside of the fridge. So we would feed him a pumped bottle, let him nap, refeed him that same bottle hours later. Come to find out, 6 hours is probably a bit much anyway, but it’s only if the baby has never drank from the bottle. He was a snacker and it took hours of pumping to make 8 oz. in a day. If I had known from the beginning it was like that, I’d probably have quit pumping much sooner! All was okay though and no food poisonings happened!

          No one at the hospital was willing to give me any instruction with pumping either. I was repeatedly told that baby needs to be put to the breast and that pumps shouldn’t be introduced for at least 2 weeks. Well, since I had such a crap supply, baby began hating all the effort breastfeeding took and if he was going to drink breast milk, it was going to have to be pumped!

    • MaineJen
      April 6, 2017 at 9:42 am #

      Oh, I think they’d be happy (finally) if no one got information on formula from anywhere. Just like the old days, where if you couldn’t make milk your baby starved.

      • shay simmons
        April 6, 2017 at 9:39 pm #

        In the good old days you could always find a poor, probably disease-ridden, malnourished and alcoholic wetnurse, though.

        • MaineJen
          April 7, 2017 at 9:49 am #

          “Liquid gold,” 80 proof

          • Charybdis
            April 7, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

            Although these days when I hear the “Liquid Gold’ moniker, I immediately think of Velveeta and their liquid gold commercials. Maybe the babies should be eating Velveeta instead?

  4. April 6, 2017 at 1:09 am #

    No, believe me, fed is always best.

    Spawn has become the reflux king recently. His multidisciplinary team of docs is getting quite a workout trying to figure out which formula to feed him that gets him enough calories (no, breast milk doesn’t magically jump up to 24 cal per whatever unit because he’s a preemie) AND doesn’t cause him massive reflux pain with an occasional “I’ve got something in my throat and I’m freaking out!” moment.

    Terry Prachett had a line in one of his novels about how a pound of potatoes is worth more than a pound of gold on a deserted island. In the same vein, “liquid gold” – or whatever propaganda term lactivists have attached to breast milk – is worthless if the baby can’t grow on it.

  5. Steph858
    April 5, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

    So, according to Thewlis’s logic, banning advertising = lower prices.
    Great! Now, everyone except smokers wants tobacco to be expensive to discourage smoking. So here’s my Cunning Plan: end the ban on tobacco advertising. If a ban on advertising lowers prices then lifting a ban must raise prices. Everyone will have quit by the end of the week once my Cunning Plan has been implemented!

  6. Vulcan Has No Moon
    April 5, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

    “Lactivists want to make sure that NO woman can feed her baby with formula, except perhaps in extremely limited circumstances such as when a baby ends up half dead from insufficient breastmilk.”

    I don’t think Lactivists are satisfied with only half dead.

  7. GiddyUpGo123
    April 5, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    Oh man, they banned coupons for baby formula in the UK? That’s messed up. When I was buying formula, one of those coupons was like gold. That stuff was so expensive that I had to make serious compromises in other parts of our budget just to be able to afford it. Banning coupons and discounts for formula is like fining women because their bodies aren’t able to produce enough milk.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      April 5, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

      Query: do they not have generic formula where you are? I only ask because while the formula companies were quite nice about sending me coupons, the coupons at best would come close to–but not quite–match the price for the exact same formula in a generic box. My experience has been that a 25 ounce box of generic formula runs about $14 near me, while it’s more like $24-$26 for the same amount of the name brand. Both kids have done quite well on the generic versions of the name brands. The formula companies usually sent $5-off-one-container coupons, with very, very rare $10-off coupons, and neither type could be combined with another offer, so generic it was for us. ETA: I’m in the southwestern US.

      • Dr Kitty
        April 5, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

        The UK does NOT have generic formula.
        In Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s etc your choice is basically Aptamil or Cow&Gate with maybe Nannycare or Hipp.
        Even the discount supermarkets like Lidl sell branded formula at exactly the same price as the regular supermarkets and don’t have generic options.

        There also is *no* advertising of infant(under six months) formula. Not on TV, or print or anywhere else. .

        The only advertising is of follow on milks for babies over six months, and what there is is basically VT of happy babies with bland “when you decide to move on from breastfeeding and you want the best trust Cow&Gate/Aptamil” and very little in the way of what could be considered false claims.

        The advertising budget for infant formula designed for babies under six months in the U.K. is already zero. I think the only exception is the specialist prescription allergy formulas which advertise in medical publications, but not to the general public.

        She is being exactly as disingenuous as Dr Tuteur suspects.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          April 5, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

          Here, there doesn’t really seem to be very much advertising of formula, either–I mean, perhaps in parenting magazines of some kind, but I don’t really read those. I’ve seen one or two toddler formulas advertisements over the last several years…maybe? I’m honestly not sure I have. And we have similar copy on all the formula boxes: “Breast is best, but if you want to supplement or decided to use formula…” *sigh*
          Also, wanted to add that I wasn’t sure from the comment if the commenter was from the UK or not, which was part of my question in general. Here in the US, I literally didn’t know of the existence of generic formulas until DH went on an emergency run a few days after our oldest was born. Comparing the ingredients, it was the exact same thing as the name brand, so I saw no reason not to buy it and save money. However, a lot of people assume it’s in some way inferior, which it isn’t, and that’s also part of the reason I asked: I’ve heard that coupon-as-gold attitude about brand name coupons here, while I have more of a “meh, even with the coupon it’s pricier, so why would I get it?” sort of outlook.
          Is generic formula banned over there, or is it more of a cultural thing to not have generics? Genuinely curious question here. 🙂

          • Dr Kitty
            April 5, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

            I don’t think it is banned, so much as that the effort that is involved in making own brand formula which complies with the strict safety and hygiene regulations doesn’t make it appealing to the big supermarkets.

            Most formula in Europe, FWIW, is made from Irish milk and I know Aptamil has their major production plant in Ireland.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 5, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

            Ah, interesting! Here, all the major supermarkets have their own brand (generic) versions of the big name ones.

          • Heidi
            April 5, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

            I would think in the UK store brand wouldn’t necessarily be cheaper than name brand anyway. There is one company Perrigo that makes all the US “generic” infant formula and I think they are cheaper because they do not work with WIC, hospitals, advertise nor offer coupons, which already seems to be the case in the UK.

        • maidmarian555
          April 5, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

          Aldi started offering an own-brand formula very recently (although I don’t know if it’s available in all their stores yet). At £6.99 a tub it’s cheaper than the main brands. Someone on here told me about it I think.

          • Dr Kitty
            April 5, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

            No Aldi in Northern Ireland for some reason, so I haven’t come across that one.

            Aptamil seem to run £13 for their super duper one, £10 for the standard, with C&G running at £8-9.

            I buy the Aptamil stage 3 because #2 pitched a fit if he was given any other fluid to drink.
            Have finally got him to drink 8oz of cows milk, 1oz of water and 1 scoop of formula powder, provided it is microwaved for exactly 40 seconds. This counts as a victory.

            You have never met a more stubborn and single-minded child, I swear.
            Today we were in Tesco (not our usual one, but they are all laid out the same), he saw a VERY large toy car in the toy aisle at the start. I said no.
            I lifted him out of the trolley as I was getting ready to pay, some 45 minutes and a full trolley later, and told his sister to watch him while I paid. He immediately ran full tilt to the toy aisle, got the car and brought it back to me.
            And then proceeded to throw an almighty tantrum when it was removed from his hands and he was put unceremoniously back in the trolley and taken straight to the car.
            Thank goodness for scan as you shop, because at least the shopping was paid for and we could leave with all the groceries!

          • maidmarian555
            April 5, 2017 at 5:07 pm #

            We are currently on Aptimil Stage 2 (I was given Aptimil when I had him in the hospital and as he didn’t vomit it up everywhere, we just ended up sticking with it). Fortunately my son is a bit of a gannet (his last HV check he was on the 71st centile for weight and 91st for height) so our current attempts to try and persuade him to try a bit of whole milk have gone well and I’m hopeful he’ll happily guzzle that down once we get past his first birthday. Just hopeful though, he has been known to shatter my dreams when it comes to doing things I’d quite like him to do (like being willing to touch vegetables- he’ll eat them mashed up in food but god forbid I try and persuade him to pick them up or eat them when they are identifiable as vegetables).

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 5, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

            Good for Aldi!!!!

          • Barbara
            April 5, 2017 at 10:51 pm #

            It has to meet the same European standard as the name brands.

        • Barbara
          April 5, 2017 at 10:46 pm #

          Formula for babies under 6 months can’t be promoted directly to consumers, but it can be marketed to health care providers – and it is. Formula companies spend roughly L20 per baby in the UK. That means that together, they spend about L14,000,000 each year on marketing.

          • Dr Kitty
            April 6, 2017 at 3:06 am #

            Prescription formulas are marketed to HCPs.
            Never yet seen an ad for bog standard infant (under six months) formulas in any UK journal or publication aimed at HCPs, and I read several.

            The ones for prescription formulas are usually touting that they are the cheapest!

        • Sarah
          April 6, 2017 at 4:48 am #

          Aldi have started an own brand first stage formula now. It’s about £7 a tub I think, so it’s significantly cheaper than the others.

          edit- just seen other posts on this issue.

          • Hannah
            April 6, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

            WHAT!!! This is the first I’ve heard of this… just googled reviews, and most are saying it’s almost identical to Aptamil and C&G… thank goodness, I was not looking forward to paying the high prices they already are. Looks like I’m going to start shopping at Aldi now, even though they’re two buses away!

      • GiddyUpGo123
        April 5, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

        They do have generic formula, but I avoided it, which in retrospect was probably stupid. I read the ingredients and was convinced that Enfamil was the only brand I should buy, mostly because of how much DHA was in it, I’m sure now that generic would have been exactly the same, but back then my new mom paranoia was calling all the shots. I’m sure it was the same irrationality that made me believe I was permanently damaging my baby by giving him formula … since there was nothing I could do to avoid giving formula I was convinced that it had to be the very, very best formula.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          April 5, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

          Totally understand, and I’m sorry you went through all that. 🙁
          I don’t know when you had your kiddo–mine was born only a few years ago, so standards may have been different before that. DH and I looked at the numbers on the back of the brand name and the generic versions for the various ingredients, and at that time, at least, they were identical.

          • guest
            April 6, 2017 at 10:12 am #

            We met with our pediatrician before my first was born to feel her out on things/make sure we got along. I told her I would be exclusively formula feeding and she told us generic was just fine, that nutritionally they were comparable to name brand.

          • FallsAngel
            April 6, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

            Exactly! I worked in a peds office for 11 years and we had no recommendation for babies on regular formula. They’re all the same. I used to tell moms, “Sometimes babies prefer one over the other, just like some people like Coke and some like Pepsi. But nutritionally, there’s no difference”. I worked there from 2004-2015.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            April 6, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

            My kid seems fairly catholic. She just wants all the milky things!

        • Barbara
          April 5, 2017 at 10:27 pm #

          Generics used to be made by Wyeth, a pharmaceutical company. Now they’re made by Perrigo, a nutrition and pharmaceutical company. They probably do their own R&D, and they are subject to the same regulations as the brand names. The big difference is that they don’t market their products as extensively. The gift bags, samples, coupons, and incentives to health care providers are paid for by higher prices, and the marketing literature is geared toward making consumers think the name brand formulas are superior to their generic counterparts. Given that, I would choose a generic over a name brand unless my baby couldn’t tolerate it and had to be switched.

      • Cartman36
        April 6, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

        I used the parents choice brand for baby #1 and Costco brand for baby # 2. I figure formula is so highly regulated by the FDA that it really doesn’t matter which brand I use as long as the baby doesn’t have problems with it.

        • Bombshellrisa
          April 6, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

          Someone here told me about Costco brand formula. It worked wonderfully for us. I must be sheeple. I do know that if you get those “checks” from Similac of Infamil that they will take those at Costco too.

    • RMY
      April 5, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

      Well, don’t you know, if it’s on sale women will buy it regardless if they need it or not, and then once they have it, well they’ll just have to use it and then they’ll forget how to breastfeed, I mean, women are so stupid and have no agency in the face of any sort of formula ads after all. /Sarc

    • Cartman36
      April 6, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

      Our local food bank always needs formula so I use the coupons to buy the brand name and donate it. ‘My baby drinks the Costco brand.

      • Nick Sanders
        April 6, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

        Someone left a Similac variety pack on the shoe racks at Goodwill today. I took it to my manager because I had no idea what to do with it. I hope we’re allowed to carry it instead of having to throw it out, but I just don’t know.

        • kilda
          April 6, 2017 at 3:20 pm #

          probably should have called the bomb squad. ; )

          I mean, it’s formula, just sitting out there, where someone could see it. And use it.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            April 6, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

            It is a white powdery substance, after all

        • FallsAngel
          April 6, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

          Maybe take it to a food bank if it’s unopened and unexpired.

          • Nick Sanders
            April 6, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

            Out of my hands. I turned it over to one of the managers, and where it went from there, I don’t know.

  8. lawyer jane
    April 5, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    it’s not going to have any impact on price. that’s because formula (food) is inelastic: people will buy it because they NEED it, not because it’s marketed to them. also, lack of competition may decrease quality.

  9. Gæst
    April 5, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

    If she really wanted to reduce the costs of caring for an infant, she’d also be trying to eliminate advertising on diapers (cloth AND disposable), diaper cream, car seats, baby bottles, breast pumps, nursing bras, nipple cream, pureed baby food, baby clothing, cribs, bassinets, etc.

    • Empress of the Iguana People
      April 5, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

      Ironically, I currently see an ad for a baby clothing store in the ad column here, lol. How *am* I resisting that adorable baby in the cute little outfit?

      • BeatriceC
        April 5, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

        I don’t know. I’m seeing ads for parrot toys. I also just completed an order for parrot toys. And a new harness for Goofy. I’m sure that has everything to do with the fact that I’m so weak minded that I just couldn’t help myself and nothing to do with the fact that I have a macaw who chews through about $200 in bird toys a month, plus other birds who go through their own toys, and the fact that I’m gathering the birds’ stuff to take them to the beach and realized Goofy needs a new harness. Nope. None of that has to do with my choice to buy bird toys. It’s the fact I’m so weak minded and saw an ad.

        • Empress of the Iguana People
          April 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm #

          Maybe I should lurk onto the bird toy pages; that’d be fun to see on the ads, 😉

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          April 5, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

          DH and I got married in December. Given the season and the upcoming honeymoon, Google’s ads were…interesting…for quite some time.
          I really had never wanted to think of Santa Claus quite like that… *cringe*

      • myrewyn
        April 5, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

        My ad is for home delivered groceries. I think they know I’m pregnant.

      • Gæst
        April 5, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

        AdBlock is preventing me from seeing any ads here, but Facebook is really trying to get me to buy bras, pee proof panties, and period panties.

        • myrewyn
          April 5, 2017 at 3:08 pm #

          I kind of want to try those period panties for post partum bleeding… not the early days when it’s heavy but when it slows down.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 5, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

            A friend swears by Depends for after she has babies. I’ve never needed more than a pad postpartum, but I think that has more to do with having C-sections vs vaginal births.

          • myrewyn
            April 5, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

            I got a package of Depends for the early days, but I want to feel human again and I hate hate hate pads. I haven’t used one in decades. If the period panties work they’re worth the price but I haven’t talked to anyone who has used them.

          • mdstudentwithkids
            April 5, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

            My sister uses them for her period and swears by them.

          • fiftyfifty1
            April 5, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

            Word on the streets is that the period panties are equivalent only to a light tampon changed every ~4 hours 🙁

          • Spamamander, pro fun ruiner
            April 5, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

            Oh damn, that won’t come anywhere near holding back the Crimson Tide at my house.

          • myrewyn
            April 5, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

            Hmm, that would work for my regular flow. Maybe I’ll just buy a couple to test.

          • Gæst
            April 5, 2017 at 7:14 pm #

            Ha. They would have worked only for the days where I was waiting for my period to start, or the tail end where I’m waiting for it to stop, but not for the event proper, not even close.

          • Eater of Worlds
            April 12, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

            There are different brands, Thinx are meant to be like a panty liner, Padkex I think they are called are for pad replacements and I’m sure there are more brands.

          • Eater of Worlds
            April 12, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

            I posted up a bit further some links to some reviews on video that are pretty good and mention good and bad. The good, not a one leaked. The bad, it depends on what your period is like and your preferences and if you’re around a lot of dogs, apparently…

            Plus it’s more work, you have to rinse them then wash them. Everyone seemed to like them for sleeping in.

          • Dr Kitty
            April 5, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

            FWIW, I never bled heavily PP with either of mine.
            Possibly because of the CS, but even day 1 or 2 I never approached blood loss as heavy as my normal period (which is heavy, but not excessively so and usually managed with a menstrual cup changed every 12 hrs).
            It did last for nearly six weeks though, but was managed with pantyliners from 7days. Since maternity pads are horrible mattress- like affairs, I was very glad.
            You win some, you lose some I suppose.
            Period panties would have been just the thing for me.

          • myrewyn
            April 5, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

            I honestly don’t remember whether my flow is heavy after giving birth considering my youngest turns 22 today. I think I am setting some sort of record (at least among people I know) for biggest gap between kids.

          • fiftyfifty1
            April 5, 2017 at 5:14 pm #

            OOOhhh, that is a good record! Congrats!

          • myrewyn
            April 5, 2017 at 5:49 pm #


          • Empress of the Iguana People
            April 5, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

            There’s nearly 20 years between the twins and me, lol

          • fiftyfifty1
            April 5, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

            Interesting. I had to wear the horrible mattress maternity pads with my first (vaginal) birth. Lots of heavy bleeding and BIG clots. With my second (maternal request CS) it was a barely heavier than normal period, no clots, and within a few days down to a panty liner.

          • Gæst
            April 5, 2017 at 7:13 pm #

            They seem pretty cool to me, but as I no longer menstruate the ad is barking up the wrong tree.

          • Eater of Worlds
            April 12, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

            There’s a BuzzFeed video where a bunch of women tried the period panties.

        • Azuran
          April 6, 2017 at 5:01 am #

          It tried to sell me a car for 3 months after I’ve actually bought a car.
          …….and trying to make me a surrogate mom

    • fiftyfifty1
      April 5, 2017 at 5:21 pm #

      ” she’d also be trying to eliminate advertising on diapers”
      Exactly. I educate my patients that you can save a lot of money on generic/store brand formula, but even more by choosing generic diapers. It’s a huge saving and disposables are literally something that you shit on and throw away.

      • Roadstergal
        April 5, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

        Is the UK like the US, where you can’t buy diapers on food stamps? That’s a change that really, really needs to be made.

        • Dr Kitty
          April 5, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

          The UK pays benefits in cash.
          You can spend it on vegetables, bibles, formula, nappies, gin, tobacco, lottery tickets or whatever you want.

          • SporkParade
            April 6, 2017 at 3:46 am #

            The UK is a welfare state. I like how we do it in Israel, where many of the benefits come in the form of deductions to the taxes removed from your paycheck or of ticking off boxes on forms that everyone has to fill out anyway. Much less shamey than in the US, where half of the process seems to bee about humiliating people for being poor.

        • myrewyn
          April 5, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

          You can’t?? That’s nuts.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          April 5, 2017 at 9:56 pm #

          And ditto things like pads and tampons.
          I once asked a friend who’s been on food stamps for a long time what sorts of things she really hopes to see at a food pantry in order to better gauge my own donations. (She’s not local to me anymore.) She mentioned that pads are a rare treasure–they’re (relatively speaking) expensive, you can’t buy them with food stamps, and so forth.

          • Roadstergal
            April 7, 2017 at 11:19 am #

            That’s inhuman. Now I have to find the local food bank to donate pads to…

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        April 5, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

        We tried pretty much every brand of diaper with both kids. Unfortunately, the generic brands didn’t work well.

        Luvs worked well for us, though, and that is cheaper than Huggies or Pampers.

        • Gæst
          April 5, 2017 at 10:47 pm #

          I used Luvs a lot, but I hated that they were scented.

      • Gæst
        April 5, 2017 at 7:12 pm #

        Oh, I used generic brand diapers. But when you have twins, it’s expensive no matter what.

  10. Empress of the Iguana People
    April 5, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

    How do they even think that providing more information, slanted or not, will cause prices to go down? And I did quite well in my economics classes. Some mumbo-jumbo about supply and demand but there does come a point when the demand is so small and the need for that tiny demand so high that the prices go up again. My husband’s JAWS program cost over a grand when we bought JAWS 9 or 10.0 several years ago. Now they’re up to 18, and although we get a couple upgrades for free, we’ve had to spend over a hundred to upgrade every few years. There just aren’t that many blind people in the US.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      April 5, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

      While I was in college, I worked as an assistant to a professor who was blind. JAWS was fairly accurate back then, but he’d still have me either take dictation for or proofread important notes or documents prior to sending because it could come up with some hilarious, Siri-esque alliterations for what he was actually trying to say. (He put this rule in place after he sent out an email that could have been construed as definite sexual harassment to a younger, departmentally subordinate female colleague. Fortunately, she understood it was a JAWS error and not at all the sort of thing he would do. The fact that he was very, very gay did help the situation…)

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        April 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

        lol, yeah, there’re reasons why we keep getting the upgrades!

    • Eater of Worlds
      April 12, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

      That’s like hearing aids. The ones I need cost about 7-8 grand each. And they need to be replaced every 3-4 years. Some insurance now covers them, but only 2500 limit on each one. So it’s still the cost of a used car every 3-4 years. This doesn’t include the cost of the ear molds, replacement tubing and/or molds depending on the material of the molds you get, batteries, drying units, normal professional maintenance and professional cleaning which you have to do in order to keep those things working. This is why I don’t wear hearing aids any longer.

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        April 12, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

        Damn, that’s annoying. Makes me glad that my deaf ear doesn’t accept hearing aides.

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