If we ban formula advertisements surely we should ban homebirth advertisements, right?

Hypocrisy Concept

Lactivists don’t trust women to make their own decisions about infant feeding choices. Hence they have come up with a never ending series of coercive and shaming tactics promote breastfeeding over formula. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiatve insists that women must be “educated” about the benefits of breastfeeding, deprived of access to formula, forced to endure the attentions of lactation consultants and deprived of formula gifts. This week The Lancet even suggested that the ban on formula advertising in industrialized countries should be extended to a ban from social media.

Why? Because breastfeeding is “better” for babies even though lactivists can’t point to even a single term baby who died from properly prepared formula.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Only hypocrites would fail to ban homebirth advertising.[/pullquote]

Surely, then, they should be desperate to apply the same reasoning to homebirth in the US. So why aren’t lactivists calling for a never ending series of coercive and shaming tactics to promote hospital birth over homebirth? Why aren’t they insisting that women must be educated about the benefits of hospital birth, deprived of access to homebirth and forced to endure counseling from hospital consultants? Shouldn’t lactivists be supporting a ban on all advertising by homebirth midwives as well as banning them from social media? After all, babies die each and every week at the hands of poorly educated, poorly trained CPMs (certified professional midwives) and doulas.

Why don’t they call for a ban on homebirths? Because they’re hypocrites. They aren’t worried about the well being of babies; they adore having their own choices ratified as superior.

Shouldn’t lactivists be calling for a ban on anti-vax activism? The harms of anti-vaccine advocacy are several orders of magnitude greater than the purported harms of formula. Children die as a result of vaccine refusal and the harms extend beyond unvaccinated children to other people’s babies too young to be vaccinated and immunocompromised children for whom any exposure to a vaccine preventable illness poses a deadly threat.

Shouldn’t we start by banning Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. Joe Mercola, and Jennifer Margulis (among others) from the Internet and social media? Shouldn’t their books be removed from print and their supplement stores banned from their websites? Shouldn’t every mother be visited repeatedly by a vaccine consultant to hammer the benefits of vaccines into her silly little head? Shouldn’t it be impossible to get a vaccine exemption? Shouldn’t unvaccinated children be banned from leaving the house until they can demonstrate they are up to date on immunizations?

Why stop there? If we are mandated to prevent formula feeding, shouldn’t we be mandated to prevent chiropractic, homeopathy and any form of alternative health? Shouldn’t chiropractors, homeopaths and herbalists be banned from advertising in on TV, in newspapers, on the Internet or social media? Should their books be taken out of print? Shouldn’t we be sending anti-quackery consultants to every home to educate everyone about the dangers of quackery?

I’m going to guess that the same folks who gleefully support bans of formula advertisements would be horrified by bans on advertising by homebirth midwives, chiropractors and homeopaths. I’m willing to bet that the woman who are adamant that formula should be locked up in hospitals would howl if they were deprived of access to homebirth or if they were compelled to endure vaccines consultants hammering away at their resistance to vaccines.

Why? Because they’re hypocrites. They aren’t worried about anyone’s well being. They simply want their personal choices to breastfeed to be held up as the ideal to which other women should aspire.

What about existing bans on tobacco advertising? They are only defensible to the extent that tobacco represents a unique threat to health, responsible for literally millions of deaths each year.

Formula doesn’t harm term babies. Lactivists can’t even point to one death from properly prepared formula, let alone thousands or millions of deaths.

But if we’re going to ban formula advertisements, we should immediately ban advertising by homebirth midwives and doulas, as well as chiropractors, homeopaths, herbalists and all other purveyors of alternative health.

Anything else would be hypocrisy, right?

51 Responses to “If we ban formula advertisements surely we should ban homebirth advertisements, right?”

  1. Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild
    May 30, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

    It just occurred to me that a lot of quiverfull people are homebirthers too. One of the few careers quiverfull women are allowed to have is midwife. I wonder if the rejection of formal training and medical oversight has to do with the fact these people are functionally illiterate from homeschooling and would certainly have to give up their only source of income.

    That’s one of the reasons Female Genital Mutilation is so hard to combat. The people who perform the “surgery” are women and it’s the only source of income they have so they bully parents into having the surgery done.


  2. jsterritt
    May 26, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    “Shouldn’t we start by banning Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. Joe Mercola, and Jennifer Margulis (among others) from the Internet and social media?”

    The obvious answer is “no.” I was flabbergasted to learn about bans on formula advertising. Unarguably, nosodes and vaccine “alternatives” should be all but unsellable under proper regulation. But proscribing the speech of charlatans and hucksters on the internet is an argument against free speech, not for it. Regulate the products on merit, not on who’s selling them or why. The FTC/FDA and its international counterparts must regulate bogus health claims made by producers of formula (nutritious food) and dangerous nonsense (anti-vax, supplements, sCAM) alike.

  3. Sue
    May 25, 2016 at 4:48 am #

    “Shouldn’t we start by banning Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. Joe Mercola, and Jennifer Margulis (among others) from the Internet and social media?”


    Then, let’s also ban whale.com, naturalnews and the healthranger.com!

  4. Margo townsend
    May 24, 2016 at 11:31 pm #

    Formula ads on TV in NZ say something along the lines that breast is best, but after around 6 months you might want to try formula feeding etc etc. there is no promotion that formula is for new born babies. I am waiting for the day when newborn formula will be on a shelf on its own, out the back of the store, where you have to prove prior to purchase you are of eligible age (like you do when you purchase alcohol) and fill out a lengthy form that is submitted to a panel, so that you prove you are of sane mind and really really do know what you are about to do……feed your under six months child the F word.

    • mythsayer
      May 25, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

      You’re kidding…

      That’s awful.

      At least it’s not like that in America. I’ve never seen formula hidden (I’m sure it happens but I’ve only ever seen it in the baby section, with all the other baby things). And you don’t have to do anything special to get it. You just buy it.

      • demodocus
        May 25, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

        Actually, it is hidden at my local grocery store. No idea where they keep it, but it’s not in the baby supplies aisle.

        • BeatriceC
          May 25, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

          They keep it behind the customer service desk in the stores near me, but the only reason they do that is because it’s a high theft item. I can’t blame the stores for trying to keep stuff from getting stolen.

          • demodocus
            May 25, 2016 at 6:48 pm #

            Me either, though it is out in the open at the Target down the street.

          • BeatriceC
            May 25, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

            I recall a local person trying to make a big deal out of it. The store just sort of shrugged its shoulders and said “wanna see our shrinkage reports?” (A little bit more formally, but that was the gist of it). There are enough problems with respect to infant feeding, maternal choice, and institutionalized racism. We don’t need to create problems where none exist.

          • Charybdis
            May 26, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

            OT: Does MK have a decent prep for the colonoscopy (the pills) or does he have to drink the gallon of nasty tasting GoLytely? Or has the prep changed to something a little less awful?

            In case you want to have a good laugh, take a gander at this….


          • BeatriceC
            May 26, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

            It’s the nasty stuff. He has to start it in two hours. He’s not thrilled.

          • Charybdis
            May 26, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

            Aaack. Well, the colder it is, the easier it is to get down. It tastes like flat Alka Seltzer. And the chugging it fairly quickly is the key. If I remember correctly, it’s something like 8 oz every 10 or 15 minutes or so.

            I quit drinking mine when what was coming out of me looked just like what was going in. I didn’t finish the whole gallon because it was just nasty.

          • BeatriceC
            May 26, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

            He has to consume 64 ounces at a rate of 8oz every 20 minutes. It’s 11:20 now. I just mixed it and stuck it in the fridge. He’s supposed to start at 1pm. I meant to go buy him a bunch of sprite, which is his favorite soda, since he can still have clear liquids until 4am (three hours before the procedure starts.) I need to go to the grocery store to get those because I figure he deserves some sort of treat for putting up with all this.

          • Who?
            May 27, 2016 at 3:32 am #

            You’re probably right in it now. Hope it all goes well.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            May 27, 2016 at 4:02 am #

            MK has my sympathies. I’ve had two colonoscopies in my lifetime and the prep is nasty! I’m a weirdo with a thing about anesthesia so I actually found going under worse, but I think 99% of people will say that the prep is the worst and once you’ve done that it’s relatively smooth sailing. Hoping for a definite, fixable answer from this!

          • BeatriceC
            May 27, 2016 at 4:06 am #

            Thank you (and to everybody else as well). The worst is over. He’s sleeping. We have to leave at 6am and the procedure is the first one on the schedule at 8am (have to be there 90 minutes before scheduled start time). I’m just planning on rolling him out of bed and into the car and not bothering with anything else in the morning.

          • momofone
            May 27, 2016 at 11:37 am #

            One of my GI docs told me not to worry about the 8 oz every 20 minute thing; he said there’s no reason to make yourself miserable–make sure it’s as cold as you can get it, find a movie you want to watch, and sip it (consistently) while you watch. Drink plenty of what you like (within the prep guidelines) in between. I’m a frequent flyer colonoscopy-wise, and though it’s never fun, this made the prep much more tolerable. Banana popsicles, which I can’t stand at other times, are a great thing for me during colonoscopy prep.

            Hoping for some answers for you guys.

          • BeatriceC
            May 27, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

            Thanks. He’s back now having it done. We shall see what happens.

          • Roadstergal
            May 26, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

            They keep it on the regular shelving in the local Safeway – but the aisle right next to the two primary checkout counters. You’d be in plain view of the staff if you tried to steal it. I never thought about that…

    • AnnaPDE
      May 27, 2016 at 2:41 am #

      Awful! Here in Oz, it’s usually just opposite the nappies, goes on special like all other stuff, and you only get any questions if you’re buying a lot, which is due to people selling the “unicorn sparkles” brands overseas and on the grey market to China.

  5. crazy grad mama
    May 24, 2016 at 10:37 pm #

    OT: Saw this today in the New York Times: Parents Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Training Babies to Sleep. As the science has always shown, sleep training with care and moderation isn’t the baby-killer APers think it is.

    • Megan
      May 25, 2016 at 11:24 am #

      And note the decrease in afternoon salivary cortisol levels in the treatment group. It’s almost as if getting a good night’s sleep helps you deal with stress, even if you’re a baby or toddler.

      • lawyer jane
        May 25, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

        The sleep training group might also end up getting better daytimes naps, and decrease stress that way. I know that when we sleep trained my 5 month old, he “magically” started taking better naps without any further interventions.

        • Amy M
          May 25, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

          I think it was our pediatrician who told us “Sleep begets sleep” and our boys always slept better at night if they had decent naps during the day.

          • Heidi_storage
            May 25, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

            Sigh, wish that were true for my nonsleepers.

    • MI Dawn
      May 25, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

      The APers are out in force, telling Perri she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, letting a baby cry is horrible, you should co-sleep until the kid wants to move out (which, in my sister’s case, was when they were pre-teens and her husband finally got fed up).

      My kids were in their own cribs, in their own rooms from day 1 because neither my husband nor I could fall asleep with them in the room. I had no problems getting up to feed them (EBF until I returned to work at 6 weeks, then combo). They learned early to self-comfort, and that they could always come snuggle for a bit in the middle of the night, returning to their own beds on their own or with a reminder from me (husband would usually sleep through their coming into bed if I wasn’t there).

      They are independent, happy adults.

      • BeatriceC
        May 25, 2016 at 5:48 pm #

        Mine slept in a bassinet in my room for a couple weeks then moved to their own rooms.

      • Ayr
        May 26, 2016 at 9:38 am #

        My son is four weeks old today and he can self soothe with the best of them. He sleeps in a bassinet in our room only because he likes to spit up about an hour or so after he eats and he sometimes chokes on it, but once he falls asleep he is gone for about 6 hours. He will also sleep through anything, the television playing, music, the washer, anything and people can’t believe that he sleeps through it all. I don’t understand the parents who think the house has to be silent as a tomb just because the baby is sleeping, they can be trained to sleep through noise, it just takes time and patience.

        • demodocus
          May 26, 2016 at 10:05 am #

          my old downstairs neighbor was like that. She once called because my son was walking with a bucket in his hand, but the bucket was tapping the floor. *I* couldn’t hear it, but to her it was horribly loud and would I please not wake my child until 8, because he was waking up hers. My 25 pound 22 month old was waking up her 31 month old.

          • Ayr
            May 26, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

            That’s ridiculous! I just don’t get it, it’s not like it is silent in the womb, there is the sound of your heart, your digestive system (and that is not exactly the quietest thing in the world), not to mention some outside noise filters in to the baby. I have a couple friends like that, they are also the kind who can’t let their child self soothe and they have all sorts of excuses not to. One even used the excuse that her youngest who is now almost a year old, couldn’t be trained to self soothe until she was six months because she was three weeks premature. The baby still sleeps in her room with her and her husband because their eldest daughter who is almost three keeps waking her up. I told her to let her wake her up, she needs to get used it since they will be sharing a room for a while anyway. She will eventually learn to sleep through her sister’s noises and talking in her sleep. Ugh!

            Yes my son cries, yes sometimes it is loud and nerve racking and he may turn red in the face on occasion (especially if I do not change his wet diaper as soon as he pees); but it never lasts long, and he knows I’m still there and will calm himself down within a minute or two. He sleeps great, in the bassinet and in his crib which he naps in during the day, I don’t have to worry about the music being too loud or talking to loudly on the phone or with my mom who has been helping me around the house while I recover from my c-section. People keep telling me it won’t last, and I reply only if I don’t keep it up.

      • Wombat
        May 26, 2016 at 10:07 am #

        The whole cosleeping thing, I’ll never get. AP claims to be separate from (though commonly overlapping with) crunchy/homebirth/naturalcult/etc. They even (try to) cite science. Then they go and push that?

        Yes it’s more convenient, and yes people have been doing it for centuries. But you’re trading that for what we now know is safer, and you really need to be aware of and acknowledge that trade off. Not only for your kids benefit, but to keep yourself vigilant too.

        Sure it can be made safer (such as a bedside 3 sided bassinet) or done more responsibly (don’t drink/smoke, control blankets, etc). So can homebirth. That doesn’t make it instantly safe, or on par with the mostly perfectly accessible safer option, merely a metered risk.

        And the idea that there is no middle ground between in parent bed co-sleeping and being left to cry it out in a remote corner of the house… /smh. There’s like… 4-5 graduations in the middle. At least!

        • demodocus
          May 26, 2016 at 10:16 am #

          also, you have to *have* remote corners in your house.

        • Ayr
          May 26, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

          I don’t get the whole co-sleeping thing, my OB, pediatrician and the hospital all say not to. They say it is not safe and they can give you thousand reasons why it is not safe, yet the crunchy granola moms do it anyway.

          • FormerPhysicist
            May 27, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

            I’m the farthest thing from crunchy, but we co-slept after about 4-6 months. Mine were (are!) horrid sleepers, and after I kept dropping them after falling asleep nursing … well…

          • Wombat
            May 28, 2016 at 10:29 am #

            Doing it as an individual choice is one thing (same really, with homebirth, although I’d agree that cosleeping – especially past infancy – is less risky). Pushing it as an agenda is way, way different. Individual AP people may be one or the other, but the movement as a whole mostly falls in the latter, in my experience.

  6. Are you nuts
    May 24, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    It’s amazing that all of these people apparently feel forced to go out and buy every single thing they see advertisements for. I see advertisements for Smirnoff Ice, Ford trucks and Viagra, but never once have I been tempted to go out and buy any of those items.

  7. CSN0116
    May 24, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    You know what I’m sick of? Every formula, diaper, wipe, stroller, etc., advertisement using parents who are clearly WELL above the actual average age at first birth. I get that the “young, poor” (as if they always go together)mothers and fathers can’t afford all the bells and whistles, but we ALL need to purchase the staple items. Can I get a 20-something to peddle me some Similac 😉 Geeze.

    • demodocus
      May 24, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

      35 year old models need work, too

    • guest
      May 24, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

      I think they also want to avoid appearing to be promoting teen pregnancy.

      • Steph858
        May 30, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

        Disclaimer: I am NOT in ANY WAY comparing pregnancy/parenting with smoking. Having said that:

        I’m guessing it’s similar to the reasons why in countries where tobacco advertising is allowed the tobacco companies generally choose actors/models who are at least in their 30s, if not their 40s or 50s. Marlboro’s ad campain in Germany (http://www.tobaccotactics.org/index.php/Be_Marlboro:_Targeting_the_World's_Biggest_Brand_at_Youth) generated a lot of backlash in no small part because the actors looked young enough that Phillip Morris could be accused of targeting minors even though the actors were all legally adults (I think some of them were pushing 30).

        So even if the actresses playing mums in ads for prams etc are in their mid-20s, if they look young for their age (as actresses tend to), the ads could be accused of, as you said, “promoting teen pregnancy”.

    • Who?
      May 25, 2016 at 1:39 am #

      Maybe they think older looking people have more authority than younger looking ones?

      It used to drive me nuts when people who had no baby sick on them, wearing a face of makeup looking like they had enjoyed a night’s sleep were advertising baby stuff.

  8. YesYesNoNo
    May 24, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    I live in NYC, I don’t think I have ever seen an advertisement for formula on television?

  9. Megan
    May 24, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    Not only does formula not harm babies, it actually saves the lives of quite a few.

  10. guest
    May 24, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    For that matter, why aren’t the homebirth activists calling for a ban on hospital advertising? Baby bottle advertising? Diaper advertising (we should all be doing EC, after all.) Seems hypocritical to just pick on formula.

  11. mostlyclueless
    May 24, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    Only peripherally on topic: thoughts on the “there are no benefits of breastfeeding, there are RISKS of formula” rhetorical blah blah? How do you respond to people who spout that?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      May 24, 2016 at 10:37 am #

      I’d point out that there are RISKS of breastfeeding.

      • mostlyclueless
        May 24, 2016 at 10:43 am #

        Huh that’s a great point. I never thought of that.

        • SporkParade
          May 25, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

          Last time I did that, I got yelled at. Because apparently it’s legitimate to point out that formula has risks when prepared incorrectly, but not legitimate to point out that breastfeeding has risks when done correctly.

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