Mead Johnson to pay $13.5 million in damages for false advertising

A Virginia jury awarded $13.5 million in damages to manufacturers of store-brand infant formula. PBM Products had contested Mead Johnson’s claims that “only Enfamil LIPIL is clincally proven to improve brain and eye development.”

Mead Johnson uses aggressive marketing tactics, such as hospital marketing, to convince families to purchase its high-priced formula. Mead Johnson’s product costs twice as much as the PBM products sold at Sam’s Club, Target, Kroger and Walgreen’s, the company told the associated press. Continue reading

Did your hospital set you up to succeed?

According to a recent CDC survey, US hospitals are falling short when it comes to breastfeeding support. Formula marketing bags are just one of the obstacles that new mothers may face in the first few days after birth. What’s to be done? You can start by writing a letter to your hospital to share your experiences, good and bad, during your maternity stay. Tonya Lieberman offers tips on how to make an impact on the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog.

Can a formula company give good breastfeeding advice?

Studies show that formula marketing bags shorten exclusive breastfeeding duration, even when the formula samples are removed from the bags. How does that work? It’s simple – but subtle. Industry-manufactured “breastfeeding support guides” offer advice that undermines mothers and promotes artificial breastmilk substitutes, as Erin explains beautifully in her guest blog, Helping Themselves: Breastfeeding Advice Nestle-Style.

Breaking news: Formula company capable of shame

Mead Johnson pulls “Breast milk formula” web page title

June 23, 2009– Mead Johnson hit new lows this past week, calling Lipil ‘The Breast Milk Formula” on its web site. The title to the web page was changed to ‘Enfamil “ ‘Lipil” following a concerted campaign by breastfeeding activists to contact the Federal Trade Commission.


Mead Johnson’s advertising is already under review by the FTC for overstating the health benefits from added fatty acids DHA/ARA. With the recent “breast milk formula” ploy, Mead Johnson sank to new lows, essentially claiming that infant formula is the same thing as human milk.

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Formula company pitches workplace “breastfeeding support”

In another cynical move to market formula in the guise of breastfeeding support, Abbott Labs has partnered with Working Mother magazine to create a “workplace breastfeeding support” kit. Blogging in The Huffington Post, Dr. Melissa Bartick explains why businesses should steer clear of formula propaganda, and instead use the Business Case for Breastfeeding, a federally-funded workplace lactation support program.

Gourmet Magazine Blog tackles formula marketing

Writing in “The Kid’s Menu,” Lesley Porcelli describes how she and her baby resisted a barrage of formula handouts and industry-endorsing health care providers to breastfeed successfully. She writes, “The world seems to start pushing formula on mothers at the moment of conception. But what if you just want your baby to drink breast milk?” Read the article.

Ban the Bags featured in Dr. Hale’s newsletter

Marsha Walker exposes formula company tactics in her article, Formula Company Discharge Bags: The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing:

Sampling gets the product into the hands of the consumer, provides for its easy use at the first sign of breastfeeding roadblocks, and starts the process of early weaning – the perfect setup for creating a market where none existed before.

Oregon Community Health Partnership wins public health award

In 2007, Portland, Oregon became the first “Bag Free” city in the US, when all 15 maternity hospitals stopped marketing formula to new mothers. The Oregon Community Health Partnership, the Nursing Mothers’ Counsel of Oregon and the Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon joined forces to present awards to “Bag Free” hospitals and draw attention to the negative consequences of formula marketing. They summarized their success in an award-winning poster for the Oregon Public Health Association.

New mothers get mixed messages

Hospitals provide formula sample packs while medical organizations encourage breastfeeding

CHICAGO—A majority of U.S. hospitals on the East coast distribute formula sample packs to new mothers, contrary to recommendations from most major medical organizations concerned about the potential for distributing these packs to reduce breastfeeding rates, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, the practice is changing significantly.

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