“Should I wake her up to nurse?”…Similac’s Predatory Ad Campaign

These ads are not ok. The websites that run these ads are not ok.

This ad campaign from Similac is targeted at breastfeeding moms, and it’s extremely predatory. It’s fairly self-evident:

predatory similac formula ads targeted at breastfeeding moms

The ads are dark and shadowy, reflective of the way they want moms to feel about breastfeeding: unsure and unhappy.

The worst part about these ads (they usually run as slides, one after another, when websites load), is that they are usually found on the breastfeeding sections of parenting websites.

It is not ok to show predatory formula ads next to the breastfeeding content on parenting websites.

These ads have been running on Babble.com (in their breastfeeding section) since at least 2010, when PhD in Parenting called them out. There was an uproar then, and Best for Babes addressed the issue head-on. Babble made a false apology and kept doing what they were doing. I accessed the site today, 2/4/13, and the ads are still there, loud and proud. In fact, the ad runs THREE TIMES on one page (top, left, and right).

babble.com similac ads in breastfeeding section predatory

I found out that a site I’ve held in high esteem for avoiding this kind of predatory advertising, Fit Pregnancy, also has the ads running (in the same fashion, three-on-one-page). This is not ok. (site accessed & screen capped 2/4/13)

UPDATE 2/5/13, 5:00pm EST: Fit Pregnancy has responded very quickly to this issue, pulling the Similac ads from the breastfeeding section on their site. It’s wonderful that they responded so quickly and made changes to protect the nursing relationships impacted by the content on their site. (click the images to see larger versions)

fit pregnancy similac ads predatory

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 4.41.47 PM 20130205-165014.jpg
Fit Preg accessed 2/4/13 Fit Preg accessed 2/5/13 resoloved

In the two+ years these ads have run, how many moms have been sucked into this “feeding expert” scheme and duped into switching to formula, when all they really wanted was breastfeeding help?

similac formula ads predatory

Feel free to share the Similac ad images wherever you’d like (though please don’t alter them in any way).

Moms and babies deserve better than this from the websites they turn to for information on breastfeeding. This has to stop.

ETA 2/4/13, 9pm EST: I also checked the popular sites BabyCenter.com and Disney-owned BabyZone.com. Neither had this campaign running on their homepage or their breastfeeding section, from what I saw. Not everyone is in bed with the formula companies.

ETA 2/4/13, 10:25pm EST: Lots of people have been asking if someone’s called these “help” lines to see what the advice is like. Moms have done that, see the comments on this post from PhD in Parenting and this post about the hotlines from Jodine’s World.

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Posted in: Activism AYFKM Breastfeeding Health Marketing Parenting PR

{ 70 comments… add one }

Leave comment love! Or hate. I’m equal-opportunity like that.

  • Deb June 14, 2013, 2:34 am

    GROW UP and GET REAL!!!!! Breastfeeding is NOT the only way to feed a baby – bottle fed babies thrive too! I adopted my FIVE precious children and obviously bottle fed them — I had to endure the hate, yes I said HATE from so called Earth Mothers who thought they were superior just because they fed their babies from the breast … My standard answer was to tell these know it alls that all 5 of my children were wonderfully HEALTHY and didn’t require a boob in their mouths to settle and be happy! Also my breasts weren’t going to be flat empty sacks flopping limply on my chest like their’s will be after nursing is finished” Talk about attachment Parenting!!! OMG!

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    • amy June 17, 2013, 12:09 pm

      That “GROW UP and GET REAL” bit made me laugh! So thanks for that.

      The rest of your comment pretty much speaks for itself, so I’ll just leave it at that.

      PS: Pregnancy makes for saggy boobs, not breastfeeding. Guess you’ll be flopping those empty sacks with the rest of us!

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  • Bonnie June 3, 2013, 1:17 pm

    Well, they will definitely be gassy on formula. Similac is not the solution to that problem.

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  • Andrea @ECSimplified February 13, 2013, 7:16 am

    “This has to stop.”
    Exactly. Totally agree.

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  • six February 11, 2013, 2:21 pm

    Nice work.. Your comments are filled with guilt ridden moms that for what ever reason chose formula. I have six kids that were all BF for 2yrs each. The ones born in hospital had ‘gifts of similax and bottles given to us. Only one I needed to supplement with formula. I still feel guilty for this but times were that I was working and he ate more than I could pump and put aaside for the day. I think my guilt stems from the lost closness involved in BFing.
    Your activism is not toward demeaning a mothers choice. It clearly is about the business of advertising to those in a vulnerable position. If it didn’t work( increasing bottle feeding thereby profits) then it would not be done. We, moms,need to make our experiences available for new moms and teach ourselves and our daughters that just because it is on the web does not mean we give up the need of personal research. A voice over the phone is a stranger. The La Leche League and others like them have meetings so a mom can meet those who are giving the advice.
    Keep up the good work.

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    • amy February 11, 2013, 5:42 pm

      Six kids at two years each, way to go! I get where you’re talking about the guilt, but wow….you’ve breastfed a LOT and you have a lot to be proud of!

      “Your activism is not toward demeaning a mothers choice. It clearly is about the business of advertising to those in a vulnerable position.” Thank you for that, I’m so glad my intentions come through. You’re exactly right, formula companies pay for this stuff because it works.

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  • Michelle February 9, 2013, 2:53 pm

    I think it’s also important to mention one thing: it’s about BRAND LOYALTY, which is only one small aspect of marketing. It doesn’t matter if the advice is good or bad when a woman calls as MOST women in the United States will switch to formula at some point. These types of ads get the name “similac” or “enfamil” or “Nestle” on the parents’ minds and WHEN they go out to choose a formula WHEN they switch (be that in one week, 1 month, or 1 year), they choose that brand. Alternatively, they choose the one they have coupons for and then stick with that (which is why coupons in breastfeeding packs are also not permitted according to the WHO Code).

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  • Lyssa February 7, 2013, 4:55 pm

    Amy,
    I LOVE this article. It is very well written, well researched, and educationl. On top of that, it focuses on the issue-unethical formula company tactics. It does NOT veer off into a breastfeeding vs formula debate like some others are trying to insinuate.
    I look forward to reading your other blogs.
    Stay strong, don’t let the whiners get you down.

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  • kristen panzer February 7, 2013, 9:34 am

    Hi Amy,
    Wow! Did I just read Fit Pregnancy dropped the ads already? Great work. In 2010 Abbott tried to hire my group to answer their feeding expert line and we refused. Soon after that we were let go from our jobs. Sigh. I’ll tell you all about it if you want to hear : ) I know a little bit about how it all works….
    Kristen

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    • Alison June 14, 2013, 6:58 am

      Wow! That’s terrible!

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  • Melissa February 6, 2013, 2:14 pm

    I really dislike these ads too, for obvious reasons. Somehow or other I got on their mailing list and now they come to my house which I really, really hate.

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  • Lisa February 6, 2013, 7:27 am

    Great article! These ads are horrible. I can imagine the situation when I was breastfeeding, after putting the baby down in the middle of the night, feeling frustrated and tired and going online for help and finding these ads. Maybe, in that moment, I would have called and asked for help. People forget, these ads are designed to sell product, in this case formula, not help moms who are breastfeeding. It’s that simple. It’s not about judging a mom who is not breastfeeding, for whatever reason. It’s about selling formula.

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  • melia whyte February 6, 2013, 12:54 am

    Fantastic article, totally on point about this formula company and their advertising tactics, with no mention whatsoever about formula users. Of course many will feel the need to come to your space and tell you all about their negative/positive experiences with both FF and BF, but it’s missing the point, and your responses to all the commenters so far is keeping with that theme. let’s not forget what this is about. this is about an intentional booby trap, and a luring of nursing moms,(typically new to nursing), or experiencing difficulties. this is not about how, when, where, WHAT or why anyone feeds. Big hugs for you and here’s to a troll-free rest of the comments ;)

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    • amy February 6, 2013, 1:29 am

      You get it! <3 thank you :)

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  • Susan February 6, 2013, 12:07 am

    The WHO Code of marketing prohibits formula companies from advertising their products in this way. The code is in place to protect moms and babies and to support them in their effort to breastfeed. It prohibits formula companies from advertising directly to moms. It also states that formula cans have to state that breast milk is the best for babies.
    Research has documented what happens when a company creates a feeling of good will in a potential customer (in this case by offering free advice) what results is the choice of that particular brand by that customer. The advice that is being provided may indeed be correct, which means that mom may succeed for a time. When she quits (most U.S. moms average 2-3 months) she’s more likely to remember that helpful advice and choose this brand to finish out her baby’s first year. If the advice is not correct, causing a mom to quit nursing, she’s still going to choose this brand because she thinks that they were really trying to help. A win-win situation for the company! It really is a conflict of interest for formula companies to offer this advice. There are many other free, reputable resources available for nursing moms (hospitals, WIC offices and peer counselors, La Leche league, local breastfdg consultants.)
    One last comment, there was an article in the Chicago Tribune last month about the first baby friendly designated hospital in the Chicago area. Throughout the digital story, Enfamil had ads placed. There is a lot money in formula sales in this country!

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    • amy February 6, 2013, 12:21 am

      Thank you so much for explaining this!

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      • Kelly February 6, 2013, 12:23 am

        What’s so unfortunate is the US hasn’t adopted the WHO code. I know so many are working on this and hope to change it.

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        • Susan February 6, 2013, 12:48 am

          Yes, I refer to it as a “gentlemen’s code”. There aren’t any real consequences for companies who don’t follow it. However, I did think it was important to start educating moms about what the code is and why advertising like this is really not meant to benefit them, just to ultimately increase formula sales. And, I’d like to add that the whole marketing angle that has been described here isn’t just about formula companies. It’s what all companies can use to sell their products.

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  • Kina Diaz DeLeon February 5, 2013, 10:15 pm

    Three children and I’ve done both. Mommy wars need to stop. I’ve never seen anything from you criticizing MOTHERS for their choices – just profiteers trying to undermine and exploit the fears and insecurities of mothers.

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    • kristen panzer February 7, 2013, 9:42 am

      Hi Kina I was just following the comments and so glad to see your post, I thought I’d reply. We can’t always know why a mother makes the choices she does, and sometimes it’s none of our business, right? Agreed! : ) We just need to make sure that mothers have the information, confidence, and support they need to make the best choices they can for themselves and their babies. After we do our work, it’s up to them! We owe mothers that respect.

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  • Kelly February 5, 2013, 10:07 pm

    Well, I decided to call. The woman put me on hold when I told her that I was breastfeeding and asked for a phone number in case we get disconnected.

    I explained that I had a 2 week old that wouldn’t stop nursing, I was fed up, she wasn’t gaining properly, and I was at wit’s end. My jaw actually dropped with the advice and information I received. I was blown away. It was very professional, factual, etc. I even asked if I could give a bottle at night for sleep and she advised against it.

    Then I realized the number calling in was my cell, and when you google my cell, it goes to my NPI, which clearly says “IBCLC”.

    Is it silly to think that this advice was only given because they have little bots that look up phone numbers before they talk to someone?

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    • amy February 5, 2013, 10:15 pm

      It’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility! I’ve heard mixed reviews, some like yours, that say it was professional, factual, and didn’t undermine BFing…and some that say they all but shoved the bottle through the phone. It’s a toss-up, I think. Maybe there’s a secretly pro-breastfeeding person answering their phones!

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      • Kelly February 5, 2013, 11:03 pm

        We tried to call again. The man that answered referred us to a number that is busy or plays the message “all circuits are busy”. Very interesting.

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        • kristen panzer February 7, 2013, 9:55 am

          Hi ladies, I think I can shed some light on this because I know people who have answered that phone line. They were legit “CLCs” for what it’s worth. They had no intention of sabotaging breastfeeding — it wasn’t about giving bad advice to individual mothers, it was about Abbott infiltrating the breastfeeding support movement and piggybacking on all our efforts and co-opting our work for their own profit. They used the CLC’s to make themselves look good. They put way more money into marketing themselves as feeding experts than they put into training and resources for the CLCs or real efforts to help mothers breastfeed. It is a sham, but probably not because any one individual is trying to sabotage a caller, more like because it doesn’t work to offer this type of one-off, one-and-done, question/answer format to a mother who is facing real challenges. All it does is market the formula brand and position them as bf friendly and “with it.”

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  • Triplet Mom February 5, 2013, 9:58 pm

    Paige Parsons Similac supports breast feeding. In fact, they have a whole department dedicated to it on their site. Along with this, they sell breast pump supplies and bottles. I received a ton of BF supplies from Similac while in the hospital. However, there are some of us that cannot exclusively BF their kids. I had 27 week triplet boys that wouldn’t latch, and by month 6, I was drying up. Similac’s Neosure is what helped my boys to grow into 22 pounders at 10 months. I fully support Similac, and I do not think their advertising is predatory. They clearly mark on all their products that BF is the very best thing for your baby. They also send out literature describing how much better Breastmilk is than formula. That’s not predatory, but rather a company that will provide for moms that cannot BF, or, sadly, choose not to.

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    • amy February 5, 2013, 10:17 pm

      This isn’t a criticism of using formula, in any way, shape, or form.

      This is a criticism of Similac’s very predatory advertising, aimed at creating doubt in the mind of the nursing mother. Regardless of anything they do to “help,” these ads are not ok.

      Similac is a formula company. It is their job to sell formula. Saying they are in it to help breastfeeding moms is like saying the cigarette-sponsored smoking cessation lines are in it to help people quit smoking. It just doesn’t add up.

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      • Triplet mom February 5, 2013, 10:35 pm

        Similac is a division of Abbott Nutrition. They do fulfill formula and breast milk needs. My hospital provided tons of breast pump supplies from them. In my opinion they are more than money hungry pro formula advocates. They promote what’s best for baby and Mom. Perhaps we need to look at this company as a whole, instead of one division. Plus, if moms are being swayed into dumping BF for formula from some random ad on a website, then perhaps their beliefs in BF were not strong enough. It’s more like a crib advertisement swaying a mom away from co-sleeping. I would hope a moms convictions are stronger than some ad. Consider my situation, which included trying to BF three, and two hours later pump only to do the process all over again, I can tell you that my beliefs wouldn’t haven’t been altered some ad. Maybe this is becoming a bigger deal than needed.

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        • Rebecca June 14, 2013, 1:14 am

          I have to agree with you. I breastfeed and never once in my long sleepless nights have I seen a ad for formula and gone “I’m stopping breastfeeding and switching right away!” I do not think they are “predatory” either. I think non supportive doctors and family and friends are honestly way more dangerous to someone breastfeeding than these ads. Of course they have ads. They are a formula company! I am a total advocate for breastfeeding but I am starting to feel more and more these days that everyone is taking everything out there that is not breastfeeding related and treating it like an attack. The ads are there for a reason. Not everyone chooses to breastfeed or can breastfeed and most people have their minds made up either way.

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          • amy June 17, 2013, 12:13 pm

            Similac just came out with “Similac for Supplementation”…anyone who thinks they aren’t actively targeting BFing moms and going after them in a predatory way is blind to the reality of the situation.

            I know it’s a corporation and that they are going to have ads. This isn’t a criticism of that. It’s the kind of ads and the tactics they are using (which, admittedly, are somewhat subtle and might pass off to the general public as a-ok, as they have with you).

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            • Liz September 5, 2013, 5:05 pm

              I just got the chance to meet with those fine reps (sarcasm) from Similac about their formula for supplementation. That was the heaviest marketing I have ever encountered in my whole life.

              I don’t think they liked my answer that if I have to supplement a baby then I don’t care what brand it is I am going to councel the mom to help her meet her goal and understand the medical issue. I don’t want to make her feel better about her supplementation by giving this one. That’s crap!

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  • Kathry February 5, 2013, 6:10 pm

    Breastfeed your babies all you want, but leave it at that. You don’t need to go around promoting breastfeeding to everyone you meet. Women who use formula don’t go around harassing nursing mothers to switch over. Why not stop worrying so much about formula companies and start enjoying your baby? I am truly concerned about your priorities in life. Getting all worked up over this is not healthy.

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    • amy February 5, 2013, 9:58 pm

      No one is harassing formula feeding moms here. If they were, they’d be booted, because that shit isn’t going to fly here.

      Low breastfeeding rates amount to a public health crisis. That’s a priority in my life. If you’re opposed to breastfeeding promotion, ok, but this isn’t a website you’re going to enjoy and we should probably go our separate ways.

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    • Hawwa February 6, 2013, 4:06 am

      Do you really think so, some FF mothers have tried to convince me to stop EBFing my daughter and start Formula.

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  • Wyllo February 5, 2013, 4:19 pm

    I actually went to the website (feedingexpert.com) and they have an entire section on healthy breastfeeding tips. Not one of them suggested changing over to bottles or using Similac. I looked at the ads and to me it was not about negativity toward breastfeeding but rather the inevitable and always persistent concerns a new mom has about feeding their child in general. I didn’t see it in the negative light that the protester did but more of an art style. Perhaps I am less sensitive to the ads? The placement on the other websites is not necessarily determined by Similac but by the website itself so if it is misrepresented on those websites than I would blame the placement sites, not Similac.

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    • amy February 5, 2013, 4:44 pm

      The real question is, aren’t there better sources of information for a breastfeeding mom, if she has questions? The answer to that is, of course, yes! La Leche League is free and available to any mom. So why would a formula company bankroll a helpline for breastfeeding moms? It’s marketing, to sell their product.

      And I absolutely do blame the sites, not Similac, for the placement. For sure.

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      • Wyllo February 6, 2013, 5:09 pm

        I actually did try to breastfeed both of my daughters but was one of the unfortunate people who could not retain their milk. At most I lasted 6 weeks before I started drying up. At the time the advice available to me was very minimal and internet was not commonplace so unfortunately there were not a lot of avenues for me to turn to. In this day and age I do believe there are a lot of places one can turn to for advice however there is still an amazing amount of people that don’t know where to start. Perhaps some first time mom may go to the Similac site to get a free coupon or whatever and see the advice and decide to try again with their breast feeding after reading some of the advice. I think they are being proactive in helping new mom’s out and there is always room for more helpful information. I still think the websites should be more selective on where they post such information as I do agree, it was distasteful as to where they posted those ads. If they are using Google Analytics for their Adsense to set up their ad space they can even put formula or Similac or similar words into the not permitted options.

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      • Kristen Panzer February 7, 2013, 10:00 am

        Hi Amy, I think it really goes back to the WHO Code. The World Health Organization has determined that it is simply unethical for formula companies to offer this type of service to breastfeeding mothers (the feeding expert, and all the other stuff that some of the moms on this list have received from Abbott0) The World Health Organization has determined that ultimately this is formula marketing and that it undermines breastfeeding. It looks like a boon but it isn’t. It’s a small price some formula companies are willing to pay to ingratiate themselves and prop up their marketing efforts, which pay off tremendously. If Abbott were interested in supporting breastfeeding they would adhere to the WHO Code.

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    • kat February 5, 2013, 9:00 pm

      I agree with Wyllo, Im 100% Breastfeeding my son (and bfed my daughter as well). You (Amy) assume that just because someone who is going through a rough patch doesn’t have the resolve to stick it out and continue with what they know is best (whatever that may be for that family). Who cares if a formula company wants to offer help, or free formula… My opinion is that you should just MIND YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS. Who are you to say what formula adds are okay for a website to run and which are not, if you don’t like them don’t visit the sites, plain and simple. Believe it or not there really are moms out there who have such a hard time with breastfeeding that formula is their only option AND YOU KNOW WHAT??? Their kids turn out fine.

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      • amy February 5, 2013, 9:47 pm

        First, I’m not talking about moms who use formula in this post at all. This is about predatory marketing, and I maintain that these ads are predatory and specifically meant to undermine breastfeeding moms. If they didn’t work, Similac wouldn’t have been paying for them for the last 2.5 years, and counting. They don’t want to help, they want to sell. That is their priority.

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      • Wyllo February 6, 2013, 5:15 pm

        Kat,

        I think perhaps you may have misunderstood what Amy was saying. It is not about Similac specifically but more about the placement of such ads themselves. They were posted on websites that promote and assist with breastfeeding moms and because of those placements they come across as anti-breastfeeding. It could be very influential to a young mom that may be having some issues in deciding to keep trying or just give up and go with Similac. I raised my girls on Similac as well but I do wish I was able to breast feed them longer as the benefits do very much help in the long term but that is not to say it is for everyone and I don’t believe that is what Amy is saying either. It is more the fault of the websites, which ARE for breastfeeding specifically, in how and where they placed those ads. I believe that is the point of this article in the end.

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  • Jen February 5, 2013, 2:06 pm

    Isn’t the problem more with the websites that choose to run the ads in conjunction with breastfeeding content than the ads themselves? If you’re breast feeding and need guidance why would you call a formula company for advice? If you’re formula feeding then you might easily have the same questions, but you wouldn’t call a lactation consultant. They shouldn’t run the ads next to breast feeding resources, but there’s nothing wrong with the ads in and of themselves.

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    • amy February 5, 2013, 2:24 pm

      I wouldn’t say there’s no problem at all, but the most pressing and problematic issue is that they are run by breastfeeding content. It’s predatory of Similac to target breastfeeding moms in the first place, though.

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      • Jen February 5, 2013, 2:32 pm

        Oh I agree totally that the ads shouldn’t be placed next to breast feeding content. That’s a no brainer for sure. However, is it the website that makes that decision what ads are there or not? If so, the problem is with the websites’ lack of judgement and compassion. It don’t see anything in the ads themselves that seem to target breast feeding moms outside of their poor placement. Now if the ads are there by design and orchestrated by the formula companies themselves, well I would agree that they are indeed predatory in nature.

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        • amy February 5, 2013, 2:50 pm

          “Should I wake her up to nurse?” Is targeted at breastfeeding moms pretty explicitly, no matter where it runs. So I think the ads are problematic unto themselves, too.

          Fit Preg said they are addressing this, I’ll update when I see a change. I’m glad to see them responding positively so far.

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          • Jen February 5, 2013, 3:18 pm

            Well that’s true, I read it and thought “feed” rather than nurse. So that is problematic for sure.

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  • Shannon February 5, 2013, 11:34 am

    I think it’s funny that it says “feeding expert” Really???? A feeding expert that works for a formula company is an oxymoron.

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    • Hannah February 5, 2013, 11:09 pm

      Really? An oxymoron? So are you saying that bottle feeding is technically not feeding? I’m confused. I believe the term they used was feeding expert, not intolerant militant breast feeding expert. What would nonbreastfeeding or supplementing mothers be doing with formula if not feeding? I’m sure you thought you were cute with your comment. Forget oxymoron, reading your comment just made me think moron.

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      • amy February 5, 2013, 11:29 pm

        I’m saying getting breastfeeding help from a formula company is like getting help with quitting smoking from a cigarette maker. It doesn’t add up. It’s an oxymoron.

        No one is knocking formula here, or the moms that use it, and this isn’t the place to have that debate. These ads are meant to make moms question breastfeeding and diminish their confidence, and we can all agree that it’s not ok for a formula company to do that.

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        • Hannah February 6, 2013, 12:29 am

          I get it. Breast is best. I breastfed my son. I respectfully disagree that people here are not “knocking” formula companies and mothers. My response was to Shannon. She clearly insinuated that a formula company could not have experts on feeding because it is formula company. The ad above that I saw did not say it provided experts of only formula feeding or only BF feeding. It simply stated feeding. How on Earth is it an oxymoron that a company that promotes formula feeding employs feeding experts. If that we follow that line of thinking, it would only be fair to say that it would be an oxymoron to say a LLL leader or a LC were feeding experts. I feel that her post was dripping in disdain for formula. Something is not an oxymoron simply because you do not like it or disagree with it. Be transparent. If you want to “knock” formula or formula feeding mothers, have at it. Just don’t pretend to be supportive of everyone.

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  • Mary February 5, 2013, 9:46 am

    I fully agree with your post. I do not like the unethical behaviors I see from formula industry. I am on child #4 and finally breastfed successfully. I have just finished a full year! It has been a fabulous experience :) For me supply was a major issue. I have taken FENUGREEK herb and had plenty of milk!

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  • Rusti February 5, 2013, 8:58 am

    argh. this makes me so angry. Similac should be ASHAMED of themselves. seriously. between this and the “Enfamil powder for nursing moms… in the event supplementing is necessary” I want to just … KICK THEM. I understand some moms do not want to, or for some medical reasons, cannot breastfeed – but for those who do – THIS SUCKS. grrr. it’s just crap.

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  • Megan February 5, 2013, 7:33 am

    I agree these are predatory, but I’m curious. Most ads today are personalized on each users search history. It still stands to reason that these ads are obviously going to appear, but I’ve never seen them and I’ve recently done tons of research on breastfeeding help. The ads I see are almost always products I’ve been looking at recently. I’m not trying to make light of the situation, just curious about how often they really come up and/or if that is entirely controlled by the website. I guess they could probably refuse that ad altogether though.

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    • amy February 5, 2013, 10:44 am

      I don’t think my search history impacted these, as I cross-tested in Chrome (my usual browser) and Safari (which I’d just cleaned all the history/cache/cookies/etc-) from.

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      • Megan February 5, 2013, 2:18 pm

        Good to know, thank you!

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    • Andrea February 5, 2013, 1:22 pm

      I’ve never bought formula in my life and I regularly get ads from Similac at the grocery checkout just because I buy diapers. It makes me mad.

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  • Joanna February 4, 2013, 10:26 pm

    “Why is my baby gassy”? Ummmm… Formula fed babies don’t get gassy – that’s the fake DHA formula that makes babies gassy, or any other formula for that matter. How misleading. Call a lactation consultant! Not a formula company who uses a fungus in a laboratory to grow fake DHA and mix it dangerously at the wrong levels with ARA and then extracts the fake DHA with HEXANE (a petroleum bi-product) and then puts fake powdered milk that is made to be digested by an animal that has four stomachs, into a BPA metal lined can that may contain metal shavings!!!!! Sickening.

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    • Dora February 5, 2013, 12:17 pm

      Good point! And very informative!

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    • Katie February 6, 2013, 3:48 pm

      Jesus. I totally get the passion for breastfeeding, but you’re going a little too far here. Some of us have to supplement with formula because we cannot exclusively breastfeed our kids, so reading about how my child’s formula was made for an animal with 4 stomachs and the can has metal shavings (read: fear mongering) is a little unnecessary. We get it, you hate formula, so don’t give it to your kid. Personally, I chose formula over letting my chronically underweight child starve.

      And for the record, my kid gets gassy with formula. Perhaps he’s fungus intolerant.

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  • Jodine Chase February 4, 2013, 9:27 pm

    Thanks for calling this out again, Amy, I’ll be sharing your blog post far and wide. We don’t see these ads up here in Canada, so it’s not on our radar, but it should be! I blogged about this a while ago, “Babbling about Breasts, Again.” Oh, there was quite a firestorm after that one! We were called out for “shaming” new moms, so I bogged again, “Shame is the new Guilt.” and then a mom got in touch with a report on what happened when she called the hotline: “Babble.com’s Similac hotline is a big fat #fail.”
    You can see the three blogposts here:
    http://jodinesworld.blogspot.ca/2011/09/babbling-about-breasts-again.html

    Reply Link
    • amy February 4, 2013, 10:52 pm

      I updated the post with a link to your site. :)

      Reply Link
  • Jen V February 4, 2013, 9:09 pm

    I wonder what those “feeding experts” have to say when you call.

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    • amy February 4, 2013, 9:35 pm

      Check out the PhD in Parenting link on the post, and the one Jodine mentioned in her comment…moms have called in a couple times and the responses from the “experts” have been blogged. They’re about what you’d think.

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      • Kristen February 4, 2013, 9:46 pm

        If I may, not all of them are like that. When I had problems nursing my youngest, and needed to supplement while I worked on building my supply (baby had to eat regardless), they were very kind and patient with me. They answered all of my questions, and the woman even told me that if I were to introduce formula, then I would need to make sure that I didn’t turn to it at every whimper. She called me a few times after that to make sure our breastfeeding relationship was still going strong, and offered me support when I most needed it. Both Similac and Good Start were AMAZING when I didn’t know about online breastfeeding support communities.

        I do understand, however, that they are few and far between. But for those 2 ladies, they saved my breastfeeding relationship. I am forever grateful for them.

        Reply Link
        • Aleta Maria February 4, 2013, 11:51 pm

          Kristin – I’m so glad that you had a great experience! I was lucky enough that I didn’t have too many problems, but I also feel that sometimes parents that supplement or do formula exclusively get a bad rap : )

          Reply Link
      • Kristen February 5, 2013, 11:11 pm

        Amy- is there a way I can contact you via email, or you email me? I have been wanting to write a blog post for a while about a certain topic, and would love your permission to link to this post, and to also get your opinions on a few things. I’d much rather do this via email than posting publicly for now. Thanks!

        Reply Link
  • Melissa February 4, 2013, 9:08 pm

    Fit Pregnancy is a joke. Their birth and breastfeeding info in my free subscription is about half and half accurate to bullshit ratio.

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    • M February 5, 2013, 8:22 pm

      All of you women are crazy. Breast feeding women think that they are better than other women. I have felt this before and will continue to feel this way. I tried and tried and tried to breastfeed….saw a lactation expert, spoke to numerous other women for help and still was not able to breast feed. Every time someone asked me if I was nursing, I was ashamed to say no because I had wanted to so badly. On top of that, breast feeding women would judge me, tell me I was probably doing it wrong, and make me feel like I was not a good enough mother. It was horrible. Get off your high horses. These ads are not doing anything. You are all so sensitive about your breastfeeding that you think everyone is making you feel badly for doing it when in actuality, people make you feel even worse if you don’t or can’t like me. Why not just make your choice, keep it to yourself, and go about your business. It is a personal choice and decision for what is best for you, your baby, your family and that’s it. Who cares what ads say and what they are next to? If everyone was secure with each and every person making a decision for what is best for them, it would not make a difference at all.

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      • amy February 5, 2013, 9:50 pm

        It sucks that you had such a rough time of it, and that you’re not happy with your outcome. Those feelings, however, do not translate to judgement on my part. Some of my best friends used formula. It blows that you were made to feel bad about this, but please don’t project the bad behavior of a few onto every breastfeeding mom out there (and specifically, me).

        And yes, moms should be able to choose and go about their business. And these ads are meant to undermine that process, which is not ok.

        Reply Link
        • Kathy February 5, 2013, 10:37 pm

          I stumbled on here via Facebook.

          I am a Breastfeeding medicine specialist, (MD), and I see LOTS of moms who cannot make enough milk. I know how painful and judged they feel.

          I just want to point out this is not fair. We make sure every pregnant mom knows breastmilk is far superior for her baby, and then as a society we put up MANY barriers to Breastfeeding. (Don’t let the baby use you as a pacifier, “good babies” sleep a long time at night, you must go back to work by 6 weeks, you can’t have enough time or a good place to pump at work, and don’t you dare breastfeed in public!…just to name a few.).

          There are also a few women who just cannot physically make much milk for medical reasons, and what needs to happen is we need enough donated, pasteurized human milk at an affordable price for all of the human babies whose mommies can’t make enough. Formula does not need to exist.

          Dr. L

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          • amy February 5, 2013, 10:49 pm

            I agree that moms have a lot stacked against them when they set out to breastfeed, and that donor milk needs to be more available, and that we need to better accomodate motherhood as a society, period.

            But I want to make sure I’m clear that these ads aren’t fair to moms who are trying to breastfeed and see this “help” which is a thinly veiled effort at selling them formula. When a mom is beating those odds and breastfeeding, the last thing she needs is “help” from a formula company. They deserve better. I hope we agree on that (I suspect we do, but I’m not sure I’m reading your comment right, so I wanted to clarify).

            Reply Link

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