Put the child on that TIT!

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I recently completed research for an Ethics course and had selected the Nestle Infant Formula Scandal as my case. This is the brand of formula we use for my son and I had my own nightmares dealing with hospital staff regarding breastfeeding and formula. Still, as I read on, it boggled my mind how many people are so sure to blast the company for so much. Yes, their marketing and promotional tactics were wrong. Yes they deserve a lot of the beatings they are receiving. Yes, they were highly unethical in the way represented themselves to new mothers. Yes, they should not have done it and yes, they are a multi-billion dollar company and didn’t need to. Finally, yes, I know that infants died because of their actions. However they are the only ones being made an example, when there are other companies that were doing the same thing! Also, and to be fair, making bottles with unsterilized water and bottles is what made the infants get sick. No, I am not on their side. I am on the infants side!

Let me ask you this though, what did your parents, parents, parents, parents feed their children? Breastmilk, right? Why didn’t a lot of these mothers make this call for their infants? What was traditional was free.  Why didn’t doctors, health care officials and advocates stand up to Nestle shameless plugs. Why were they allowed to run rampant in IMG_20160423_094737763hospitals? Even that, you’ve just given birth and a sales representative is in your face touting formula. Where was the support from the healthcare officials, from family, you know those who have been there and done that. Where were the breastfeeding pushers and thumb raisers? In all my research advocate groups raised up after the fact. As much as they were told about formula, given samples and support for using the product, there could have been the same diligence made to ensure the need to breastfeed trumped the decision to use formula. I kept reading waiting to hear who stepped in first and there is limited information on who did. Why aren’t advocates given any praise for their work in breastfeeding? Who is advocating? This outcry started in the 70s with a request to boycott the company. Why did it need to hit the media for change to happen? Why wasn’t it that advocates challenging Nestle and overruled their dominance was what was reported? Who stood for these mothers and worked for them? We are being asked to stand against the company, but who stood for the babies?

There is one doctor in India who is celebrated because he did not give in to formula companies.  The outcry is because those affected by the effects of poor bottling were from developing countries. Now, who has more natural herbal remedies than developing countries?  I understand that some women who were malnourished themselves, those who had issues (it was reported that at least 1% of women cannot breast feed) and those who were caregivers needed formula. Now don’t get me wrong, formula is an amazing product, it saved our lives. The issue I am having is with those who couldn’t afford it that were using it when they could breastfeed. Why was formula an option for these infants? Breastfeeding is an emotional, personal choice, but it becomes second nature when your infant constantly gets ill and formula is to blame. I just don’t understand why wasn’t IMG-20160307-WA0010formula taboo in some of these cases/regions/countries wasn’t. In my own breast feeding struggles, a friend of mine constantly told me of a bush her grandmother said I could use but we couldn’t get the bush here. Women who lived off the land had resources, nature is our best medicine! I am just one example, but I imagine there were traditional medicines that could have assisted those who needed to breastfeed more.

Now, urbanization and the need to go back to work and leave your baby is a case I understand. I would have loved to hear or have read that women were doing both breast feeding and formula feeding their infants. I just find it hard to accept that these mothers didn’t give their children a chance and that they willingly gave up their natural rights. I have had my struggles with breastfeeding and infant formula, but I never once chose one over the other. I don’t understand, but who was there to tell those mothers ’You better put that child on the tit!’?  Maybe I’m crazy, but how can you feast on sugar then blame sugar companies when you get diabetes?

 

A FAIR version of this issue can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/1981/12/06/magazine/the-controversy-over-infant-formula.html?pagewanted=all

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