Thursday, 16 May 2013

Why formula is not poison

I came across this link recently, and I believe this mother makes an excellent point.

Formula is not white poison. It's not heroin. It's not the enemy.

Can I say that again loud and clear. FORMULA IS NOT THE ENEMY.

Formula is a breastmilk substitute. A substitute, a replacement, an alternative. Even the frigging WHO Code refers to ‘breast milk substitutes’. There’s a reason it’s not called the “International Code of Marketing of Baby Poisons”.

If I can’t teach a class, they get a relief teach in as a substitute. Not a criminal, but a substitute teacher. If I don’t have a bib when we’re out, I can substitute with a napkin. Not with a sheet of asbestos, but with an acceptable alternative. If the route to work is closed due to traffic, I can go the long way round. Not give up on work entirely, but find a different route.

Yes, formula is not as good as breastmilk. Yes, it carries risks (but so do all methods of feeding). Yes, donor milk is often (but not always) a better alternative. But formula is an acceptable substitute.

Existing readers of my blog will know that I have some pretty strong views about the unethical advertising of formula, but that does not mean that the product is bad. I think that a lot of the marketing techniques of pharmaceutical companies are pretty abysmal (and in many ways similar to formula companies) but that doesn’t mean that I think medications are evil. Actually, medications are very similar to formula – in some cases they are essential and lifesaving, and in many cases they are ‘just’ helpful and convenient. Medications, like formula, are susceptible to being used inappropriately and their use needs to be carefully managed to minimise the risks – but they aren’t the cause of everything bad in the world. They are a GOOD THINGS - sometimes used inappropriately and dangerously (often fuel on by dodgy marketing) – but still fundamentally a GOOD THING.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree. I was only reading this morning about a woman in my forum group who has an 8 week old baby and had trying to breastfeed, until she realised something was wrong. She recently found out her baby is lactose intolerant and now has to go down the lactose-free formula route but is happier because her baby is finally getting the right quantity of food and growing! I think people need to realise that formula isn't always a first choice and not to judge until they know more.

    1. Hey Rach, not sure if your friend has been this link or not (she may have) but it may be useful for her if she wants to look at it


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