Tuesday, March 27, 2007

And the cookie cutter response is.........

Hi Karen,

Thank you for your feedback - even if it is negative. I certainly respect your point-of-view. We both agree that breastfeeding is the best method of feeding babies.

ParentsCanada Group has a long history of promoting breastfeeding as the best method of feeding through our magazine editorial. We have great respect for Canadian mothers who only use breastfeeding for their children and for those, like yourself, who advocate the importance of breastfeeding to Canadian moms.

That said, we do allow formula advertising in ParentsCanada magazine. The ads from Nestle and Mead both acknowledge breastfeeding as the best form of feeding and make comparative claims of superiority only against other formulas.

I am very familiar with the WHO code directives with respect to the marketing of breast-milk substitutes and I am in agreement with its overall goal to promote breastfeeding. I believe some of the directives are a result of terrible tragedies that have occurred in the third world (for which the formula companies are responsible) but go too far in the context of North American society.

The reality is that formula serves a valid purpose for many women faced with difficult decisions in a complex and busy world. We would certainly welcome messaging from the formula companies that more clearly expressed the superiority of breast milk, but I do believe, in having dealt with many formula marketers for many years, that their goal is not to convince mothers to use formula instead of breast milk. They are, rather, competing in a valid commercial pursuit to increase their share of the market. They have never attempted to influence our pro-breast editorial, nor would we ever allow that to happen.

If you want to give me your address I would be happy to send you samples of the editorial we have produced over the years in support of the cause. Or you can search the ParentsCanada website for much of this valuable information. If you go to the Baby section, for example, the first listed article is "13 Reasons why Breastfeeding is Best" and there are several other articles all written by health professionals explaining the virtues of breast milk and helping mothers with breastfeeding.

I do wish you success in continuing to spread the word about the preferability of breastfeeding over formula. We consider ourselves partners in that message.

I thank you again for your comments. Please feel free to contact me directly if you wish.

David BakerVice President - MarketingParentsCanada Group65 The East MallToronto, ONM8Z 5W3P: 416-537-2604F: 416-538-1794

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