Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Infant formula companies behind "drugs to boost breastmilk production are dangerous" messaging

This is a must read blog post by IBCLC Diana Casser-Uhl, who blows the whistle on who appears to be behind a new effort to use the media to create fear and loathing over the use of pharmaceuticals to address problem when something goes wrong with human milk production. Apparently it's ok to take drugs to fix thyroid problems or erectile dysfunction, but if mothers take drugs to fix low milk production, it becomes "dangerous ... extreme measures."

Diana draws attention to a connection between a recent mommy blog post and the International Formula Council. This formula company industry association representing Abbot, Mead Johnson, Nestle, Perrigo and Pfizer is the funder behind what, on the surface, appears to be typical mommy blog.

The post begins:
"Here's an alarming fact: The pressure to breastfeed had gotten so out of hand that new moms are now taking pills prescribed for GI problems to increase their milk production! " 
Who benefits when the practice of taking a drug that boosts prolactin levels, which in turn boosts milk production, is "dangerous," or "extreme breastfeeding?" Yes, you've got it! Formula companies sell more product when moms can't make milk for their babies.

It seems to me that mainstream media outlets and their cousins on the Internet are more interested in boosting their numbers to make advertisers happy than they are in anything resembling investigative journalism. The television producer chasing this story didn't even notice the foul smell.

We need to ask ourselves whenever we see negative publicity about breastfeeding - who stands to gain when human beings don't produce human milk for their human babies?

Check out Diana's blog post - it's well worth the read.
When the media spins the biological norm 
I am often asked, through networks of professionals, to connect a reporter or media representative to breastfeeding mothers in a particular situation. There are some requests that I scramble to satisfy, without reservation, because either the journalist is one whose work I am familiar with (and is truly supportive of breastfeeding), or because the population they are looking for is one that can benefit from exposure. I’m all for raising awareness and bringing less-known breastfeeding topics into the cultural mainstream. more

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