Sunday, August 28, 2011

The word is getting out!!

Did you all see the great commentary inWeNews?

Kimberly Seals Allers explores why the message that we in the know threw out in 1990 -  "Breast is Best" -  but that is still used by many well meaning folks just doesn't work.

At CGBI we fully acknowledge and accept that women's lives are complex: the pressures on my generation that remains today; bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and always be sexy for your man" still persists. Our daughters thought that they would live our dreams - full partnerships in family care issues, jobs that allow paid maternity leave, health care systems that listened to them - but we simply aren't there yet, and not for the foreseeable future. So, for the most part for many women, it all still falls to the women/the mothers to figure out how to create a balance between the economic, social and health realities in families.

Breastfeeding saves lives. No question. Formula feeding carries risks for excess short and long term illness. The costs to our society of creating barriers to breastfeeding are measurable.

Many thanks to Ms Allers for getting the word out!!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Marketing, Consumer Preferences and Clam Chowder

Efforts to limit infant formula marketing are often criticized as anti-“choice”- going against a mother’s right to choose how to feed her own baby. But even as manufacturers claim to be supporting the decisions that families make for themselves (a plausible claim to consumers who feel impervious to advertising), Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post reminds us that consumer preferences have always been shaped by commercial interests.

Pearlstein, a Washington Post business columnist, writes that “most of our preferences are learned and largely formed by social norms and expectations that producers have a strong hand in shaping.” Speaking to marketing professors and a behavioral economist, Pearlstein discusses how consumers come to align their preferences with perceived social norms. So while consumers might feel immune to ads, and commercial products a mere reflection of what people want, those products are more often a response to manufactured desires.

Pearlstein doesn’t discuss infant formula specifically; he discusses the evolution of US consumer preference for things like clam chowder, beer, and cars. But just as US consumers gradually trained themselves to prefer thicker, ultimately less tasty versions of New England clam chowder, and SUVs over minivans, it stands to reason that families adjust infant feeding decisions based on those ideas about lifestyle, family dynamics and health that the marketplace helps create. In the case of infant formula, creation of social norms through marketing is particularly troubling because they often utilize the health care system to create false perceptions of endorsement.

Pearlstein notes that consumer preferences “are anything but fixed, susceptible to changes in technology, culture, fads and the business strategies of companies competing in the marketplace.” So while we might bemoan the lack of a culture of breastfeeding in the US, there’s reason to hope that we could help to bring one about by working to create the right kinds of cultural shifts.

Read the rest of Pearlstein’s column at:

World Breastfeeding Week 2011 Calls on us to COMMUNICATE!!!!

Dear Friends:
Have you read about World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2011? Celebrated either the first week in August, to commemorate the 1990 Innocenti Declaration, or the first week in October (for everyone who was on vacation in August), WBW is nearing 20 years old this year. But before it leaves its teenage years, WBW this year is dedicated to communicating about breastfeeding with youth.
Now, many of us are not as twittery or e-face friendly as we might be, so this week - ASK THE KIDS!!
They can spread the word. They have heard you talking about breastfeeding since before they were born and probably are lactation consultant ready already!!
Enjoy all the activities this week - and remember the future! Talk to a young person about breastfeeding.

Hugs to you all.