In the late seventies I was a teenager with a passion for social justice. When I learned that thousands of babies in Africa were dying from formula mixed with unsanitary water I got involved. Nestlé used unethical marketing practices to promote the use of formula over breast milk. A boycott of Nestlé products ensued. No more Nesquik or Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies. My commitment has lasted 40 years!
The formal boycott of Nestlé products lasted until 1984. I never got the memo. A lifelong ban of their products has been a distinctive of my life. A pledge made in my youth became part of my story. I have only recently discovered that Nestlé continues to be implicated in questionable marketing tactics.
Breast is Best
Let’s be clear. A breastfed child has much stronger survival rates in many parts of the world. The World Health Organization recommends that, in the majority of cases, babies should be exclusively breast fed for the first six months. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding worldwide. WABA sponsors World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7. They advocate that breastfeeding is a significant way to improve the health, development and survival of infants and children.
My Own Personal Experience
I breastfed both my children. My son was exclusively breastfed until he was 9 months old and comfort nursed until he was two years old. I was fiercely committed to nursing my firstborn who was 6 weeks premature. He had a challenge latching onto my breast. Every feeding was a challenge in patience. A lactation consultant visited my home and encouraged my efforts.
My daughter is another story. Circumstances and sibling order factored into my experience with my second child. I found myself slinking through the food aisles when she was 5 months old to purchase formula. I felt shame and was terrified I would be seen. She was finished with the breast before she was a year old.
The ease and care of breastfeeding is a great appeal. The nutrition for the baby is unparalleled. There are so many benefits to breastfeeding your baby. The emotional bond of the experience is priceless. But life and circumstances happen and formula is a helpful alternative if needed. We have the resources to be sure the product is mixed with clean water and bottles and nipples properly cleaned.
Breastfeeding Saves Lives
However, unhygienic conditions in some parts of the world makes bottle feeding a deadly choice. The World Health Organization report suggests almost a million babies die each year because of bottle feeding.
Nestlé continues to use unethical methods to market infant formula. Mothers in developing nations are deceived in to choosing formula over breast milk. Promoting the product in developing nations with polluted water and lack of sanitization is a recipe for death. Purchasing formula strains their already limited resources.
The Nestlé Boycott October 28- November 6
The Nestlé logo belies their marketing practices. Nestlé, the world’s largest baby food company, continues to undermine breast feeding. Baby Milk Action leads a week long campaign to bring awareness to this issue. They ask the consumer to support their cause by boycotting Nestlé Products. Here is a list of all Nestlé Products.
HALLOWEEN- Consider not purchasing Nestlé Chocolate Bars!
You can make a difference. Don’t give away any Nestlé Candy! No Crunch, Butterfinger, or Kit Kat bars! Or Wonka or Sweetarts.
The Last Word…
Women are designed to breastfeed. Our anatomy is perfectly created to nourish our children. It is beautifully depicted in the Book of Isaiah in the Bible, “For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.” To jeopardize this mothering experience seems heartless. To discourage the best source of nutrients is unethical.