May 23rd, 2010 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Inside SnugabellResources

PumpEase and Dr Sears

tired new momSo you know we're all about the fashion here at Snugabell, right?  Our goal is to help new moms refind their mojo - to help them feel pretty when they are often healing and hormonal, haven't showered "lately" (let alone done their hair and make-up) and are sleep-deprived.  If you've had a baby recently, or not (my youngest was three in January and I still remember what it was like), I'm sure you'll relate.

Even though it is all about the fashion, it isn't ALL about the fashion!  Yes, that's right - the bold colours and prints of PumpEase are better for your baby too!  According to Dr William Sears...

"The best way you as a parent can stimulate baby's vision is using black and white stripes or light and dark contrasting colors. So what about those nice soft pastels that used to be so popular in baby toys and nurseries? While these may look pretty to you, they do nothing visually for your baby. Research has proven that black and white contrasts register powerfully on baby's retina and send the strongest visual signals to baby's brain. Stronger signals mean more brain growth and faster visual development. Surround a baby with soft pastel colors, and you might as well be blindfolding him. Surround your baby with black and white or light and dark pictures, and watch your baby's eyes light up.

While baby's vision may be one of the least developed senses at birth, Dr Searsvisual input during the early months may have the most profound effect on baby's developing nervous system. What exactly does this mean? Why is visual stimulation so important for a baby? How can you as a parent or caregiver best stimulate your newborn's visual senses?

How a newborn's eyes detect light.
At birth, a baby's retina is not fully developed. The retina is the back layer of the eye that detects light. An adult retina can distinguish many different shades of light and color, but a newborn retina can only detect large contrasts between light and dark, or black and white. So while an adult can appreciate various shades of pastel colors on the wall of baby's nursery, a newborn may only see them as one shade all blurred together. Why is this important?

How visual stimulation makes baby's brain develop.
At birth, the nerve cells in baby's brain are disorganized and not well connected. While baby grows, the brain receives input from all five senses. This input causes nerve cells to multiply and form a multitude of connections with other nerve cells. This is why visual stimulation is so crucial. For example, if a baby is kept blindfolded the visual center in his brain would never develop, the optic nerve would shrivel up, and baby would never develop vision. On the other hand, if you provide continuous visual input into baby's eyes, the retina thrives, the optic nerve grows, and the visual part of baby's brain thrives and develops by leaps and bounds."

Galaxie BlackSnowy LeopardSo if you're planning on pumping on one side and nursing on the other (yes you can do this with your PumpEase!), choose Snowy Leopard or Galaxie Black to best stimulate baby's vision.  And if you've never considered pumping on one side and nursing on the other, you might want to.  Here's why...

1.  When you nurse your baby, your body releases the hormone oxytocin which causes
     your milk to "let down".  So while you're suckling your baby on one breast, your other
     breast will often leak (usually into a nursing pad that you throw away or wash).
     Although it varies, some moms leak a LOT of milk.  Regardless, I'm sure you'll agree
     that any milk saved is a good thing!

2.  The more frequently both breasts are emptied the better it is for your milk
     supply/production.

3.  This is the ultimate in multi-tasking (and we, as women, were made to multi-task
     right?)

So there you have it - look HAWT, stimulate your baby's vision to promote brain development and make more milk - ALL with PumpEase!

I have to add that I find it über interesting that if you were to blindfold your baby from birth the optic nerve would shrivel up and your baby would actually end up blind.  I know that newborn babies don't see much more than shadows and I know that black and white patterns are good for baby's vision, but had no idea the extent of the consequences if baby's vision wasn't stimulated fully.  How about you?  Tell us about it below.

Tags: 'baby brain growth', 'visual stimulation', 'PumpEase prints'

{"Baby and mom" by Kaeru Sand is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0}

{Photo credit: Dr. Sears Wellness Institute}

April 29th, 2010 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Customer ServiceGeneralInside Snugabell

The Snugabell Promise of Quality, Integrity, Accountability and umm... Socks?

I don't understand why companies do it.  They have a great product, build a great brand following and then they change something.  From the consumer's standpoint, it is usually a change for the worse; for the manufacturer, however, it almost always means higher profits.  All that work of building their reputation and brand and they throw it all out the window.  I.don't.get.it.

Old Navy triple rolls socksTake for example Old Navy infant and toddler socks.  You know the ones I'm talking about?  The triple-roll socks that have rubberized writing on the soles stating the size (so handy when you have two little ones that are close in age).  The ones that were/are $1.75/pair or six pairs for $10.00 (it's been a while since I've bought them, so I may be a bit off on the price).  Well a few years back when my now five year old was a baby, we bought them by the bucket-full.  Every colour under the sun and two each of the neutrals.  And then my younger daughter wore them and then I passed them on to my sister and her daughter wore them.  And they are STILL in good condition!  I think I've thrown out maybe two or three pairs after 5-1/2 years and three kids!

They were all cotton with a bit of spandex.  They faded a bit over time and even shrunk a teensy bit (such is the nature of cotton), but they LASTED and LASTED and LASTED.  I recommended them to everyone I met that had kids.

Then I bought a couple of new pairs for the girls last fall as we were having family pictures done and we were all wearing black.  I needed new inky black socks.

So I went to our local mall and bought two pairs - one for each of my daughters.  They felt a bit silkier than before but looked the same.  I noticed that they were now made with 81% cotton/17% polyester/2% spandex.  Hmmm...

Six months later, I threw both pairs in the garbage because they had LARGE gaping holes on the balls of the feet - not even on the heel.  I was choked!  SIX MONTHS!  I guess they added the polyester to prevent the fading or the minimal shrinking or perhaps because polyester is cheaper?  Or maybe because they didn't have enough repeat customers due to the fact that their old socks lasted too long...  ???

I will never buy them again.  Ever.

I'm on a roll with the socks, so I will continue.  I bought a couple of pairs of Calvin Klein ladies' black dress socks for myself eons ago (honestly, they're older than my kids).  They are just now starting to wear thin, no holes yet, just wearing thin.  Did I mention that I've had these socks for years?  I think it is going on ten years.  Seriously.

Calvin Klein ladies' dress socksSo seeing that they were starting to wear thin, I decided to go the The Bay (where I had bought them) and buy more.  Of course, they didn't have exactly the same ones ten years later, but I bought what I thought were comparable socks.  Two pairs each of two different styles - footies and anklets.  Calvin Klein.  After two months, they had holes in them.  All eight of the socks had holes in them.  And not on the heel or where the balls of your feet sit either.  The holes were in random spots around the ankle where the knitting machine did the full-fashioning (shaping) to make the sock "bend" to go around your ankle.  Random holes on my new socks.  My background in the apparel industry tells me they are simply poor quality and/or they no longer do product testing and/or they have lowered their quality control standards.  A lot.

Every time I'm folding laundry and start pairing-up the socks and see the HOLES, I get annoyed.  AND then I see my 10 year old socks in the pile that are still in one piece!

What the heck is with the crappy socks???

Needless to say, I am choked.  Again.  And I need some answers!  Where oh where can I buy decent socks?  I just spent a good 10 minutes searching online for "cotton socks" and nothing really comes up!?!  Update:  I think I found the answer to my dreams (literally):  Sock Dreams!  Check them out!

But WHY do companies do this?  As a business owner, I understand the desire to increase your bottom line, but are you not shooting yourself in the foot (pun most definitely intended) if your product becomes sub-standard and you lose customers?

I.just.don't.get.it.

high quality PumpEase I remember about a year ago, we received a bad batch of production from our factory.  It was either 600 pieces and we sent back 400 or 800 pieces and we sent back 600.  Yes it cost us twice as much in quality control to check every PumpEase two times.  Yes it delayed our orders.  Yes it was frustrating!!!  However there was no question in my mind that they all get sent back to the factory.  I couldn't even fathom sending out a sub-standard product and "hoping for the best".  No way.  Not even an option.

In my mind, my product, my company and my reputation are all very intricately woven together.  If my company starts producing shoddy goods, that reflects on me personally.  It's just not going to happen.  I give you my word.  And I am super-duper proud of the high quality that is reflected in our products.  :-)

So, tell us... have you ever experienced a particular brand's quality decreasing over time?  What did you do about it - just accept it or switch brands?  Do you expect, as I do, consistency in quality when you are loyal to a particular brand?  Please leave your thoughts below.

 

Tags: 'quality control', socks, 'sock holes', 'calvin klein'

April 24th, 2010 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Dragons' Den

Snugabell Travels the Road to the Dragons' Den - Part II

It was just last week that I was on the Dragons' Den Facebook Page reading comments from other entrepreneurs who had already "got the call".  It had been 3-1/2 weeks since my audition, but I had heard nothing.  The producers had just finished the forty-city, Canada-wide audition tour the previous Saturday so I kept telling myself that they wouldn't be calling until they got back to their offices and started short-listing.  That's what I kept telling myself.  I also told myself that if I hadn't heard from CBC within the two weeks "post audition tour", that I wasn't going to.  I was preparing myself for the disappointment, not to be negative or anything, just trying not to have any expectations.

And then literally FIVE minutes before heading into a meeting on Wednesday morning, my business line rang downstairs in my office.  I high-tailed it down there, although not exactly sure why as it wasn't yet 9:30 and that is generally when I start my day.  I also don't usually answer calls that say "blocked" on my call display, but I answered this call.  And it Toronto, Ontario, Canadawasn't like I was even THINKING about it being Dragons' Den.  Come to think of it, since my audition, I haven't been rushing to the phone every time it rings hoping the call display reads "CBC".  Honestly, we've been so busy with the new product launch, that I keep forgetting about the whole scenario (until someone asks me about it of course).  But there she was on the other end of the phone - the producer that I pitched to on that day 3-1/2 weeks ago in downtown Vancouver.  I actually recognized her voice as she has a raspy, Bonnie Tyler thang goin' on.

OMG!  I'm going to Toronto!  Holy crap!  She gave me a few dates to choose from and told me to get back to her ASAP as they fill-up fast and I "don't want to get stuck with the last day as the Dragons are grumpy by then."  OK then...  not going there!  She also sent along a 10-page "Contestant Guide" with tips and tricks, what to expect, what you can and cannot do, etc.  Interesting reading...

What did I do next?  Update myTwitter status Facebook and Twitter statuses of course (lol).  "Wendy is goin' to Toronto. woot woot!" it said on Facebook.  The ensuing comments were hilarious I must say.  And so supportive once I'd fessed up.  Thank you all again for being so wonderful!

After my meeting I called Mike at work to tell him.  I don't call him at work often as I have to call his team leader and ask to speak to him.  Previous calls of this nature have occured when my water broke (with both my daughters) or when Antonia recently was injured at school - you get the picture.  He said, "What's up?"  So I told him and he answered, "I knew you'd get on."  (Thanks hon).  Then I emailed all my friends that are not on Facebook (or not on it often) to share the good news as well.

That evening I sat down and searched for flights.  I was pretty envious of my friends to the south as I scoured different dates on our whole TWO airlines that fly to Toronto right now.  NOT.MUCH.TO.CHOOSE.FROM.  However, by the end of the evening, I had decided that May 13th was the date (Lucky 13 right?).  So I emailed Molly (the producer) before I went to bed so that she would have the information first thing in the morning Toronto time.

Upon waking the next morning I had an email from Molly stating that "the 10th and the 14th are better now".  So... back to the drawing board.

According to the guide, I have to fly-in at the latest the evening before and cannot fly out the same day as my taping (in case they run out of time and have to push me to the next day).  I have now decided on the 14th of May, so we will be in Toronto from the 13th to the 15th.  Still have to book our flights though...  I am just relieved that we have a firm date.

Later that same day, Molly called to discuss my pitch and my numbers and gave me even more great advice and ideas on how to NOT end up on the cutting room floor.  She was so helpful.  Fantastic!

So my next order of business is to edit my pitch according to her advice, book our flights and find a model that lives in Toronto who wants to appear on Dragons' Den.

Oh, and to decide what to wear.  Can't forget that!

Stay tuned...

 

Tags: 'Dragons Den', CBC, Toronto, audition

April 21st, 2010 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Inside Snugabell

Please Welcome Rebekah - Our First "Official" Snugabella!

I love meeting new people.  My motto is "the more the merrier" at gatherings.  I believe that everyone you meet in your life is "on purpose" and that there is a definite reason behind the connection - whether life-changing or somewhat less significant.  It's amazing to me that I am typing this now as when I was a child, I was so painfully shy that I would hide in the back bedroom closet when people came over to visit.  Even uncles and aunts that I knew put me in hiding and no amount of coaxing from my mother would convince me to show my face.  The epitome of this behaviour (and one which I will NEVER live down) is when my mom's sister, Aunty Tecia, requested that I be her flowergirl.  I absolutely REFUSED to pose for the pictures.  You see, I didn't like the photographer (good reason right?  I certainly thought so in my three-year-old stubborness).  Alas, there is only ONE picture that I appear in and I am clearly bawling my eyes out.  Today, I am "over it" and thoroughly enjoy meeting new people as often as possible.

So I am very happy to have met our very first "official" Snugabella to whom you are about to be introduced.  Rebakah came into my life via very unrelated circumstances.  I had been wanting and needing an assistant for quite some time and then *poof* there she was...


Sing a Song of Sixpence

Hello! My name is Rebekah and I'm Wendy's new creative assistant extraordinaire!  We've been working together now for a few weeks and I have already learned so much from her.  Let me give you a little background on myself...

I graduated last April from Capilano University's Illustration & Design progam (IDEA).  Since then I've embarked on a new path filled with illustrating children's books and creating colourful, whimsical paintings.  My business is Rebekah Joy Plett Illustration.  If you would like to learn more, you can Fan me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and/or visit my blog.

I derive a lot of my inspiration from old fairytales and nursery rhymes.  On the left is one of my favourite paintings inspired by the rhyme, "Sing a Song of Sixpence". BlueBeary

I've also had the privilege to work with several children's book authors in the last year.  BlueBeary, written by Kathleen McMillan, was my first published illustrated work and remains a pride and joy of mine.The Cavorting Hippos

In the Fall of 2009 I launched my first line of greeting cards called The Cavorting Hippo.  They have been a delightful success and I look forward to donating 10% of the profits to the Canucks For Kids Foundation once they have all sold.

Faster Pussycats Roller Derby teamLast September I entered the Roller Derby Fresh Meat Bootcamp to begin training.  I hardly knew my right foot from my left when I started but I managed to remain upright on my rollerskates and made it past all the tests and cuts.  In February I was drafted onto the Faster Pussycats team (as seen to the right - that giant purple thing in the front is my butt).  On April 10th we had our season opener 'bout and we won!  (Not without any bumps, bruises, or elbows in the face of course).  Watch for me at about 2:42 in the vid link above - I'm Xanadoozy.  Roller Derby has been a real challenge in my life but it has brought a balance to it as well.  The girls look tough, but they are also very sweet and kind.

Darren & Rebekah sitting in a tree...In December of 2009 I became engaged to my lovely fiancé Darren (pictured here with me in Pender Harbour last summer).  We are getting married in June (I've always wanted a Spring wedding) and I can't tell you how excited I am to have all our families come together to celebrate and eat cupcakes!  (Not to mention a delectable brunch... Mmmm... waffles!)

I met Wendy in February and we hit it off immediately.  She has a wonderful family and I love seeing her girls when I'm at work.  They always greet me with a big, warm smile and an enthusiastic, "Hi!".  I look forward to working with Wendy and learning even more about (someday) becoming a Mom and of course about PumpEase and running a business.


Thanks Rebekah!  Soooooo... have you ever met anyone who plays Roller Derby?  I hadn't until now!  And not only do I think it is super cool, but Mike and the girls and I are going to check out Rebekah next time she is derby-ing closer to home.  What a hoot!

Rebekah is not only talented and dynamic, but I have found in these last few weeks, that she is a hard-worker, very open-minded, patient and truly a positive person all around.  We are blessed to have her as part of the Snugabell team.

Won't you all welcome her with some comment love? 

Tags: illustration, 'kids books', artist, 'roller derby', 'hippo cards'

April 16th, 2010 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • ResourcesWHO Code

A Summary of the WHO Code (including WHERE, WHAT, WHEN and HOW)


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A Summary of the WHO Code
(International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Geneva, Switzerland, 1981, 1986, 1994, 1996, 2001

Para leer este artículo en español, haga clic aquí por favor.

Have you heard of “The Code”, aka “The WHO Code” aka “The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes”?  If the answer to that question is “yes”, do you know what the WHO Code says?  Could you explain it to someone?

Many people, even mothers, even breastfeeding mothers, cannot, so here is our explanation of the code.  Psst!  This is really important, so pass it on!

The WHO Code includes the below 14 important provisions (let’s see how many infractions we can find in our daily travels shall we?).  Why are there so many infractions?  Well, because in North America, The WHO Code is voluntary – and thus it has no teeth.  Some countries, such as Iran, have adopted The Code as law and now infant formula is available ONLY by prescription and comes in a can with a generic label.  I sure would like to see that day in both Canada and the US I tell ya!

Oh, and one more thing… did you know that the USA was the ONLY country out of 189 that voted “NO” to adopt The Code in 1981?  SHAME.ON.YOU!  Let’s kick those formula company dudes OUT of the government’s bed NOW.

Here we go…baby bottle

1. No advertising of products under the scope of the Code to the public.

Products “under the scope of the code” include breastmilk substitutes, including infant formula; other milk products, food and beverages, including bottle-fed complimentary foods, when marketed or otherwise represented to be suitable, with or without modification, for use as a partial or total replacement of breastmilk; feeding bottles and teats.  So basically, infant formula, follow-up formula, bottles and nipples.  Nope, I’ve never seen these types of products advertised publicly ANYwhere (eye roll).

2. No free samples to mothers.

How many new moms (including yours truly) have been given free samples at the hospital, in their doctor’s office, at a “baby/pregnancy” fair, even through the Welcome Wagon?  According to a recent CDC study, nearly 2/3 of first-time mothers received a free sample of infant formula in the mail.  The formula companies will market directly to moms, against The Code, every.chance.they.get.

3. No promotion of products in health care facilities, including the distribution of free or low-cost supplies.

Have you seen pads of note paper or posters “sponsored” by a formula company at your doctor’s office or hospital?  How about the infamous formula company diaper bags given out at so many US hospitals? (read about it at Ban the Bags).  In fact, studies show that formula marketing bags shorten exclusive breastfeeding duration, even when the formula samples are removed from the bags.  To quote Dr. Alison Stuebe, the woman behind Ban the Bags, “No for-profit company gives anything away for “free”.  Formula companies give these bags to mothers as a marketing tool and their goal is to have the hospitals actually hand the bags to the moms because that implies that the hospital is endorsing a particular brand of formula.  If this wasn’t going to sell more of a particular brand of formula, it would be against the interest of the shareholders of these companies to let women have these bags.”

In fact, according to a recently-released Canadian study from the Toronto Department of Public Health, “Of 1,500 first-time mothers surveyed, 39 per cent were given formula at hospital discharge.   As a result, many of these women stopped breastfeeding sooner than those women who weren’t given formula.  Women who didn’t receive the free samples were 3.5 times more likely to be breastfeeding exclusively after 2 weeks.”

“The impact of promoting formula as they leave the hospital gives off mixed messages to new mothers”, says Linda Young, director of maternal newborn and child health at Toronto East General Hospital.  “They give it to the women ‘just in case’,” she said.  “But the real message is that you will probably fail... and one bottle leads to another.”

Listen ladies, by accepting this “formula company swag”, you are lining the formula companies’ pockets AND more importantly sabotaging yourself. Just.Don’t.Do.It.

4. No company representatives to advise mothers.infant formula

Last summer, I participated as a vendor in a baby fair.  Our table was located about ½-way around the perimeter of the venue.  To the immediate right of the entrance door (like that wasn’t planned) was a formula company’s table.  They were giving out FULL CANS OF FORMULA!  Every person who came by our table had the bag that they were given upon entry to the fair with a can of formula sticking out the top.   I took off my badge and went by their table, posing as a consumer.  I asked about the cans of formula.   Boy were they friendly! They told me that all I had to do was to sign-up for their “program” and I would get the kit which included the can of formula (I can’t remember what they called it – something obnoxious though, like “breastfeeding support kit”, because what I do remember is cringing to myself).  Signing-up for the program included handing over my email addy (of course).  Yup, that’s right! Get the mom-to-be on your mailing list so you can inundate her with emails right after she has her baby, when she is sleep-deprived, vulnerable and in a hormone-induced, emotional state.  And make sure she has a big can of your formula in the cupboard so that when the going gets tough around 4-5 weeks and she is wavering with the whole breastfeeding gig, it is there at the ready to taunt her!  These companies undermine women’s confidence by making them think they won’t be able to breastfeed and then guess what? That notion manifests and they cave.  Don’t listen to anyone that tells you, “One bottle of formula won’t hurt your baby.”, (even if it is your own mother).  Perhaps it won’t hurt your baby, but it will hurt the breastfeeding relationship you have with your baby and it will hurt your supply.  Trust me, it happened to me, “way back when” before I knew any better.

Today, I know to ask whether a consumer baby fair complies with The Code BEFORE I sign any contracts to participate as a vendor.  Not.Going.There.Ever.Again.

5. No gifts or personal samples to health care workers.

Please see #3.  This practice is rampant.  You can find extensive and truly interesting information about it here, here and here (and that was just a quick Google search).  It is high time health care workers AND HOSPITALS told the formula companies to go away, no thank you to your freebies and don’t come back. EVER!

“There has always been controversy about hospitals receiving free formula.  It is why Toronto East General Hospital – the only Baby Friendly hospital in the city and among about two dozen in (Canada) – cancelled its contract in 2005”, said Linda Young, director of Maternal Newborn and Child Health.

“When the formula companies put together a contract, they list all the things that they give – the formula, the nipples, and the bottles, and it comes up to a big number,” Young said, adding there is sometimes a signing bonus of anywhere between $130,000 and $150,000 which hospitals can use for other programs and services.

The only other GTA hospital that Young knows of that is buying formula instead of getting it free is Lakeridge in Oshawa.  “Any kind of money is hard to give up for a hospital,” she said.

6. No words or pictures idealizing artificial feeding, including pictures of infants, on the labels of the products.

OK, so “most” of the formula companies have switched to little duckies, bunnies or hearts on their labels in lieu of baby images, however, there are still many infractions.  For example, Enfamil’s Enfagrow Premium Next Step Lipil has an image of a baby and a toddler on the label and is marketed towards 9-24 month olds.   Of course aside from images, the infant formula labels are chock-full of skewed half-truths, scientific-sounding jargon and warm & fuzziness that the formula companies are hoping will be (mis)interpreted as idealizing artificial feeding.  Believe you me, they spend plenty of time and money writing the copy “just so” to convince parents to buy.

7. Information to health workers should be scientific and factual.

The information coming out of the formula companies “looks all scientific and factual” but their claims are taken out of context, skewed and again, worded “just so” by their high-powered marketing departments to brainwash you into thinking their products are “as good” as breastmilk.

8. All information on artificial feeding, including the labels, should explain the benefits of breastfeeding and all costs and hazards associated with artificial feeding.

So I haven’t read an infant formula can for a while now, however, I do know that most formula companies include the disclaimer, in very small print, stating “breastmilk is best for your baby”.  But do they detail the costs and hazards associated with artificial feeding?  Hmmmm?

9. Unsuitable products such as sweetened condensed milk should not be promoted for babies.

OK, I’m at a loss on this one.  Are there people out there that give sweetened condensed milk to their babies?  So I Googled “sweetened condensed milk for babies” and got just 4 results, mostly blogs talking about “way back when” when our mothers or grandmothers did just that, or forums asking if they can do it now.  I guess it is safe to say that if there are people asking if they can do it now, then there are others that haven’t bothered to ask.

I do know that in 3rd world countries, where they often enjoy a strong breastfeeding culture, after the formula companies have given out enough free samples so that the new mother’s milk has dried-up, she, who can’t afford to buy more formula, may substitute (sweetened) condensed milk or other milk products to feed her starving baby.  She may also mix the formula with a higher ratio of water to make it last longer.  Oh and that would be mostly unsanitary water.  This practice by the formula companies has killed millions of babies. Yes. MILLIONS.25 cents

10. All products should be of a high quality and take account of the climatic and storage conditions of the country where they are used.

High quality? Riiiiight.  You know that $20-30 can of formula that you’ve seen on store shelves?   Well the contents are worth about a quarter.  Yes, that’s right.  Twenty.Five.Cents.[1]  The rest of the money is spent on marketing.  But wait! There is a CODE prohibiting the marketing of breastmilk substitutes.  How can formula companies be spending millions, perhaps billions on marketing when this is against The WHO Code?

Not to mention the 57 product recalls of artificial foods from 1982 to 2007 – that’s over 9 MILLION units.  Ahem… breastmilk is NEVER recalled.

11. Promote and support exclusive breastfeeding for six months as a global public health recommendation with continued breastfeeding for up to two years of age or beyond.

I think a good first step is to prohibit the marketing of formula to under 6 month old infants.  Just take it off the market.  Period.  For the 5% of woman that can’t physically breastfeed[2], they can get it by prescription.  Then let’s watch our breastfeeding initiation rates and the rates at 6 months postpartum rise meteorically.

The Best for Babes FoundationAs for the promotion and support, it is mind-boggling and heart-breaking to hear the countless stories from moms - the misinformation, the contradictions depending on who was working the ward that night, the lack of training in medical school and it goes on and on.  We are working on it though!  Organizations like Best for Babes, for example, are working tirelessly “to help moms beat the “Booby Traps” – the cultural & institutional barriers that prevent moms from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals.  To inspire, prepare & empower™ moms.  To give breastfeeding a makeover and give moms the solutions they need to make it work!”

12. Foster appropriate complementary feeding from the age of six months recognizing that any food or drink given before nutritionally required may interfere with breastfeeding.

It’s really quite simple: babies don’t need ANYTHING but breastmilk for the first 6 months of life.  From 6 months onward, it is recommended that you continue to breastfeed while providing nutritious complimentary foods for up to two years or beyond.

13. Complementary foods are not to be marketed in ways to undermine exclusive and sustained breastfeeding.

Just as infant formula is marketed to undermine exclusive and sustained breastfeeding, so are complementary foods.  Being aware is half the battle. Educate yourself and spread the word!

14. Financial assistance from the infant feeding industry may interfere with professionals’ unequivocal support for breastfeeding.

We all know that the formula companies are in bed with the government.  How else have such initiatives such as the 2004 “Babies Were Born to be Breastfed” public service ad campaign, launched by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Ad Council, been kiboshed at the last minute by formula company lobbyists?  Yes, that’s right, they made them water-down the ads to the point that they were mostly ineffective, then turned around and doubled their marketing budget to $50 million. And breastfeeding rates went down again.

It is a sad state of affairs when profit and political gain are placed at an exponentially higher level of importance than the health of our own children.

Think about it.  Talk about it.  Do something about it.  Today.

Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear is PROUD to be a WHO Code compliant company and vows to never knowingly do business with any company that does not comply.  We are also dedicated to raising awareness of The Code and to educating others about its provisions.

If you weren't aware of the provisions of the WHO Code, will you now be watching for infractions?  Will you report them?  Please share!

[1]Testimony presented in infant formula antitrust litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee, June 2, 1992.

Some corroborating evidence about the cost of producing infant formula appears in an unpublished USDA study conducted by the Research Triangle Institute in Apr. 1992 (Josephine Mauskopf and Nancy Dean, “WIC Program Rebates: An Economic Analysis,” Final Report. Contract, # 53-3198-0-033, Task 6.1. Center for Economic Research) in which the cost of producing a can of infant formula was estimated on the basis of the ingredients that went into it. However, USDA officials expressed concerns about the validity of these cost estimates because of methodological limitations, including the unavailability of firsthand data on the procedure for manufacturing infant formula.

[2]Neifert et al. 1990. The influence of breast surgery, breast appearance, and pregnancy-induced breast changes on lactation sufficiency as measured by infant weight gain. Birth 17(1): 31-38

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