"In 1994, the United States signed on to a nonbinding International Code for Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes of the World Health Organization, which prohibits direct marketing of infant formula to mothers and health care providers." (http://www.calwic.org/storage/documents/federal/2010/formulabrief.pdf)
Similac has a shady business practice. They obtain mailing lists of new mothers and then mail unsolicited samples of formula and coupons to these mothers. When formula companies market their products directly to new mothers they undermine efforts to breastfeed, and when they put their product directly into the hands of new mothers it can prevent the development of a healthy breastfeeding relationship altogether. Numerous studies have shown that breast milk is best, and no formula can replicate the complicated balance of nutrients that exist in breast milk. In a report on the WHO website it states:
"...direct advertising to mothers with infants in the first four to six months of life was singularly inappropriate because:
• advertising infant formula as a substitute for breast milk competes unfairly with normal, healthy breastfeeding, which is not subject to advertising, yet which is the safest and lowest- cost method of nourishing an infant; and
• advertising infant formula as a substitute for breast milk favours uninformed decision- making, bypassing the necessary advice and supervision of the mother’s physician or health worker." (http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/infantfeeding/infant_formula_trade_issues_eng.pdf)
The American Academy of Pediatrics has already advised doctors not to provide samples of formula products to the parents of infants stating "research has demonstrated that the free distribution of commercial materials such as formula samples...implicitly endorses formula feeding and creates the impression that clinicians favor formula feeding over breastfeeding, and research demonstrates that this activity decreases exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding". (http://www2.aap.org/breastfeeding/files/pdf/DivestingfromFormulaMarketinginPediatricCare.PDF)
Formula use should be reserved for those infants who truly need it. Let's send a clear message to Similac asking them to stop their practice of direct marketing their products to new moms. Similac claims to support breastfeeding and this is their chance to prove it.