Danone in Breastmilk Scandal
I'm very shocked this weekend to read about how Danone has been scandalously promoting the use of formula milk in Turkey. There are echos of the famous Nestle scandal in the way Danone has targeted breastfeeding mums.
Danone attempted to measure the amount of breastmilk 6 month old babies required by weighing babies and also measured expressed milk. This was flawed at the outset; babies are more efficient at extracting milk from the breast than any breast-pump. Weighing babies is also unreliable as some babies feed more frequently than others (taking smaller amounts each feed) and it is also difficult to take into account when a baby has had a wee or poo (many babies wee whilst they are feeding so it is difficult to compare like with like).
Danone then targeted breastfeeding mothers with an advertising campaign that stated that at 6 months of age a baby should be taking Xml of breastmilk a day - and that if the baby was not receiving this then they should be given formula to top up. The WHO and Unicef have now both publicly critised this campaign.
In order to maintain breastmilk supply, mums should feed a baby whenever they want feeding. Topping a baby up with formula or mixed feeding will just lead to a mum's breastmilk supply reducing. Most breastfeeding mums do not know how much breastmilk their baby is receiving - and this is completely fine - you can tell if your baby is happy and settled and full from how they are behaving and if they are healthy. If a mum genuinely is concerned about not producing enough breast milk then she could try eating foods that aid breastmilk production (e.g. oats) or putting the baby to the breast more frequently to stimulate further milk production or pumping in-between feeds.
As I said at the start, I was genuinely shocked to read about Danone's tactics. In light of the most recent Save the Children report into breastfeeding we should be doing all we can to promote breastfeeding and support breastfeeding mums - whether we are a multinational company or an individual mum providing peer support.