World Health Organization and other experts are calling for urgent clampdowns of formula milk industry’s exploitative marketing tactics which are riddled with misleading claims and political interference.
They say these marketing strategies takes away the gains that breast milk offers to babies while at the same time seriously jeopardizes the health and rights of women and children.
In addition, they opines that misleading marketing claims directly exploit parental anxieties around normal infant behaviours, suggesting that commercial milk products alleviate fussiness or crying,
This was detailed in a new three-paper series published in The Lancet today which demonstrates a vast economic and political power of the big formula milk companies, as well as serious public policy failures that prevent millions of women from breastfeeding their children
For instance, the formula milk industry uses poor science to suggest, with little supporting evidence, that their products are solutions to common infant health and developmental challenges
These marketing strategies violates International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes established in 1981 which prohibits these marketing tactics.
Breastfeeding has been proved to provide immense and irreplaceable benefits to babies and young children.
It helps children survive and develop to their full potential, providing vast nutritional benefits, reducing infection risks and lowering rates of obesity and chronic diseases in later life.
However, even with these benefits only 1 in 2 newborns are put to the breast within the first hour of life while fewer than half of infants under 6 months are exclusively breastfed.
The study recommends that, to fully realize the gains of breastfeeding much greater support for breastfeeding within healthcare and social protection systems – including guaranteeing sufficient paid maternity leave should be provided.