Analyzed the data: HB GE. Wrote the manuscript: HB. Developing countries with traditionally breastfeeding are now experiencing the increasing pressure of formula milk marketing. This may endanger lives and undermine the efforts of national policies in achieving the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals.
Every 30 seconds, campaigners claim, a baby dies from unsafe bottle feeding. Yet despite the marketing code and an international boycott of the companies involved over more than 20 years, the trade continues. The latest evidence comes from a survey conducted in Togo and Burkina Faso in West Africa, where companies were found to be routinely flouting the code agreed by countries in The code was drawn up to ensure that any woman who wished to breast feed would not be dissuaded by promotions undermining the message that breast is best. One of the major problems facing health workers in the developing world is that breast feeding is seen as backward, and bottle feeding is regarded as more modern and sophisticated, a result of the successful marketing of breast milk substitutes. Breast feeding has long been known to be the safest way of raising infants, providing them with the nutrition they need and protecting them from infection at a crucial stage of development. Bottle feeding carries greater risks from contaminated water used to make up the feed and unsterilised equipment.
Baby Milk Action pdf New York City's campaign against infant formula inspired us to look into the dubious history of this product. Outrage started in the s, when Nestle was accused of getting third world mothers hooked on formula, which is less healthy and more expensive than breast milk. The allegations led to hearings in the Senate and the World Health Organization, resulting in a new set of marketing rules.
Groups such as the International Baby Food Action Network IBFAN and Save the Children argue that the promotion of infant formula over breastfeeding has led to health problems and deaths among infants in less economically developed countries. In May , the US Senate held a public hearing into the promotion of breast milk substitutes in developing countries and joined calls for a Marketing Code. In , WHO and UNICEF hosted an international meeting that called for the development of an international code of marketing, as well as action on other fronts to improve infant and early child feeding practices.