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Action Needed: Real Simple Magazine Falsely Representing Breastfeeding - Page 3

post #41 of 155
Skye's mama. . .here's what stuck out to me:

"Dr. Petrikovsky's major research interests are fetal medicine, prenatal diagnosis, fetoscopy, fetal cardiology, ob/gyn sonography and invasive procedures."

Invasive procedures, huh. . .

But the Bristol Myers Squibb thing really does stand out -- how can they hire a guy who has been FUNDED BY FORMULA PRODUCERS . . .

Real Simple. Whatever.

You know what's real simple? The eight bottles that sit in my cupboards collecting dust because I don't USE them so I don't need to WASH them. Ugh, this just makes me sick!!!
post #42 of 155
Uh-oh, some things set me off. Am I being too brutal?
Now that I've pried my jaw off the floor, I'll take a moment to rake you over the coals. I don't require your "cut and paste" response, I've seen it and it's inadequate and absurd.

In an article billed as ""20 time-wasting rules to break now" you included misleading comments regarding breastfeeding with no effort to emphasize or clarify the position you now claim -- that you put that in there to ease the minds of those who don't or can't breastfeed. The percentage of women who can't breastfeed is astoundingly low, but you've chosen to jeopardize the welfare of others for their benefit?

Oh, wait, the comments were from a man whose Traveling Fellowship was funded by the makers of Enfamil. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Seems real simple to me.
post #43 of 155
I wouldn't change a thing!!! THAT'S something they should print. . .
post #44 of 155
Yes, let them see the enormous list of studies you have! Maybe they will look up a few and actually be journalists instead of sensation-mongers?

I am so sick of that "reducing bottle feeding mother's guilt" excuse. Not to be harsh but, they should feel guity. (As they should feel guilty for smoking tobacco while pg, or not using a carseat, or letting babies CIO, or....) Actually, there have been studies on this as well. It was found, mothers don't feel "guilt" over not bfing, or not bfing longer. They often feel regret. There is a difference. Hmm, maybe regretting a non-existent or botched attempt at bfing the first time will lead to a luckier 2nd child who gets more effort from mom (with support from the bfing community) and is healthier (or not dead) as a result? (Here I am not referring to anyone who truly can't bf, just to misinformed or squeamish moms who waste this invaluable resource available for free on their chest.)

Ick, using a guy supported by Enfamil to comment on bfing. The irony! Ick. Ack. Puke.
post #45 of 155
Isn't it sweet that they have prepared a form letter to reply to all our responses?:

Those of you who have received a reply (form letter) need to let them know that this response is insufficient. A full retraction would not be enough. If they wanted to appease the guilt of mothers who were unable to breastfeed then they need to step back and look at their role in why it has become so common. Articles like theirs are exactly the reason more women fail at breastfeeding. I had a painful breast infection in the first months that made it challenging to nurse but my Dr. (God love him) told me the best thing to do for it is to nurse my daughter through it. Imagine if I had stumbled on this article instead? Employers are required to provide time and space for nursing mothers to pump as long as they are breastfeeding. When I was working we had several mothers that used the employee restroom to pump several times a day. I know that not all jobs have the same facilities, but they have to make arrangements. Even if they have to make allowances for the mother to go to her car to pump (for lack of facilities.)

"Anyone else notice that Dr. Petrikovsky recieved a Traveling Fellowship from Bristol-Myers Squibb? They happen to be the producers of Enfamil. Seems just a bit of a conflict of interest to have him commenting on affects of using formula instead of breast milk..."

Yes!!! I hadn't had a chance to look up which formula they produced, but I suspected as much. Definately a conflict of interest.

I can't stomach the canned response- too many flaws in it as well. Their research and thinking behind the article is bad enough, but their response is simply irresponsible.
post #46 of 155
So Happy your letter is perfect.

Anyone who got a canned response....maybe you should send your letter by snail mail so they will actually read it?
post #47 of 155
Skye's Mama, you figured it out. Brava! That explains it. There is no other explanation for why someone of that level of medical education and achievement would say something so dumb. He had to be corrupt, and you found the corruption. Good work.
post #48 of 155
Here's my SECOND letter to them:

Dear Editor,

I wrote a letter previously to express my dismay that Real Simple would publish out of date and erroneous information about breastfeeding in your August 2003 issue.

But I looked into Dr. Petrikovsky's background and learned that some of his research has been funded by Bristol Myers Squibb, the makers of Enfamil infant formula.

I believe this fact should have been written as a disclaimer in the article--so that readers would know where the doctor's bias lies.

Also, has Real Simple accepted advertising from Bristol Myers Squibb? Are you blurring the lines of journalism by embedding advertisements in your articles?

As a writer with a sixteen year background writing for newspapers, magazines, websites and educational publishers, I am shocked not only that you would choose to quote a doctor who is clearly uneducated (or chooses to be uneducated) about maternal/child lactation issues but also that you would use a source who accepts funding from formula companies to discuss breastfeeding in a supposedly neutral light. If you had used a quote about breastfeeding from a La Leche League leader, I would expect her to be noted as being from LLL, just as I would have expected that Dr. Petrikovsky's affiliation with a formula company would be duly noted.

I will be contacting various media outlets to let them know about the conflict of interest in this article.


Melanie Barton Zoltan
post #49 of 155
A mom has put up a website just about this topic!! She provides a very good letter to send to Real Simple . There is also the option to write & send your own. Here is the link:

post #50 of 155

here's mine

Kristin Van Ogtrop, Managing Editor
REAL SIMPLE, Time & Life Building
Rockefeller Center
New York, NY 10020-1393.

Dear Ms. Van Ogtrop,

My jaw dropped when I read your article "20 Rules to Break Now" in the recent edition of Real Simple Magazine. What cave has your so-called "expert" been living in for the past twenty years? He has obviously not read any of the scientific literature on breastfeeding for years, if ever. The worst thing that can happen to a baby who is not breastfed is death. The National Institute of Environmental Health has found that four out of every 1000 babies born in this country will die because they were not breastfed, from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or disease.

Serious illness comes next on the list. A multitude of scientific studies have demonstrated that babies fed artificial baby milk are more likely to suffer from cancer both as children and as adults; develop Type I diabetes, Crohn's disease, allergies, asthma, ear infections, diarrhea, bacterial meningitis, rheumatoid arthritis, night blindness, necrotizing colitis, and osteoporosis, to name a few. Speaking of serious illness, breastfeeding also lessens a mother's chances of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and osteoporosis.

The Surgeon General of the United States has identified increasing the dismally low rates of breastfeeding in this country as one of the most important public health challenges we face as a nation. See http://www.4woman.gov/breastfeeding By equating the risks of not breastfeeding with the risks of swallowing chewing gum or drinking red wine with fish, your magazine trivializes this vital public health issue and directly contributes to the risks of illness and death American babies face when their mothers read and believe such falsehoods.

By the way, my 11 month old is happily nursing as I write to you. Although we had a rocky start breastfeeding, I persevered because I knew how important it was both to his health and to mine. I am thankful I did not come across an article like yours when I was struggling in the early months, and I can only hope that other mothers who might be struggling with breastfeeding do not believe the lies you have printed and give up.

I picked up your magazine for the first and last time at my local Whole Foods. I will be writing to them asking them to drop your magazine from their racks, and I can guarantee you I won't be buying your magazine again.

Jane Davenport McClintock
post #51 of 155

shoulda known where he got his info.........ugh!
post #52 of 155

your link did not work for me about the Surgeon General, can you help me find the article please?
post #53 of 155
Drat. Try this: http://www.4woman.gov/breastfeeding/...?page=Campaign

I haven't gotten an acknowledgement of my letter from Real Simple, either. I think I'm going to send a hard copy just to make sure they get it.
post #54 of 155
Thank you Jane that looks like a good web site!

I think *everyone* who wrote should snail mail it because they are just sending out a canned email reply now.

That writer doesn't know what hit her (him?) and I can only imagine what is going through her head right now....what a backlash!
post #55 of 155
I wrote a letter and then saw the crappy bulk response they were sending people so I wrote this:

I just e-mailed you a letter about my objections to your advice on breastfeeding. I just realized that you would probably just respond with a prewritten letter about how your article was intended for mothers who could not breastfeed and etc.
Please don't bother to send me this because I have already read it.
I would like to say in response to your bulk response that your article mentioned nothing about women who had trouble breastfeeding or who had to return to work. If you would like to write and well researched article supporting mothers who are challenged by breastfeeding and/or choose formula -- go to it, with my support. But, that is not what this article seems to be!
post #56 of 155
I wrote (and sent) them a really nasty one. I didn't know how to copy it onto here, though. They'll be bombarded!!!
post #57 of 155
Double post, sorry!
post #58 of 155
Thanks for this thread, I got my Real Simple in the mail and was happily reading along until I came to that awful article!!

Here's my letter:

Dear Editors,

I was so pleased to return from my recent vacation to find the first installment of my new Real Simple subscription waiting for me in my mailbox. Imagine my shock when I turned to your article on “time-wasting rules” and found breastfeeding lumped together with changing the oil in your car freqently enough and drinking white wine with fish.

First of all, it is hard to imagine that in this day in age you are actively encouraging women not to breastfeed, as your headline states, “Time-wasting rules to break now!” and the beginning of the article promises “conventional wisdom whose time has come and gone.” While you cited an expert who downplayed the benefits of breastfeeding, his perspective contradicts position papers written by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, just to name a few. Your brief treatment of the issue entirely misrepresented the general medical consensus on the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child.

Secondly, the very inclusion of breastfeeding in this article shows a lack of information and experience with breastfeeding. While the first weeks of establishing breastfeeding are certainly intense and often challenging, there is hardly a better time-SAVER for a new mother than breastfeeding. No bottles to wash or cart around, no formula to buy, no formula stains to try and remove from clothing--not to mention the cost savings and the environmental benefits of breastfeeding. Your article perpetuates the myth and breastfeeding is simply too much trouble to be worth it.

I have enjoyed your magazine so much in the past, and my subscription was a special treat for my birthday. Now, however, I can’t even finish the rest of the issue sitting in front of me because of the sour taste the above article has left in my mouth. I hope that you will find a way to restablish the trust of readers like me, because until then I will no longer find your magazine to be a reliable source of information. I will also not be renewing my subscription.

Barbara Maclay Cameron, M.A., M.S.W.
post #59 of 155
Right on, pinky. Fantastic letter.
post #60 of 155
Thread Starter 
Dr P.'s info is not listed at that above link to Nassau Medical Center's doctors...are they protecting him from us? Or am I paranoid? Or using an incorrect link?
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