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Dr. Sears' website linking to formula company is this right?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I feel so sad posting this because of the positive influence he has had on me.

The Sears family is linking to Wyeth Store Brands formula at his site
http://www.askdrsears.com

He has claimed that he does this to save FF families money. The link is on the Bottlefeeding page (under the link for Choosing Formulas.) First of all, this violates the WHO Code in many ways. It also contradicts what Sears and his wife Martha wrote in Baby Book:

Quote:
Until recently...it was generally felt that advertising formulas directly to the consumer was in poor taste. This code of nutritional ethics has been violated recently violated as several formula companies are advertising directly to the public. The American Academy of Pediatrics has wisely condemned this practice, and we share this view.
Sears removed the link about two years ago after receiving hundreds of complaint letters. Here is a story from 2001 about this called "Did 'America's pediatrician' sell out?" by Katie Allison Granju at salon.com
http://archive.salon.com/mwt/feature...01/25/formula/

But sadly he has put the link back up since.
The link is there today. I checked before I posted this.

I know some very bright lights in the AP/BF world disapprove of him linking to a formula company....not to mention a company that has recently had a MAJOR recall of "nearly 1 million" cans because sample cans in the factory had bacterial contamination:
http://www.firstcoastnews.com/onyou...fantformula.asp

It makes me very, very sad.

Does he deserve a pass because he extols the virtues of bf on the website too and in his books? What do you think?
post #2 of 24
To me, sears is all about making the money. But I am grateful that he has helped make some attachment parenting techniques trendy enough to be more mainstream now. sears did not influence me to practice ap things, we were 'ap'like before he coined it so I have no feelings about it, I imagine he does not have a whole lot to do with the website and that prob this falls into one of his dr sons ideas anyway. The banner ad that used to run with his site when the site first came out, he claimed he had nothing to do with it and I actually believe him.
HTH
Mary
post #3 of 24

Re: Dr. Sears' website linking to formula company is this right?

Quote:
Does he deserve a pass because he extols the virtues of bf on the website too? What do you think?
He doesnt get a pass from me. He should remove that ad from his site immediately. He has definitely sold out.


T I'm not a big sears fan in the first place though. The very first book of his that i read had a section on how to spank your child--like as a last resort type of thing for parents who were going to spank no matter what... It was an older edition that my library had. Very sad.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for answering, Vanna's mom, but as for ignorance...
He definitely knows about it...or should I say whoever wrote the copy on that page knows about it, the link is placed intentionally in the middle of a sentence, not just a banner or pop up.

I don't feel right linking to a formula company ad, but I told how to find it in my original post above.
post #5 of 24
My email to Dr Sears:


Dear Dr Sears,

As someone who has read your books and practices attachment parenting, I was extremely disappointed to see a link to a formula manufacturer on your website. How is this different than you advertising formula (which you spoke against in your books) on your site?

In The Baby Book, you said,

"Until recently...it was generally felt that advertising formulas directly to the consumer was in poor taste. This code of nutritional ethics has been violated recently violated as several formula companies are advertising directly to the public. The American Academy of Pediatrics has wisely condemned this practice, and we share this view."

It seems you're selling out again. Just because some parents choose to bottlefeed or are legitimately unable to breastfeed doesn't mean that you should link to the company on your website. This amounts to you endorsing that company, which violates WHO and AAP policies.

Seeing this on your site makes me uncomfortable recommending it to people. As a breastfeeding counselor for the WIC program, it's hard for me to find good material to use. Please do remove the formula link/endorsement as soon as possible so that I can recommend your site in the future.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Baer
post #6 of 24
Gah he's at it again? I forgave him the first time he put the link up, I just figured it was bad judgement. But to do it again... well, so much for my support of him. I will still recommend his book to people because there isn't anyone else out there to recommend. But I just can't support him anymore.
post #7 of 24
<---------

jean
post #8 of 24
Quote:
I will still recommend his book to people because there isn't anyone else out there to recommend.
I dont recomend his books to anyone. There are plenty of other authors who write about natural parenting and breastfeeding...
http://www.naturalchild.org/bookshop/bookshop.html
Lots of great ideas there...Jan hunt, kati allison-granju, meredith small, anything by the LLL...

I wrote an email too, asking them to remove the ad from their site immediately and expressing my disappointment.
post #9 of 24
I was already feeling like he had sold out a bit by putting his name on the NoJo, the widely available sling that so many people get and dislike and therefore dismiess all slings. That always seemed contrary to his promotion of babywearing.

This just pushes me over the top. How sad.
post #10 of 24
I was disgusted by The Discipline Book. It recommended confining school-age children to their rooms for 24 hours to punish for toileting accidents, and he also prescribes Ritalin for toddlers. Regardless of what you think about ADD and drugs, Ritalin has never been approved for children under 5.

Also, although he writes about how circ is harmful and not recommended, he does them anyway!

Definitely not impressed. There are other doctors - such as Mendelssohn - who I listen to. Too bad he's dead.

I think most doctors receive grants from formula companies. The AAP gets 8 million.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you for making me feel like I'm not insane for feeling bad about this!
I feel like I'm reading the Emperor's New Clothes.....

As for author-ped.s I like Dr. Jay Gordon and Dr. Paul Fleiss (am I misled about them too? LOL!)

Even my own gentle, pro-EN ped. pushes the cow's milk, what can you do....

sigh...

24 hours in isolation for a school age potty accident? I have a child who has them from food sensitivities...lousy solution!
post #12 of 24
Well I have to be the lone dissenter I guess. On the CD board this topic was brought up and someone said:

Quote:
I have NO PROBLEM with Dr. Sears giving formula advice. Some mothers CAN'T breastfeed, but are still attached parents.
I am one of those mothers who had planned to nurse exclusively and EN for hopefully a couple of years. But my daughter has a heart problem that in the beginning was undiagnosed and caused severe weight loss/failure to thrive issues. She didn't have a bottle for 5 weeks but we did end up having to supplement even though I pumped for 5+ month and after her heart problem was diagnosed we realized what went wrong. Now I still believe in most cases a lot of nursing problems can be resolved. But there are some women that truly have problems and others for one reason or another don't try or give up whether it's lack of support, lack of education etc. Anyway I used Dr. Sears' book and website to help make informed decisions once I realized I had to think about formula.

Based on this link I see him say:

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/0/T000100.asp

Quote:
Let me be clear—there is no real substitute for breast milk. It is simply the best food for your baby. It provides all the nourishment they require and builds immunities protecting your baby against developing certain infections to which they will be exposed. Now that I’ve said that, I know some of my patients decide to bottle-feed. If you do please discuss this with your health care professional, and investigate all of the formula alternatives.
And I see the link to storebrandformula.com as a way to let mother's know they don't have to be sucked into the name brand $ pit because all formulas are nutritionally the same.

My DH and I have a saying that we bottle feed the AP way and in large this was our system developed with help through Dr. Sears site.

Quote:
1. I NEVER prop a bottle. Brian or I always cuddle with Salem while feeding. Even now at 9+ months we hold her and she holds our fingers. It's real special time for us. Occasionally she wants to hold it but usually let's us love on her during this time.
2. Very often in the beginning and now especially at night I fed her skin to skin.
3. I feed on demand. Just because you have to feed or choose to feed with a bottle doesn't mean you have to schedule them.
4. Have bottle premades so the baby doesn't get agitated while waiting for them especially at night.
5. At night we cosleep. So I take a cooler pack and 2 bottles upstairs to bed with us. This way when she wakes to eat (I have the bag at the top of the bed) I don't have to disturb her by getting up and rushing down to get a bottle and all which I think can make her WAY too alert and thus not able to go back to sleep. I have become adept at getting it out as quickly as possible so I don't completely wake her. These feedings are normally short and more of a cuddle time so I hold her close side to side and feed her.
Anyway - I am not saying Dr. Sears is an AP purist. But I truly think he is giving parents advice in this article based on his practice and seeing that for one reason or another not all women are going to breastfeed. Those parents still need advice, etc.

Also I am not trying to be argumentative but there is a lot of good Dr. Sears does in mainstream society for promoting AP practices. For that I applaud him. I often use his links on cosleeping when naysayers tell me how horrible it is and for the most part many people become truly interested in cosleeping after reading the info he has posted.

And maybe I have missed it but I haven't seen a banner with him "selling or advertising" actual formula companies except the link to store brand formulas and again I see that as education in the context of his article.

That's my .02 cents anyway.

*** Edited to change my wording
post #13 of 24
And he does have some great BF info.

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/2/T020100.asp
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
mlia, thank you for posting. I know just how devestating it is to plan to breastfeed and not be able to.

"I used Dr. Sears' book and website to help make informed decisions once I realized I had to think about formula."

I have no problem with that at all!

"And I see the link to storebrandformula.com as a way to let mother's know they don't have to be sucked into the name brand $ pit because all formulas are nutritionally the same."

That is an excellent point, but the problem is he is saying one thing and doing another. He is saying in his Baby Book that it is unethical and wrong to advertise formula, and then he is doing so on his website. He gets money for putting that link there.

I also bottle fed my first baby after medical professionals and formula companies had sabotaged me at nursing. I too never propped a bottle, and prepared bottles ahead of time so I could feed on cue.
When I criticize the formula industry I do not mean to criticize formula feeding mothers!

"I see that as education in the context of his article."

The ARTICLE is information, the LINK is advertising along with information.

The problem is, studies show that formula ads can sway pregnant moms who have not yet decided if they want to breastfeed. This is why the World Health Organization and UNICEF have a code of ethics for marketing formula, why they have implored medical professionals not to give out ads and formula samples to their patients.

The Storebrands website breaks the WHO Code in many different ways with inacurate information (for instance, by saying on the homepage that the formula is recommended by a pediatric nurse, and by their language implying their formula is as good as human milk. One simple breast-is-best disclaimer is contradicted several times at the web site; this breaks the WHO Code rules, and in the Baby Book Sears says he SUPPORTS THE WHO CODE.) We are so used to formula ads in this country that we forget they are illegal in many other countries...in many countries the WHO Code is law.

It is possible for a mom who formula fed one or more of her children, such as myself, to still be disgusted by the ethics of formula companies.

My beef is never with the formula feeding moms, it is with the unethical formula companies and the unethical (in my opinion) doctors who benefit financially from them. Linking, not just banners, can bring in money to a web site owner.

Hey for all I know he donates his Wyeth Storebrands profits to La Leche League. But Wyeth is the same company that sent me a huge case of formula when I was pregnant for the first time, despite my telling my OB I wanted to BREASTFEED.
Since I didn't know any better, I did supplement with formula, (hey my pediatrician told me to!) and quickly lost my milk supply. I do not see the Wyeth Storebrands company as benevolent and innocent.

So to see Sears $$profitting$$ (web sites profit from links) from the very company that helped destroy my first breastfeeding relationship makes me unable to support HIM any longer.

He could say "store brand formula is just as good, by law" without linking to the site.
post #15 of 24
Quote:
It is possible for a mom who formula fed one or more of her children, such as myself, to still be disgusted by the ethics of formula companies.
I do agree with this. My ped is semi-crunchy and when I interviewed him pre-birth I made it clear I didn't want formula thrown at me. And he didn't. He actually put me in contact with a better LC than what I had (she was ready to throw in the towel before I was). But when it was clear Salem needed to eat and especially intake more calories he went to the formula reps and got me Human Milk Fortifier (same as used by preemie moms who pump) and high calorie preemie formula donated so I wouldn't have to pay the outrageous costs of both of these items. Yet he still had formula coupons and samples in his office. Sadly I see it as something that won't change til more and more women breastfeed and it becomes stagnant and not needed.

BTW on the CD board I didn't see it as you were attacking FF moms but that sentiment did seem to flow through a few other posts so I felt compelled to come and post.

Hopefully he is not making money from it or is donating it. I am not sure I will get an answer but for FYI sake I will email and see what is said.
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
mlia, as a former formula feeding mom myself, I knew that some of the CD moms felt attacked, so I apologized and bowed out as I was asked to. I was a formula feeding, cloth diapering mom with my first baby. The link to this discussion is there at that CD thread if anyone wants to know more about my views.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Mlia I see we are posting at the same time

Please, go and read above why I hate the Wyeth Storebrands company personally. I edited my second long post to add it at the end.
post #18 of 24
I am also saddened by Dr. Sears decision to promote the sales of formula.

It is true that some mamas can not bf, but I think there should be more bm banks and wet nurse mamas for that and formula should be used ONLY when there is just no other alternative. Also, many mamas who think they can not bf really could with better support. Many with low milk supply problems for example can be corrected with some simple techniques, like no paci, sleep with baby, more frequent feedings.

There are already too many ff advocates. We don't need anyone else advocating formula. Dr. Sear's sold out. It is unfortunate because he succeeded in making AP more main stream.
post #19 of 24
I still don't think he sold out but we'll have to agree to disagree on that point. Because everything I have read on his site still doesn't seem to be promoting the use of formula. It still seems educational to me. I did write and ask if he receive a promotional fee for the link (which again I see as an educational tool) so if I get a response I will be sure to post it.

I do think more milk banks for be so helpful even though I have to admit I wouldn't accept a wet nurse without knowing her really well. I did use quite a bit of EBM from a friend and she tried to help me with Salem's nursing and Salem never latched to her as well. But whether it's a lack of comfortability on my part or not I don't think I would ever feel comfortable with a wet nurse that I didn't know nursing and comforting my child in such a way.

BTW Momtwice - I read your comments. Formula companies are terrible! Within a week of having my daughter I had starter packs from Enfamil, Similac and Carnation so I am assuming the hospital sells our info. And in the hospital they sent me home with a BF package and believe it or not it had Enfamil in it. That's hardly a BF package!
post #20 of 24

Saddened...But not surprised...

While I am dissapointed that Dr. Sears has chosen to seemingly advertise Artificial Baby Milk...

...I have always disagreed with some of his writings - most notably that on vaccinations.

I still think "The Baby Book" is one of the best out there! I refer to it constantly and give it to people as a gift.

You cannot find one author or doctor who is infallible and follow their teachings to the last dot. Just take what you will from some here and there. I personally like Dr. Jay Gordon - except disagree with some of his comments on Night Weaning. Big deal - I just don't do as he said.

Anyway - my point is - Dr. Sears, Inc. is just a doctor - not the AP God we have made him out to be.

I think a few emails to him wouldn't hurt, though!
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