Medela further violating WHO code - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-17-2010, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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http://hoydenabouttown.com/20100116....pam-offensive/

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Now they’ve gone a step further to the dark side. “Medela Mom Mavens” is an initiative which seems designed to recruit mothers to spam social networks. They’re calling the recruited mothers “breastfeeding ambassadors”.
I am so disgusted with Medela right now. It really sucks when a formerly good company is too wooed over by the almighty $$$.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:51 PM
 
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I'm confused...

now they're not only not allowed to sell bottles and teats for the pumps they sell FOR BF, but they're not allowed to teach other women the benifits of BF and help MORE women BF??

say wha??
sorry I really am confused. I get the advertising part, but teaching others about BF isn't a bad thing.

What they discribe there is like what I do.

Kimberly : momma to Karrigan Kayla : and wife of Kevin
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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I'm confused...

now they're not only not allowed to sell bottles and teats for the pumps they sell FOR BF, but they're not allowed to teach other women the benifits of BF and help MORE women BF??

say wha??
sorry I really am confused. I get the advertising part, but teaching others about BF isn't a bad thing.

What they discribe there is like what I do.
Same here. I'll talk your ear off (if you'll let me) about how I pumped at work for a year with my ever trusty PISA. She was my BFF for 12 months! I'm certainly not evil.
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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I'm kind of confused about the post as well. I used a PIS while I worked and my DD breastfed for 4.5 years when I mommy-led weaned her.

I read the article linked to in the post. Part of it says:

"Medela is not about promoting breastfeeding. Medela is about selling Stuff. Breastpumps, bottles, teats, and a variety of other Stuff. Their marketing is not about increasing breastfeeding rates and supporting women; it is about increasing the numbers of mothers buying bottles and accessories."

Yes - this is true. The mission of all companies (even MDC) is to make money or "create value." They take a raw material or service and sell it to someone else to makes money. I don't really have a problem with that. Even non-profits need to add value and make money.

I wouldn't be a shill for Medela or anything but I'm pretty comfortable talking about BF and I've been known to strike up conversations with random pregnant women and my company and offer to show them my breastpump, just in case they hadn't seen or didn't know how they worked or had some misconceptions about to difficult/inconvenient it was to BF. I'm an uptight white-collar company and BELIEVE me there is a whole lot more inconvenient about our work place than BF.

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Old 01-17-2010, 09:40 PM
 
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I read the article. And I followed the links to the ILCA and LLL information about these organizations severing ties to Medela. Then, I visited the Medela website. Everything I find there is completely, totally, 100% supportive of breastfeeding - meaning mothers lactate, babies get breastmilk - whether it comes out by nursing or with a pump. When a mother pumps, for whatever reason, the milk has to be fed to the baby with something. Usually a bottle.

The first FAQ on their website - apparently they haven't edited it yet - is :
"Why do I find so few references to bottles? ”  
Answer: Medela, in accordance with the World Health Organization code, sells containers to store milk. Medela does not carry "bottles" which imply a feeding device. "

http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com...ces-to-bottles

So, in the past, I suppose they have not sold bottles specifically so they can be compliant with this code....because apparently bottles are anti-breastfeeding, even if you pumped the milk to fill them. IMO this is ridiculous hair-splitting logic...that a company that manufactures one of the best pumps on the market, that has helped so many moms continue breastfeeding, shouldn't also sell bottles, because selling bottles wouldn't be supportive of breastfeeding, even though they are a necessary device for getting the pumped milk into the baby...

To me the "issue" here smacks of the knee-jerk "bottles are automatically bad" sentiment that I felt so irritated by when I was a pumping mom.

When you go to the product page for the bottles on the Medela website:

http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com...ttle-set---8oz

The bottles are labeled as "breastmilk bottles" and there is a nice paragraph about their "supporting the WHO Code’s call for commitment to breastfeeding and breastmilk as the optimal nutrition for the growth, development and health of babies." One phrase in the paragraph is "Medela is committed to also offer solutions that help moms feed their expressed breastmilk back to their babies."

That pumped milk is likely going be fed from some company's bottle. I don't personally see that there is anything wrong with a pump manufacturer also selling high quality bottles. More moms are NOT going to stop breastfeeding only because there was another brand of bottle on the shelf at the store.

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Old 01-17-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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I've got to say, I'm a huge fan of the WHO Code. I support it, I applaud it, I think it's an awesome idea. But in this particular case, I'm just not feeling the outrage. I saw the Medela commercials on television and I thought they were lovely. Here is a company that is promoting breastfeeding WHILE selling their product-- and let's face it, they'd make a heck of a lot more money trying to sell their products to moms who use formula-- and they're being raked over the coals for it. I just don't get that.

I understand that there's some airy fairy pie in the sky ideal about the breastfeeding mom never pumping, never leaving the baby, never letting anyone else feed the baby. I'll even admit that I live in that fairy world-- none of my kids has ever had a bottle, no one has ever fed them but me when they were babies, and I never left any child of mine for an extended amount of time before they were at least two. But I'm not so foolish as to think that's everybody is able or even willing to do that.

Personally, I really feel like this is misplaced outrage.

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Old 01-17-2010, 09:47 PM
 
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Also, all companies are wooed by the almighty dollar. It's what makes them businesses and not charities.

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Old 01-17-2010, 09:49 PM
 
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annettemarie, have I told you lately that I love you?
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by suebee79 View Post
annettemarie, have I told you lately that I love you?
Actually, I don't believe that's ever come up.

I'm so annoyed, I actually just signed up to be a Maven. I've used Medela pumps and storage bags to help donate milk to sick babies and mamas with low supply. I have zero problem with telling people that Medela pumps are better for them and their babies than cheap drug store pumps. A good pump can help save a breastfeeding relationship, and I'm all about promoting breastfeeding.

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Old 01-17-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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I didn't read the article, but I agree that Medela isn't the bad guy b/c they are selling products and making money. Their products are very useful to breastfeeding women and they benefit MORE if moms SUCCEED at bf.

Do I wish they did it in a way that complied with the WHO Code? Yes. Do I understand why LLL and ILCA have to sever ties until they become compliant? Yes. Do I still think they have quality products and would/do recommend them to moms? YES!

It's not a black or white issue for me. From what I understand Ameda is taking steps (and Evenflo who bought them) to make sure they become/remain complaint. Why can't Medela do the same? It's fine that Medela sells bottles/nipples--I USED them myself.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
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From Medela's position statement, issued Dec. 2008.

http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com...L%20021109.pdf

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Medela feels that it is very important to give mothers access to the information and education on the proper use and benefits of this complete feeding system, getting breastmilk from mom to baby. However, these activities bring Medela in a conflict with the current interpretation of the WHO Code with regard to the marketing of bottles and teats.
After a careful evaluation we believe our actions continue to support the WHO Code’s intent to support breastfeeding and oppose breastmilk substitutes. However, we recognize and sincerely regret that our actions may be considered as a WHO Code violation.
This page contains a list compiled by Marsha Walker, Executive Director of the US National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy of the code violations that have been incurred by Medela.

http://hoydenabouttown.com/20090310....-the-who-code/

I think number 4 applies to the proposed actions of the Medela Mom Mavens. Bolding mine.

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4. Since Medela is a manufacturer and distributor of products – bottles and nipples – that come under the scope of the Code, they may not seek contact (Article 5.5) direct or indirect with pregnant women or wit h mothers of infants and young children. Their recent contest giving away of glass bottles and their offer to sign up mothers for more give aways violates the Code.
This group was formed specifically to target social media gathering places such as these forums with the intent of shilling for Medela and their products.

http://www.mommavens.com/learn

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Yes, please. Medela believes its Mom Mavens should disclose their affiliation with Medela whenever discussing the benefits of breastfeeding or recommending a Medela product. So when you introduce yourself to a person or group, or are talking to people that you know, please let them know that you are a mom who breastfed and used Medela products, and that Medela has asked you to help them educate other women on breastfeeding and/or Medela breastpumps.
Of course there's nothing wrong with talking about BFing and with sharing your knowledge and expertise with others either through forums such as this or in person. What I have a major league problem with is asking moms to do so with the express intent of discussing Medela and their products to the exclusion of all others. What I also have a problem with is telling moms exactly where to go and how to get their foots in the door and then telling them to report back to Medela to share where they posted, including the link to any and all discussions that they either started or participated in and exactly what was talked about. I view this as nothing more than a sophisticated new step in helping Medela target communities for spam of their products. Communities full of new and expectant moms who are already inundated with the images of bottles. If they were advertising bottles as part of their breast pumps then there wouldn't be as much of an issue with the WHO code. But they're not, they're advertising them as stand alone products, which does need to adhere to the guidelines that were set forth by the WHO code.

While a company is certainly entitled to do what it can to sell as much of their products as possible there are certain guidelines in the WHO code that so many like to talk about and hold up as the gold standard for marketing when it comes to infant feeding that this new marketing strategy for Medela goes against. The blog that I've linked to a few times also discusses the Medela commercial that kicked off the backlash against their new advertising policies, both the highly edited version and the original.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:15 PM
 
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The problem is not that Medela is making or selling bottles. The problem (according to the WHO Code) is the marketing of the bottles. Medela can make and sell bottles and nipples all they want, and still be code compliant, as long as the bottles and nipples are not marketed to moms. Their marketing became an issue when they starting printing pictures of their bottles on the boxes that contain their pumps. They can include the bottles in the package with the pump, as long as there are no pictures on the outside of the box.

As for the "Medela Mom Mavens", they are violating the code by marketing directly to moms since the "Mavens" will get "a first look at new Medela products". If Medela products are so good, they shouldn't need to be recruiting moms to sell their products for them. Moms talk about good products all the time, and obviously there is nothing wrong with that, just as there is nothing wrong with pumping and providing EBM by bottle. The problem is Medela marketing products that fall under the scope of the code.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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I understand the logic. I just disagree with it. The WHO Code does not exist simply to glorify itself; it exists to promote breastfeeding. If the WHO Code is used as a tool by which to beat the heads of companies who are trying to exist in a competitve market and a bad economy while at the same time actively working to promote breastfeeding, then what I fear will happen will be that those companies will effectively say "Screw it" and no longer attempt to promote breastfeeding. Heaven knows, it isn't exactly a huge money maker. I really see nothing here that proves that Medela is trying to brainwash pregnant women into pumping.

The only claim that caught my eye was where you say they're promoring their bottles as stand-alone products. May I ask where you saw that?

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Old 01-17-2010, 10:29 PM
 
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The only claim that caught my eye was where you say they're promoring their bottles as stand-alone products. May I ask where you saw that?
http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com...ilk-collection

The fact that Medela has pictures on their website of bottles with nipples on them is a violation of the code.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:35 PM - Thread Starter
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The free bottle give away discussed in the blog link in the second post of mine.

http://hoydenabouttown.com/20090310....-the-who-code/

It's not quite half way down the page. And this one, which is also linked to at the above link. Notice they didn't give away a free SNS but they were giving away a free glass bottle set.

http://mommosttraveled.com/medelabottles/

Then there's this one on Celebrity Babies, under the heading Medela Breastmilk Bottles: Freeing Nursing Mothers Everywhere!

http://celebrity-babies.com/2009/12/...rs-everywhere/
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:36 PM
 
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You mean where they're all CLEARLY labeled "Breastmilk Bottles" and "Breastmilk Collection Bottles"?

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Old 01-17-2010, 10:39 PM
 
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The free bottle give away discussed in the blog link in the second post of mine.

http://hoydenabouttown.com/20090310....-the-who-code/

It's not quite half way down the page. And this one, which is also linked to at the above link. Notice they didn't give away a free SNS but they were giving away a free glass bottle set.

http://mommosttraveled.com/medelabottles/

Then there's this one on Celebrity Babies, under the heading Medela Breastmilk Bottles: Freeing Nursing Mothers Everywhere!

http://celebrity-babies.com/2009/12/...rs-everywhere/
I would wonder the usage and desire factors on this one. I mean, how many people are going to have a need and/or desire for a SNS vs. a glass bottle set. If I were to bet, my money would be on the bottle set. But this is just one opinion of a working mom who supplied breast milk in bottles for her daughter. I honestly don't know the answer.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:40 PM
 
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I also disabled the ad blocker on my computer and re-loaded this page. There was a Google ad on the side for Medela bottles. It was below the separate ad for Medela pump parts but from my understanding, as a stand alone ad solely for bottles it's in violation of the Code. It wasn't a graphic ad, just one of the text click through ads.
You mean the one that says "BREASTMILK BOTTLES"?
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:44 PM
 
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It looks like "Kristen" wrote that heading, not Medela.....

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Then there's this one on Celebrity Babies, under the heading Medela Breastmilk Bottles: Freeing Nursing Mothers Everywhere!

http://celebrity-babies.com/2009/12/...rs-everywhere/
Anyway.....so, to be code compliant....they can make and sell bottles...they just can't advertise that they make and sell them ? And they can't show a picture of a bottle with a (gasp) nipple/teat attached to it ? And as a company, they can't have any direct contact with expectant mothers or mothers...including to market their breast pumps ? Ummmm, those rules do not make any sense for a company whose main business is breast pumps. To be code compliant, it sounds like they have to choose between being either allowed to market their main product to the people who might use it, or making and selling bottles. I don't blame them a bit for choosing to drop their compliance with the WHO code to the letter. IMO they are still compliant with the spirit of it. They are still out there, promoting breastfeeding and supporting it with their products. They certainly aren't out there promoting formula.

The Maven thing does irritate me, but only because ALL advertising by getting people to post promotions of products to message board etc really irritates me. My irritation is not specific to Medela and has nothing to do with their code compliance status. I just don't like spam.

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Old 01-17-2010, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
You mean where they're all CLEARLY labeled "Breastmilk Bottles" and "Breastmilk Collection Bottles"?
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Originally Posted by suebee79 View Post
You mean the one that says "BREASTMILK BOTTLES"?
So calling it breastmilk substitute instead of infant formula would make it alright to give free samples out at hospitals, the drs. and in third world countries?
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:52 PM
 
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So calling it breastmilk substitute instead of infant formula would make it alright to give free samples out at hospitals, the drs. and in third world countries?
Apples and oranges, IMO. Medela isn't marketing this in hospitals, at doctors, or in third world countries.

Look, I'm not saying you shouldn't take this on if it's important to you. I'm saying I personally find it all to be petty hairsplitting and I can see it doing a lot more damage than good. Bottles and artificial nipples exist. If the only people allowed to talk about them are the formula companies, we're all in big trouble.

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Old 01-17-2010, 10:56 PM
 
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I am seriously struggling to figure out what is so bad about this???!!! WHAT IN THE H3LL ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO WITH A BREAST PUMP??? Um, pump milk. For working moms like me, how in the world am I supposed to get the milk into my baby?? That's right....a bottle and a nipple. Nit picking about this and the WHO code, and the marketing of bottles and nipples is a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y ridiculous. Marketing their bottles are a necessary part of their breast pump business....if they didn't, I would be like attempting to show how wonderful a right shoe is but it being against some "code" to mention the left shoe on it's own without being along side of the right one. (I know stupid example but seriously this is silly).

And... I recently became a maven and it has been great. I have not only gotten lanolin, breastmilk storage bag, and some other goodies (which I save for new moms) but I also got some information about how to obtain Medela pumps free/low cost for my low income clients who could NEvER afford to get one on their own. I also get several print offs of breastfeeding and pumping resources that are SUPER to pass out to the many pregnant women at my work. I applaud Medela for what they are doing to make breastfeeding and pumping at work a normal thing.

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Old 01-17-2010, 10:59 PM
 
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So calling it breastmilk substitute instead of infant formula would make it alright to give free samples out at hospitals, the drs. and in third world countries?
Seriously?? Seriously, tell me how am I supposed to feed my daughter after I pump my milk? I mean it just seems like the most nit picky argument. Who cares? They have to market a bottle that goes with their product. A product that is exclusively for BREAST MILK.

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Old 01-17-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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Actually, I just thought of something. I would have a lot more of a problem with this if I lived in a country where everyone was obligated to follow the WHO Code. But we don't. Villifying a company that is very clearly promoting breastfeeding with pretty much every sentence they type because they happen to market and sell bottles and artificial nipples just seems ridiculous to me, like we're going after one of our own. And what happens in the US if Medela backs down? Then we no longer have the idea of breast pumps, breastmilk collection systems, and breastmilk bottles out there in the general public. And what are we left with? Nestle and the other formula companies and a bully pulpit, because heaven knows they don't give a rat's tushie about the WHO Code. Penalizing one of our own just because they're --gasp-- trying to promote their product and make money seems really wrong to me.

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Old 01-17-2010, 11:02 PM - Thread Starter
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What I have a problem with is them recruiting moms to come to forums such as the ones here to not only discuss BFing and related issues to to discuss (promote?) Medela products and to then go back to Medela and feed them the links to those discussions. I hardly think anyone who signs up to be a Medela Mom Maven will also include Ameda or other pump manufacturers when they're recommending products. When the discussion about the Medela ads and bottles being featured/pictured on their advertising first happened a year or so ago I was pretty "who cares" about it. But with the creation of this new group with the express intent to target communities full of new and expectant moms I personally feel that it's beginning to go too far down the road of questionable practices when viewed in light of the WHO code. And because of this I felt it would be a good topic of discussion for a forum dedicated to lactivists who may have similar concerns or who may be unaware of what is happening.
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Seriously?? Seriously, tell me how am I supposed to feed my daughter after I pump my milk? I mean it just seems like the most nit picky argument. Who cares? They have to market a bottle that goes with their product. A product that is exclusively for BREAST MILK.
Where have they stated that it's exclusively for breastmilk? Yes, they call them breastmilk bottles but I didn't notice a statement anywhere that says it cannot be used for formula as well.
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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I think social media does open up a whole new host of concerns when it comes to ethics, so I can certainly see where that would give you pause. I honestly didn't get that from your posts before; I thought your concern was the advertising issue.

The whole "let's recruit the mommy bloggers" is a really hot topic in blogging circles and definitely one that bears looking at with a critical eye.

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Old 01-17-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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Okay, maybe I'm not so irritated by the Maven thing after all It's great that their program is helping you to help others obtain pumps, and encourage working moms to continue breastfeeding. (I still don't like spam though....)

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Originally Posted by jeliphish View Post
And... I recently became a maven and it has been great. I have not only gotten lanolin, breastmilk storage bag, and some other goodies (which I save for new moms) but I also got some information about how to obtain Medela pumps free/low cost for my low income clients who could NEvER afford to get one on their own. I also get several print offs of breastfeeding and pumping resources that are SUPER to pass out to the many pregnant women at my work. I applaud Medela for what they are doing to make breastfeeding and pumping at work a normal thing.

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Old 01-17-2010, 11:06 PM
 
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I am so disgusted with Medela right now. It really sucks when a formerly good company is too wooed over by the almighty $$$.
It's a business. What is wrong with them making a profit? They sell a wonderful product, they employ thousands....who are then able to support their families, which possibly allow the ability for their spouses to stay at home and nurse their LO's till they are 3. etc, etc, etc. It is not criminal, nor immoral to make a profit...

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Old 01-17-2010, 11:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I am seriously struggling to figure out what is so bad about this???!!! WHAT IN THE H3LL ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO WITH A BREAST PUMP??? Um, pump milk. For working moms like me, how in the world am I supposed to get the milk into my baby?? That's right....a bottle and a nipple. Nit picking about this and the WHO code, and the marketing of bottles and nipples is a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y ridiculous. Marketing their bottles are a necessary part of their breast pump business....if they didn't, I would be like attempting to show how wonderful a right shoe is but it being against some "code" to mention the left shoe on it's own without being along side of the right one. (I know stupid example but seriously this is silly).

And... I recently became a maven and it has been great. I have not only gotten lanolin, breastmilk storage bag, and some other goodies (which I save for new moms) but I also got some information about how to obtain Medela pumps free/low cost for my low income clients who could NEvER afford to get one on their own. I also get several print offs of breastfeeding and pumping resources that are SUPER to pass out to the many pregnant women at my work. I applaud Medela for what they are doing to make breastfeeding and pumping at work a normal thing.
There are ways to feed a baby that does not include a bottle or a nipple. There is cup feeding, syringe feeding, dropper feeding and finger feeding.

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/a...e-feeding.html

Yes, these are more time consuming and no, they aren't as convenient as a bottle and a nipple but there are alternatives and IMO it's a disservice to ignore these alternatives when discussing feeding methods with other moms/dads/care givers.
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