Please let Paper Culture know that "green" baby shower invitations don't have to feature baby bottles! - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-12-2011, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was really excited to find Paper Culture as I'd been looking for a source of green stationery for thank you notes, etc. But I totally do not like several of their baby shower designs! I let them know that I thought promoting baby bottles as necessary baby gear should not be part of their mission as a "green" company and I hope you will too.

 

For example: http://www.paperculture.com/eco/baby-stuff-galore-baby-shower-p-3529.html

 

 

Quote:

If you don’t already have all the items on this card, then it’s perfect timing for your baby shower. Capture the essence of motherhood with this modern baby shower invitation featuring the true essentials of babyhood: bottles, cribs, pacifiers, rubber duckies and cribs. And naturally, printed on premium, recycled paper.

 

And http://www.paperculture.com/eco/baby-icon-burst-baby-shower-invitations-p-6591.html

 

 

Quote:
Diapers, pacifiers, bottles...oh my! Every new parent knows they need to stock up on the goodies once their daughter arrives. However, remind them that they can do this with flair in these baby icon burst shower invitations. Add luxe, recycled paper to the mix and your guests will burst with anticipation to attend!

 

Contact info here:

 

http://www.paperculture.com/contact-us.html


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Old 06-12-2011, 04:51 PM
 
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Dear Jane,
 
Thanks so much for writing to share your thoughts. By way of introduction my name is Christopher Wu. I am the CEO of Paper Culture and also one of the founders. 
 
I really enjoyed reading your thoughts as well as reviewing the links you included. I agree with much of what you said, but in answering your concerns, I wanted to relate a personal story.
 
My wife and I have a 3 year old daughter who is our first child. I still remember like it was yesterday, the excitement surrounding her birth. Like many first time parents, we were voracious readers prior to her birth. In part because we had that determination to do everything we could that would help our baby, but also, truthfully, because we just simply had no frame of reference.
 
Throughout the reading, we learned about many of the benefits you described for breast feeding and we were determined to raise our child that way. As our precious baby was born and they cut the umbilical cord, they immediately handed the baby to us to rest against mom's skin for those initial bonding moments. Shortly thereafter, we tried to get the baby to latch to get some of the initial colostrum prior to mom's milk coming in. While we were blessed with a joyous birth, unfortunately, this was the beginning of one of our most stressful periods.
 
We were determined to raise a breast fed child - but in that initial moment, in the days, weeks and months after - after lactation consultants, 3 or 4 bouts with mastitis, and many many shed tears across baby, mom and family, and some of the most trying points of our very blessed marriage, we just could not get our baby to latch. To say it was stressful would be an understatement. But for us, the substitute was pumping to still give our child many of the benefits. And as you can imagine, pumping then required both bottles and many of the other accessories. Throughout the struggle, truthfully, we were heartbroken. Now, a few years removed and expecting our second child, we have a slightly different perspective - there are undoubtedly numerous fantastic reasons to breast feed, but my personal belief is that there are numerous good reasons why people may not be able or choose to not do it. I personally am an advocate of breast feeding, though we were not able to raise a breast fed child, I hope our second one will be different, but I also surely wouldn't want to suggest to people that there is no other option.
 
With Paper Culture, our goal is to create products that make a positive contribution to the environment both through their creation and their message. While I personally am an advocate of breast feeding, as a company, we understand that raising children is all about personal, cultural and situational tradeoffs and we're not in a position to advocate one solution for all people. We are fortunate to have 100's of different designs in our catalog. Some of them do have bottles and they actually are not meant to advocate one view or the other for breast feeding. It's similar to how we have Hannukah cards and Christmas cards, we feature straight couples and gay couples, we feature bbq invitations with steak and organic vegetarian images as well - ultimately, we don't advocate one way or the other, but try to give each person an opportunity to find a card that speaks to them and their families for each occasion. We hope that while the bottle cards don't speak to you, that you will find others that do. We plan to continue to include bottles in our baby shower invitations and birth announcements as they are a common icon of many parents both who breastfeed and those who do not. We are huge supporters of companies such as giggle (whose core principles are one of the reasons we partner with them) and Zoli Baby who feature bottles in their offerings that absolutely have health and the environment as a core principle such as featuring BPA free bottles, those that are often used in parallel with breast feeding, and some that even are made with recyclable material. Having said that, I do think some edits to our text would reflect the inclusive nature of our goal and that phrases like "true essentials" actually go counter to our inclusive goal and I do plan on editing those with our team and wanted to thank you for pointing them out.
 
More than anything, I wanted to thank you for spending the time to share your thoughts. I believe our community grows stronger because of the discussion of these issues that many of us feel passionately about and I welcome your continued feedback. I have also posted this response to your blog post and welcome any additional feedback you would have. Thanks again and I hope you've had a wonderful weekend.
 
Sincerely,
Christopher Wu
CEO, Co-Founder
Paper Culture
 
 
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Old 06-12-2011, 07:03 PM
 
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Those are really cute and it looks to me like most of them do NOT have bottles?  I'm not sure I understand the issue.  If they ALL had bottles, sure.  But what's wrong with some having them?  I got bottles at my shower and my kids have never had formula.  They are sometimes fed by bottle.  But even if they weren't... it looks to me like the consumer has multiple options to choose from.


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Old 06-13-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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I'm glad to see your response, Christopher. I agree with you that there are a lot of reasons why parents may choose not to breast feed, or simply not be able to, like your family. Breast feeding mothers do often use bottles for pumped milk, too. 

 

I'm pleased to see though, that you agree that referring to bottles as part of the true essentials isnt quite a good idea. I understand and appreciate that your company offers tons of selections without bottles as well. It's just the phrasing on those ones that do; saying bottles are a true essential heavily implies that you HAVE to have them, when in reality, you dont. My 6 month old hardly ever gets pumped milk in a bottle, and a lot of other mothers successful with breast feeding give no bottles whatsoever.

So while I do think keeping the selections with bottles is a good idea, the wording needs a lot of help. If bottles are a true essential, add a pump to that list!

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Old 06-13-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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Christopher, thank you for sharing your response here; I'm sure many of us appreciate it.

 

I still feel, however, that accepting and using baby bottles as an icon of babyhood is promoting their use as normal - and clearly, although many of us have used bottles (by choice or not) including me, this is ultimately damaging to both baby's health and the environment.

 

Breastfeeding is normal, not a choice.  When this is not possible, then bottles are often (though not always) used to enable baby to feed, and they remain important as a back-up when breastfeeding is not possible.  However, particularly in light of your own experiences which indicate that you appreciate the importance of breastfeeding and were willing to fight for it for your child, I'm sure you agree that bottle-feeding should not be an automatic choice for parents.  If we are to move to a society where breastfeeding is the default and bottle-feeding only where necessary, then images of bottle-feeding as representative of babyhood are inappropriate.

 

I found this article on breastfeeding and the environment very interesting.  Please understand that I do not wish to judge those who use formula or bottles - I myself have used both - but equally I do not wish to be patronised or deemed incapable of hearing the facts.  You may well have come across it, but if not you might like to have a read.  The Ecological Impact of Bottle Feeding by Andrew Radford of Baby Milk Action.  If your company is seriously interested in protecting the environment, I would encourage you to consider removing the images on your stationery.

 

Thank you for reading.

Best wishes

Heba

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